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LIVING QUARTERS Disclaimer: The views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Employees of ABSTRACT MEDIA GROUP COMPANY LIMITED are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right. Any such article is contrary to company policy and is outside the scope of the employment of the individual writer concerned. The company will not accept any liability in respect of such article, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising.

Christmas Cleaning Safety Tips

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he holidays are a time for cheer. Nobody wants to be unable to enjoy the festivities due to illness or injury while doing house cleaning. It is important to follow the right precautions when cleaning and this article deals with that.

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• • Keep kids away from the work area and from contact with cleaning products. • Read the manufacturer's label for warnings and directions before using products. • Don't ever mix ammonia and bleach, or any other strong cleaners together. • Remember that the labels of strong commercial products may not list all hazardous chemical ingredients. • Call the manufacturer for a Material Safety Data Sheet to find information about

product ingredients and safety issues. Reseal opened chemical products tightly. Remember that soap and water usually do the job, and antibacterial products are not usually necessary in the home. Vinegar has many gentle but effective cleaning properties. Ventilate your work area when using strong cleaning products. Save money by making your own cleaning products

Important Precautions: • Before mixing any recipes, be careful to store your products in well labeled containers, and never store your cleaners in empty food or drink containers lest they be mistaken as edible or po-

table. • Also keep the products stored well away from children. • Do not assume from the natural cleaning recipes that just any cleaning agent can be mixed together. Mixing together strong commercial products like ammonia and bleach can release poisonous gases. Specifically, never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, or oven cleaners. And never mix household bleach containing sodium hypochlorite with acidic products like vinegar, toilet bowl cleaners, or liquid dishwasher detergent. • Wear protective gear such as latex or rubber gloves and proper eyewear to protect your skin and eyes from harsh chemicals.

Signs Of Shoddy Construction Work

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veryone wants a home, but nobody wants a home that is going to cause excess stress due to poor construction. There are several important signs that will reveal if a home is shoddily built. We will share some of them with you in this article. Fractured Brick Cracks in brick cladding may indicate a sunken footing. Look for “stair stepping” cracks near windows and doorways, running vertically or diagonally near the ground and foundation corners. Creaky / Bouncing Floor Do certain areas of your floor creak? Does the china cabinet rattle? These are signs that your home’s framing may be warped by a shifting foundation or water damage, or may indicate the need for added structural supports.

Standing Water Standing water or “ponding” around the outside of the structure may be caused by improper exterior drainage. This excess water may contribute to severe structural damage and poor indoor air quality. Cracks in Interior or Exterior Concrete Uneven, sunken concrete slab, garage slab, separation of concrete slabs, steps, patio, or sidewalks all may be signs of volatile soil or settlement and should be repaired before becoming hazardous. This may also cause moisture intrusion leading to rotting thresholds, mold and poor indoor air quality. Malfunctioning Doors or Windows Doors and windows that stick may indicate the warping or distortion of your home’s frame

due to foundation failure and moisture intrusion. Cracked Interior Walls Vertical cracks in interior sheet rock or plaster, as well as displaced molding or wood trim may indicate a sinking foundation caused by soil-bearing failure. Look for these signs around windows, wall openings and inw w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

terior corners. Exterior Mildew Stains Persistent mildew or staining on exterior walls and siding may indicate insufficient draining of storm water around the structure. Serious structural problems may result, as this water is absorbed into the soil and around the foundation.

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LIVING QUARTERS

Five Tips For Choosing Curtains

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sk any top interior designer and they'd all tell you the same thing: how you dress your windows can have a dramatic effect on how your room looks and feels. While you peruse and consider your choices, from sheer curtains to bamboo blinds, keep these top insider tips in mind:

any part of the pane. It also helps narrow windows appear wider.

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Decisions, decisions... Curtains aren't just additional decor, they are functional too. When choosing yours, ask yourself these important questions: Are they needed for privacy? Do I want them to help insulation and prevent drafts? How much light should they let in or block? If your curtains are for a bedroom, you might choose a heavy material which won't allow a single ray to spoil your sleep. Alternatively, you might like sheer fabrics for those rooms where you want to let in as much light as possible, for example, a kitchen area or attic window. Blinds are great for windows where you need a variety of functions: pull them up for

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an unobstructed window, open them for a partial view, or close them fully to keep outside eyes away.

your drapes to hang to the floor past the bottom of the window frames to add even more height to the illusion!

