Abstract Home Vol. 5 2014 Issue 2

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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.


t happens to all of us and especially to those of us who love crafting and doit-yourself decorating. We pur-

What To Do With Left Over

Decorating Material? chase materials for a project and when the project is completed, there's a little--or a lot--left over. It may be just a bit of metallic ribbon, a half-bottle of paint, or maybe even the majority of a roll of wallpaper. If you've been there, you've likely uttered the words: "Should I keep this, or throw it out?" Well, I'm here to tell you, KEEP IT! Sure, I know all that stuff can pile up. But if you have the room for it and a great deal of patience, you can always find a use for the leftovers your budget decorating projects will yield.

artwork from decorative hooks; or to trim a bulletin board and make it more interesting Paint- Have a little paint left after painting a room? Use it to create some coordinating accessories, like picture frames or small shelves.

Beads- A few beads look great glued onto the edges of picture frames and mirrors. If you sew, use extra beads to trim your cloth napkins and tablecloths.

For starters, try putting these common leftover items to good use with these ideas:

Wallpaper- Use spare wallpaper as heavy-duty gift wrapping paper, or use it to cover old trunks and crates that have seen better days.

Ribbon- Use leftover ribbon as curtain tiebacks; for suspending

Holiday cards- You know all those holiday cards you receive

each year? Give them a much longer life by using them for decoupage. Create Christmas boxes or other holiday-inspired accessories. Wire- Use crafter's or even electrical wire to create easy napkin rings (just add a few beads). Wrap wire around the stem of wine glasses and twist the ends for a funky accent.

Remember, if you have a little something left over the next time you sit down to craft or set out to decorate your home, you may find the perfect use for those leftovers down the road. Keep these items organized (e.g., in plastic boxes that are clearly labeled) and visit them often until you find the perfect use.

Haute Home Accessorizing Tips


good paint job and elegant architecture can go a long way, but home décor always needs a finishing touch. The right accessories can bring any home to life. These basic, but effective accessorizing tips can help to transform our home to haute in five easy steps. Choose quality over quantity Mass produced items are inexpensive and readily available at your local home goods store, but is that really what you want to fill your home (and your life) with? When it comes to room accessories, less is often more. One specially chosen, unique piece may work better in your space than loads of tiny knickknacks that have no value beyond price. Choose accessories that are the correct proportion We’ve all seen homes where dwellers have mistakenly chosen

Combine textures and colours It is good to be a proponent of neutrals in large furnishings and permanent fixtures, but I one should also love using inexpensive accessories to really break out with pops of colour and varying textures. Accessories can and should be used to add visual interest and contrast in a space, and accessories can easily and inexpensively be altered or exchanged to fit changing moods, styles or seasons. a postage-stamp rug in a coliseum-sized room. And those awkward walls where the too-large piece of art is crammed into a too-small space. Before choosing and/or placing accessories, take the time to study scale and proportion and what fits best in your space. Scale and proportion are what help create a comfortable home and doesn’t cost a dime!

Consider asymmetrical arrangements Mantles are commonly decorated with a mirror or art in the center, flanked by a candle or vase on each side, but this type of symmetrical arrangement an quickly become boring. When arranging accessories, try going for balance instead of symmetry and group smaller items in w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

odd numbers, such as in threes or fives. Add accessories in layers Think of accessories as decorations on a cake. Large accessories should be placed first and sparingly, with medium and small-sized accessories filling in and adding balance where needed. Several small accessories can give the “feel” of a large item when grouped, but don’t forget to leave some breathing room. Not every nook and cranny in a room needs to be filled with decor.





Don’t Fail Your Yard

Enhance Your Curb Appeal By Avoiding These Landscaping Mistakes


beautiful yard can be as aesthetically pleasing as a well-constructed home. Landscaping has become one of the ways to enhance the look of your property. However, too many times people make landscaping mistakes that may end up biting them in the butt. These are some of the mistakes to avoid. Failing To Plan Another common mistakes made by homeowners when considering the design of their landscape is failing to plan. Without a set plan, you run the risk of buying too many plants or additions that will end up making your yard looked cramped. Excessive (and Tacky!) Lawn Ornaments Nothing can bring down the look of your outdoor space than an excessive amount of lawn ornaments. One or two welldesigned ornaments can be a nice touch to a lawn, but there's a thin line between enough and too much. If you do want to 2

