Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 3 2014

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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.


pending time in advance to think about ways to keep your home more secure is a wise investment in time and energy, as what could be more important than the physical safety of you and your family, and the protection of your home? Unfortunately, many often do not give much thought to home security measures and that just simply makes them and their home an appealing target for intruders. Here are some things that you can do to help safe up your home and avoid a home invasion in advance. One of the most vulnerable times for burglarization is when you leave home for an extended

Common Home Security Mistakes period. It could be for a vacation or business or other matters, but if you will be away for a few days, make sure that your home does not appear to be unoccupied during that time. Neighbors, friends and relatives can be a big help by stopping by and checking on the home for you, picking up your mail and newspapers so they aren't left unattended and pile up outside. When burglars go through a neighborhood to select a home in advance, they are specifically looking for telltale signs of a home that is unoccupied. It means that their chances of breaking in and not being caught are much better. So do all that you can to give the appearance that you are still around even when you are away. Another bad practice that many have is leaving notes on the front door while they are away, or putting out a blanket email to all of their contacts that says that they will be out of town during a certain period of time, or maybe even leaving a record-

ed message to that effect on the home answering machine. You should never announce your extended absense to anyone that you don't know very well as this can be a huge home security risk. It's even a good idea to keep your daily schedule as varied as possible and somewhat of a secret even if you aren't away. Burglars look for clues that will tell them when you usually are not around, and that will be the time they select to break in. If you seem to come and go at random, unpredictable times though, that presents a much higher risk

that they can be caught while the burglary is in progress. Another home security risk presents itself evn when you are home. It has to do with who you allow inside your home. It is important to be careful not to allow entry inside the home to someone that you have not requested in advance. Oftentimes smart burglars can make it seem that they have been sent by the electric company or some other utility to take care of a problem in your home. Once inside they may distract you and steal something valuable, or just look the place over carefully in order to be abale to stage a successful burglary later on. So be sure to know the credentials of every person who enters your home and do not allow entry to anyone who can't prove that they have a good reason for being there. These simple and efffective daily security precautions can be very effective in preventing burglary in advance.

Getting Your Home Library Read Ready


onstructing a home library is not rocket science. However, it is also more than simply placing a bunch of books and a chair in a room. This article deals with getting your home library project off the ground. Specify your needs This would be the basic thing to be considered in creating a home library. You need to know what you want and what you need for the place. You can determine the kind of lighting you need. You can also plan your layout, your accessories, your book arrangements and others. Try to consider the needs of other family members who will use the library, too. If you are ready, then you can now start decorating your home library.

bookshelf for your library. You can paint it with colors that you want. Also, it is very important to design bookshelves that allow good air-circulation to avoid your books to be funky due to over-humidity.

Choose your location It is very important for you to know where your location is. Determine how much space you have and look into the layout of your home. If you have a small space, then you can just provide a shelf or a cabinet for books and a little area designated for reading. You can even use your living room for reading if you really do not have enough space. A small corner that is quiet can already be a good home library. But if

your space is big, you can have a separate room as library. Have good bookshelves Make sure that your bookshelves can secure your precious books. Check if it is installed well to avoid being ruined due to too much weight. Do not add many decorations like wood carvings to your bookshelf. Make it simple. Let your book arrangements and other accessories do the job for design. Choose the right w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

Have proper lighting Lighting is very important because you will do a lot of reading in the library. During the day, you can use natural light from windows. That would be enough for reading. During the night, you can use lamps, over head lights and other lights in the library. You can have wallmounted lights and recessed lighting for decoration but not for reading. Choose a light that is bright but you can also add a dimmer so that you can also use the room for other purposes.






Add Sparkle To Your Silver

here are easy and quick cleaning tips for you to save your time and keep your silver beautiful. You don't need expensive and toxic specialty cleaners. Here are several tips to clean silver using common ingredient you can find in your kitchen pantry. Aluminum Foil, Salt, and Baking Soda: Put a sheet of aluminum foil in a pan and add 2-3 inches of water on top of it. Mix: • 1 tsp of salt • 1 teaspoon of the baking soda Bring the mix to a boil, add the silver and let it boil gently for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that all the silver pieces are covered by the water. Rinse, buff and dry. Toothpaste: This is a great tip to clean all the crevices and difficult to reach places. Coat the silver with tooth paste and run it under tepid to warm water to produce a froth. Rub the item well. Rinse, dry and buff with a soft cloth. 2

