Many cars fail the emissions test, leaving owners scrambling to make expensive repairs. Sometimes those repairs are warranted – sometimes not. Taking the following actions before you take your car in for an emissions test can keep you from being forced into needless repairs:
Your teen will take Driver’s Education to learn the basics of driving. But the road to becoming an excellent driver is a long and circuitous one. A road for which you, as a parent, are responsible. It’s more than finding the ignition and realizing that, unlike the go-carts, one foot manages both the brakes and the gas. How do you teach someone to be an excellent driver? It’s complicated (and easy if you decide to do more Show than Tell).
1. Teach your teen that no one is to ever touch the driver: not even at a stoplight. How do you do this? You constantly and repeatedly say, “Don’t touch the driver” whenever one of your kids tries to touch the driver. Most teenage accidents are the result of a distracted driver. Kids want to fit in and have fun. A driver has to remember that, even though everyone else in the car is having fun, the driver has a dedicated duty to get everyone to the planned destination – alive.
2. Teach your teen to obey traffic signals. It’s difficult to stop at a yellow light instead of skimming on through. If you've ever scooted through a yellow (or red) light and then quipped “but it was only pink” or some other clever excuse, you were not teaching your teen this integral lesson. The one time you go through a yellow light is when you see a car barreling toward you in your rearview mirror. Once you get through the light, explain to your teen what just happened. Your teen needs to understand that rules of the road are only broken to save lives – never to risk them.
3. Teach your teen to never drive faster than visibility allows. As you make your way through fog or heavy snow, talk to your young passengers about what you’re doing. Tell them how you’re leaving more space between your car and the car in front of you to avoid a collision that works like dominoes. Tell them you have reduced your speed to account for unknown surprises (including incautious drivers) that may be lurking ahead beyond your visibility. Telling them why you are doing what you’re doing as you perform the actions allows them to learn vicariously.
4. Teach your teen to put away the cell phone and to pay attention to the road. It’s not always easy to remember that you’re in command of a 2 ton chunk of metal that will act much like a weapon in the hands of a distracted driver. But that is the lesson that must be learned. Going back to the Don’t Touch the Driver rule, impress upon your teen the importance of paying attention to the road by not messing with your cell phone or iPod (or anything else) while you're driving.
5. Teach your teen to be a good passenger. A distracted driver (with or without experience) is a road hazard. Good passengers will buy into the notion that everyone wants to arrive alive and will do their part to make this happen. Even when your children are young, they are learning the importance of keeping the trip distraction-free. All requests can be fielded by the person riding shotgun.
6. Teach your teen not to drive after drinking. First and foremost, do this yourself. Never ask your child to get into the car with you if you’ve been drinking (unless you're setting your butt down in the passenger seat). Ever. Take it one step further, let your teen know that you are always available to play taxi if there are no sober potential drivers available. And if you aren't, get the kids a taxi. The most expensive taxi ride costs less than a funeral.
7. Teach your teen to drive using baby steps. We always headed to the graveyard for the first driving lessons. (Everyone is already dead so you’ve eliminated one threat already!) Next, find a quiet country road followed by quick trips through the neighborhood. Your teen should be fairly comfortable with driving before you ever head for the freeway or a crowded mall. Make every driving experience a happy, scream-free, criticism-free one (knowing that you will probably fail once or twice with this goal).
8. Teach your teen what to do in an accident. Yes, call 911 right away – this is one of those emergencies (call mom or dad, too). Never, ever leave the site of the accident – even if the other driver speeds away. Try to get a license plate number but DO NOT MOVE THE CAR UNTIL THE POLICE ARRIVE AND INSTRUCT YOU TO DO SO. This will protect your teen’s interests while allowing the police determine what happened (i.e., establishing fault).
Teaching a teen to be an excellent driver is more about being an excellent driver, yourself. Leave the staying within the lines rules and pop quizzes for the teacher.
