Friday, July 29, 2016

11 Tips for Planting Shrubs

Shrubs are a wonderful addition to any home. They serve several purposes. If you live in a snowy area, shrubs can provide a great wind-block to protect against drifting snow. In warmer climates they can help keep your home cool. Shrubs can provide a great backdrop for flowers and can be the flowers themselves. Planting a shrub is easy. Here are some tips to help you plant and grow beautiful shrubs.

1. Decide Where to Plant. Deciding where to plant your shrub is a very important step to take before choosing your shrub. If you’re planting close to your home you’re not going to want a plant with strong, invasive roots like a lilac that may damage your foundation. Write down information about the area such as what other plants are nearby, how much sun the spot gets, if there’s a building or windows nearby.

2. Choosing Your Shrub. There are a lot of different shrubs to choose from. Some flower. Some produce berries. Some are evergreen, some not. Some change colors in the fall; some change colors in the summer. If you’re planting in front of a window, you may want to plant shrubs that don’t grow very tall. Keep where you are planting in mind when choosing your shrub. Korean boxwoods are a great choice if you would like a slow-growing, bushy plant you can shape. Hydrangeas are wonderful flowering bushes. Japanese willows are beautiful shrubs. In spring and autumn they are green and leafy, in summer the tips turn a beautiful blush color.

3. Set the Plants in Their Place. Just to be sure you actually like where you’ve decided to plant, set your shrub there and take a look. It may be you think your shrub will look better centered under the window rather than to the side. You may discover your shrub needs to be planted further from the house than you thought. Seeing the plant (still in its pot) in the spot you chose for it really helps you be sure you’re planting in the right place before you go digging things up.

4. Measure and Dig. You should always measure your shrub’s root-ball then dig a hole as deep as the root-ball and twice as wide. You should loosen the sides and bottom of the hole with a gardening fork. This makes it easier to prepare the soil. If you’re planting more than one shrub or have other plantings nearby you should measure the distance apart to make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow.

5. Consider Weed Control. It will be hard for your shrub to flourish if it’s choked out by weeds. Consider putting down black plastic or newspaper to keep the weeds away. Black plastic last a long time, but newspaper printed with soy ink biodegrades and is much better for the environment.

6. Preparing the Soil. When you bought your shrub you should have read the little tag that goes with it. If it didn’t tell you what kind of soil your plant prefers you should have asked. Some plants like loamy soil, others are hardy in sandy soil. Some plants prefer a more alkaline environment and some like it acidic. Prepare the soil based on what your plant likes. For well drained soil add some small pebbles and avoid clay at all costs. If your shrub needs acidic soil, mix in some coffee grounds.

7. Plants Need Nutrients. If you’re planting a flowering shrub, toss a few banana peels in a blender with a little water (coffee grounds too if your shrubs likes acid) and blend. Mix your magic blend in with a garden trowel when you’re preparing the soil. The tiny pieces break down easily and provide your shrub with nutrients. If you would like to go with a more conventional fertilizer I suggest you use a slow-release fertilizer. You won’t need to feed your plants as often.

8. Composting Made Easy. Plants love compost. It’s a natural fertilizer that’s great for the environment and cuts down on garbage bags dumped in landfills. Don’t use meat. Use the fruits and vegetables leftover from your table, coffee grounds, and some newspaper. Toss them in your blender with a little bit of water, blend. Put your compost smoothie in a Rubbermaid container you’ve drilled holes in. Add worms. Not just any worms. You want the big, fat red ones. It won’t take the worms long to break down the little pieces and turn them into compost. Layer the compost around your shrubs. They will love you for it.

9. A Pruning Priority. You should prune your shrubs to keep them growing well. Remove any dead or damaged branches or leaves. You should also prune some of the branches away in the spring to clean up your shrub and keep it growing well. You can choose anvil pruners or bypass pruners. Anvil pruners bring a blade down against a piece of metal to cut the branch. Bypass pruners cut from both sides and potentially do less damage to the branch because they don’t crush the branch.

10. When the Winter Wind Blows. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you may want to protect your plants from both the winter winds and the weight of the snow. Snow can weigh down and break branches if precautions aren’t taken. Measure the height and width of your shrub. Get yourself two pieces of plywood a foot or two longer than and at least as wide as your shrub. Attach one or two cheap hinges to the top and put it over your shrub teepee style. You can pick up some cheap clear plastic such as clear drop-cloth plastic at Wal-Mart. Wrap some of this around your wood and shrub. Sunlight can still get in, but it keeps the wind and snow out.

11. Let’s Talk Mulch. Mulch is a good idea for shrubs. It helps keep the roots cool, helps retain moisture, and helps keep weeds in their place, which is out of your garden. Mulch can also hold your black plastic or newspaper in place. Not all mulches are created equal. Quartz garden stone is great for weighing down plastic and keeping weeds out. It’s low maintenance, but doesn’t retain moisture as well as wood mulch. Wood mulch weighs the plastic down, keeps weeds out, retains moisture well, but deteriorates over time. Wood mulch should be dug out and replaced once every year or two as it deteriorates to keep it looking nice. Another option is to simply plant grass around and under your shrub for a very natural look. The downside of just planting grass is that you give weeds the opportunity to grow.

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11 Ways to Reuse an Old Microwave Stand

Microwave stands come in different sizes. They usually have a cupboard, and may have an open space under the top surface. Some might also have a drawer.