deck your lawn, carefully choose an ornament that will withstand different weather conditions to avoid a tacky, weathered look. Failing To Fertilize Forgetting to fertilize your plants and flowers is a common mistake most homeowners make, along with fertilizing incorrectly. Without fertilizing, your landscape will never look its best. Show your landscape some love and fertilize at least twice a year. Weeds Gone Wild Weeds not only wreck the look of your landscaping, they compete with pricey vegetation for water and food. Weeds also can shorten the life of brick, stone, and pavers by growing in mortar cracks. The best way to stop weeds is to spread a pre-emergent about three weeks before weed seeds typically germinate. If you can’t stop weeds from growing, at least get rid of them before they flower and send a zillion weed seeds throughout your yard.

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Being too linear Movement and interesting shapes and curves are part of a good landscape design. Don’t attempt to make everything square and straight – your yard will look unnatural. Overlooking painting of your exterior home While you may be thinking that landscaping only pertains to living plants and ground cover around your outdoor home, your exterior paint color of your home plays a big role in the overall look of your exterior. The fall is the perfect time to opt for a new paint job, or retouching chipping paint and repairing siding before painting can make your landscaping show in the best light. More of the Same Resist the design temptation to carpet-bomb your yard with your favorite plant or shrub, which will create a boring, monochromatic landscape. Worse, your yard will look great when your fave flowers bloom, then will look drab the rest of the year.

Not considering all angles Sure, the outside of your house can look beautiful, but don’t forget the view from inside your house! When you have guests over, be sure that your view from the inside is as spectacular as the exterior views! As you’re going along, make sure you go inside and look out your windows to make sure it looks right. Disregarding Watering Needs Your plants and trees will require water all through the year. The quantities may differ seasonally, but you must ensure that there is a source of irrigation provided for. Travelling and holidaying become so much easier when you have taken care of this critical aspect. Ignoring the Tool List Nothing can be more frustrating than finally starting a project and realizing that an important tool is missing. You can avoid this by maintaining an updated list of tools required.


Choosing A Housekeeper Be sure to ask the following questions:


hoosing a housekeeper can be a stressful task, but it does not have to be. There are a few basic things you need to do before making your final selection. By taking the time to carefully select a housecleaner, you will be able to accomplish other things on your daily agenda. Ask your friends or neighbors who they use to clean their homes. A word of mouth reference for a housekeeper is much better than a random selection from the telephone book or another type of advertising. Consider asking a friend or neighbor with a personality similar to yours, as the housecleaner they use may be more compatible.

1) How long has the housekeeper worked for you? 2) What is the housekeeper's hourly or flat rate? 3) Are you happy with his/her work? 4) Is there anything you would like to share about your recommendation? Telephone the housekeeper for an appointment. Invite the housekeeper to visit your home to give you a bid on the job you would like performed. Ask if there is a difference in price for each of the services provided and if she will be bringing her own cleaning supplies or if you must provide them. Also, be sure to clarify what the housekeeper's service does not include. For example, some housekeepers do not clean mini-blinds. Also, if there

are any special types of cleaning you would like to have done, be sure to inquire whether there is an extra charge for the same. Ask for references and if the housekeeper is bonded. Although many individuals would not think of stealing from your home, some do. Being bonded assures you as the homeowner, that the housekeeper can be trusted. Note, being bonded is not always necessary, but something to consider if you want added assurance.

Set up a day and time for the housekeeper to begin her position in your home. Consider a time that will be less hectic for you and allows you to tidy up your home to make the housekeeper's job easier. Give your new housekeeper the opportunity to adjust to your home's surroundings. A reasonable amount of time might be three to four weeks. After this period, you should be able to tell whether or not you like her cleaning abilities.

Tips To Buying The Best Topsoil


opsoil is the first few inches of rich soil that is used to plant landscapes and gardens. It covers fill soil, called sub-soil, with fewer good attributes for plant growth. Good topsoil has a high and balanced content of nutrients, decaying organic matter, microorganisms that support plant growth and retains moisture. You can create healthy topsoil over time by adding all of these elements individually and in balance. Or you can buy premixed topsoil by the bag or by the cubic yard delivered by a truck to improve soil conditions for immediate planting. Good general purpose topsoil for gardening is ‘loam’. This topsoil contains a good balance of the three main soil types, sand, silt and clay. This topsoil has the balance just right to give your plants the 4

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nutrients they need. Choose topsoil with a good organic content; somewhere in the region of 3 – 7% is about right. You should try and obtain topsoil that is relatively weed free. Although it’s not possible to 100% guarantee a weed free soil, keeping weed seed to a bare minimum will help keep new weed growth down. The topsoil should be fertile and balanced. Generally speaking, if the nutrients in your topsoil are well balanced, then this means that your plants should thrive. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing topsoil for your garden. If you follow these guidelines when researching and deciding which topsoil to buy, it will hopefully lead to a beautiful and fertile garden.