Have you ever tasted homemade applesauce? I didn’t even think I liked applesauce until I tried some that didn’t come from the store. Instead of tasting like ground up cardboard sweetened with sugar and cinnamon; this stuff actually tastes like fresh apples! I fell in love...and had to make some for my family. It’s the same with salsa. I prefer making my own with fresh tomatoes straight from the garden. However, the thought of my having to sit and peel all of those apples (or tomatoes) and then going back to core them all…please! Moms are busy caring for children, taking care of business, and keeping everybody happy. Nobody has time for that! Until you discover the magic of the Victorio Food Strainer.
If you want to make homemade applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, mashed potatoes, etc. without the hassle, this is the one appliance you simply can’t do without. Instead of the time consuming process of peeling and coring all of those apples (and chasing the tiny seeds), you simply:
The strainer does the work for you and saves you hours! The applesauce pours into your bowl all perfect and pristine while the seeds, core, and skin are shown the door (the little extension to your left that looks like a cup) so you don’t have to worry about them. And all you have to do is grind. I usually cool the leftover stuff and add it to my garden soil: that is about as organic as I get.
Apple season is here and I know you want to make some applesauce! How do you obtain one of these magical contraptions? I don't know...hahaha. I got mine at Amazon for under $50. Order one (you know you want it) and tomorrow I’ll post a recipe for fresh applesauce!
King cake, milk punch, cheap beads, and a great party. These are the ingredients for a fabulous Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday) is the day to celebrate and eat fatty food before the onset of Ash Wednesday. For those of you who don’t celebrate Christian high holy days, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. In short, the message is Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall repent. So get that party on and plan to be from tomorrow until Easter.
If you aren’t on Bourbon Street already, forget about it. You won’t be making this season’s official Mardi Gras but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a party! If you’re an adult, send out a few texts, hit the tacky bead store, and throw an impromptu party tonight! If you’re just partying with the kids, hit the tacky bead store (don’t forget to buy your plastic baby for the King cake), and don’t worry about anything but a sugar hangover for work tomorrow.
You don’t really have a lot of time to cook up a storm (especially if you’re reading this at work) so consider making a list of what you can do before your big evening of celebrating:
Faux Gumbo You Can Whip Up in 30 Minutes
1 lb. Spicy sausage (If you used whole sausages, slice it up.) Drain and set aside.
¼ c (½ stick) butter
in a frying pan and slowly add ¼ c flour to make a roux (paste).
½ c onion (chopped)
½ c celery (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture into soup pot (you can remove the onions at this point if you hate onions in your soup but you need to cook them with the celery and garlic for flavor).
The already cooked sausage
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz can – drain them)
1 ½ c chicken Stock (DON’T buy broth as it is too thin)
1 pkg frozen, sliced okra
1 can green beans
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp thyme
Simmer until hot and bubbly.
¼ lb clean, uncooked shrimp
Cook until the shrimp are pink and firm (about 5 minutes).
Spoon the gumbo over hot cooked rice. (We recommend about 6 c of rice.)
No, this is not an authentic King Cake but it will do in a pinch. You can find a recipe and make the real thing next year – when you have time. (If you have children joining in your celebrations, help them search for the baby in their slice of cake before they eat it. We don’t want you celebrating Mardi Gras in the emergency room with a tiny choking victim.) Have a small prize for the person who is fortunate enough to find the baby in the cake. If you are hosting an adult party – the person who winds up with the baby is the one responsible for hosting the Mardi Gras party next year!
Okay. Now you have no excuse to NOT throw your own Mardi Gras today. Have a great time and go get your party on!
Every year the CDC proudly provides tips on how to have a safe Halloween. Have you seen the list? They seem to be convinced that everyone is out to kill you on Halloween - and you are the hapless, clueless victim who will be murdered when you're simply seeking out a free piece of candy or two. In short, the list carefully guides you to the conclusion that any attempt to have fun on Halloween is the way to, ahem have fun on Halloween. Don’t believe us? Take a look at at the items included on the "Safe Halloween" list (included in italics are suggestions on how to have fun and stay fairly safe by using your common sense)
S Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. Whoever heard of a 10 year pirate with a 4 inch nerf knife? Instead, get that cool looking, costume-related weapon from your local department store and don’t hit anyone with it! If you can’t handle not hitting people, go as a princess (again).
