July 16, 2007

How To Tie The Ultimate Knot

Apparently, for thick rope, the knot can be undone with a lot of work, but for thinner strings, like a fish line or linen, you will pretty much have to cut it. Very handy tip.


July 10, 2007

Back to School Means New Environment, New Odors


(ARA) – If you have kids, from the time they’re in the cradle to when they move into a college dorm and everywhere in between, they need help keeping their stuff clean. And when back to school season arrives, the backpack, sports duffle, locker and dorm room all take on smells of their own.

The forgotten banana in the backpack, sweaty hockey gear left in the duffle or last week’s turkey sandwich in the locker all create tough odors. You may be able to stick the backpack in the washer but smells often linger even after being washed. And you can’t wash out their locker at school.

An easy solution for both problems is to drop a Fresh Wave Pearl Sachet into the pocket of their backpack. The kids hang the pack in their locker where it further attracts and rids the locker of bad odors. The packet attracts the odorous molecules from the locker as well as the backpack to keep both smelling fresh.

Fresh Wave, a unique odor neutralizing product comprised of a proprietary blend of Soya, natural extracts of Lime, Pine Needle, Aniseed, Clove and Cedarwood, comes in a variety of forms. Independent laboratories’ research and data prove that Fresh Wave products are effective for eliminating all kinds of odors.

How does it work? When the mixture of natural elements is activated by airflow, it attracts captures and neutralizes odor molecules. All that remains is a clean, natural-smelling environment, with no masking fragrances and no harsh chemicals.

When the kids go off to college for the first time, many will stay in the dormitories. Dorm rooms have smells of their own from last year’s occupants and probably the previous ones. Not only is this smell not welcoming, but can be intolerable. Not to mention the odors that come from some roommates who aren’t especially tidy.

You can’t follow your kids there to help, but you can send along something to help them keep their space smelling more like home. Make a college survival kit, including things like a set of utensils and dishes, homemade cookies, a picture of the family dog and something to help keep their space smelling fresh and clean.

If you think your kids would never use it, think again. The Fresh Wave Gel is so simple. They just open the jar and set it in an inconspicuous spot for continuous, safe odor removal. Air currents in the room waft over the open jar allowing the gel to soak up odorous molecules. You can send a new jar with them every semester for a fresh, clean-smelling living environment — so much better for studying!

And for the conscientious student, drop a small bottle of the Fresh Wave spray into their packs for those times when they pull an all-nighter and don’t have time for a change of clothes before class. The spray eliminates all kinds of odors, even cigarette smoke, for a fresh, clean smell without masking perfumes.

For more information and locations that carry Fresh Wave products, visit www.fresh-wave.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

June 28, 2007

‘Momblocked’ mothers feel edged out by dads

“While I never thought that I would end up staying home with Sarah, I knew that I was fully capable of doing so,” says Brian Metz, McClure-Metz’s husband.

But almost four years into it, McClure-Metz began to feel her husband was maybe too capable. He had become more competent and assertive in the child-care arena and it showed in small ways. Metz took over when his wife struggled with the car seat, or put the kibosh on plans when he thought their daughter needed down time.

Full story: ‘Momblocked’ mothers feel edged out by dads

June 27, 2007

Rediscovering the Outdoors with Your Kids Starts in Your Own Backyard



(ARA) – With school almost out, summer is the perfect time to rediscover the outdoors. Experiencing nature’s wonders firsthand — admiring a garter snake slithering in the grass, planting flowers in the yard or devouring strawberries picked fresh from the garden — can prove as captivating as anything on the TV or video-game screen. So begin today to get your kids to celebrate and capture summer outside with our living planet.

Parents searching for inspiration don’t have to look far to identify great outdoor activities that are nearby, easy and fun. And the benefits are enormous, studies reveal. More-active kids do better academically. They score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. They show better coordination, balance and agility, and they’re sick less often. They are less likely to bully, be violent and to vandalize. And they are more likely to develop their imagination and the sense of wonder.

“Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it,” contends award-winning journalist and child advocate Richard Louv, whose book Last Child in the Woods coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” and also triggered a nationwide “No Child Left Indoors” movement. “In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.”

Not as many children today are discovering the outdoors. In a typical week, only six percent of children ages 9 to 13 play outside on their own, while a typical child in the U.S. watches more than three hours of television daily. The decline in outdoor adventuring is cited as one reason why the obesity rate has more than tripled the past three decades, to 17 percent from 5 percent, for children ages 12 to 19.

But getting your kids off the couch and out into the neighborhood for memorable adventures is easy and enjoyable. “We realize it can be a challenge for parents to identify outdoor activities that kids will consider fun,” says Jennifer Hanley, outdoor living and gardening expert at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. That very premise inspired the National Gardening Association — in conjunction with ScottsMiracle-Gro – to feature guides to creative, outdoor activities on www.kidsgardening.org. The site offers a wealth of ideas on how to get kids outside and in tune with their natural surroundings this summer.

Hanley’s nature and garden-related suggestions include a stroll around the yard or the neighborhood park to introduce children to the six basic parts of plants and their functions;  planting perennials that live and bloom year after year; and designating a day for immersing children in nature — without TV, computers and video games.

Whenever a child laments, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do,” recommend any of these options and add enthusiastically that you will be glad to join in the adventure:

* Starting a learning garden in the backyard or neighborhood plot. This helps kids learn about taking care of plants (and the animals drawn to the plants) and respecting the environment and nearby nature. Your kids can take photos of the garden as it grows and produces whatever they’ve planted.
* Bird watching and identifying trees and plants that appear in the yard. These activities often entice older kids, especially if they understand that a periodic bird or plant census helps detect any significant shifts in their populations.
* Recording sight, hearing, smell and touch observations on walks in your neighborhood, which helps kids hone their sensory-observation skills. They can log the information they gather using a scientific approach and even make drawings to chronicle their observations.

Janet Fouts, a West Virginia environmentalist, invented nature games with her daughter, Julia.  In one game called “The Sound of a Creature Not Stirring,” they would listen for sounds they couldn’t hear — an apple ripening, dew on the grass, an earthworm moving through the soil, and a spider weaving its web, among others. Fouts maintains that this attention to nature’s details helped in her daughter’s speech development, writing, artwork and keen attention to detail.

By making outdoor activity fun, parents play an integral role in helping children appreciate the beauty of nature in their surrounding areas and understand the importance of being environmental stewards, starting in their own backyard.  

Courtesy of ARAcontent

June 21, 2007

Life, an Empty Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

Got this incredible piece forwarded to me by email. Not sure who the author is, but the story just struck a chord somewhere deep inside. A must read…

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

So go on and pour out all the contents of your jar, re-fill it the right way this time around – and yeah, don’t forget to have a wonderful life!

– Ravi Jayagopal
What is Ventriloquism? Click here for some amazingly funny videos