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Exaggerate it! If you want to draw attention to your windows, order more fabric and hang your curtain pole 15-30 centimeters above their frames. This makes your windows look much larger than they really are. Allow

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Bring in the sunshine If you'd like your windows to let in as much light as possible during the day, opt for curtains and add 30-45 cms more length on each end of your rod. This means you can pull the curtains aside without obstructing

To line or not to line? As well as the design, you'll need to decide if your curtains should have a lining or not. A lining protects the curtain from dirt on the window and sunlight which may fade the fabric. It helps keep light out and can actually provide extra insulation! On the other hand, unlined curtains are easier to wash, lighter to handle, and better for rooms you wish to keep cool. They are practical in areas such as the kitchen or bathroom where added steam and moisture necessitates regular washing.

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Mix and match Scared your sheer curtain will turn transparent when houselights are on? Just add a heavier drape to draw at night. Feel like your blinds aren't homely enough? Why not add a curtain pelmet to your window frame? If you can't decide on one good option, you can always combine!


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LIVING QUARTERS

What You Need To Know About Poinsettias

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oinsettias are considered to be the perfect Christmas plant since they bloom at Christmas time (predominantly in the very festive colour of red). This beloved plant does take specific care in order to get those results. From the time you purchase it there are some things you need to know. Purchase tips Choose plants that appear strong and healthy. Check for signs of insects by looking at the underside of the foliage and avoid plants whose leaves are spotted or yellow. Next, check to see if the small yellow flowers are still on the plant. Remember, the red colour of the poinsettia is provided by modified leaves called bracts. The small yellow flowers should be located at the centre of the red bracts. Finally, never buy a plant that is displayed with a paper or plastic sleeve pulled right around the plant. The leaves will turn yellow and may fall off if the poinsettia was sleeved too long.

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to try your hand at re-flowering your poinsettia next year.

Taking your plant home The garden centre where you purchase your poinsettia will provide the plant with some protection for the journey to your home. Watch that harsh car air-conditioning. Never expose the plant to cold temperature for more than a few minutes; a chilled or frozen plant will drop leaves very quickly. When you have the plant at home, remove the protective wrapping immediately. Taking care of your poinsettia With proper care, your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and well into the next year. Play close attention to the following tips: • Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant. • Keep the plant away from locations where it will receive hot or cold draughts. • Place the plant high enough to be out of reach of unmonitored children and pets. • Set the plant in a water-

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proof container to protect your furniture. • Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Discard any excess water which remains in the saucer after 10 minutes. • The bright colour of the bracts will remain longer if temperatures do not exceed 22°C. Re-flowering your poinsettia If you cannot bear to throw your poinsettia out when it is finished providing colour, you may want

Tips by Time In December, the plant should be in full bloom, so be sure to water as needed. In April, the colour fades. At that point, keep the plant near a sunny window and fertilize when new growth appears. Cut back stems to about 20 cm. In June, it may be necessary to repot. Be sure to fertilize with a balanced formula 20-20-20 and continue to water when dry to touch. Our tropical climate allows for removal outdoors at this point. However, it must be placed in light shade. When August arrives, take it back inside. Cut the stems back, leaving three or four leaves per shoot. Don’t forget to leave it by a sunny window. Continue to water and fertilize as needed. From September’s end to the beginning of December, keep the plant in light only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that time it must be kept in total darkness. This will facilitate the renown change of colour.


LIVING QUARTERS

Signs Of A Termite Infestation

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iny termites are a destructive force that can leave even the largest homes in shambles if they are left to thrive. Termites will quickly eat through untreated wooden surfaces in your home’s exterior or interior and it is important to spot an infestation before it is too late. Here are some signs. Hollow-sounding wood: Termites prefer to be in dark, humid environments, so they do not typically feed on the surface of wood, where they would be visible to the human eye. In fact, the wood’s surface might appear smooth, even if termites are inflicting damage. If wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.

tor and seal any cracks in the home’s foundation and near roof siding, vents and windows. Mud tubes on exterior walls: Subterranean termites build mud tubes on surfaces, such as a home’s foundation, to provide moisture while they are searching for food. Store mulch and wood chips away from the home to avoid creating moisture-rich habitats for termites to survive and thrive.