You may have installed an under-the-cupboard microwave, or decided that one of these appliances is no longer necessary in your home. Whatever the reason for not needing the microwave anymore, you are left with a stand that is still usable.

Once a microwave stand is no longer needed for its intended purpose, it can be used for something else. Consider these ideas before sending your old stand to the dump.

Leave the stand where it is in the kitchen, placing your toaster, slow cooker and other small appliances on it. Better yet, hide the small appliances you rarely use in the cupboard of the stand. This will give the top a less cluttered look.

Move it into your office, and put the printer on it. Printer paper can be stored in the cupboard, and ink cartridges can be organized within the open area or the drawer.

Place the stand in your bedroom to hold a small television and DVD player. Store your DVD’s in the cupboard.

Or do the same with your stereo and music.

Put it in the bathroom, if there is enough room, to hold towels and wash cloths. Personal hygiene products can be stored on the top.

Use the cupboard to store board games. Cards and other games that take little space can be placed in containers in the open space or in a drawer.

Place the stand in your craft room. The cupboard will store larger items, such as a box of fabric. The open area will hold tools such as your glue gun, a tray and a container of glue sticks, and the top will hold a couple of baskets of other supplies.

Use the stand in a potters shed to hold gardening supplies, placing planters in the cupboard, and seeds and hand tools on the top.

In the garage, the stand will help to organize small to medium size tools.

Place the stand in the laundry room, using the cupboard to hold the detergent and fabric softener. You will have a place on top of the stand to set folded clothes until you can put them away.

In the family room, the stand will hold snacks and beverages to be consumed while hanging out, and bowls and other necessities needed to serve the foods in.

The uses for old microwave stands are limited only by your imagination. The only time one should go to the dump is if it is absolutely unusable, at which time it becomes junk.

These stands can often be repainted to match the d©cor of any room, or may be stenciled or sponged with designs depending on the whim of the owner. These types of changes make the stand more attractive when incorporating it into another room.

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11 Tips for Preventing the Cold and Flu

Unless we live in the 23rd Century, where Doctor McCoy from Star Trek has developed the cure for the common cold. You will need to deal with being tired, feeling cold (no pun intended), sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing that can occur throughout the year. For the flu (influenza) you are probably in bed with a fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, and coughing that typically occurs during the winter. This is why you notice that every pharmacy starts asking if you want your Flu Shot during the fall season and into the winter.

As the school year starts, I have noticed many school aged kids becoming sick as they become reacquainted with old friends. Then they bring home any germs and get their parents sick. Then the parent go to work and get their co-workers sick. It always reminds me of the tag game that my kids play called Virus.

Go visit your doctor, whenever you feel ill. In the meantime, to prevent catching the cold or flu, here are some tips,

  • Where have your hands been? Keep your hands away from your face. Remember to wash your hands with warm water and an antimicrobial soap to kill germs. It’s especially important after using the rest room and before you eat your meal. Also use a clean paper towel instead of that designer terry cloth hand towel to dry your hands.
  • If you are able to wash you hands, hand sanitizers can also kill germs and many new formulas contain moisturizers to prevent drying of the skin. Have you noticed many places have hand sanitizer stands at the entrance? They don’t want you to get their employees sick as well, some companies hand out pocket sized hand sanitizers. When applying hand sanitizer, it’s important to get it under your fingernails.
  • While the Avian Bird Flu scared many to wear regular facemasks or N95 masks in the United States, Asians still do wear them and you notice the masks more at international airports.
  • Cleaning your environment is important. Typically wipe the surfaces with a germicide such as Super Sani-Cloth, Cavicide or Sklar Wipe . It will kill a spectrum of viruses and bacteria. Having a disinfected area will reduce the odds. Think twice about using someone’s telephone or keyboard. Also, wipe down doorknobs, light switches, and countertops. Wash toys if anyone is sick at home. A special note for travelers, typically the hotel cleaning staff will not disinfect the remote control. Before you press that power button, disinfect with a germicide.
  • Some people even don on exam gloves to have an extra layer of protection for the hands.
  • If you smoke, stop! Smoking increases irritation and allows the infection to pass through the filters of your airways.
  • Sorry no sharing! I am sure your friend won’t be offended if you don’t take a taste of that new drink from the same mug.
  • Stay healthy builds your immunity to infections as well as speed up recover should the virus temporary over power you. I know many people that do P90X, Insanity, TurboFire or run. They take good nutrition like Shakeology. They also get enough sleep and are relaxed. They seem to avoid the simple cold by strengthen their immune system.

Should you come down with the virus? Here are some tips to reduce the cross contamination and the spread of the sickness.

  • Cover your sneezing and coughing with a tissue or into your shoulder so that you don’t further the virus. Remember to toss the tissues in the trash.
  • If you must, quarantine yourself in a separate room.
  • Know if you have a fever by using a thermometer with a disposable probe cover or a touch free model. 98.6 Fahrenheit is normal.

Stay healthy by visiting so that you are not added as a statistic to the other millions who lose days of work or school!

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11 Ways to Save Money on Your Disney Cruise Line Vacation!

Have you ever dreamed of taking your family on an adventure to exciting destinations on the Disney Cruise Line, but suddenly were pulled back into reality when you saw the price tag? Trust me, you’re not alone. The good news is it is possible to set sail with the mouse without breaking the bank. To sweeten the deal, if you follow these money saving tips below, you will be able to relax knowing you have probably paid far less than your fellow cruisers for the same magical experience only Disney can provide.