Tips For Using Chlorine Bleach


hen people hear about the magical cleaning power of bleach their first instinct is to use it every time they wash. However, bleach should not be used all of the time. Caution must be observed when using bleach in laundry to ensure that clothes last longer.


Check the Tags. Review the clothing care suggestions before using any type of bleach. It's also a good idea to test the clothing to make sure it is colorfast before using any type of bleach.


Dilute the Bleach. Never pour bleach directly onto fabric. If you don't have a bleach dispenser on your washing machine, allow water to feel up partially in the washer tub before adding bleach and then clothing. This

will protect your clothing from damage.


Don't Mix Bleach. Never mix bleach with ammonia or any product containing ammonia. The fumes are toxic and can make

you very sick in a very short period of time. If you're in doubt, don't mix.


Know your Fabric. Some fabrics should not be bleached including flame retardant clothing, silk,

acetate, spandex, rubber, and elastic. Even bleach safe fabric can be weakened over time with extensive bleach use.

Cleaning Your Showerheads


ver time, the small holes in a shower head will become clogged. The rate at which this happens depends on factors of the water in your area, such as the amount of minerals in your water. The easiest way to tell if you have a clogged shower head is if your shower has become erratic, spitting water in peculiar patterns. You will probably be able to see the deposits in the holes of your shower head, but they may be so deep that you may not. To clean out the mineral deposits, unscrew and take apart the entire showerhead. While doing this, make sure to keep all the pieces in order for easy reassembly. Soak the parts in vinegar overnight. Scrub off the encrusted minerals with steel wool or a wire brush. This should not be too difficult after 6

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soaking the head thoroughly. If necessary, poke open the small holes in the faceplate with a pin or a tack. If soaking the showerhead in vinegar is not enough, you can also soak the showerhead in hot vinegar. Heat the vinegar, not quite to boiling, and pour it into a container. Place the showerhead in the hot vinegar. Just like with the regular

vinegar, let it soak overnight, or about ten to twelve hours. Once it has been thoroughly soaked, rinse the head vigorously in hot water. As an extra measure, take a very thin wire and poke each hole before rinsing. A small, unfolded paperclip will probably do the job. Once again, you can also use a pin or a tack. If you prefer a commercial solution, you can use LimeA-Way or its equivalent. Fill a bowl with the cleaner and soak the showerhead parts in it overnight. Thoroughly rinse them off. Make sure to read the warning label on the container before use. Make sure you reassemble your showerhead carefully. When done, you should get like-new performance from the showerhead without replacing it.

home office


Saving Substitutes

one are the days when persons stash their life savings under the mattress, saving the funds for a “rainy day”. Well, not entirely, as I’m sure there are many elders among us who still practice this tradition, though a safe alternative for this would be to store the cash in a safe deposit box at a reputable bank. But with this decision several factors arise including that unfair term called inflation. Nevertheless, advancements in technology have produced several alternatives to storing money which basically comes down to two things: banking and investments. The key to deciding which method to choose, is by knowing what you want your money to do for you. Fixed deposit/certificate of deposit (C.D) Business dictionary.com defines a fixed deposit as a depository institution (such as a bank, credit union, or a finance or insurance company) account that pays higher than savings account interest rates, but imposes conditions on the amount, frequency, and/or period of withdrawals. This means that you loan the bank your money for a fixed period of time and in return they place high interest rates on your funds. They are


not liquid however; your funds will be the banks’ property until the agreed time has been completed and failure to do so will result in penalties. The common fixed deposit term ranges from 90 days to 5 years. (This can change depending on the country’s laws) Money Market Mutual Funds The higher the risk, the better the returns and that phrase truly reflects the concept of the money market fund. Online money website LiewCf.com said that the fund is managed by professional fund managers who invest in stocks, bonds, money market, and/or other securities. The downside to these is that they do not pay interest and not all includes the same level of safety. Bonds Online financial website All Banking.com found a simple explanation to what a bond is. They said in essence, a bond is nothing more than an IOU. The organization that offers the IOU (the bond) is known as the “issuer,” while the purchaser is the “investor” or “holder”. The good thing about bonds is that the holder is paid interest rates at predetermined times, usually semi-annually. All Banking.com