Groups of winged insects (“swarmers”) or discarded wings: Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. If you see a swarm of insects or groups of discarded wings, call a termite

specialist to inspect. Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces: Swarming drywood termites can enter through openings smaller than the edge of a cent, so moni-

Frass: Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings called frass as they eat their way through infested wood. Keep gutters, downspouts and crawl spaces free of debris and cellulose materials to prevent food sources for termites.

Antique Furniture Care

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hen you need to clean the wood on your antique furniture, you should be use a damp cloth or chamois leather that has been wrung out very well. For tougher cleaning, a weak solution of vinegar and water can work wonders. Wipe again immediately with a cloth dampened in clean water and then dry with absorbent paper towels. You should also wax every few months with a high quality polish that has a beeswax base. This will protect the wood while bringing out the richest colors. Apply by placing a small amount of polish on a soft cloth and rubbing it gently into the wood. It is best if you can do this, allow the wood to rest overnight to nourish the wood, then follow up by burnishing with a clean cloth the next day. If you do not have time to wait, you should still polish a second time with the clean cloth. 6

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Also, if you use an aerosol wax, do not spray directly onto the wood as this will damage the wood over time. This is also true of furniture sprays such as Pledge and Endust. Instead, spray the cloth you will use and apply as directed above. Of course, from time to time an accident will occur and when they do, they must be dealt with as quickly as possible. Spills should be wiped up immediately and coasters should be used to avoid rings forming at the bottom of cups and glasses. If a wet ring does make its way to the wood, wipe it up as soon

as you can. Whatever you do, avoid waxing or polishing furniture until all damp areas have completely dried as the moist area will absorb more polish leading to permanent staining. Vacuum upholstery often to keep is clean and dust free. Regular vacuuming is also important for pest control reasons. Be sure to also dust the wood areas regularly. A soft, dry cloth will usually keep metal handles and hinges shining bright, but if you have furniture adorned with brass, do not use polish intended for brass as it can damage the wood


home office

Why Buy Antique Furniture?

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here is a certain mystique and charm about antique furniture that just adds warmth to a home interior. These vintage pieces are usually strongly built with a one of a kind style that is mimicked nowadays, but not quite recaptured. This is not a knock on modern pieces, but there are some definite pros to owning antiques. Pros:Value: Some antique furniture continues to go up in value as it ages. This depends on things like manufacturer, date and where it was crafted. Information: Many times people get lucky and there is an interesting bit of history or a story that goes along with a piece of antique furniture. This can be a big plus in many collectors’ opinions. Even if you are not a collector, acquiring a piece with some interesting history can still be fun and perhaps become a conversation piece for visitors. 8

and style to any room, unless that room happens to be shared by you and ten other people. That may be a slight over-exaggeration. The point is that if you have a lot of people going in and out of your place, antique furniture may not be very practical. With antique furniture, you have to very careful not spill anything on it for fear of stains that cannot be removed. You also have to be careful not to scratch antique wood, or rip delicate upholstery.

Style: Many styles of furniture have been copied; however, nothing can replace the original item. Some styles do not exist in modern furniture design at all, which makes antiques even more appealing. Cons:Maintenance: Most antique furnishings are very delicate and therefore have to be cleaned a certain way. Examples of this are special stains for wood, and pol-

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ish for silver and brass accents. Maintaining appropriate care for antique furniture can become rather costly. Theft: The risk of antique furniture being stolen is actually higher than you might think. Crooks know they can get a good price for antiques from the right buyer. Question of practicality: Antique furniture adds elegance

These are just a few examples of things to consider before investing good money into antique furniture. Do not make the mistake of rushing into making a decision before getting the facts. Do some research into the piece(s) you are looking at to find out how to care for them, and what they can be exposed to, for example: smoke, sunlight and humidity. It would be a shame to spend the money on an antique just to have it ruined by too much humidity.