1. Pay with a Disney Visa – Disney launched its own credit card several years ago. According to the Disney Visa Website, as a perk to its customers Disney will offer you a $50 On Board Credit when your cruise is paid in full using the Disney Visa Credit Card. As a nice added bonus, you typically receive 6 months 0% financing on the cost of your cruise and you rack up Disney Rewards Points as well. Disney Rewards Points can be cashed in for Disney Rewards Cards, (think gift card), that can be used on just about anything Disney. Use your Rewards Card to apply to your on board account to cover tips, drinks, spa treatments, and more.

2. Book with a Travel Agent – Travel agents pay a discounted price for the cruise that they sell you. The price you pay a travel agent will be the same as the price you would pay Disney directly, but many travel agents, such as Small World Vacations, offer you extras as a way of passing on some of the savings. These extras can be anything from On Board Credit, gifts for you in your stateroom when you arrive, cash back, or even gift cards when using member clubs such as Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club.

3. Book Your Cruise Online – As stated on their website, Disney offers a $25 On Board Credit to guests who book their cruise online using the Disney Cruise Line website. If you choose to book with a travel agent, be sure to ask them to book via Disney’s website to get you the $25 On Board Credit!

(Note: The Disney Visa On Board Credit and the booking online On Board Credit promotions can be stacked together for a total of $75 in On Board Credit. These promotions can also be stacked with any On Board Credit offers you may receive from a travel agent.)

4. Re-book while on the Ship – Disney will allow, even encourage you to book while you are on the ship enjoying your current cruise. indicated that Re-booking on board will save you 10% off current rates for categories 11-4, plus they will give you $100-$200 in On Board Credit to spend for your next cruise.

(Note: The On Board Credit you receive for re-booking while on the ship cannot be stacked with the Disney Visa On Board Credit or the booking online On Board Credit promotions listed above. You can, however, stack the re-booking on the ship promotion with any On Board Credit offers you get from a travel agent.)

5. Cruise in the off season – Cruising in the off season usually means while most children are in school. Disney offers their cruises at a significantly reduced rate during these times of year. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving, Christmas-New Years, Spring Break, and the summer months are the most popular sailing times and the prices will reflect this. Be prepared for sticker shock for Disney’s more popular sailing dates.

6. Book Early – Unlike many other cruise lines, Disney typically raises its prices the closer it gets to the time of sailing. For this reason, it is always best to book as early as you can to get the best rate. You can cancel up until 90 days before your cruise.

7. Check the website often – Disney will periodically run specials such as Kid Sail Free or discounted rates for certain sailings. This usually occurs because there may be a few dates that are not selling as well as expected and they would like to fill the ships sooner. Act fast because once word gets out that Disney has offered these deals they sell out sometimes over night! Specials such as the Kids Sail Free promotion can offer thousands in savings, but are only available to the specified itineraries, cruise lengths, and other stipulations.

8. Get on the Email and Snail Mail List – Disney has been known to offer special promotions via email and snail mail that are only available to the person they are sent to. These offers seem to be at random and are a welcomed surprise when received!

9. GTY Rooms & FREE upgrades – If you are a bit of a gambler or don’t really care about your room location, check out the different categories to see if any are listed as GTY status. GTY stands for guaranteed, meaning that you pay the going rate for that category and you are “guaranteed” to get a room in that category or higher. This also means that Disney chooses where to put you on the ship and you don’t find out your stateroom location until about 20 days before your cruise. The upside is you could end up with a “Free” upgrade if Disney chooses to place you in higher category stateroom. This often happens when Disney is trying to fill a ship and needs to move passengers out of the more popular stateroom categories to re-sell them. It is important to note that this “Free” upgrade is not limited to GTY rooms. Anyone can be offered an upgrade for free by Disney if they want to re-sell your room. However, with GTY rooms your chances of an upgrade are much higher but you will not have the option of requesting a different room. You get what you get.

10. Paid Upgrades at Port – If you are looking to upgrade your stateroom category, consider taking a chance by booking a cheaper category and upgrading at port just before the cruise. It’s not a sure thing, but sometimes you get lucky and a few rooms are available that you can upgrade to at a discounted rate. Make sure you get to port early if you plan to try to upgrade, as these rooms go fast if available at all.

11. Keep on Sailing – Once you have cruised on Disney Cruise Line you automatically become a member for the Castaway Club. After your first cruise you are a silver level member. Once you reach 5 cruises you will be a gold member and after 10 cruises you will be platinum member. Gold and Platinum members get extra On Board Credit for re-booking while on board, as well as other perks such as discounts on select Disney merchandise on board and more.

By following these tips, you’ll find yourself pool side sipping on your favorite umbrella drink in no time at a fraction of the cost. Now that’s what I call a magical experience!


Advertisement. Disney Rewards Visa and Debit Cards from Chase. Web. 03 Aug. 2010. .

Advertisement. Small World Vacations – Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Small World Vacations Small World Vacations, Inc. – Walt Disney World Vacation, Disneyland Packages, Disney Cruise Line Vacations and Adventures by Disney! Web. 03 Aug. 2010. .

Advertisement. Disney Cruise Line. Web. 03 Aug. 2010. .

One, Selecting. “ – Disney Cruise Line Advice, Tips and Tricks.” – Disney Discount Source – Disney World Discounts, Disneyland Discounts, Disney Cruise Discounts. Web. 02 Aug. 2010. .

