How to Budget Your Money

Budgeting Money
Budgeting is an essential part of life unless you plan on living paycheck to paycheck. While some people find the idea of a budget constraining, spending money according to a plan and living within your means actually frees you from worrying about the state of your finances. Budgeting requires discipline; however, sticking to a spending plan will eventually become second nature. Budgeting will reward you with less stress, more harmony in your relationships and a healthy balance in your savings account. Living within your means can also help you reach goals such as buying a new house or funding a comfortable retirement. Budgeting is not difficult, but it does require discipline and following a plan.

1. Categorize your spending. Make separate categories for items such as mortgage or rent, car expenses, insurance, satellite, telephone, Internet, groceries, gas, utilities and miscellaneous expenses.

2. Track your spending for a month. Record every purchase, no matter how small. Keep all receipts, and total them at the end of the month. It is easy to underestimate how much you spend on a monthly basis. Seeing the total will bring home the reality of your financial situation. Be honest with yourself, or your attempt at budgeting will fail.

3. Total your monthly income. Consider your paycheck, your spouse’s or partner’s paycheck and any other money you receive on a monthly basis. Record the numbers in a notebook, or use personal finance software.

4. Total your expenses, and compare them to your monthly income. If you have been spending responsibly, your expenses will be less than your monthly income. If you have overused your credit cards, you are living beyond your means, and it is high time to get your financial house in order.

5. Determine which categories of your budget are wants and which are needs. Some payments cannot be changed. Your mortgage and car payment will be the same every month. Adjust spending in the “wants” category. Many people spend a lot of money eating out at restaurants. Decide if you really need to dine out so often or if you would rather have that money in your savings account. Even categories that include needed items, such as groceries, can be pared down by paying attention to sales and using coupons.

6. Evaluate your expenditures in the miscellaneous category. Decide if you really need to buy that morning coffee or purchase lunch every day. If you are serious about budgeting, you would rather see that money in your savings account.

7. Look at expenditures in recurring payment categories. See if you can get a better deal with another car insurance company. Consider downgrading your satellite service or your cell phone plan.

8. Pay for items like groceries, clothing and day-to-day miscellaneous items with cash. People tend to spend less when they can see the actual money they are spending.

9. Make sure that you put 10 to 30 percent of your income in a savings account. Treat this portion of your income as a payment to yourself. Ideally, you will maintain six months’ worth of living expenses in your savings account in the event of job loss or other financial emergency. Get your savings account off to a healthy start by depositing your income tax refund into it.

10. If you have a 401(k) plan, make sure that you contribute at least enough to get the company match. Preparing for your retirement is one of the most important steps you can take when budgeting.

Questions:

1.  How do you budget your money?

2.  Have you tried any of these budgeting ideas?

Image Credit: Gerard Van der Leun
Written By: Shannon R

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How to Build Chest and Pectoral Muscles

Build Muscles
Defined pectoral muscles are necessary for the look of a flat, toned chest. Developing the pectoral muscles not only improves the appearance of the chest but provides the additional benefit of making the waist look smaller. Even if you are carrying a little extra weight, development of the pectoral muscles will improve your appearance and proportions. Developing a stronger chest will also provide an advantage in sports such as swimming, basketball and football. When working to build muscles in the chest, focus on the following steps.

1. Pace yourself. Do not expect to achieve your goal in a couple of weeks. Use moderate weights and avoid strain. You will not be able to build muscles if you injure yourself. You want to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts in order to overload muscle fibers. Making exercise more difficult will force muscle growth, but do so gradually.

2. Focus on a program that exercises the deltoids and chest, but do not neglect the shoulders. Exercising the shoulders will help you work with weights heavy enough to stimulate real muscle growth in the pectoral region. Remember that significant change in the appearance of chest muscles will take several months.

3. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions of barbell bench presses, push-ups and butterfly presses. True beginners should start with one set. Be careful to warm up and stretch properly before engaging in any weight routine. Warming up for 15 minutes will allow you to lift more weight and will also reduce the risk of injury.

4. Track your workout sessions. Use a notebook to write down your weight, nutritional intake, number of repetitions, amount of weight lifted and duration of workout. This record will help you determine what is and is not working in your weight lifting program.

5. Choose a high-protein diet low in saturated fat to repair connective and muscle tissue. Good choices include eggs, fish, lean beef, chicken, beans and low-fat dairy products. Remember that too much weight training with inadequate calorie intake will sabotage muscle-building efforts. If you find yourself losing weight, cut back on the training and increase calorie intake. Try protein shakes and supplements to help build muscles.