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elegant ideas

View Our Vintage DĂŠcor

The use of the right colours can be just as effective as the pieces themselves

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elegant ideas

A vintage powder room with Victorian features 12

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elegant ideas

Intricate wooden furniture designs take this basic reading space from simple to stunning w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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elegant ideas

The antique furniture in this room complements the old school wood flooring well

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elegant ideas

Nothing says retro like white wooden furnishing. The shelf accessories help the room to stand out too w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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KITCHEN

Tips To Stress-Less Christmas Cooking

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hristmas day usually turns out to be a magnificent feast for many with tons of fun for everyone except the provider of those meals. Usually the cook is drained and stressed after all of the big prep and as such cannot truly enjoy the holidays as the rest of the people. However, it does not have to be like that. A well-prepared chef person can make their kitchen merry at Christmas with the right planning and consideration. How many days do you plan to entertain or cook special meals for your family -mark them out and then draw up menus for all the meals well in advance, including all drinks, breakfasts and snacks. Starting this task early gives you time to look at new ideas, search out recipes and change your mind or amend if circumstances or guest numbers change. Line up all the recipes you need in the order you need them (or at least make a note of where they are). Once you have all the recipes you want, read the recipes, then read them again. There's nothing worse than realizing on 16

Christmas Eve you are missing an important ingredient, pan, or worse, you don't know how to do it. Choose or check recipes to see if some of the dishes can be made in advance and frozen or how long they will keep once cooked so they can be prepared one or two days in advance. Maybe the final popping in the oven or the frying could be done on the last day while the pre-prep could be done days ahead and frozen! You can't possibly do everything on your own so don't take on more than you can. Pull back and be realistic in balancing what is required in the kitchen and everywhere else (gift-wrapping, housework, kids and family). Anyway, Christmas is all about togetherness, so include the family in what you do and make it a fun activity! If you still want to be a Domestic Goddess that's fine but if you can delegate a few jobs - peeling the potatoes, polishing the silver, whatever - it will help ease the pressure. Surprisingly many people do like to help and share the fun in the kitchen so don't be afraid to ask. No one wants a frazzled cook

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at the Christmas table. Christmas cooking and all it involves is not a time to start experimenting with new techniques. If you have never made bread, now is not the time to start (I'd rather buy it from the market!) but if there is something you really want to cook and haven't ever tried, maybe you could do it now. Better see how it turns out and not make a fool of yourself on the final day. Shopping is one of the biggest jobs at Christmas, so to simplify the task make a master-shopping list of everything you will need, including any new cooking equipment. Divide the list into perishable and non-perishable goods including wines and spirits. Buy all non-perishable goods, wines and spirits well in advance as many supermarkets and shops stock them as early as October. Order any specialist goods (perishable and nonperishable) well in advance and check if they deliver. In fact try to get as many items delivered as you can. This not only saves time but also a lot of trouble. Perishable goods don't need to be bought on

Christmas Eve. Buy them a day or two before and store them in the refrigerator or a cool, frost-free place. Here is a list of few jobs that are often forgotten and will make Christmas cooking easier. • Sharpen knives including the carving knife well in advance. Makes all the chopping, peeling and carving so much easier. • Clean out the freezer well before Christmas -- you can't do this job early enough. Sort the freezer out and make space for Christmas food to be stored together in one place. Rummaging through an overstocked, messy freezer, trying to find food can become irritating. • A week before Christmas give the refrigerator a good sort through and clean and make space for Christmas food - time for all the old jars and leftovers to hit the trash can. • Time for a deep clean of the oven. Leaving this job until after Christmas will be ten times messier with all that turkey fat.


RECIPES

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hile Santa Clause has become synonymous with the Christmas season, the celebration of the birth of Christ is also known for being a grand celebration of top cuisine. From homemade bread and ham to sorrel, there are certain treats we always look forward to when this time of year arrives. Here are some recipes to add to your traditional Christmas cooking reassure chest.

Ham Quiche Ingredients 1 cup cooked ham (cut in strips) 1/3 cup red bell pepper (cut in strips) 1/3 cup green onion (chopped) 1 cup swiss cheese (shredded) 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 1/3 cups half-and-half 3 eggs (slightly beaten) 1 (9 inch) pie crust Directions Mix ham, bell pepper, green onion, cheese and flour; toss all ingredients lightly. Mix half-and-half gently into eggs. Still gently; fold ham mixture into egg mixture. Pour this mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees, and then lower heat to 325 degrees and bake 20 minutes more or till done.

Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing Ingredients 1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread 3 3/4 cups cubed white bread 1 pound ground turkey sausage 1 cup chopped onion 3/4 cup chopped celery 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley 18

Holiday Delights 1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped 3/4 cup turkey stock 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted Directions Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.

Eggnog Cheesecake Ingredients 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 2 tablespoons white sugar 3 tablespoons melted butter 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup white sugar 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

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3/4 cup eggnog 2 eggs 2 tablespoons rum 1 pinch ground nutmeg Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a food processor combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and eggnog; process until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 and bake for 45 minutes, or until center of cake is barely firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately loosen cake from rim. Let cake cool completely before removing the rim.

Golden Fruitless Rum Cake Ingredients 1 cup chopped walnuts 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow

cake mix 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix 4 eggs 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup dark rum 1/2 cup butter 1/4 cup water 1 cup white sugar 1/2 cup dark rum Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil and 1/2 cup rum. Blend well. Pour batter over chopped nuts in the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto serving plate. Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used. To make the glaze: in a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum.


BRIDAL

Premarital Counseling Prepares You For Marriage

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here’s no doubt that being engaged is exciting! Marriage is a major milestone in life, and the preparations and festivities that lead up to the big day are a lot of fun. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that the preparation shouldn’t just focus on the wedding day, but the marriage that spans the rest of your life. We’ve all heard the statistics — half of all marriages end in divorce, and lots of marriages that do stay together struggle along the way. ? There ARE marriages that don’t just hobble along, but provide partners with fulfillment, support, joy, passion… all the things that are so easy to focus on on the wedding day, but that so many couples report losing sight of over time. And yours can be one of them! Multiple studies have demonstrated that a skills-based, comprehensive premarital counseling and education program can substantially reduce the risk of divorce. How? Because it functions as a sort of immunization against the challenges you’ll no doubt 20

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PREMARITAL COUNSELING? Premarital counseling will help each partner assess his or her personal readiness for marriage and will give them the skills to prevent or to be better able to deal with any difficult habits and unhealthy relationship patterns that can be hard to break once they are well established.

face together. It allows you to think through and talk about how you’ll communicate, solve problems, make decisions, structure your family, and interact with the world. It provides a time and space where you can step back from wedding planning and do some marriage planning. And it allows you to explore how influences from your families of origin might play out over time in your marriage. Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples prepare for marriage. Premarital counseling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship — giving you a better

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chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. In addition, it can also help you identify weaknesses that could become bigger problems during marriage. Premarital counseling is in my opinion the best way to become better prepared for the many challenges you will face in your marital relationship.
 It focuses on developing skills such as communication, handling conflict, solving problems, and making decisions. It also helps you develop the knowledge, attitudes, expectations, and characteristics that are important in creating a happy and healthy relationship.

BENEFITS OF PREMARITAL COUNSELING INCLUDE • Exploration of strength and growth areas • Strengthen communication skills • Identify and manage major stressors • Learn conflict resolution techniques • Develop a more balanced relationship • Exploration of family of origin issues • Financial planning and budgeting tips • Discuss conscious and unconscious expectations • Understand and appreciate personality differences


FAMILY

How To Encourage Your Kids To Read

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ot every child is born a prodigy; some parents need to take the necessary steps to ensure progressive and productive mental health for their children. Reading has always been encouraged by teachers and child psychiatrists because of its many benefits to a growing child. Statistics show that reading helps develop a child’s memory and comprehension skills. For this reason it is wise to encourage your children to read. If at first they tend to shy away from it, try these tips that should get and keep them interested in reading. Choose a quiet time- Ensure that there are no distraction around such as the television set or a game being played outside. Choose a quiet room and at least spend 10-15 minutes reading with them. Make reading enjoyableSpend time reading with your child but ensure that they are not pressured into doing it. Let them choose a book that they want to read and if they get bored, do something else. 22

Talk about the book- After reading, discuss what was read. This helps your child’s comprehension skills as you will be able to tell if they understood what they read. Encourage them to talk about everything from the pictures, to the characters, to the colours that they saw.