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dollar. Truthalyzer.com even suggested purchasing the Chinese Renminbi or Norwegian knonor.

added that bonds are known as fixed-income securities because they provide a fixed amount of money if you hold onto them until maturity, at which time the amount is returned at the end of the agreed period.

Stock It is the easiest way to make money and having stock helps you to stay ahead of inflation; a low inflation rate means a higher return. But, a higher rate of return means more risk which makes purchasing stock an easy way to lose money. MsFinancialSavvy.com said that when investing in the stock market your primary focus should be on profits and earnings, not taxes. Until a stock is sold it is allowed to grow with increased profits and dividends. Only after selling your stocks, will the value be taxed.

Foreign Currencies Banks are always in need of foreign currency so do not be surprised if you go to a bank to and the purchasing rate is high. Remember every country needs foreign currency to assist with trade. With that said, investing in foreign currency is always a smart move as the return when selling it is usually great. Try purchasing the Euros as the USD is constantly fluctuating since the recession and is currently rivaling the Canadian

Treasuries You give the bank your money and in return they give you a piece of paper; it’s as simple as that. After the maturity date, you trade in the paper and you get back your agreed amount plus interest. Truthalyzer.com said that if you’re afraid to put your money in the stock market, or even bank CDs, and you don’t want to keep a lot of cash at home, then you might consider buying Treasuries or investing in funds.

elegant ideas

Behold These Boldly Colourful Bedrooms

Stripes are used to blend pastel and rich earthy hues in this bedroom w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m




elegant ideas

Unless you have daughters, you may not truly be able to appreciate the playful nature of this bedroom


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elegant ideas

Colour Blocking isn’t subject to fashion alone. This trend is evident in this room that blends different shades and patterns

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elegant ideas

A wonderful wallpaper finish is what makes this retro room stand out 14

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elegant ideas

A dash of colourful fabric turns this bland room into something much more vibrant

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Bad Kitchen Habits


eing a smooth operator in the kitchen is no easy task. It takes a bit of knowhow, and some innovation to get really good results. However, it does not mean you necessarily have to suck in the kitchen without the smarts. Just avoid some really bad habits and there will always be hope. Using Metal Utensils on Nonstick Pans – Using metal utensils in a nonstick pan is not a good idea. You can inadvertently scratch the surface of the pan, which could lead you to ingest the PFCs in the nonstick lining. Use wooden or heat-safe rubber utensils when using nonstick pans. Stirring Your Food Too Much – It’s tempting to stir your food constantly to prevent burning, but stirring too much can be a bad thing. It prevents browning—a flavor booster you get by letting your food sit on a hot surface—and it breaks food apart, making your meal mushy. 16

Resist the urge to stir constantly unless the recipe specifically tells you to do so. Over mixing Batter–When you’re making batter for baking (or anything with large amounts of flour) you want everything to be well combined. And to combine, you mix. But too much mixing isn’t good. The mechanical action of the mixing causes gluten to form in the flour, making baked goods tough. So gently mix until the batter is uniform, then put down your mixer. Overfilling Your Pan – Sometimes cooking requires a little patience. It may be faster to fill your pan to the brim with ingredients, but doing that can actually slow cooking and give you a big pile of mush at the end. If you want to sauté, filling your pan too full will cause your food to steam and not give you the crispy results you are looking for. The same goes for cooking meat. Shoving too much meat in the pan lowers the temperature

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of the pan too quickly, which can cause sticking and a whole host of other problems. Your best bet is to cook in batches. The extra time you put into it will make your meal much better.

do many oils taste bad once they have been heated to or past their smoke point, but when oils are heated to their smoke point or reheated repeatedly, they start to break down, destroying the oil’s beneficial antioxidants and forming harmful compounds. However, an oil’s smoke point is really a temperature range (olive oil’s is between 365° and 420°F), not an absolute number, because many factors affect the chemical properties of oil. You can safely and healthfully cook with any oil by not ­heating it until it’s smoking—to get your oil hot enough to cook with, just heat it until it shimmers.