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11 Winning Ways You Can Express Sympathy and Condolences

For Years whenever I got news that a friend or loved one had passed away, I got into immediate panic mode on how I will show my condolences.

I have respectful parents, who together would attend the viewing or the wake the first day it was scheduled. They may have heard the news from a friend or family member or read it in the obituaries that day. They never challenged where it was or when it was, it was something that had to be done and they always have done it.

Me on the other hand, I felt that because I hated viewings or wakes, I would just not go, or be selective on whom I would go to see and who I wouldn’t, but I would always send a mass card or condolence card. I didn’t know what to say to the person who lost their loved one, so I would avoid calling them on the phone or seeing them.

I guess I just always felt, that if people kept bringing up or reminding the person of their loss that I would make them sad all over again.

My views on giving proper condolences have now changed. My Grandmother recently died and being part of a close knit family, I was involved from my Grandmothers care prior to her death to being with the family at the viewing and then the funeral.

I learned so many things about people during this time. I am the oldest of 8 grandchildren and I was very close to my Grandmother my whole life. It was a great loss to me as well as my family. I had cold sweats and sleeplessness day before the wake. My mother had announced to all of us when we got to the funeral home, “that she wants to hear no laughter, that this is not a party”. “We need to focus and be somber”.

I thought, here I am, the family mourning and people will be coming to see us all night and pay respect to my Grandmother. We all stood together to receive people as we stood next to the coffin…was I ready to relive her final days and trigger my tears and memories of her again, just when I’ve pull it all together for this final send off? Will I have a nervous breakdown before the night is over? I was scared to death as I watched the funeral home doors open and people started flocking in. The first people were old family friends who came with their baby grandson they had been babysitting all day.

I offered to watch the baby in the back seating area while they go up to see my Grandmothers coffin and visit with my family to express condolences. It was a mood breaker seeing this smiling baby in a room with so much death around it. I thought it was ironic. Here I was always afraid to go to wakes, and here these people felt perfectly normal coming and bringing this baby to spend time with us. They ended up staying most of the night with us.

My Mother thought it was disrespectful of them for bringing the baby, but I quickly defended the baby being there. I agreed that if the baby was crying or acting out that this was not the place to keep the baby and they should go home immediately after paying their respects. But, that was not the case. You never heard a peep in the 3 hours from this baby. I expressed that it felt good that they felt comfortable bringing this little baby to a place where most adults wouldn’t want to be 50 miles from.

Now just to be clear, I would not suggest that anyone bring their babies or children to a wake or funeral service. We were just lucky to have had a good experience with the baby in the room. Most situations would not go as well and you don’t want to run the risk of disrespecting the family and having the family tell you to leave.

The truth was that the fear I always had as the person attending the wake is just as scary as it is for the people waiting to receive them.

There were so many family members and friends that I hadn’t seen in so many years, I felt truly comforted that they took the time to come out and pay us their respects in person. I was so moved, I didn’t feel like crying anymore. I think my tear ducts were dry from all the crying we all had done for 3 days straight prior to my Grandmothers passing, while she was sick.

I felt adulation seeing all these people. I could not help grinning. At various times, there were lulls and I found myself, as did some of my other family members, going off and chatting with certain people. I caught myself laughing so many times. I thought, OMG my mother said no laughing. But I wasn’t sad being there anymore. I felt it was a natural gathering of people that were brought together for a common cause. I enjoyed so many conversations and seeing so many people I had not seen for as much as 20 years.

The next day was the funeral. We were tired from the night before and we had an early start, with a full Catholic mass and burial. The fear came back. Wishing the day was over, as I anticipated the tears and heart ache coming back with so many of the day’s reminders amidst. The church mass celebration was so peaceful and beautiful. My mother had requested “NO Singing or MUSIC” at the church mass. The priest reluctantly obliged, but expressed that the mass would be too quiet and we might need some music to lighten the air.

You could not talk my mother out of the ‘No music or singing’ no matter what he said. She was right about it though. The silence of the church and echo’s of the priest reading the scriptures made the funeral meaningful and gave the day the perfect closure.

Once we got to the gravesite, I knew we were finally at the end of this grueling day. During this ordeal, I realized there were certain things people did that were impressive and others that were not.

There were some people who did the bare minimum and others who were in the forefront the whole way to console us and be with us during this tough time.

These are the gestures that were appreciated that I want to share with you so that you don’t miss the opportunity to show proper respect to people you care about:

1. Send a condolence card. Be sure not to use one of the free one’s you get in the mail. Those are cheap looking and your heartfelt sentiments deserve a store bought card.

2. Find out what place of worship the deceased belonged to and go and get a mass card for them.

3. Where time and logistics make it impossible to get a mass card from the place of worship, there are mass cards that you can get in the mail from nonprofit organizations, that you can keep in a drawer and when you need one it is there for you and you just have to fill it out with the deceased name and mail in a donation to the organization when you use it.

4. Find out when the viewing / wake is and do your best to go to it. If you are out of town, look on the internet for the local newspaper of the deceased and find the obituary. The obituary will tell you when and where the wake will be as well as the funeral place and time.

5. If you want to call the family and express your condolences, do so after the funeral. Doing it prior to the wake and funeral stresses the family even more than they already are as they anticipate a grueling several days ahead until the loved one is buried. Call them the day after the funeral where your call will be appreciated better.