6. Rest your muscles adequately between workouts. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night in order to give your body time to repair muscle tissue and build muscles. Do not exercise or eat close to bedtime since both these activities can interfere with sleep. Try to relax for a couple of hours before going to bed. Rest at least one day between workouts even if you are working different muscle groups. Weight lifting tears your muscle fibers. Give them time to heal, and they will develop strength and size.

7. Vary your routine in order to build muscles faster. Increase the amount of weight you lift or increase the number of repetitions. As you become more fit, your muscles will recover more quickly. Incorporate different exercises into your workout routine. Move from standard push-ups to elevated push-ups, which require you to place your feet on a step, keeping your lower body raised. Perform butterfly and bench presses at different angles to work the muscles in different directions. Changing exercises will keep your interest level up and increase muscle tearing and subsequent repair and growth.

Questions:

1.  How do you Build Chest and Pectoral Muscles?

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How to Lose Weight

Two Women Running To Stay Fit And Lose Weight
Lose Weight
Losing weight should be easy. The basics are simple: eat less and exercise more. When it comes to putting these simple rules into practice, however, things begin to get difficult. Losing weight and keeping it off presents a formidable challenge for most people. Permanent weight loss demands a change in your daily routine and lifestyle. Begin losing weight by practicing the following steps.

1. Eat more fiber. Controlling hunger is an important aspect of losing weight. High-fiber food fills you up faster than food containing little fiber, and high-fiber food requires more time to chew. When you eat more slowly, you give your brain time to realize that you have had enough food. The action of chewing and consuming a crunchy piece of fruit is more satisfying than drinking a glass of juice. An 8-ounce glass of apple juice has one-tenth the fiber of an apple and almost twice the calories. Stomach juices produced by chewing high-fiber food also help to fill the stomach.

2. Empty your refrigerator and cupboards of junk food. When you are hungry, you reach for tasty, calorie-laden foods that pack a lot of calories and do not fill you up. Remove the temptation altogether, and stock your shelves with fruits, vegetables, flavored rice cakes, low-fat ice cream and 100-calorie snack packs. Remember that all vegetables and fruits are not created equal. Cabbage, celery and salads contain far fewer calories than avocados. A half-cup of dates has more than five times the calories of a half-cup of fresh cherries.

3. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day, and make sure that you drink water before meals. Studies show that dieters who drink two glasses of water 20 minutes before meals lose more weight than dieters who do not drink before eating. Water consumption contributes to weight loss by helping to fill the stomach. Drinking water also helps strip pounds by replacing high-calorie beverages.

4. Walk for 30 minutes every day. Walking will not cost you anything other than the cost of a good pair of walking shoes. Walking is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and it is a low-impact activity that does not stress joints. No matter what your level of fitness, you can walk short distances and increase the length of your walks as you become more fit. Go for a walk after dinner. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the far side of the lot. Try to walk on your lunch break. Remember, though, that exercise will make you hungrier. Resist the impulse to reward yourself with a high-calorie snack. Reach instead for a piece of fruit, and keep your goal of losing weight firmly in sight.

5. Eat at the dinner table, not in front of the television. When you eat in front of the TV, you are not thinking about what you are putting into your mouth. Watching a program makes it impossible to focus on your food and enjoy it fully. You will likely eat more, defeating your goal of losing weight. Eating dinner in front of the set makes you more likely to fall into the habit of snacking whenever you watch TV. Instead, set the table, listen to your stomach’s signals and enjoy recounting the day’s events with your family.

Questions:
 
1. Whats your tip on losing weight?

Image Credit: mikebaird
Written By: Shannon R

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How to Treat Postpartum Depression

Treating Postpartum Depression
Many women struggle with the “baby blues” after the birth of a child. They may experience crying episodes, mood swings, anxiety, irritability and trouble sleeping. Baby blues tend to go away after a few days or weeks. Sometimes, however, women develop postpartum depression, a more serious condition. Symptoms of postpartum depression include extreme fatigue, intense anger, anxiety, failure to bond with the baby and even thoughts of harming self or baby. If left untreated, postpartum depression may linger for a year or longer.

1. Call your doctor if signs of depression last more than two weeks, worsen or you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby. Untreated postpartum depression interferes with child-mother bonding and can develop into chronic depression. Children of mothers with untreated postpartum depression are more likely to experience behavior and language development problems.

2. Write down symptoms and medical history, and bring them with you to your appointment. Ask a family member or trusted friend to accompany you to help remember the doctor’s advice. Write down questions since it can be difficult to recall them in the office. Tell your doctor about any previous episodes of depression you have experienced.

3. Work with your physician to assess the risks and benefits of various antidepressants. Some antidepressants are safe for breast-fed babies. Ask about side effects. Do not feel inadequate because you are considering medication. Up to 20 percent of women become depressed in the six months following delivery. Today’s antidepressants are much safer than medications prescribed for women 20 years ago.