Cleaning Silver Jewelry: Alkalis remove tarnish from silver, brass and copper. Baking soda, washing soda, or even wood ash (as in from the fire pit) are alkaline, and are a great way to remove tarnish from jewelry. Mix your cleaner with enough plain water to make a thin paste and coat the jewelry with the paste. Rub the jewelry gently with a cleaning cloth, rinse the mixture off, and then dry well. This should make your silver beautiful and shiny. Keeping your silver jewelry clean will allow you to wear it more frequently and enjoy it more. • Clean it after each use with a soft 100% cotton or flannel cloth to remove makeup, sweat, dirt, etc. • If your jewelry just needs a mild cleaning, you can clean it with a mixture of very mild liquid detergent and warm water. • Rinse it well and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. • Many professionals swear by using baking soda or tooth-

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paste on silver jewelry, while others say that they are too abrasive. If you don’t want to take the chance, then purchase a silver spray or polish to clean tarnish off your jewelry and keep it looking beautiful. • If your silver jewelry has gemstones, be careful when cleaning them. Some cleaning products can damage your gemstones. Cleaning Silver Flatware: Do you have silver flatware that you've not used at all? Chances are they are tarnished. Why don’t we clean and polish them to add beauty and interest to your table? Remember that there are foods that aren't friendly to

silver flatware. Salty or acidic foods can stain them. Don't allow food to stay on the flatware for a long period of time. Store your silver in a tarnish resistant bag or pouch to keep it from tarnishing. If your silver is not tarnished and just needs to be washed, the best way is to wash in warm sudsy water. Rinse well and dry it immediately to avoid spots. You can wash your silver flatware in the dishwasher, but if the handles are hollow, they could be loosened as a result of water and heat exposure. Do not put silver flatware in the same container as stainless steel flatware. The stainless steel flatware may permanently stain your silver flatware. The more often you use your silver flatware, the brighter and shinier it will stay. What a great bonus. Now that you have all of the silver in your home clean and shiny, what do you do? Enjoy it! Enjoy having beautiful serving pieces and flatware to create an inviting table. Enjoy wearing your shiny jewelry. Cleaning silver has never been easier.


Staircase Safety Tips


tairway falls are a common accident that can occur around the home and often result in serious injuries especially in seniors. There are some simple preventive measures that can be taken to minimize the risks. • Keep stairways clear at all times. This includes the landing areas. • Make sure stairs are equipped with secure handrails and that they are installed at a comfortable height. • All stairs should be at the same height and depth and be equipped with a non-slip surface. • Repair any stairs that are loose, broken or have a slippery surface. Fix loose or torn carpeting. • Ensure that stairways are well lit and have a light switch at

both the top and bottom of the stairs. Install a low intensity night light if possible. • If there are rugs at the top or bottom of the stairs make sure they have a non-slip backing. • The edge of each stair should be clearly visible. • Be aware of alcohol consumption or any medicine that may cause side effects

such as dizziness or blurred vision. • When using stairs, take your time, don’t carry items that will block your view of the stairs or prevent you from holding onto the handrail and make sure you can see clearly. This includes removing reading glasses or wearing glasses prescribed for distance.

The Best Way To Store Cement


hen building your home you may purchase a lot of materials in bulk to safeguard against running low on stock. In fact, many contractors advise that you purchase extra stock in the event that you need it. After construction however, you may have leftover materials and may need to to house the left-over materials for use at a later date. Cement is one such item that can be left for a period of time without deteriorating but proper storage procedure must be followed.


Store cement in a waterproof warehouse or container. Because it is finely grounded, it can absorb water and moisture from the air. If bags are to be stored for long periods of time, place a polythene sheet over it to prevent moisture from getting into bags. 4


Cement at the bottom of the pile may cake because of the weight of the bags on top of them. If this occurs, simply roll the bag over and the cement will return to its natural form


Store stacks close together but away from walls and open areas. There needs to be little to no air circulation between the stacks of cement. Keep away from wooden doors and small openings.

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Store bags at least 15 stacks high, placing one lengthways and the other sideways to prevent toppling. Each stack of 15 or less should be placed at least 3 metres away from each other.


When choosing bags for use, use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method of inventory which means that the first batch of cement stocked would be the first one to be used. To effectively use this system, write the date and time the packages was stored and store them in separate stacks as they arrive.