6. It is an extra kind gesture to bring a card to the wake with either a mass card in it, a monetary gift or a donation (the family will usually mention an organization they would like donations sent to in the obituary, sometimes in lieu of flowers).

7. Send something to the family. If this is a close friend this will be well appreciated. You can send flowers to the funeral home (call the funeral home and make these arrangements with them) or send a fruit basket or edible arrangements (look online to place an order) to the family. Don’t send table flowers to them. The symbol of flowers at this time will be isolated to the funeral home and grave site. Sending table flowers to the family’s house will give a mixed message and won’t be appreciated. If you have doubts… give money or donate to their charity of choice.

8. Additionally, if you have the time, bake a cake (dessert)or make a casserole (entrée) for the family and drop it off at the house the day before the funeral or after that. Some people have the funeral reception after the burial and others have it at a restaurant. However, the food is a nice gesture for the family if you choose to do this. Be sure to put your name on the food and reheat instructions.

9. In some cultures, making a house visit a week or two after the funeral is a necessary gesture of respect. However, we are in the United States, so cultural respect is combined or exchanged with doing one of the above mentioned signs of respect.

10. It is acceptable to send an e-mail to a family member of the grieving family before or/and after the funeral. However, this is in addition to the condolence card, attending the wake and or funeral. There is still the need to see and touch people during this time. E-mails can express a momentary sentiment, it cannot replace you and the personal time you took to express a sincere condolence to the family.

11. Most of the time after the funeral, the family will have a reception after the funeral. Don’t assume everyone is invited. If you happen to attend the funeral and then go on ahead and join the family at the grave site, don’t invite yourself to the restaurant or house afterward. There will usually be an announcement at the gravesite by the funeral director or the family will personally invite people. Sometimes families want to be alone and do not intend on having a festive mood after this long, hard day. Be sensitive to this and avoid being a possible mooch.

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11/2010 AFC West Insight

5-2, 4-4, 3-5, and 2-6 are the records for the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and Denver Broncos respectively. This is a division that was once thought to have one elite team- the Chargers- and a cast of poor teams such as the Raiders and Chiefs. However, San Diego sits at third while Kansas City and Oakland are at their respective slots at the top. Kansas City’s recent rise shows that Scott Pioli is easily the best GM in the NFL and will go in the Hall of Fame.

The division proves that the NFL had not evolved into a league of passing. The two last teams lead the division in passing. The Chargers have one of the best signal callers in the league, while Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton has accumulated big numbers as Josh McDaniels constantly look to the passing game.

On Sunday, the Raiders and Chiefs will square off in a rivalry that has finally found its luster again. Both teams have good running games. Darren McFadden has thrust himself as one of the better backs this year despite the talk of it being Michael Bush’s year in the offseason. Jamaal Charles has become one of the best running backs in the league, and Thomas Jones has broken the laws of football physics.

At the age of 32, TJ has still proven to be one of the better RBs in the league. Jones is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, even under a poor offensive line with the rush. Usually, an older running back that has received a lot of wear and tear in his career combined with a poor O-Line creates a catastrophe. This doesn’t apply with TJ. You could make a strong argument supporting a Hall of Fame run for Thomas Jones.

The Kansas City Chiefs also possess a strong defense that features the extremely underrated Tamba Hali. This outside linebacker already has 7 sacks in just as many games. You should pencil him in to your All-Pro team. This guy is one of the best players in the game. Derrick Johnson finally has some more support and is putting together a career year as a coverage player. DJ has 57 tackles, or 8.14 tackles per game.

Derrick Johnson has proven to be one of the best linebackers in the league and is as unsung as his teammate Hali. Did I mention that he also already has 7 passes defended in 7 games? That is a very good stat and shows just how good of a cover guy he has become. Did I mention that seven PDs is his career high? You could say this could be a career year as he is on pace for 130 tackles.

Brandon Flowers is another unsung player. Even though he is under 6 feet tall, he is still one of the best corners in this league. Don’t write him off in the top 5 list of cornerbacks in the league. Rookie Eric Berry- as well as fellow rookie safety Earl Thomas- has been everything I thought he would be and all the people for him thought he would. Berry is on pace for 94 tackles, 4 picks, and nine passes defended. Not bad for a rookie safety.

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11/25/10 Daily Dose of Nonsense

Scope it, as in Horoscope: Bring a laugh track with you today. You may need it.

Bonehead Tip of the Day: Throw out the political talk right before sitting down to dinner today. It will make everyone eat less and it may trigger a non-invite for Christmas. It’s also a good time to opt out the the gift giving for the rest of your life. For the kicker, say you are an atheist before saying grace. And make sure you scream out that you do not eat meat. Oh, there’s more. Text during dinner and update your status.

Trivia: How about this for birth control in ancient times – – swallowing dead bees in honey. OK, throw in the honey and you are on to something. With the naked eye, you can see about 60,000 stars. No word on many you can see if they were fully clothed. In 1880 alone, Thomas Edison for 60 of his patents. He preferred to do it alone, I’m guessing.

The List: Conversations.
Here are some sure fire topics that will come up today.
1. Traffic/Directions
2. TSA
3. Black Friday
4. Football
5. Weather
6. “Dancing With the Stars”
Try these, too.
1. Favorite places to drink beer.
2. Discuss things not to stuff in a turkey.
3. Go around the table and reveal something nobody in the family knows about you.
4. Discuss how to get out of debt and the crisis in the country then head out as early as possible to spend on Black Friday.
5. Mention that you will be running for political office and get their support until they find out the party in which you will run.
6. Just laugh, for crying out loud.