Do not interrupt- If the child is reading and mispronounces a word, don’t interrupt immediately; this interrupts the flow and may get the child flustered. Allow for self-correction and then tell him/her the right thing to say. If they try to sound the words, you can make the sound with them to encourage them while reading. Always encourage them- If the child says something that’s almost right, don’t say “no that’s wrong”. Point to the word that may have been pronounced

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incorrectly and repeat it with him/her. This builds the child’s confidence and will give him/ her a bolder approach when reading. Visit the Library togetherWhere else can you find numerous books available for borrowing? Both parties should visit the Library and the child should be encouraged to choose books. This way, they’ll know that they were part of the selection process and reading the book will seem as a fun activity rather than doing home work.

Variety is important- As much as they may like to read animal books, try to suggest 1 or 2 adventure books; maybe some books on food or the environment. Depending on the child’s age and capabilities, encourage them to read newspapers or magazines from time to time, raising their awareness on current issues. Be patient- Some parents may choose books that are beyond their children’s reading abilities because they may want their children to develop greater reading skills, faster. This can have the opposite effect. Start at low levels, building the child’s confidence and as they progress in reading, the reading material can increase in content.


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

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Three Year End Pampering Procedures

eeling drained? Don’t worry; at the end of a busy year it is pretty normal to feel beat. However, there are some simple pampering procedures that can leave you feeling rejuvenated throughout the holidays and beyond.

Deep Tissue Massage This massage targets the connective tissues of the muscle. It removes scar tissue. Scar tissue hampers the absorption of oxygen and nutrients. Scar tissue causes toxin build up which leads to stress. We recommend soaking in a warm bath with Epson salts to relax the muscles and draw toxins/alcohol from the body. To optimize results you must be hydrated before your appointment. Note this massage would cause a little discomfort; alert your masseuse if you are experiencing pain outside your comfort level. Do not schedule strenuous activity for up to two days after your massage to give time to enjoy the full effects of the massage. If you would like to perform the massage for someone note that the strokes go against the grain and must be deep and slow. The massage should last ninety minutes. Tools made of ceramic and wood could be used to maximize penetration. Your client needs to be relaxed, in a horizontal position and na-

ked with a light towel covering important areas. Aroma therapy can be used. This is an ancient method of healing. It uses essential oils i.e. oils derived from plants, to promote healing. Different oil combinations have different effects on the body. To dilute the effect an oil carrier can be used. Full Body Scrub and Polish This is a more pleasurable massage experience. It uses the sensation of touch and our natural need to connect to stimulate the body and release endorphins. Endorphins create a general feeling of wellbeing and thus promote healing. The scrub would exfoliate all dead cells while the polish would replenish moisture to your skin. Deluxe Manicure and Pedicure If you are not comfortable with the nakedness and a stranger touching on you then schedule a deluxe pedicure. Your feet will be soaked in warm water to relax them. Epsom salts would be used to release toxins then your feet will be exfoliated all corns, sores and dead skin will be removed. It would then be moisturized and your nails trimmed, cut and polished. This is a unisex procedure because guys need to rock sandals too. Since your feet should match your hands get a manicure too.

Eliminate Lines

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adies, here’s one less thing to worry about: embarrassing panty lines. It’s actually easier than you think and can be accomplished by following these simple steps. After all, a woman’s appearance is important to her and helps maintain her image as a confident being. If panty lines have always been a problem for you, try these tips to get rid of them forever.

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Understand what causes panty lines- If you know what causes the lines then avoiding them should be simple. Visible panty lines occur when the elastic in the panties digs into your buttocks and causes the outer cheeks to bulge out on either side causing a visible line.

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Choose underwear that fully covers the buttocksThis should seem a simple task but most women prefer sexy over conservative. Ensure that the entire buttocks are covered, that you are comfortable and the underwear is giving the fit that it is supposed to give. Ensure that it is not too tight to cause the elastic to dig into the w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

skin or too slack so that it bulges and gives a bundled look.

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Choose the right material- Although cotton underwear allows air to pass through freely, it tends to bulge and cause lines. The best fabrics are spandex and elastic which give a seamless fit. You can still wear cotton panties but chose which outfits you can wear with them- mainly loose fitting clothing.

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Choose colours wiselyWhite panties are never to be worn under white skirts or pants. Black coloured panties and skin-coloured panties are best suited for white or light coloured clothing.