Tell-Tale Signs Of Overwatering Plants

ach species of plant has its own specific watering requirements, and giving plants too much water can spell disaster. Over-watering severely damages plants, and could lead to their overall decline. Knowing the symptoms of over-watering and how to correctly determine when to water will help keep the plant healthy. Leaves The roots of plants that are waterlogged or over-watered cannot absorb oxygen properly, resulting in wilted and yellow leaves. Both young and old leaves fall from the plant prematurely and buds fail to open. Both over-watered and underwatered plants develop wilted, discolored leaves that can fall from the plant, but leaves on over-watered plants have a limp appearance while under-watered leaves are brittle and dry. Over-watering deprives roots of oxygen, which they need to function properly. When the roots are continuously deprived of oxygen, the root fibers die. This prevents the plant from re6

erupt, tan, brown or white warty growths begin to form where the blisters originally were. Indentations appear directly above the growths on the top sides of the leaves.

ceiving the moisture it needs for healthy leaves. Dry, brown discoloration appears between the leaf veins and along the edges. These leaves will eventually die and fall off. Edema When the roots of over-watered plants absorb water faster than the plant can use it, the water pressure begins to build in internal cells. The cells will burst, killing them and forming blister-like areas, generally on the undersides of the foliage. This physiological disorder is called edema. Once the blisters

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Rots Over-watered plants are more susceptible to pests, bacterial diseases and fungal infections. Root, crown and stem rots occur when over-watered plants become infected by fungal pathogens such as Pythium, Fusarium and Phytophthora. When the over-watered plant develops rot, the foliage begins to dull and turn yellow. The stems and roots of the infected plant are soft, break easily and tips turn brown. The plant will eventually die as the roots decay. Causes of Over-Watering Giving your plants too much water is not the only cause of over-watering. Plants growing in poorly drained and compacted soils will also suffer the same symptoms. There are generally three types of soils: loamy, sandy and clay. Loamy soil drains prop-

erly, retains nutrients and works well for most plants. Sandy soil doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients, drains too quickly and is dry. Clay soil is compact and drains slowly, creating a soggy, saturated area. Plants growing in clay soil that cannot tolerate overly wet locations will become waterlogged. Prevention Proper watering can help prevent problems. Refrain from following a set schedule for watering and instead let the soil partially dry before watering the plant. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth. Deep, thorough watering will promote healthy plants. Regularly check for signs of over-watering by gently removing potted from their containers or digging into the ground near the plant’s root zone. If the waterlogged plants are caused by poorly drained soil, amended the soil by incorporating organic amendments, such as wood chips, straw, peat and tree bark, into the original soil. This is best done before planting.

home office

Online Conferencing Etiquette


perating from a home office can lead to a reliance on technology. This reliance is more so than within the confines of a regular office because home offices are seldom constructed to facilitate major meetings. This does not mean that your online meetings should be any less professional. A video conference should be conducted in almost the same fashion as a formal physical meeting. Here are some pointers to help you achieve the right results. Be on time - If something is preventing you from attending an online meeting on time, let the organizer know. Keep in mind that online meeting software lets the participants know who is logging in, and when. This means that you won't be able to join the meeting half an hour late without being noticed. Being late to an online meeting is just as disrespectful as walking into the boardroom late. Have some water or go to the restroom before the meeting Online meetings usually do not go on for hours, so there is no natural break for you to excuse yourself. Also, meetings conducted on the 8

Internet tend to be fast-paced, and people might even be reluctant or annoyed at having to stop and wait until you come back for them to continue the discussion. So grab a glass of water or go to the restroom before the meeting. Also, don't sneak out of the meeting without letting anyone know - you never know when someone might ask you a question. If you have an emergency, let the meeting organizer know that you must step out for a few minutes, and you will let them know when you are back. The best way to do this is through your online meeting software's chat facility, so you don't disrupt the presenter. Keep a professional demeanor - While you might be attending your online meeting from the comfort of your desk or even your home, your tone should be no less formal than if you were in a boardroom, surrounded by your peers and superiors. This means that you should keep any comments about your cats or children at bay - even if they are in the next room. This shows that you are a trustworthy professional, able to keep your home and work lives separate, even if they share the same roof.

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Don't plan on just listening in - Just because the meeting is online, it is no excuse for you to work on something else while only listening in. If you have been invited to the meeting, it's because the presenter values your input. Even if there isn't much of a chance for participation, you should still be actively taking notes. The online meeting that you happened to work on something else through, might just have something that will prove important to you. If you need to finish any work the same day as the meeting, either state that you are not available to attend the meeting on that day, or organize yourself well enough so that you won't have to work through it. Make it a point to participate - Whether it's asking a question during the Q&A session, sharing your team's achievements or any other appropriate story or idea, plan to have a say in the meeting. Any good host will ask for input during the meeting, and will not spend the whole time just talking at the team. Take this as an opportunity to show that you are not only in attendance, but also paying attention. Say your name before you speak,

so attendees will know who is addressing them. Keep in mind that you should speak confidently and clearly, as you would during a face-to-face meeting. If your business isn't into informal language, then refrain from using it even though an online setting might feel more informal than a face-to-face one. Practice before the meeting If you have been asked to share a slide, or to make a presentation during the meeting, you should ensure that not only is it done to the standards required by the organizer, but that you have also practiced the delivery of your materials. If this is your first online meeting using certain software, ask the meeting organizer if they could do a dry run with you, to make sure that you're comfortable using the software. If you are already familiar with the software, then just practice the presentation. Know what you are going to say, and avoid reading from a cue during your presentation. Reading certain facts and figures is fine, but you don't want to sound like those telemarketing operators who cold-call you. Make sure that your presentation flows and is delivered smoothly.