Closer: “It’s not Thanksgiving without the family. It’s just overeating.” From “The Middle.”

Tags:11/25/10 Daily Dose of Nonsense

12 Best Athletes in Football, Baseball and Basketball

Let’s play the what if game. What if you could take any 12 great athletes from the entire history of football, baseball and basketball and make a team that could be a winner in the NFL, NBA and major league baseball?

Who would you pick?

Here’s the rules: Pick only 12 professional athletes from MLB, NFL or NBA history. They do not have to have played in more than one sport like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, but that might help your team. However, you do need to assign them to positions they have the physical ability to play successfully. For example, you will need enough linemen for your football team but you’ll also need some agile guys to handle point guard in basketball and shortstop in baseball. Guys may have to play out of position in their own sport to make it work.

Who would you select to have the best overall teams in all 3 sports?

Here is my all-time, multi-sport team:


QB Sandy Koufax: great arm and tough under pressure
RB Jackie Robinson: a football star at UCLA
RB Rickey Henderson: speed and grace
WR Michael Jordan and Deion Sanders
C Ivan Rodriguez
LG Lee Smith 6’6″, 225 pound baseball closer
RG Dave DeBusschere, 6’6″, 220 pound basketball forward
LT Patrick Ewing 7’0″ 240 pounds
RT Bo Jackson: out of position, but we need to him on the line
TE Magic Johnson: there is no position he can’t play
K/P Barry Bonds: a little cream and clear on his left knee and he’s good to go


PG Magic Johnson
SG Sandy Koufax: 6’2″, 210 pounds, played Freshman basketball at U. Of Cincinnati and averaged 9.7 points per game.
PF Dave DeBusschere
SF Michael Jordan
C Patrick Ewing

SP Sandy Koufax
C Ivan Rodriguez
1B Patrick Ewing
2B Magic Johnson
SS Jackie Robinson: Played shortstop at UCLA and for Negro League Kansas City Monarchs
3B Michael Jordan: Played minor league baseball
LF Barry Bonds
CF Deion Sanders: football star who did play some baseball, though not well.
RF Rickey Henderson
DH Bo Jackson: football player who could hit the ball a mile when healthy enough to play baseball

CL Lee Smith
RP Dave DeBusschere: NBA star who compiled 2.90 ERA in two years with Chicago White Sox

I figure that team can hold its own better than any other combinations of athletes from the three sports. Some others I considered:

Baseball players Bob Gibson Dick Groat, and Frank Howard were excellent basketball players and Howard could have also handled football. Danny Ainge played in the NBA and MLB. Brian Jordan played baseball and football. Gifted athletes Julius Erving, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle probably could have accomplished great things in any sports. Also, superstar NBA big men Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul Jabbar could probably be substituted for Patrick Ewing. Additionally, I doubt any NFL lineman would want to tangle with Moses Malone or Dennis Rodman on an angry night and I’ll bet they could slug the ball pretty well too.

Feel free to comment with your ideas on your all-time multi-sport team.

Tags:12 Best Athletes in Football, Baseball and Basketball

115 Million Dementia Victims to Need Caregivers by 2050

COMMENTARY | The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the number of dementia cases is expected to more than triple by the year 2050; nearly 36 million people currently suffer with the condition and by 2050 it is expected that 115 million people will suffer from dementia. Dementia is a source of terrifying anxiety for patients and requires saint-like patience of caregivers. While there is no cure currently available for dementia, there are choices in lifestyle that could minimize the effects of this rehabilitating disease. I have worked with dementia patients; it is worth doing whatever it takes to minimize the chances of coming down with this debilitating condition.

What is it like to provide care for an Alzheimer and/or dementia patient?
I spent a year working as a caregiver in an Alzheimer/dementia home. While the home that the patients lived in was lovely and well-kept, and, while the caregivers were all kind and respectful to the patients, I can attest that life in a home for failing minds is dismal. Dementia patients suffer from sad conditions such as not remembering the names of relatives and being agitated that a relative hasn’t called or visited in months; never mind that a relative had visited just two days previous. They suffer from boredom due to their monotonous daily living routine; they fail to remember that yesterday they had had an anxiety attack when their daily routine had been altered. Dementia patients can recall details of their past and do enjoy sharing those memories to anyone who will listen; that is perhaps the kindest and most important job of a caregiver for a dementia patient , just sitting and listening.

Minimizing the chances of getting dementia.
It takes a special person to care for a dementia patient. While I eventually realized that I was not one of the saints who could make a career out of helping these needy individuals, I was involved long enough to resolve to do whatever I could to minimize the chances of my kids having to deal with a parent with dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the environmental conditions that lead to dementia/Alzheimer’s include: maintain a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and includes minimal saturated fats, don’t smoke, don’t drink excessively, avoid obesity, exercise regularly, and learn to manage mental stress.

Tags:115 Million Dementia Victims to Need Caregivers by 2050

12 Billy Graham Quotes for Inspiration

Billy Graham has been one of the most influential Christians of all-time. So many lives have been brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the preaching and messages from Graham over the years. Enjoy this list of twelve great quotes from Billy Graham and let us know your favorite.

#12 God has given us two hands–one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.

#11 Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is like a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

#10 Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!

#9 A real Christian is the one who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.