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Try thongs or seamless panties- Thongs have no lines and are often the obvious choice when wearing tight clothing. But if that route is too uncomfortable, there are seamless panties that are available which give the same look. Another option, though not advised, is to wear no underwear. Although some women practice this, it is not good for personal hygiene.

NOVEMBER 2013

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MEDICINE CABINET

home gym

Signs & Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

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ou already know that the obvious signs and symptoms. Chest pain, abdominal pain or unexplained bleeding are generally good reason to seek immediate medical care. But, the not-so-obvious symptoms may leave you questioning whether you need to see a doctor. Here's a list of warning symptoms worth reading. You may find some of the symptoms surprising. But, be aware of the significance of these symptoms and when it's important to seek timely medical care. It could make a difference in your quality of life and may even save your life. Unexplained weight loss If you find you're losing excessive weight without intending to do so, see your doctor. Unintentional excessive weight loss is considered to be a loss of more than: • 5 percent of your weight within one month • 10 percent of your weight within six to 12 months An unexplained drop in weight could be caused by a number of conditions, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), depression, liver disease, cancer or other noncancerous disorders, or disorders that interfere with how well your body absorbs nutrients (mal-absorption disorders). Unexplained changes in bowel habits See your doctor if you have any of the following: • Severe diarrhea lasting more than two days • Mild diarrhea lasting a week • Constipation that lasts for more than two weeks

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Your Exercise Questions Answered

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• Unexplained urges to have a bowel movement • Bloody diarrhea • Black or tarry-colored stools Changes in bowel habits may signal a bacterial infection such as campylobacter or salmonella or a viral or parasitic infection. Among other possible causes are inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. New or more severe headaches (especially if you're over age 50) Seek prompt medical attention if you experience: • A sudden and severe headache, often called a thunderclap headache, because it comes on suddenly like a clap of thunder. • A headache accompanied by a fever, stiff neck, rash, mental confusion, seizures, vision changes, weakness, numbness, speaking difficulties, scalp tenderness or pain with chewing. • A headache that begins or worsens after a head injury. These headache symptoms may be caused by stroke, blood vessel inflammation (arteritis), meningitis, brain tumor and aneurysm or bleeding on the brain after head trauma.

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hinking about improving your fitness? How about general maintenance of your current health? Maybe you have asked these questions before. At last, you have the answers you were looking for. I’m healthy now. Why do I need to be active? Research shows that exercise and physical activity can maintain and even improve your health. For example, exercise and physical activity can help you manage and even prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. How long do I need to be active before I see results? Once you start being physically active, you’ll begin to see results in just a few weeks. You may feel stronger and more energetic than before. You may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, or for longer than before. As you become fit, you may need to make your activities more challenging to see additional results. I get tired easily. What is the best physical activity for me? Once you become active, you’re likely to have more energy than before. As you do more, you also may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, and for longer than before. Regular, moder-

ate physical activity can help reduce fatigue and even help you manage stress. I’m not particularly active, and I haven’t exercised in years. Is it safe for me to start now? If you haven’t been active for a long time, it’s important to start out at a low level of effort and work your way up slowly. Beginning slowly will help you become more fit without straining your body. For example, you may want to start with walking, biking, or swimming at a comfortable pace and then gradually do more, or start strengthening exercises with 1- or 2-pound weights and gradually add heavier weights. You may want to talk with your doctor if you decide to start a vigorous exercise program or significantly increase your physical activity.


GARAGE

PETS

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Kitty FAQ’s

et’s get straight to the point. You have a cat or are thinking about getting one so obviously there will be questions. We’ll try to answer them.

Wet Weather Driving Tips

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part from being Christmastime it’s also the rainy season. The combination of both seasons can be very bad for those on the road. Excessive drinking and long liming streaks without sleep, plus wet roads can lead to terrible accidents. It is important to be vigilant and prepared for whatever the road may throw at you. Here are some rainy weather tips. Drive in the tracks of the car In front. Following another car’s tracks on wet roads can reduce the amount of water between the road and your car tyres. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator and avoid using your brakes. Avoid Sudden Movements. Be gentle and progressive when steering, accelerating and braking on wet roads. Do not accelerate quickly after stopping. Apply gentle pressure to your accelerator to avoid skidding. Check Your Tyre Tread and Air Pressure. Make sure your tyres have enough tread depth. The deeper the tread the less likely the car is to skid or aquaplane. If they are excessively

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worn, avoid driving in wet weather. Make sure your tyres are adequately inflated by referring to the air pressure specified by the vehicle manufacturer – this information is usually listed in on the fuel door, glove box or owner’s manual. Do not use your high beam headlights. While it is important to use low beam headlights in the wet, high beam headlights are likely to reflect back on you, reducing visibility. Increase your stopping distance. Make sure if the vehicle in front of you comes to a sudden stop, you have enough space to brake to a stop without skidding.