elegant ideas

Step Up Your Staircase Game

Ornate wrought iron rails and elegant accompanying architecture give this staircase its grand appeal w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m




elegant ideas

Stone steps flanked with varying flora create an effective outdoor look


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elegant ideas

This outdoor staircase is simple, but the blue accent and neat plant formation take it to a whole new level

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elegant ideas

The staircase may be simple, but the rich stone floors provides upscale charm


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elegant ideas

The warm, wooden look never grows old w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m





Command Your Kitchen Cleaning


itchen cleaning can seem like a monumental task. That is because kitchens present so many different challenges when it comes to cleaning. However, a bit of knowhow and a little elbow grease can take you to where you need to be.

Remove odor from plastic If your plastic storage containers have a residual odor from storing onions or garlic, wash the container, and then wad up a piece of newspaper and seal it inside the container. In a few days the odor will be gone.

Cleaning your oven Kitchen cleaning help: To remove grease from inside your oven when doing kitchen cleaning, put a small pan of ammonia in the oven in the evening, and then close the oven door. In the morning, remove the pan of ammonia. The grease inside the oven will wipe off very easily.

Darkened Aluminum Pans You can clean darkened aluminum pans when doing kitchen cleaning easily by pouring in two teaspoons cream of tartar mixed in a quart of water. Place on stovetop and boil for 10 minutes. Get high quality cookware and avoid issues like these.

Cleaning your can opener The best way to clean your can opener blade is to use an old toothbrush loaded with antibacterial dish soap and scrub vigorously. Your can opener blade should be cleaned frequently to prevent bacteria. Microwave Cleanup Cooking tips: clean up time! Af16

ter you've had food splattered in your microwave, it's hard to clean up when doing kitchen cleaning. Just boil 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water in the microwave. This will loosen splattered on food and deodorize for easy clean up. Egg on the Floor If you drop an egg on the floor, cover it with salt and leave it alone for a couple of minutes. When you come back, you'll be able to easily clean the mess with a paper towel.

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Removing baked on food from your baking dishes... More cleaning and cooking tips: Scrape off any loose bits of food. Put a couple of tablespoons of dishwasher detergent in the dish and add hot water. Stir the solution - a small wire whisk helps. The solution should be so heavy with detergent that it doesn't all quite dissolve. Leave it overnight. By

morning, the baked on food will have lifted right off the surface of the dish. Don't use this method on non-stick bakeware surfaces. Cleaning up pie spills Kitchen cleaning tip: If the juice from fruit pies overflows while you're baking, sprinkle some salt onto the spill. The juice will then burn to a crisp, making it easily removable. Removing Melted Plastic From Your Glass Cooktop It happens. You place your bag of bread on the stove before it has completely cooled and the next thing you know the plastic has melted on to the stove top. All you have to do is spray some WD-40 on the melted plastic and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Then scrape the plastic off carefully with a knife. If you have any plastic remaining, use acetone nail polish remover. Wipe off with a paper towel. Your cooktop is now free of plastic.


Tasty Tuna Treats


anned tuna can come in quite handy when things in the kitchen look grim. These fishy delights can be transformed into almost any meal you can think of. Here are some recipes to relish made with this versatile canned food.

Tuna Macaroni Salad Ingredients 3 cups macaroni 1/3 cup Italian-style salad dressing 1/2 cup sour cream 1 cup mayonnaise 1 onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained Directions Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until done. Drain. Marinate macaroni in Italian dressing for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, onion, celery, garlic powder, tuna, and salt and pepper into macaroni. Chill.

Quick Tuna Casserole Ingredients 1 (7.25 ounce) package macaroni and cheese mix 18

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 (9 ounce) can tuna, drained 1 (10 ounce) can peas, drained

1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish 4 large croissants 4 leaves lettuce 4 slices Swiss cheese

Directions Prepare macaroni and cheese mix according to package directions. Stir in the cream of mushroom soup, tuna and peas. Mix well, and heat until bubbly.