Heating Oil Until It Smokes – Most recipes start with heating oil in a pan. It usually takes a little time for the stove to warm up, so we pour the oil and then turn our backs on the pan to do something else while it heats. Before you know it, you see wisps of smoke, which means the pan is hot and ready for cooking, right? Wrong! Not only

Using Nonstick Pans on High Heat – Turn down the heat when using nonstick pans. High temperatures can cause the nonstick lining to release PFCs (perfluorocarbons) in the form of fumes. PFCs are linked to liver damage and developmental problems. Check with your pan manufacturer to see what temperatures they recommend.


Pasta Pasta Pasta!!!


t may be one of the most overpriced dishes on any restaurant menu, but pasta is always a popular option. It can be done in so many ways that it is almost impossible not to find one pasta dish you like. Here we add some options to your pasta carte du jour. Try them at home and enjoy.

Greek Pasta Salad

Mostaccioli Pasta Bake Ingredients 8 ounces mostaccioli pasta 1 pound lean ground beef 1 onion, chopped 1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Ingredients 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 3/4 teaspoon white sugar 2 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni 3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms 15 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 cup sliced red bell peppers 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 (4 ounce) can whole black olives 3/4 cup sliced pepperoni sausage, cut into strips

Directions Bring a large pot of lightly salted boil water to a boil. Cook mostaccioli pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well. Meanwhile, cook ground beef and chopped onions in a skillet over medium heat until browned. In a large bowl, mix together the mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, pasta, and browned ground beef and onion mixture. Transfer to a greased, 9x13 inch casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until very hot.

Directions In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, basil, oregano, black pepper, and sugar. Add cooked pasta, mushrooms, tomatoes, red peppers, feta cheese, green onions, olives, and pepperoni. Toss until evenly coated. Cover, and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Ingredients 1/2 pound uncooked pasta 1/2 cup butter 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 1 teaspoon dried marjoram 1 teaspoon ground savory 1 tablespoon chopped fresh


halves, diced 2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 2 pints ricotta cheese Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Pasta and Herbs

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parsley Salt to taste Ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons sliced black olives Directions Cook pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the herbs. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter mixture and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with black olive slices and serve.

Lasagna Alfredo Ingredients 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach 3 cooked, boneless chicken breast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar of Alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach, and stir. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping. Pour chicken and Alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour 1/2 of remaining jar of Alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 1/2 jar of Alfredo sauce, 2 cups of mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly.



Choosing Your Wedding Cake

enue…Check! Flowers… Check! Dress… Check! You go through most of your checklist only to find that one thing still has to be accounted for… the cake! Everyone wants the perfect wedding cake, but few get it because they just don’t know how to go about getting it. This article should help. It is important to choose a reputable baker. This does not mean that any well-known bakery can provide you with a great wedding cake. There are places which specialize in wedding cakes and they should be researched. Get real customer feedback from other couples. If possible, visit the bakery's website or facebook page to view images of their work. If the photos aren't up-to-date, their work isn't either. You need to choose a place that has gotten positive feedback that offers a wide range of cakes. Once, you have narrowed down your options, organize for a tasting. Lots of people


overlook this important part of the cake buying process. Sample the cakes, ask questions, and review portfolios. You’ll better understand the full range of the baker’s capabilities and you’ll have a clearer idea of what type of cake you would like to have at the ceremony. Also, you’ll have a chance to meet bakery

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staff which helps them to fully interpret your needs. If you don't feel comfortable with the bakery staff, you won't be happy with your cake Once you have decided what kind of cake you want; be sure to obtain an image of the cake — either drawn or rendered via computer — from the bakery.

This reduces any chance of surprises. If they can’t construct a proper design, it’s unlikely they can construct the actual cake. If any questions should arise or you feel the need to modify anything, they should be able to work with the design they gave you to rectify it. If there are problems at this stage, it’s not too late to choose someone else. In order to preserve budgets, order a small cake that's decorated to perfection, but can only feed a handful plus several sheet cakes of the same flavor to actually feed the guests. Refrain from tiers, handmade sugar flowers, and specially molded shapes. Garnish with seasonal flowers and fruit for an elegant (but less expensive) effect. If you'll have a dessert table in addition to the cake, consider a cake sized for half your guests. Servings will be smaller, but the fee will shrink too. The purpose of a wedding is not to feed guests to their heart’s content. It is for special people to share a special moment with you.