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How Can I Curb My Cat's Aggression Towards Other People? When guests come to your home, you want them to feel comfortable and for your cat behave. If instead your cat tends to act out around other people, there may be a specific reason, and you can learn how to help him overcome this behavior. There are multiple reasons your cat is acting out. Most likely they were not socialized with enough human interaction when they were kittens, thus are fearful of those who are not their owner. Also, they may have previously had a bad experience with a stranger who frightened them or played too rough. Sometimes the cause of aggression can actually be injury. If your cat is acting hostile towards guests in your home, he could be trying to communicate that something is wrong. If the aggression is ongoing, bring it in for a check-up with your vet so that any medical issues can be ruled out. What diseases or parasites can I get from my outdoor cat? Rabies which is fatal 100% of the time and toxoplasmosis which causes birth defects are major health concerns. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, hook-

worm, or roundworm can also be transmitted to people from outdoor cats. Always keep your cat's vaccinations current, and wash your hands well after digging in your garden or changing your cat's litter box. Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to ensure that you and your cat will stay healthy. Is it OK to spay my cat when she’s just a kitten? Yes, as long as she’s at least eight weeks of age and weighs at least two pounds. Pediatric spaying and neutering is widely accepted. Those ideas about needing to wait are really antiquated and the evidence is to the contrary. Cats can go into heat very early. They can have a litter at six months of age, and they can have three litters a year. Also, if you’ve ever been around a cat in heat, you know it’s miserable for people. They yowl loudly and continuously. They want to get out. It really alters their behavior. And every unneutered male cat in the neighborhood will be at your house spraying your front door. Your whole house will reek of cat spray. It is a really regrettable experience.


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TRAVEL

Making A Proper Travel Plan

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verseas travel can be a mind-blowing experience in the best of ways. However, a lack of proper planning can turn that upside down and make things memorable for all the wrong reasons. Formulating a modus operandi for travel is important to ensure that no stone is left unturned. Here are some of the things that should be included in your travel plans. Organize your documents Make sure you have an up to date passport that will be up to date for the duration of your trip. Check visa requirements for the country you are travelling to. Some countries require that you arrange a visa before you leave home, while others will grant a tourist visa when you land! Make sure you have a suitable travel insurance organized. Book flights and accommodation One of the fun parts about travelling is the booking of your flights and/or accommodation. 28

going to see will make it a lot easier to relax when you're on holidays! Make a packing list Start making a packing list a few weeks in advance. As the weeks go by, you will undoubtedly think of many more things to add. Write them down as you go, then pack everything on your list in the last day or two. Make sure you shop around at different travel agents, because prices can vary widely. Check that the prices quoted include all taxes and surcharges. Get any vaccinations you might need Make an appointment with your doctor to check what vaccinations you need or any medicine you should take with you. Common ones to look out for are Typhoid, Malaria and Hepatitis‌ These are not the kind of things you want as souvenirs! Look after the home front Unfortunately, while you're

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away, there are often still things that need to be looked after back home. Make sure you have arrangements in place for someone to look after your bills, plants and mail. If you are going to be leaving a house empty, consider finding someone to house-sit for you while you're away. Organize things to do Make a list of things that you plan to do while away. Do some research on the internet about your holiday destination. There may be special events that you can only attend if you book in advance. Planning what you're

Look after your finances Find out what currency you will need and figure out the best way for you to deal with it. Credit cards can be convenient, but also unsafe in a lot of areas. Traveller’s cheques are a good, safe alternative. Stay in touch Take an address book with you, with all the important contacts in it. Check on any foreign phone codes and write them in your address book. Before you start your trip, make sure you let people know that you will be away and how they can contact you while you're away.


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