Directions In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add tuna, shallot, apple, walnuts, celery and pickle relish and toss until all ingredients are coated with dressing. Lightly toast the croissants. Split in half, place a lettuce leaf on the bottom half of the croissant and fill with tuna salad. Top with a slice of Swiss cheese and the top half of the croissant.

Tuna Balls Ingredients 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 3/4 cup chopped pecans 1/4 cup chopped onion Directions In a medium bowl, blend tuna, cream cheese, 1/2 the pecans and onion. Shape into a ball or loaf. coat with remaining pecans. Refrigerate until serving.

Waldorf Tuna Salad Sandwich Filling Ingredients 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon prepared Dijonstyle mustard 1/4 teaspoon curry powder Salt and pepper to taste 1 (6 ounce) can oil-packed tuna 1 shallot, finely chopped 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup diced celery

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Tuna Pizza Ingredients 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 (14 ounce) package pre-baked pizza crust 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese Crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste Directions Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spread the softened cream cheese on the pre-baked crust. Sprinkle the tuna and onions over the pizza; then top with shredded mozzarella cheese and optional red pepper flakes.

Bake in preheated oven until the cheese has melted and started to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes Ingredients 1 large potato, peeled and cubed 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained 1 egg 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs, or as needed 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil Directions Place the potato into a small pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two, then mash the potato with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl. Mix the tuna, egg, onion, Dijon mustard, bread crumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper into the mashed potato until well-blended. Divide the tuna mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into patties. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pan fry the tuna patties until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes on each side.



8 Things Wives Need To Know

eddings are normally for women, but marriage is for couples. The way to a successful matrimony is through understanding. While men can be block-headed, there are some things wives need to know and follow as well.


Respect your husband. - Notice how it doesn’t say “Respect your husband if he has earned it”. A man’s greatest need in this world is to be respected, and the person he desires that respect from the most is his wife. The trap that we’ve all been ensnared by is that they only deserve our respect when they earn it. Yes, we want our husbands to make decisions that will ultimately garner our respect, but the truth is that your husband is a human being. A human being who makes mistakes. This is the man that YOU have chosen to walk alongside you for the rest of your life and to lead your family and he needs to be respected for that quality alone. Take it from me – when respect is given even when he doesn’t deserve it, it will motivate him to earn it. That doesn’t mean you pretend that his choices are good ones when they aren’t. Things like that still need to be communicated, but you can flesh out your differences with respect. It makes all the difference in the world to him.


Guard your heart. The grass is not greener on the other side. Do not


believe the lie that with a slimmer figure, a higher salary, a faster car, or a bigger house, you will be a happier woman. The world is full of things and people that will serve as reminders that you don’t have the best of the best, but it’s simply not true. Live the life you’ve been blessed with, and be thankful. I get that we all have struggles, and there are even times when I would love 1,000 more square feet of house to live in, but square feet is not fulfilling – relationships are. Guard your heart from things and people that will try to convince you that your life or your husband is not good enough. There will always be bigger, faster, stronger, or shinier – but you’ll never be satisfied with more until you’re fulfilled with what you have now.


Forgive. - No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. If you make forgiveness a habit – for everything from major mistakes to little annoyances - you will keep resentment from growing.


Over-communicate. - I used to have a bad habit of not speaking my feelings. I played the standard “You should know why I’m mad” game, and that’s just downright unfair. Men are not wired like women, and they don’t always know that they’ve been insensitive. I’m still growing in this area, and there are often times when my husband has to pry something out of me, but I’m

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perceives love. Does he like words of affirmation, or does he respond better when you give him gifts? Whatever his love language is – learn it and use it.


trying to remember that I need to just communicate how I feel.


Schedule a regular date night. - This one isn’t new, but it’s very important. Never stop dating your spouse. Even if you can’t afford dinner and a movie (which we seldom can), spending some regular one-on-one time with your spouse is essential. Don’t talk about bills, or schedules, or the kids. You can daydream about your future, or plan your dream vacation. Connect emotionally and often learn something new about each other.


Learn his love language. - Everyone has a love language. The way you perceive love is often different from the way your spouse

Never talk negatively about him. - If you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage and you need advice, see a counselor. Family counseling is a great tool, but try to remember that your family members and friends are not the most objective people to give advice. The argument they are hearing is one-sided and they often build up negative feelings toward your spouse, which usually doesn’t subside once you and your husband have gotten past it. Protect his image with those that you’re close with and seek help from those that can actually be objective. News flash, ladies – your mother cannot be objective!


Choose to love. - There are times in a marriage that you may wake up and not feel in love anymore. Choose to love anyway. There are times when you may not be attracted to your husband anymore. Choose to love anyway. Marriage is a commitment. In sickness and health, in good times and in bad. Those vows are sacred. They don’t say “if you have bad times”. They say “in good times and in bad”, implying that there will be bad times. It’s inevitable. So choose to love anyway. He’s worth it.