How To Make A Schedule For Your Child


aking a schedule for your child helps ensure structure in their lives and yours. A schedule is easy enough to follow but not too routine to cause boredom on the child’s path. It is perfect in that it teaches your child the importance of time management as their day is divided into different time blocks, showing the times and their respective activities. Below is a step by step guide that can help you set up a schedule for your children. Remember, the schedule is influenced by the age of the child and in order for the schedule to work, accurate times must be entered. Step 1- Divide the page into rows and columns, with narrow columns representing the times of the day and the bigger columns representing the activities. It is easier to have this done on a programme such as Microsoft Excel as adding and subtracting columns will be easier.


after-school classes, sports or extra-curricular activities. Step 6- Set aside a specific time for home-work so that it reduces the chances of your child not completing it. Step 7- Leave time in the schedule for quiet-time and play time for your child. This ensures that he/she doesn’t realize that they are following a schedule and become bored or resistant to following a structure.

Step 2- Write the time your child wakes up in the first row and exactly what is done immediately after that task such as bathe or eat breakfast. Step 3- Write in your child’s sleep time in the last row of the table, allowing enough time for a full night’s rest which ideally, should be ap-

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proximately 8-10 hours. Step 4- Write in meal times in the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As hectic as everyone’s day has been, try to eat together as a family allowing for more bonding time. Step 5- Fill in recurring commitments for your child such as

Remember that the schedule allows you to manage your child’s time and give yourself some spare time in between. Be careful not to over-schedule or over-book your child for too many activities that may tire or bore them. If done correctly and strictly followed, a schedule can assist in managing everyone’s time and assist in you keeping abreast of your child’s whereabouts at all times.



Ideal Grooming Tips For Your Children


s parents, it is very important that you teach your children the importance of maintaining good and proper hygiene. The advice that you share with them can mold and shape their mental and physical health as they develop. When giving your child a make-over, simple tips such as taking regular baths or wearing clean clothes can go a long way to ensure that your children are properly groomed. It is a simple task that can start as part of the get-ready for school- routine. Try these and other tips below to ensure that your children are kept presentable at all times.

off any early signs of bad breath. Although they are young, if not dealt with in the early stages, children can develop signs of bad breath that can plague their dental health throughout their life. Ensure that your child brushes his/her teeth thoroughly after every meal or at least twice daily.


Ensure that they wash their face. As part of their morning get-ready-forschool routine, children should wash their faces in order to get rid of any over-night build-up of mucus in the eyes or nose.


Keep their hair neatly combed. For girls, comb hair regularly or take the necessary steps to keep a particular hair-style neat and presentable. For boys, ensure that they get a haircut when necessary.

Depending on your child’s daily schedule whether at school all day or play-time activities, it is necessary that they take regular baths. When bathing, pay particular attention to the inside of the arms, close to the elbows where dirt can buildup and the outer-ears.




Their nails should be trimmed to an acceptable size to avoid dirt build-up below their finger-nails. This is very important where children are concerned as their fingers are constantly placed in their mouths.


Brush teeth regularly. In addition to keeping teeth clean from plaque, thorough brushing can help ward

After bathing, ensure that they wear clean clothes that are properly washed and pressed (if necessary) and the sizes of the clothing should suit the child’s body frame and height. In addition to wearing clean clothes, ensure that if they need to wear shoes or socks that they are also clean and suited for the particular outing or activity that they attend.


Hair Care Tips Everyone Should Know

n general, a healthy lifestyle will mean healthier hair for you. Excessive stress, smoking, not exercising and not eating nutritiously are not healthy for your hair. Improper sleep habits can also be detrimental to your hair’s health. However, hair maintenance goes far beyond general lifestyle choices. Here are some tips. Hair Products Avoid using hair styling products with alcohol which dries out hair. Also, avoid putting hair styling products directly on your scalp, if you put it on your scalp you'll clog the pores on your head. Swimming Before entering a pool, wet your hair so your hair will soak up the initial water instead of the chlorinated water. When swimming, wear a cap to protect your hair from chlorinated water. Should you choose not to wear a cap, make sure you shampoo and condition your hair right after you are done swimming. Drying Hot air can be damaging to your hair so when using a hair dryer use the low setting. Don't leave w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