4. Talk to your doctor about hormone therapy. Some women find that estrogen replacement works to ease the symptoms of postpartum depression. Experts theorize that the rapid plunge in estrogen accompanying childbirth contributes to postpartum depression. Take note that research on hormone therapy for postpartum depression is limited.

5. Seek counseling. It is often beneficial to express your feelings to a psychologist, psychiatrist or trained counselor and learn ways to cope with your situation. Counseling can help you deal with feelings of isolation and anxiety during depressive episodes. Continue treatment as long as recommended even if you begin to feel better. Stopping too soon can lead to relapse. Follow the recommendations of your health care provider.

6. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Talk to other mothers about their experiences with baby blues and postpartum depression. Their advice can be reassuring. Ask for help in caring for your baby.

7. Take advantage of offers of help from those around you. Accept babysitting offers and take time for yourself, whether it is to nap, see a movie or go out to eat. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t ask too much of yourself, and don’t obsess about housework. Taking good care of yourself will help you take better care of your baby.

8. Make healthy choices. Make time for exercise. Taking walks with your baby will benefit both of you. Exercise not only improves your mood in the short term, it works over time as a natural antidepressant. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, which can worsen mood swings.

9. Remember that depression can’t be blamed on anyone. It cannot be fixed by ignoring it and hoping that it will go away. Postpartum depression is a medical illness that requires treatment by a medical professional.

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How to Choose a Crib Mattress

Baby Crib Mattress
Selecting the right baby crib mattress ranks as one of the most important buying decisions parents face. Mattress selection is as important as choosing the right baby crib since babies spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping. The right mattress will not only help your child sleep better, it will keep the child safe. Primary concerns in mattress selection include size and firmness. Since most of the components that make a good mattress lie out of sight, do your homework to ensure the mattress you buy is suitable for your baby.

1. Measure the mattress to make sure it fits the baby crib properly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not be able to fit two fingers between the mattress and crib. Larger gaps may allow your baby’s head to become trapped in the space between mattress and crib, risking suffocation.

2. Check the firmness of the mattress. Mattresses for babies require a higher degree of firmness than mattresses for adults in order to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation. When you press your hand into the mattress, the mattress should spring back quickly, showing no evidence of your hand impression. Buy the heaviest, firmest mattress you can afford.

3. Choose foam or innerspring coils. Both of these materials are suitable, provided their quality is good. Both foam and innerspring coils provide adequate support for babies and toddlers. Foam mattresses are made from polyurethane and tend to weigh less than innerspring mattresses, making them easier to change. More parents buy innerspring mattresses, most likely because they themselves sleep on similar mattresses. Twenty-five years ago foam mattresses broke down relatively quickly, but modern foam mattresses last just as long as their innerspring counterparts.

4. Ensure that the manufacturer or retailer has supplied adequate information concerning the components of the mattress. Check to see that the mattress material is fire-retardant.

5. Search out mattresses with visible ventilation holes. Poorly ventilated mattresses may be a cause of SIDS.

6. Select a mattress with a waterproof cover. Even if your mattress is leak-proof, a waterproof cover will make the sleeping surface more comfortable. The coldness of a vinyl cover will most likely transfer to your child without the extra barrier provided by the waterproof cover. The cover also serves to draw the moisture of diaper leaks away from your baby.

7. Resist the impulse to spend extra money for an antimicrobial cover. Microbe growth is easily prevented by wiping the mattress with water and soap after accidents. Don’t spend money on a feature you don’t need.

8. Ignore one-year, seven-year and lifetime warranties. They are not worth the extra expense. A quality mattress will last as long as you are likely to need it under conditions of normal use. Most baby mattress warranties exist as inducements to parents to spend more money. Quality mattresses tend to run $80 to $140.

9. Purchase your baby crib mattress new, not used. Recycling is generally a great idea, but when you purchase a second-hand mattress you run the risk of getting a mattress with mold growth. It is also more difficult to determine the quality and components of a second-hand mattress. Remember that your purchase has the potential to directly affect the health and safety of your baby.

Questions:

1.  Whats your tip on choosing a crib mattress?

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How to do Lower ab Exercises

Ab Work Out
Most people who carry a little extra weight around their abdomens would love to have six-pack abs. The abdominal area collects fat faster than almost any other area, so a combination of calorie reduction and targeted exercises works best to highlight the abdominal muscles. Strong rectus abdominis muscles will protect the back from injury as well as improve appearance. Use a good ab work out along with a proper program of nutrition to target the lower abdominal muscles without expensive equipment. Remember to support your back during your ab work out, and stop immediately if your back begins to hurt. Perform exercises slowly and in a deliberate, controlled manner. Doing them quickly creates momentum and will not deliver benefits.