Communicating In Blended Families


ood communication is a challenge for every family. For those dealing with blended family issues, communication is even more vital. Children are usually living in multiple households and relationships between exes sometimes sour. What’s the best way to communicate in situations like those? Here are some tips to help open the lines of communication with the ex, your new spouse and your step children. With the ex Put aside your differences for the kids’ sake. Divorce is incredibly heartbreaking and emotional. Many people don’t have a good relationship with their ex and find their parenting styles are very different.If you find it impossible to talk on the phone without fighting, try texting or emailing. Keep messages simple to avoid emotional entanglement. No matter how difficult or “bad” you think your spouse is, that person plays an important role in your children’s life. Your kids will be happier if eve-


leges and expectations around the house. If there are areas you disagree, work them out in advance so the kids aren’t confused later on. Use written communication. Write notes on a dry erase board and send each other text messages to keep the parenting team well-informed. Steal 15 minutes each day to talk. The chaos of family life can feel like a whirlwind. Touch base with each other every day to avoid miscommunication. This is especially helpful when one parent spends more time at home with the kids than the other. ryone communicates and stays on the same page. Don’t use kids as messengers. They have no business discussing issues like placement, child support or parenting styles with either parent. Work mightily to keep them out of the middle. With each other Discuss your parenting styles (but not in front of the kids). Talk about how you’ll handle the children’s discipline, privi-

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With the step children Demonstrate good communication habits yourself. When they talk, listen. Look them in the eye. If there is an important issue to discuss, turn off distractions like the TV or computer. Repeat important requests or feelings back to them. This gives you both a chance to be sure you completely understand what was said. Don’t force communication

in the heat of the moment. Wait until after the storm has passed to address a concern. If you are arguing, ask for a break until things calm down. Go outside or to your own rooms. You don’t have to solve every problem as soon as it arises. Catch your breath, first. Write a letter. When parents talk, kids get bored. If you have something on your heart about a misunderstanding or difficult issue, write your stepchild a letter. The letter was much more well-received than a talk would have been. Be honest, kind and keep it simple. Subtly get their attention. Something as simple as placing your hand on their shoulder or elbow when you have something important to say can help them focus on the message. Good communication is one key to happiness within a blended family. No one likes to be left in the dark when it comes to their children or family life. Strive to communicate with an open mind, open ears and love in your heart, always.



Nose Hair Removal


hen men near the age of 30, they may begin to notice unwanted whiskers protruding from their nose. As you begin to age, your nose hairs will become thicker. This can be very embarrassing, making you selfconscious and removing them becomes a priority. This is not to say that women can’t have protruding nose hairs as well. There is a common myth that removing nasal hair makes it grow back thicker or faster – this simply isn't true. However, one thing to be aware of before removing nose hair is that hair in this area does actually play an important part in the body's defence system against particles that could potentially cause problems within the respiratory system, and many doctors recommend leaving the hair in place. So bear this in mind; it may be a better idea to trim only protruding nose hair if it is really bothering you, but not be too obsessive about eliminating every hair you can find. Clean your nose. Before removing nose hairs, make sure your nostrils are clean for easier removal. It is difficult to trim hairs that are hard or stuck together with dirt. At this time, you should also separate any

Organizing Your Walk-In Closet


f you have the luxury of owning a walk-in closet, do not neglect it. Keep it in fine order to make it work for you. The extra space afforded in a walk in closet can be tweaked to ensure maximum efficiency while adding to your décor. Here are some tips. nose hairs that you have with a damp cloth. Remove your nose hairs in a well-lit area. For the safest removal, it is important that you have the proper lighting to be sure that you can clearly see what you are trimming. This will greatly reduce the chance of hurting yourself. Stand in front of a magnifying mirror. This will give you a close-up view of the area you are trimming, reducing the chance of injury, and make trimming a much easier task. Tilt your head back and lift your nostril. This will give you a better view so that you trim the right amount of hair off. Turn on the nose hair trimmers and insert into nostril. Start by trimming those hairs that are sticking out of your nose first, and then work your way in.