the blow-dryer in one spot for more than a few seconds, keep it moving and at a good distance away from your hair. To speed up the drying process, pat your hair dry with a towel and let the remaining moisture in your hair dry naturally. Combing/Brushing Hair is most fragile when it is wet so avoid brushing or combing when it's wet, or else it will cause breakage, wait until your hair is almost completely dry before brushing it. Use brushes/combs with widely spaced bristles/teeth and smooth tips. Sharp tooth combs can damage your hair, cause split ends, and scratch your scalp. Use brushes whose bristles are made from natural animal hairs, it is softer and more flexible which means less damage will be done to your hair. Be sure to always brush/comb with a downwards stroke.





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Improve Your Fitness


Avoid The Carnival Cough Flu Prevention Tips


obody likes to be ill. Well at least we hope nobody likes being ill. In any event, whether you dislike it or not, the spread of the flu should be prevented at all times. Around Carnival time the incidence of flu symptoms tend to triple. You don’t have to be one of the people with the flu. Keep yourself and your family healthy by following these simple tips. Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw tissues away and wash your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This decreases the chance that you will get the flu virus or other germs into your body, or that you will pass the flu to others. 24

Clean things that are touched often. Clean things that are touched often at home, work or school, such as door or refrigerator handles, computer key boards/mouse, phones and water faucets. Avoid close contact with others who are sick. Avoid unnecessary holding, hugging or kissing anyone who has a cold or the flu. People with young children, immune system problems or a chronic illness should avoid large crowds, unless necessary.

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hether you are young or old, there is always something that can be done to either maintain or improve your physical fitness. As an ode to keeping slim, trim, healthy and happy, here are some tips to improve your fitness. Fitness and food intake go hand in hand. Therefore a well balanced diet is essential to keeping you in shape. This does not mean that you should eat simply cut down on the amount of food you eat. It means that your portions should be adjusted to include all of the major food groups to suit your body’s requirements. This in effect means varying your diet. Five fruit and vegetables a day should be your minimum target. Your health will improve if you eat at least five different kinds of fruit, then any vegetables will be a bonus. Though exercise is a crucial component to achieving physical fitness, it does not mean that you should put your body in exercise overdrive. Rest is also critical. Take a complete day off from exercise every once in a while. It doesn't have to be every week, but doing extra training when you are tired may have a detrimental effect on your health and fitness. In addition muscles need rest in between workouts for tissue repair and growth. Building muscle is important to overall strength and fitness. You become fitter and healthier through rest as much

as exercise. Do not underestimate the importance of this tip. It is a scientific fact that you will improve your health and fitness by stretching more. Your muscles get shorter through exercise, and if you never stretch you will get injured. One method is to warm up slowly first and then spend several minutes stretching before the main workout. Stretch thoroughly after exercise as well. A good idea is to choose a workout which incorporates stretching and flexibility exercises such as yoga. The last tip might as well have been the first. You need to stay hydrated if you are exercising more. This means drinking water and sports drinks if you are sweating a lot. You lose minerals in your body while sweating. Soda and alcohol are not substitutes for fluids. Though they are liquid when consumed, they end up desiccating you even more. It is recommended that you drink five glasses of water a day, but if you are working out you need to drink more than this. Don't get carried away, though, because it can be just as dangerous to drink too much as too little. Fitness should mean more to you than just looks. Fitness is about adopting a healthy way of living and making the necessary lifestyle changes needed to ensure you remain in tip-top condition. Think about using these tips and see the difference it makes in your fitness.



Essential Backpacking Tips


on’t have a lot of money, but you still want to see the world? Then backpacking might be for you. This method of travel is commonly practiced by college students who are studying in a foreign country in an attempt to maximize the experience. If you want that real grassroots sightseeing experience, then backpacking might be for you. However, be warned that there are four essential tips you should never forget. Let someone know Often people make the mistake of taking off on a trip and not telling family or friends. Even if you don’t want Mom and Dad breathing down your back, it’s a really good idea to let someone back home have a general idea of where you are going and how long you will be gone. Also have a way of getting in touch with you. The last thing you want is for some emergency on your end or at home and having no means of communication. Pack light The key to backpacking is ‘less is more’. Stick to this rule of thumb and you will be all set. Sometimes students love to go overboard and bring six swimsuits and ten pairs of jeans. Well