1. Eat low-fat nutritious food. Cutting 500 calories from your diet per day will result in a one-pound weekly weight loss. Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, and cut out the junk food. No matter how hard your ab work out, your abs will stay hidden if you do not lose the layer of fat concealing them.

2. Try reverse crunches. Lie on the floor with hands supporting the small space under your lower back. Raise your feet, bringing your knees to your chest. Pull in your lower abs until your hips curl off the floor. Reach your legs toward the ceiling, and return slowly to your original position. If you experience pain in your lower back, stop immediately.

3. Move on to the scissors maneuver. Lie on your back with your hands again under the small space in your lower back. Squeeze your lower abs while tightening your leg muscles. Lift both legs until they are two feet above the floor. Keep your legs straight while crossing the right leg over the left. Open legs and cross again, reversing positions. Repeat 8 to 10 times. As your ab work out begins to yield results and you get stronger, increase to 15 to 20 repetitions.

4. Remain lying flat on the mat with hands under the space in the lower back and perform hip thrusts. Lift legs straight into the air until they reach a 90-degree angle from the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly while lowering legs slowly halfway to the floor. Raise your legs back to the 90-degree position, and then thrust your hips vertically upward. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Aim to eventually do two to three sets of these exercises.

5. Progress to alternating leg walks. Remain lying on your back with your hands supporting the space in your back. Take a couple of slow breaths. Squeeze your lower abdominal muscles and lift the right leg until it reaches a 90-degree angle to your body. Slowly lower it to a few inches from the floor, and raise the left leg. Lift legs alternately. Perform 8 to 10 repetitions. As you become stronger, intensify your ab work out by increasing the number to 15 to 20 repetitions.

6. Try some double leg circles. Remain lying with hands under buttocks. Squeeze lower abs and lift both legs a few inches off the floor. Next, slowly rotate legs together, making five circles in a clockwise direction. Lower the legs to the floor, relax, and then repeat with five counter-clockwise circles. Increase to 10 to 15 circles as you become stronger.

Questions:

1.  What's your tip?

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How to Get Your Kids to Exercise

Fitness For Kids
Childhood obesity rates continue to rise as children consume more fast food and spend more time in front of the television and computer screen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least one hour per day of aerobic activity for children aged 6 to 17. The Centers also recommend that kids perform muscle- and bone-strengthening exercises three times a week. Many children fall short of these exercise goals. Fitness for kids figures as an important issue for many parents, but it is not always easy to devise ways of getting children to increase their activity level. Video games and television present a formidable foe in the battle for your kids’ attention, so come up with an interesting and fun combination of activities to engage them. Once you get the kids on a program of healthy activity, they will feel better and probably continue the activity. Remember to keep the emphasis on fun to compete with the digital entertainment kids have at their fingertips.

1. Set a good example. Children often take their attitudes toward fitness and physical activity from their parents. Show them the importance you place on your own physical fitness. Make decisions in your everyday life to encourage fitness. Take the stairs. Rake leaves instead of purchasing a leaf blower. Park on the far side of the parking lot.

2. Take the kids for family walks and bike rides for at least 30 minutes at a time. Talk about issues in their lives, and reap the extra benefit of learning more about your child’s life.

3. If you have a dog or are planning to get one, encourage the kids to walk and play with the canine member of the family. Walks and exercise in the park are good sources of fitness for kids and more fun when a dog participates.

4. Make a contract with the child who spends a lot of time with the computer or TV. Every two or three hours of screen time must be balanced with an hour of physical exercise. Stay firm, or you will find the amount of exercise diminishing over time.

5. Build up a collection of inexpensive play equipment. Make spontaneous play sessions more likely by laying in an assortment of soccer balls, baseballs and mitts, jump ropes, kites and Frisbees. Encourage fitness for kids by playing catch with them or flying a kite together. When you are shopping for a birthday present, look for one that encourages physical activity.

6. Sign up your team sport-oriented child for baseball, softball or soccer. Encourage kids who dislike team sports to get into martial arts, rollerblading or swimming. Give them lots of positive reinforcement for their participation. Remember that the goal is exercise, not winning trophies.

7. Ensure that your child’s chores include a physical component, such as raking leaves, cleaning up the yard or mowing the lawn.

8. If you work out at an exercise facility, bring your child with you. Kids will come to regard working out as part of a normal routine and incorporate these programs into their own lives as they get older.

9. Praise your kids when they make an effort to get more fit. Never use exercise as a punishment. Present it as something fun and a vital component of a healthy lifestyle.