# 8 You cannot come to Christ unless the Spirit of God brings you. But what if you ignore His warnings? Then you are in the gravest danger, for some day God will no longer be speaking to you. Then it will be too late. Come to Christ while there is still time. Christ, God’s greater Ark, stands ready to welcome you to safety today.

#7 The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through the tears. The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one which will deeply root inside us and give us inward relaxation, peace, and contentment, no matter what the surface problems may be. That kind of happiness stands in need of no outward stimulas.

#6 Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.

#5 Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.

#4 The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’

#3 The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same.

#2 I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.

#1 God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.”

Quotes have a great way of allowing us to reflect on truths found in the Bible and in life. Billy Graham has a gift from God in preaching and words and his quotes are great. For another great article with Christian quotes check out these Timothy Keller quotes.

Tags:12 Billy Graham Quotes for Inspiration

12 Days of Christmas Crafts Using Kid's Hand Prints

Hand print crafts for Christmas are a jolly good time. Kids love finger painting. Creating these easy Christmas crafts that use kid’s hand prints means that each craft will be as unique as their own fingerprints. These unique Christmas craft ideas can be used in the classroom, at home, in Sunday school or at Christmas parties. The creations can be used as Christmas decorations, handmade Christmas cards, or even as handmade ornaments.

The even better news is that there are so many ways for kids to create to personalized Christmas ornaments and crafts that you can create a different one of each of the 12 days of Christmas.

1. A symbol of peace: The Dove Hand print Christmas Craft

To create a white dove hand print, you’ll want to start with a colored paper background. Blue works well. After the hand print dries kids can add eyes or olive branches. In order for the hand print to look like a dove, kids will need to spread their thumb as far away from their fingers as possible. The hand position when they head to the paper should create a letter v in order for the hand print to resemble a dove.

Tip: Have kids practice making the v formation in the air before they dip their hands in the paint.

2. A familiar favorite: The Hand print Wreath Christmas Craft

Hand print wreaths are created with overlapping green hand prints in a circular pattern.

The hand print wreath Christmas craft can be created individually or as a group with each child adding one or both hand prints. After the green paint is dry, kids can add individual fingerprints for red berries.

Tip: To help guide the shape of the wreath, draw an inner circle and explain that bottom of the hand should be lined up with the circle. Then simply keep turning the paper a few inches to add subsequent hand prints.

3. Oh Christmas tree: The Christmas Tree Hand print Craft

When kids hold all of their fingers close together there will be an asymmetrical, abstract triangle shape that is perfect for creating a Christmas tree hand print. After a green Christmas tree hand print is dry, kids can add a brown thumbprint trunk and pinky finger Christmas ball decorations.

Tip: Kids can create the Charlie Brown Christmas special Christmas tree lot by creating trees in a variety of colors.

4. The Star of Bethlehem: Star Christmas Crafts

The star is a beautiful symbol of Christmas and with five points, it lends itself well to having kids add a fingerprint glow from each finger on one hand to the five points.

Tip: Have kids use a light shade of yellow to color their stars and a brighter color for their glowing fingerprints. You can also add glitter while the paint is still wet as well.

5. Frosty fun: Fingerprint Snowmen

This is a fun Christmas craft that can be created on a small scale making it perfect for handmade cards or even gift tags. Kids will use a thumbprint base, tallest finger middle and pinky snowman head. After the fingerprints dry, kids can add tiny accessories with fine tip markers.

Tip: A family can each add a snowman to a card to create a Christmas keepsake.

6. No Calorie Christmas Candy: Candy Cane Crafts

There are so many fun candy cane Christmas crafts but this one is super easy. With a double outlined candy cane shaped, kids can add red fingerprints to create the stripes.

This is an easy preschool ornament craft that reinforces the colors red and white the idea behind negative space which for little ones will translate into leaving room for the white stripes to show through too.

Tip: Use medium weight white cardboard like from gift boxes or shirt inserts to turn this artwork into a personalized ornament.

7. Rudolph with Your Nose So Bright: Reindeer Hand print Christmas Craft

The brown hand print, with fingers spread wide, will create the reindeer’s antlers. A red thumbprint will create a red nose. Now if you’re really brave, the reindeer face can be created first from a footprint. Alternatively, I’ve seen a reindeer craft created with an upside down hand print that resembles a deer with four legs and a lowered head as if grazing.

Tip: Adding craft eyes will give any reindeer craft personality.

8. Christmas by Candlelight: Christmas candle crafts

Kids can create Christmas candles by using the prints of their individual fingers and adding an orange fingerprint flame.

Tip: This is an excellent craft for teaching kids about the advent wreath, with four purple and one pink candle. It can be combined with a hand print as well.

9. The Reason for the Season: Baby Jesus Hand print Craft

A baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes is easy to create with finger paints but this idea doesn’t use a whole hand print. Instead the swaddled body is made with white paint on the heel of the palm below the thumb. Add baby Jesus’ head with a flesh colored fingerprint. After the paint is dry, two tiny “smile” shaped eyes will create the look of a peacefully sleeping baby Jesus.

Tip: To create a flesh colored paint use white with brown and a touch of orange, mixing until you get the desired skin tone. Work with small amounts, as you will only need one fingerprint for the head.

10. And Lo, an Angel of Lord Appeared: Angel Christmas Craft

After kids create a basic angel body and head, they can use both hands to create the angel’s wings. Kids tend to want to make the angel’s wings go straight out from the sides which is fine but it can be helpful to tell them that their tallest finger should be pointing at the corner of the paper. This will give the angel’s wing a bit of lift.