guess what, this is not the way to effectively backpack a place. If you are being boggled down by too much stuff then you will miss out some great opportunities like seeing more things and catching that last minute train. You will also save money with airlines for not paying extra for overweight luggage or checked bags. Be careful of pickpockets and scam artists Many countries, even the most cosmopolitan, have some form of pickpockets or scam artists. These people are trained to feed on tourists. They know right away that you are not a local and that they can take advantage of you. The best way to save money when backpacking is to keep your money close to you. The fastest way to lose money when traveling is having it stolen. Bring your own snacks Bringing some energy bars or granola bars with you during the day can help fight off hunger cravings in between meals. Snacks during the day can easily add up to just as much money as a meal. With bars in hand you won’t be spending your money on unnecessary snacks and can save it for other things.

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Common, But Dangerous Pets


ogs have been getting a bad name as being dangerous for some time, but there are other pets that can pose serious threats to your families. At least one of them may surprise you. Monkeys They are adorable. The human resemblance is amazing. They are also known to bite and attack humans and animals alike. I once saw the damage that a monkey caused when it attacked a dog in India and let’s just say those puncture wounds weren’t pretty. The dog also lost an ear and an eye in the process. Sometimes cute is pretty deceptive. Snakes People seldom have venomous snakes as pets. They prefer the constrictors. Now sure that red tailed boa at the pet store seems harmless and kind of cute. But they grow quite rapidly; can get up to several feet in length, and speaking from a neighborhood experience, they have been known to escape. Let us just say if you feed them rabbits, they would have no problem with getting themselves around a dog or a cat even. One of the main concerns with owning constrictors is that once they

start to get large, some people actually just let them go and return them to the wild. Turtles Turtle may seem harmless enough, but did you know that they actually carry salmonella? It seems that the main concern is the baby turtles. It is not that the little guys have more cases of salmonella, it’s that the smaller they are the more attracted little kids are to them. And we all know how little kids can be; they will stick just about anything in their mouth – including their fingers after touching the turtles and the turtles themselves. Large Cats You would be hard-pressed to find Cougars, lions, tigers, and leopards being kept as pets in T&T, but large wild cats like ocelots are not that uncommon. They are strong and dangerous, to say the least. Think you can just de-claw them like you did your little housecat, Fluffy? Think again. De-clawing removes the entire last bone in each toe. If you remove the tips of the toes of a large cat, they are unable to properly walk because of their size, and become paralyzed when done incorrectly.



What To Do After A Car Crash

ome drivers just aren’t too sure what they should do during a minor automobile accident. Then again, even those that know the procedures they must take end up forgetting to do everything. Young drivers are especially susceptible to making errors when dealing with small accidents when there is vehicle damage but not bodily injuries. Therefore, here is what a driver should do right after an accident. Take some deep breaths to get calm. After a crash, a person may feel a wide range of emotions — shock, guilt, fear, nervousness, or anger — all of which are normal. But take a few deep breaths or count to 10 to calm down. The calmer you are, the better prepared you will be to handle the situation. This is the time to take stock of the accident and try to make a judgment about whether it was a serious one. More importantly, if you are injured seek medical assistance immediately. Consider Safety. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traf-


lish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don't tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.

fic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone's safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver's name is different from the name of the insured, estab-

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Identify Witnesses. Get the names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident. If you can, do this quickly. Often, people who saw the collision will stop for a short time, but leave before the police arrive. Other motorists, passengers or pedestrians can be critical witnesses. Get their name and phone number. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.

Notify the Police. In most countries this is required by law before you can leave the scene if anyone is injured, or there is any significant property damage. It’s a mistake to just exchange names and phone numbers with the other driver and leave the scene. Call the police. Be sure to get the name of the officer at the scene and write it down. If the accident is not serious, police may not come to the scene. It is your duty to go to the nearest station and file a proper report. You usually have up to 24 hours to make the report. Call Your Insurance Agent. All insurance policies require you to notify your insurance company. This must be done shortly after the accident. Unnecessary delay in telling your insurance company about the crash can result in a denial of your claim. It is wise to call your insurance broker even before you visit the police station. Being in a car accident can be a traumatic incident. Limit the potential of turning it into an even more drawn out and painful affair by following these tips to make the process run smoother.

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