Questions:

1.  How do you get your kids to exercise?

2.  Have any of these tips worked for you?

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How to Test Your Internet Speed

Testing Your Internet Speed
Your Internet test speed that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is promising you is an important aspect of your overall online experience, after all a slow speed deters you from experiencing the top notch Internet speed that has been stated you are going to get.  Measuring upload and download speeds does not require any software packages you have to purchase to be installed on your PC. It is simply a matter of transferring over a small, non-executable data file from the test server to your PC, and then moving the file back to the server from your PC. In this article you will learn a very user friendly way in which you can check your Internet speed and make sure you’re up to speed for uploading and downloading and getting the speed you were promised.

1. 
The first thing you will want to do is get on your computer and make sure you are connected to your Internet.

2.  Next, open up your Internet browser

3.  Next you will want to utilize one of these sites to test your Internet speed.  Most of these should have just a button to press to begin.

Speed Test
Speak Easy
Band Width Place

4.  From here you will see the upload and download Internet speeds populate after the service has finished.

Tips:

    * Once you have your upload and download speeds in front of you, match them up to what is projected by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

    * If you’re not sure of what your Internet speed should be, contact you’re ISP (Internet Service Provider) and they will be able to tell you what it should be.

    * If you notice a huge difference in what Internet speed you’re getting and what your ISP (Internet Service Provider) states you should be getting contact them and have them conduct a test.

    * Remember it is possible that it could be your PC, but start at the main source and have them test it fully.  After all if your paying for high Internet speeds you want to make sure you are receiving the right product.

Questions:

1.  What’s your tip on getting your Internet speed?

2.  Have you notice your Internet speed being slow?

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How to Treat Sunburns

Treat a Sunburn
It happened. You know the danger the sun presents for skin cancer and premature aging, but the day was cloudy and you did not bother wearing sunscreen. Or you did apply sunscreen at the beginning of the day but neglected to reapply it. Now you have a sunburn . In addition to the remorse you feel for risking premature wrinkling of the skin, basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, your skin feels tight and painful. Sunburns occur even on cloudy days, so it is imperative to wear sunscreen whenever you are outdoors. Rest assured, though, that there are ways to alleviate the pain and redness of the burn.

1. Drink lots of water. You are probably dehydrated from all the time you spent in the sun and from the sunburn itself. Do not drink alcohol, which will worsen dehydration. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen to reduce the pain of your sunburn .

2. Take a cool bath with a half-cup of baking soda dissolved in the water. The cool water will lower your skin temperature, and the baking soda will soothe the itchiness and irritation of your skin. Some people swear by a half-cup of vinegar in the bath water to relieve pain.

3. If you have an aloe vera plant, break a leaf and apply some of the juice to your skin. Pure aloe vera is effective in relieving pain without the addition of chemical ingredients you do not need. If you are not fortunate enough to own an aloe vera plant, buy an aloe gel and apply it several times a day. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams also work well to treat skin inflammation and irritation.

4. After you burn, your skin is going to peel. Reduce the unsightliness of peeling skin by applying moisturizing lotions or olive oil. Do not apply self-tanner in an effort to even out your skin color. It will only succeed in making the situation even worse by emphasizing the peeling areas of your skin.

5. Do not break any blisters that result from a second-degree sunburn . You may cause infection. Find over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. If blistering is extensive, seek medical attention.

6. Remember to wear lots of sunscreen the next time you are outside. If you tan easily and rarely burn, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 should suffice. Pale people who freckle easily should be looking at SPF 50. Remember that sunburn puts you at risk for a number of types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, and lather up accordingly.

Questions:

1.  How do you treat a sunburn?

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How to Start a Gym Routine

Work Out Routine
You have decided to join a gym and get in shape. It is time to define your goals. Do you want to lose weight, tone your muscles or both? Aerobic routines are good for weight loss; weight lifting will help with toning and building muscle. The more clearly defined your goals are, the more likely you are to stick with your program. Picture the desired result and aim for at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

1. Begin by checking with your doctor to ensure that you can safely exercise without restrictions.

2. Enlist an enthusiastic buddy to join you. When the determination of one partner lags, the other can act as the impetus to keep on exercising. It is unlikely that you will both lose interest in work out routines at the same time. And you can gain inspiration by watching the improvement in your partner’s physical condition.

3. Find a gym in a convenient location. The closer it is, the more likely you are to continue using it. Speak to the staff to make sure that they are friendly and helpful. Seek their advice as to which work out routines are right for you. Make sure the program fits within your budget. You do not want to use the excuse of unaffordable gym fees to abandon your program.