Tip: Sprinkle the wings with gold or silver glitter before the paint dries for extra sparkle.

11. Lisa Carey’s Kid Christmas Party Craft: Santa’s Beard Hand prints

You know you’ve got a good friend when you’re writing an article on Christmas crafts made from kid’s hand prints and your friend calls to tell you about a favorite Christmas party craft using hand prints. Fellow Associated Content from Yahoo! writer Lisa Carey shared that a favorite craft at her Christmas party this year was a Santa craft completed with an upside down white hand print for the jolly old elf’s beard.

Tip: Red thumbprints can give Santa those rosy cheeks too.

12. The Stockings Were Hung: Fire in the Fireplace Christmas Art Projects

This Christmas art project is a little different and is great for older kids that can independently create a fireplace scene complete with a mantel and stockings. Hand prints in orange, red and yellow that are overlapping will create the illusion of the flames in a fireplace.

Tip: Remind students to size the fireplace opening so that there’s room for several sets of hand prints flames to create a warm glow for Christmas.

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Finger paints to keep the kids happy.”

Tags:12 Days of Christmas Crafts Using Kid’s Hand Prints

12/01/10 Daily Dose of Nonsense

Scope it, as in Horoscope: Just look around your place today and think about the things that you have that you have never bought. NEVER.

Bonehead Tip of the Day: Yes, it’s time to head to a Ma and Pa Store and demand a Big Box. Can you get a Big Box at a smaller store or are they reserved for the oversized, buy everything including used underwear and Q-Tips stores?
What is worse? Waiting in line to check out with a cashier or being watched while you do it yourself. Wow, that’s what I need when I’m trying avoid being noticed. Caught this the other day when grocery shopping. A couple came in and the guy was drinking a cup of coffee. No, not one from a fast food place. A CUP OF COFFEE. And they were dressed in those pajama-style clothes. I took my Big Box and left.

The List: Top TV shows of the week.
1. “Dancing With the Stars Results” – 24.7 million viewers
2. “Dancing With the Stars” – 23.7 million
3. “NFL Sunday Night Football” – 19.1 million
Source: Nielson
Notes: “NCIS” continues to be the top rated drama on TV and does pretty darn well in reruns on USA as well. “Two and a Half Men” is still the highest rated sitcom, for reasons unknown. “Modern Family” is the best, however, as last week’s episode proved. Meanwhile, the rerun episode on Thanksgiving was perhaps the best half hour of a sitcom in a long time, for any show. I have gone away from “House” this year and I’m not the only one. We tend to shy away from profiling but “Criminal Minds” doesn’t care and and is popular. And it’s good.

Trivia: The sun is indeed closer to me during winter, but the earth is tilted on its axis. Much like my Uncle Willie after a few drinks. Cows and my uncle chew 18-19 hours a day but not in a figure-eight pattern. How did that last part get in there? A camel does chew in a figure-eight pattern, though. A certain sea squirt in Japan eats its own brain because, frankly, it doesn’t need it. Christianity helped spread the hospitals around. Buckles came first my friends. That is, they came before shoelaces.

Closer: “What the Sam Hill you yelling for George?” – Bert from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Tags:12/01/10 Daily Dose of Nonsense

12 Christmas Stocking Stuffers for the Geek in Your Life

Having a difficult time deciding what to get for Christmas presents? Each and every year I struggle for things to get and rely on Amazon wish lists even though it would be nice to come up with something that is a complete surprise for the recipient. As it happens, I have a lot of geek friends and so this year I’ve decided to go out and peruse things that might be interesting, unique or different and have come up with a fun list of Christmas presents. Whether you’re the geek member in your family or a loved one is, there are lots of fun ideas out there when it comes to finding great Christmas stocking stuffers for the nerds of the world.

1. Ancestry and DNA screening. Who isn’t interested in knowing more about their background? 23andMe are currently offering DNA kits at just $99 which would make a great Christmas gift.

2. Lego mini storage boxes are something everybody can get excited about and I know plenty of adults who are childless who have quite a few in their homes.

3. A Thirsty Plant Kit which is as it sounds – a kit to water plants via technology should you be the type of person who can’t seem to remember to water your plants. You get an LED light, solar panel and everything you need to test just how thirsty your plant is.

4. For those were products of the 1980s, Pac Man Arcade Cabinet Candy will do nicely.

5. Fans of the show Doctor Who will love the Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Remote Control.

6. Not content with regular lamps? Why not try a Star Wars Lightsaber lava lamp.

7. Want a neat place to put your iPhone? Remember those neat mix tapes we all used to make for our friends or ourselves with our favorite songs recorded from radio or records? Give your iPhone a treat with the Mix Tape Cassette Phone Case.

8. Geeky circuit board cufflinks are a must. Stormtrooper cufflinks also look quite brilliant.

9. Think science when you’re having your morning cup of coffee or tea with period table of elements mug.

10. Ice cubes are more fun if they’re not just square-shaped. How about getting the Stars Wars fan in your life a Death Star ice cube mold tray?

11. Were you a fan of Tetris? Piece together your very own colorful Tetris light lamp.

12. If you need some interesting book end for your bookshelf, these aluminum portal bookends look brilliant.

Tags:12 Christmas Stocking Stuffers for the Geek in Your Life

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