Clear it out Distinguish clothing and shoes that you wear from items that you need to get rid of. You can do this by the golden rule of closet organizing: If you haven't worn it in a year, toss it. Also, if it doesn't fit you well, it is time to get rid of it. Don’t hang on to your "skinny jeans" until you lose a few pounds. Sort Your Stuff Separate all your clothing items according to use, season or activity. Put all your religious, work, casual and sporty items in different parts of the closet to make searching simpler. Further sort by colour coding to make putting outfits together a breeze. Even though it’s in your closet, this will also add to the overall décor of your wardrobe space. w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

Install Hooks Most homeowners never think to have hooks in their walk-in closets, but these fixtures can actually be extremely handy. You can (and should) use hooks to hang items such as bathrobes, belts, and scarves. Take notice of how a clothing store keeps items – that's how you should keep them too. Hanging items makes them easier to see and prevents items from being tangled, damaged, or forgotten. Make it Easy Plan to place the items that you use most frequently between waist and shoulder height. This will assure that you neither have to kneel nor reach up for common items, making the storage system more convenient and easier to maintain. Lighting A poorly lit closet is difficult to use and maintain. Make sure that there are no dark spots or corners in the closet, especially in a walk-in closet that receives no natural light. Consider LED lighting under shelves and on the walls to have light for small, tight spaces.





home gym

Six Steps To Healthy Feet


e pay attention to the body parts that get the most attention, but because our feet tend to be out of eye view, we overlook them. That is a big mistake. Pay attention to your feet because without them life can become hell. Simply follow these six steps to healthier feet and you will be able to walk with a smile.

1 2

Avoid walking barefoot to help protect your feet from injury and infec-


Buy proper-size shoes. You may not wear the same size in shoes made by different manufacturers. Purchase new shoes late in the day, when feet tend to be at their largest. Always buy the shoes that feel comfortable.


Inspect your feet regularly and pay attention to changes in color, texture or appearance. 24

4 5

Maintain good foot hygiene, including washing and drying between the


Cut toenails straight across. Never cut into the corner this could cause an ingrown toenail. Gently file away sharp corners or rough edges with an emery board.


Don’t hide “ugly” toenails with polish. A discolored, thick, cracked, or crumbling nail could signal a nail fungus. Applying nail polish to an infected nail could make the problem worse

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The Best Post Workout Foods


iet is actually as important as exercise and it should be treated as such. If we work out like beasts we still won’t get the right results unless we supplement that with the right pre and post workout foods. Here are four of the best post workout foods you can eat. Protein Shakes Liquid meals are easily digested, quickly absorbed and, most of all, convenient. You can easily make the shake at home and take it to the gym. Select your protein powder or bar carefully and look for one provides a mix of protein and carbs. For a shake with a difference, mix whey powder with frozen berries and water. The whey provides the protein; the berries provide the carbs. Coconut Water Drinking coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating during a workout. This is especially important if you are exercising in a hot environment. I recommend drinking coconut water during sustained workouts, as well as after exercising.

Bananas Banana is one of the most perfect pre and post workout foods as they are full of complex carbs, minerals such as potassium and fiber. Our close genetic relatives, chimps, eat bananas in bunches and thrive. Once you’ve stabilized a Candida condition, you too can enjoy bananas and other sweet fruits. Oatmeal One of the greatest creations was instant oatmeal. It is loaded with protein, refuels the carbs, and a good Source of fiber. Plus it comes in all sorts of great flavours such as maple and apple/cinnamon. The great thing about oatmeal is it is really easy to make and for some reason it’s a comfort food.



Car Seat Mistakes To Avoid


ar seats save lives just as seatbelts do. Therefore, the importance of making sure to use car seats for children cannot be overstated. It should be noted that merely using the car seat is not all. Correct usage sis very important to the success of the seat and by extension the safety of your child. These are some common mistakes to avoid. Placing the car seat in the wrong spot The safest place for your child's car seat is the back seat, away from active air bags. If the car seat is placed in the front seat and the air bag inflates, it could hit the back of a rear-facing car seat where your child's head is and cause a serious or fatal injury. A child who rides in a forward-facing car seat could also be harmed by an air bag. If you're placing only one car seat in the back seat, install it in the center of the seat — if possible — rather than next to a door to minimize the risk of injury during a crash. Harness is not used properly The easiest way to check to see if your harness straps are too loose is the pinch test. Secure your child in the car seat and buckle the harness as usual. Using your 26

thumb and index finger, try to pinch one of the harness straps at your child's collarbone level. If you're able to pinch the strap, the harness is not tight enough. You should not be able to pinch any excess. Reclining your child at the incorrect angle In the rear-facing position, recline the car seat according to the manufacturer's instructions so that your child's head doesn't flop forward. Many seats include angle indicators or adjusters. You can also place a tightly rolled towel under the seat's front edge to achieve the right angle. To prevent slouching, place tightly rolled baby blankets alongside your newborn. If necessary, place a rolled washcloth between the crotch strap and your baby to prevent slouching. Don't use any additional products unless they came with the car seat or from the manufacturer.