4. Decide on a firm schedule. Once you get into the habit, either morning, afternoon or evening, it will be easier to stick with work out routines. Make sure to choose a time convenient to you and your exercise buddy. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime because you may find it difficult to sleep afterward.

5. Reward yourself with an attractive work out outfit. You are more likely to exercise when you feel good in the clothing you are wearing. Buy good shoes suitable for the type of work out routines you have chosen. You will not regret the expenditure.

6. Concentrate on healthy eating. The boost you get from the nutrients will provide the energy to get to the gym. You will feel better about yourself in general and reach your fitness goal more quickly.

7. Keep a journal of your progress. Tracking your weight loss or lost inches can be tremendously motivating. Do not panic or get depressed if you fail to lose one week. You will probably make up for it the next week, and it will be eight weeks before you see real results.

8. Remember to keep good health and exercise as a priority. We often neglect this area, but achieving and maintaining physical fitness will enhance every other aspect of our lives.

Questions:

1. What's your tip to a great work out routine

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How to Set Food Portion Sizes for Young Children

Child Eating
How much should a young child eat? Parents worry that they are not choosing the right kinds and amounts of food for kids, and they often believe their children are not taking in enough calories. Remember that toddlers are busy becoming independent people, and this urge for independence extends to the foods they consume. Young children want to explore the world, and as a result, they are not always interested in eating. It is natural for parents to worry about the amount of food their young children are consuming, but determining food portions does not have to be a source of anxiety.

1. Remember that the high speed of growth babies experience during their first year will slow during the next two years. Do not be surprised if this decrease in the rate of growth is reflected in a smaller appetite. Kids aged one to three require between 1,000 and 1,300 calories a day.

2. A small child’s stomach is roughly the size of his or her fist. Do not offer too much food at one time, or they may reject it. Offer food of different types (vegetable, meat, starch) one tablespoon at a time. An average toddler’s serving size should be about one-quarter of an adult’s serving size.

3. Children under five should be offered three to five servings of vegetables a day. Plan on one tablespoon of vegetables for each year of the child’s age. A three-year-old should be eating three tablespoons of vegetables three to five times a day.

4. Be creative when you’re setting out food for kids. Fashion pieces of fruit and cooked vegetables into interesting shapes. Cream cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt dips make vegetables more palatable to young eaters. If your child likes smoothies, take the opportunity to mix fruit, milk, honey, yogurt and wheat germ together in a healthy drink.

5. Remember to choose foods that pack a lot of nutrients. Some nutrient-rich foods include poultry, eggs, yogurt, cheese, squash, brown rice and peanut butter. Your young eater will get a lot of nutrition out of even small quantities of these foods. Toddlers are active, and since they are always on the go, they will not spare much time for eating.

6. Do not be alarmed if your toddler eats a lot one day and virtually nothing the next. Your job is to offer nutritious foods prepared in a healthy manner. Young children will eat what they need if it is made available to them.

7. Do not try to force a child to clean his or her plate. Do not reward good behavior with sweets, and be sparing with the fruit juice, which is packed with sugar. Teach your child that drinking water is healthy. Discourage eating while watching TV. Remember that you control the types of food that come into your house, not your child.

Questions:

1.  How do you set food portion sizes for your children?

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How to Sing in The Car Without Getting Caught

Singing In Car
Let’s face it, we are all singers in the car, you know who you are.  But, when you’re driving down a busy road you feel like the world is starring at you watching you sing, which of course isn’t always the case.  The key is having tricks of the trade to look as if you’re not singing, or to stay a little more discreet.  In this article you will learn some tips so that you don’t get caught singing in the car.

1.  Hold your cell phone up to your ear like you are talking, this will sure to fool the person starring in at you.

2.  Take the less obvious route to where ever you are going.  Less traffic equals less eyes starring in at you.

3. Tilt your seat back a bit.  This will take you out of view and there will be less of a chance getting caught singing your favorite song.

4.  Consider tinting your windows.  This will deter people from looking in, and most likely only offer them an outline of you.

5.  Don’t sing.  I know this is quite obvious but it surely will prevent anyone catching you.

Tips:
  • Always practice safe driving and remember road safety is your number one concern
Questions:

1. What’s your tip?


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How to Stretch Properly

How to Stretch Properly
Stretching exercises performed before workouts increase blood flow to muscles, raise body temperature, improve flexibility, increase range of motion in joints and decrease the likelihood of injury. Stretching exercises should be performed for at least 5 minutes. They should be done smoothly with no bouncing or jerking, which might cause muscle pull.

1. Before beginning stretching exercises, warm up for several minutes by running in place or walking. Never stretch cool muscles, since injury may result.

2. The hamstring stretch is one of the most important stretching exercises. The hamstring is located in the back of the upper leg. Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front. Slowly slide your hands down your legs until you feel mildly uncomfortable. Hold for 10 seconds, and return to an upright position. Repeat three times.

3. The quadriceps muscles run along the front of the thigh. Stretching these muscles helps to reduce stress on the knees. Hold a chair back for balance. With feet shoulder-width apart, lift the right foot to the buttock. Point your knee to the floor, and avoid arching your back. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the left leg.

4. Shoulder stretches help prevent rotator cuff problems. Bring the right arm across the body, and hold it below the elbow with the left arm. Maintain for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left arm.

5. Don’t overlook the triceps. Place the right hand on the upper back, between the shoulder blades. Grasp the elbow with the left hand. Pull the elbow toward the head, and hold for 30 seconds.

6. The standing torso stretch helps to relieve pressure on the spine. Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Place the right hand on the right hip, and raise the left hand over the head. Bend the torso until you feel slight tension on the left side. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

7. Necks rolls help reduce stress at any time. Sit upright in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Breathe deeply, and let your head fall forward as you exhale. Inhale as you roll your head to one shoulder, and breathe deeply several times while holding your ear close to your shoulder. Roll your head back to the center, exhaling as you do so. Inhale as you roll your head to the opposite shoulder. Perform five repetitions.

8. Repeat these stretching exercises after your workout. Stretching after exercise will help to remove lactic acid and reduce the likelihood of muscle soreness. 
Questions:

1.  How do you properly stretch?
Image Credit: Tokyosucks 
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How to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

Losing 10 Pounds
Who among us wouldn’t love to lose 10 pounds? And who wouldn’t love to lose 10 pounds fast? Most of us carry a little extra weight around our middles or thighs. These unwanted pounds do not have to stay around forever, though. With a mixture of discipline and diet know-how, you can lose 10 pounds in five weeks.

1. Ten pounds of fat consists of 35,000 calories. In order to lose 10 pounds, a deficit of 35,000 calories must be created, either through exercise or a reduction in food intake.

2. Studies suggest that curbing calorie intake may be more effective than exercise alone for shedding weight. Exercise tends to make us hungrier, and subsequently we eat more. While it is true that muscle burns calories, cutting calorie consumption will work more quickly to shed weight.

3. Women should consume at least 1,200 calories a day, and men should aim for 1,600 calories a day in order to facilitate healthy weight loss. Cutting calories too drastically may launch the body into conservation mode, making the effort to lose 10 pounds much more difficult.

4. Forgo the expensive diet food, and instead search cooking web sites for recipes built around ingredients you love. It will be easier to get to your goal quickly, and stay there, by eating foods you enjoy. You may also speed your weight loss by serving your meals on a small plate. People tend to think they have to fill their plates, regardless of the size.

5. Make breakfast a big, healthy meal. Consuming whole grains, low-fat dairy products and fresh fruit will make you less likely to spring for a calorie-laden doughnut when the mid-morning cravings set in.

6. Drink lots of water. Consuming seven to 10 glasses of water will fill you up and make you feel better. You will be more likely to stick with your weight loss plan.

7. Reward yourself. A small square of dark chocolate with two or three dried apricots packs a lot of antioxidants and serves as a nice treat between meals. If you develop a craving, have a small amount of the food you desire. Indulging with restraint is preferable to going wild and abandoning your weight loss goal.

8. Distract yourself with healthy activities. Take the dog for a brisk walk. Get outside and do some gardening, or exercise to some music or an exercise DVD. You will feel better when you are done and more motivated to continue on to your goal to lose 10 pounds.

Questions:

1.  Whats your weight loss tip?

Image Credit: Stock.Xchng
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How to Promote a Blog Post

Child looking at a computer screen
Promoting a Blog Post
Promoting your blog posts is very important avenue to venture down when owning your own blog.  Your blog posts are what spark and energize your blog because it is the content in which search engines index and rank.  Also, without them I think a blog might be a tad boring. One big key though is to make sure you head out and promote your article to give it the credit it deserves.

1.  Utilize pinging services.  By pinging your blog post you’re letting them know you just updated your blog.

Ping Services:

Pingninja
Pingler
PingoMatic


2.  Submit your blog post to a blog carnival.  This is where users hosts the carnivals in related niches on certain dates.  So for instance you will submit your blog post data and it will be entered into the next available carnival that someone is hosting on their blog.  You should see a date on there for the next post in your niche while you’re submitting it.  This will be a nice link right back to your original blog post.

3.  Find forums that relate to your post and utilize the signature bar to link back to your post, or post meaningful comments using your blog post as a resource.  Make sure to leave meaningful posts and not just spam their site.