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3 Common Aquarium Mistakes


ending to aquarium fish is a pastime of many Trinbagonians. While, it is not as popular as before, several people do have pet fish. However, a lot of fish dies because proper care is not taken. Here are three common fish care mistakes. Adding Fish Too Soon New aquarium owners are eager to add fish, often the same day they set up the tank. Some are lucky but many will quickly lose some, or all, of their fish. What went wrong? The water in a new tank hasn't stabilized yet. Gases are dissolved in the water, as well as minerals, heavy metals, and chemicals added by local water treatment facilities. Without going into lengthy detail about water chemistry, suffice it to say that dissolved constituents in the water can harm the fish. Aquarium water should be treated to neutralize harmful materials, and allowed to stand for a day or so to allow dissolved gases to escape and the pH to stabilize. Only then is it safe to introduce fish to the aquarium. Overfeeding The Fish This is probably the #1 mistake beginners to the aquarium hobby make. Fish may appear to be hungry, but that doesn't mean they are. Think about it. There really isn't much else for the fish to do but swim around and eat. Feeding fish once a day is a good

schedule to start with. And yes, the label on the fish food container may say two or three times a day. But, stick with once a day. You won't be starving your fish. Fish can go several days without eating with no ill effects. If ammonia and nitrites are out of whack, withhold food for several days to minimize excess waste until water parameters stabilize. Your fish will be just fine. Choosing Incompatible Fish Certain species of fish do not get along. In the wild, this isn't a problem because either they don't originate from the same area or, at the very least, there's plenty of room for them to avoid each other. This isn't the case in an enclosed tank. Secondly, some aquarium species are carnivorous. If the other fish in the aquarium are small enough to fit into their mouths, assume that this will happen. And third, not all species of fish require the exact same water parameters. Do your research before buying fish.


Hot Tips For Cold Weather Travel


o you are a globe-trotter? Or just on a family vacation? Or out on business? No matter what the reason, travelling needs a lot of ground work and a good cognizance of your destinations, the local culture and practices. If you are a solo-traveller, staying in touch becomes one of the most concerns. However with modern technology now at your disposal, there are a lot of options available to stay in easy touch with your folks and family back home. Also, deciding what season is one the most important criteria to take into account while travelling. Travelling in cold weather especially can become a nightmare if you are not well equipped. Whether you are on a winter vacation or on business or on any other outing, visiting locations with freezing temperatures requires a lot of preplanning and logistics. Here are some packing tips before you get started. Carrying the most appropriate winter wear like pull overs, sweaters, scarfs, woolen socks and gloves, winter caps etcetera 28

is a must. If you are going in extreme cold long underwear and undershirt should also be part of the packing process. Natural fibers – cotton and wool – are a bonus. Remember with the bottom layer (or two) the wool won’t be against your skin, but still effectively protects from the cold. Be prepared. The thing about layers is you can take a layer or two off if you end up inside for a while, such as an airport or stopping at a restaurant for a meal. As it gets colder you could put those layers back on. Socks that are thick enough to protect your feet and keep them warm are also important.

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In colder weather also have a hat and scarf. An incredible amount of heat escapes via our head and neck – if we keep those covered we conserve heat. Long pants are important. This means denim, or if you can’t wear that pick corduroy. Forget dresses, skirts and think slick lightweight pants. Along with it if there is likely to be ice or snow. Forget heels and shoes with slick bottoms – this is not just for fashion but for comfort and safety! Use good quality footwear – even hiking boots are better than dress shoes. Cold weather clothing is easily available online. Go for good branded

stuff to ensure safety and protection against harsh temperatures. Aside of clothing, other essentials include hot packs. These are chemical reaction packs that are popular with backpackers and trekkers. Just give them a squeeze and a shake, and they radiant heat for up to 14 hours. They are great little packets of insurance, and they’re small. Stick a dozen with your car’s cold weather gear. You’ll be very glad you did. Energy snacks too are a must. Sometimes, when winter weather is at its worst, you can end up staying in your car, waiting for help to arrive. That may mean waiting for a storm to end, waiting for ice to be cleared, or waiting for daylight to come. Your body will need calories while you wait, so be sure that you have plenty of high energy snacks in your cold weather kit to get you through it. And last but not the least, a portable first aid kit! Antiseptics, bandages, insect bite swabs etcetera are a few suggestions. If you have a health condition, carry extra pertinent medication.

Abstract Home Is Published By Abstract Media Group, Premium Commercial Complex, San Juan, Trinidad, W.I. • Tel: (868) 638 1156/9 • Fax: (868) 638 1160. Printed By The Office Authority - Printing Division And Distributed By AMG

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