4.  Find blogs that relate to your blog post and utilize the comment section to post your link.  Make sure you leave meaningful posts and not just spam their site.

5. Submit to social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Digg, Delcious and more.

6.  Consider linking your new post back to old posts if it has a possible relationship.  For instance, if there is a keyword in an older post that relates to your new post you may consider linking that word back to your new post creating internal linking.  Or possibly at the end of an older post use your new post as a resource for some additional helpful ideas for your readers.

Tips:
  •     Remember to rinse and repeat these steps for each post to maximize your links back to your post.
  •     Some pinging sites may only take the top level domain which is your domains home page.
  •     Remember that original content is always the best.
Questions:

1.  How do you promote a blog post?

Image Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com's
Written By: Christopher E P
 
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How to Find Landscaping Rocks on a Budget

Landscaping Rocks
It's never hard to find landscaping rocks to help accent your house if your willing to pay a pretty price.  But let's be honest, with a little creative thinking and some work you can get landscaping rocks at quite a discount.  Let's go ahead and look at some ways in which you can get landscaping rocks on a budget.

1.  Look for businesses redoing there landscaping.  For instance, if you see a landscaping company putting in new landscape at a local business stop by and see if they happen to have any landscaping rocks they are getting rid of. 

2.  Ask farmers if they have any rocks laying around.  To farmers, these rocks may just be in the way of plowing there fields, so you may be doing them a favor.

3. Do a quick scan in your local Craigslist website.  A lot of times you can get them for dirt cheap if you pick them up, or even FREE.

4. Check your local newspaper, it could be a great untapped resource for landscaping rocks.

5. Ask your friends, I know sounds quite obvious right?  At the same time though, sometimes we over look the obvious. 

6.  Look for great savings as the off season is approaching at your local store, and see if you can pick up your landscaping rocks at a huge discount. 

Questions

1. What's your method?

2.  Have any of these worked for you?

Written By: Christopher E P 

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How to Potty Train a Two Year Old

Potty Train a Two Year Old
It can be frustrating for both the child and the parent to potty train. The mere mention of the words brings fear in first time parents. Here are some tips on how to potty train your two-year-old.

1. Buy a child size potty. Putting a two- year-old on a standard size toilet can be intimidating for a small child, not to mention, is extremely easy for him to fall through.

2. While your child is still wearing pull-ups, take him to the bathroom every hour and see if he will go. Remind him to tell you if he needs to go potty. With some children, you might have to put them in underwear instead of pull-ups because otherwise they will not tell you if they have to go or they already went.

3. If your child goes on the potty, you need to CELEBRATE! Make a big deal out of it so he knows he did a great thing. When you potty train this is a very important step. This encourages him to want to please you again; however, never scold a child for having accidents.

4. Once your child has mastered going #1, it is time to work on the hard part: going #2. Children seem to be more reluctant during this aspect of potty training. Best advice: give your child a book to read while sitting on the potty and do not rush him. This lets him relax, and once that happens, things tend to happen naturally.

5. Once again, if your child goes, CELEBRATE! Praise, praise, praise your child and even give him a special toy that you have been saving for this event. This is a milestone in your child’s life and you need to treat it as such.

Questions:

1.  Whats your method?

Image Credit:  toyfoto
Written By: Shannon R

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How to Stop a Toddler From Biting

Stopping a Toddler From Biting
There is nothing quite like a biting toddler to make parents question their child-rearing skills. Biting behavior in young children does not stem from poor parenting, but it does cause considerable pain for its victims and needs to be stopped. Toddler bites usually spring from a child's lack of verbal skills. Biting seems like a good way to express strong emotions or gain attention to some children.

1. Observe your child carefully. Biting usually follows a certain trigger. When you sense a bite coming on, prepare to prevent it.

2. Step between the child and victim and tell the toddler gently and firmly, “No. Biting is wrong.” Try not to overreact. A too-strong reaction will encourage the attention-seeking biter. Never bite a toddler in return. You will just teach the biter that such behavior is acceptable.

3. Remove the child to a quiet location. Gently encourage the toddler to express his or her feelings with words. Toddler bites sometimes spring from an inability to express affection. Show the child that hugs are a more appropriate way to show affection.

4. If you think your child is biting to gain attention, simply say “no” the next time it occurs and act as a physical barrier between biter and victim. Do not allow the behavior to continue, but do not lavish attention on the biter.

5. Comfort the injured child, emphasizing that the biter caused another child pain.

6. If the child is successful in controlling his or her behavior, be generous with praise. If biting continues, seek advice. Toddler biting problems often occur in day care centers and nurseries, and caregivers in these facilities are a useful source of advice.

Questions:

1.  What's your method?

Image Credit: Frédéric de Villamil's
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