A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult. They’re partially right on this one. Go with a group of friends – it’s tons of fun! But parents only belong driving or with the little ones. Talk an older sibling into letting your friend and you roam the neighborhood with the big kids or let your parent chauffeur you to the corner of a block and wait for you in the car while you have your fun. If you'll be hanging with the big kids don't be a brat - act like a big kid or you won't be invited back next year. Also, please ask your parent to not run over any of the other trick-or-treaters.
F Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. Not really a bad idea if you have some reflective tape hanging around and don’t mind what it will do to your costume. A flashlight will do the same thing and let you see where you’re running while drivers see you. Keep it turned on and use new batteries. Or better yet, buy a helmet with a headlamp in it!
E Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat. Yes, make sure your treats are safe before cramming them all in your mouth. Eat them all in a 24 hour period. Extending the sugar high over the period of a week or more exposes your teeth to cavity-inducing sugar over a longer period of time while filling you up with unhealthy, refined sugar. Do it fast and get it over with.
H Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house. We already covered the take a flashlight issue – make sure your batteries are brand new so they last the whole time. Run to the next house. Yes, you might fall if you aren’t careful but if you walk you are sure to get pushed down or knocked over by all the other kids – because they’re running. Don't run into the street on Halloween unless you have a personal death wish you are hoping to fulfill.
A Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. Just the use make-up and get out the door. (Everybody has a good rash story from when they were a kid.) Don't use your mom's best make-up unless you have a death wish. (Never mind, don't use your mom's best make-up, period. If you have a death wish, see above regarding running the street. Don't leave your mom without any decent make-up to wear to your funeral. That's just mean.) Take if off before bedtime so you don’t wreck your sheets and make your mom mad.
L Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible. Yeah, do this one. A squished kid is unattractive any time of the year.
L Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. If you want to wear decorative contact lenses, purchase them from your optician or ophthalmologist to ensure they are legit and safe. Don’t buy the sketchy stuff from ebay.
O Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. It’s Halloween. Drivers are watching out for you. Stay out of the roads and look before crossing the street. But running across lawns to get to the next house is fair game. Just take care and use your common sense.
W Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. Have these people never heard of hand-me-down costumes? Wear the costume you have and ask your parents to fix anything that tends to slip off. (Naked Trick or Treaters rarely get the candy.) Masks are a drag because they limit how much you can see (i.e., peripheral vision). If you choose to wear a mask, have a wing-man to help you see or plan on being one of the slow kids that get knocked down. Wear tennis shoes (and warm socks if it’s cold outside) to maximize your staying power.
E Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. Check out Snopes.com to read about how this is entirely wrong-headed. (We suspect rumors of poisoned candy and razor blade apples were fabricated by the candy industry to wipe out the competition.) Eat the apples you get – they’re actually healthy! If there is a shady neighbor who poisons dogs and small children – avoid the house. If a neighbor shows up on the sex abuser registry – avoid the house. But homemade donuts and root beer can be part of the fun and a very cool part of Halloween! Don’t let rumors ruin Halloween and, if you read Snopes, don’t take factory-wrapped candy from your parents. Hahaha
E Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers. Let’s change this rule. Don’t enter houses. Period. That cuts down on your candy collection period and this time is already a very small window of opportunity. Only stop at dark houses if they are set up to scare you and you’re up for the fright. A lot of people set up a spooky house for your entertainment – not to kill you. All other houses are dark because they’re out of candy or they ate all of their candy before you got there. Never accept rides from strangers - and if you do, don't let them take you to their house, for goodness sake.
N Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. Let your parents worry about whether your costume is “safe enough” for Halloween. Don’t light yourself on fire (and don't light your friends on fire, either).
Now get out there and use your common sense to have a candy-filled, Happy Halloween!
Every car has a unique 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) filled with important details. The VIN is like the Social Security number for your car. It is used when you register your car, buy insurance, and when your car is in the shop for repairs -- to help order the right parts for your car. The police use it to identify your vehicle if it's been stolen.
It would be nice to know what those mysterious numbers mean, wouldn't it? Aside from amazing your family and friends with your car knowledge, you also need VINs to get a CARFAX report on a used car so that you can find out about its history before you buy it.
Look on the upper left side of your dash — you should see an rectangular tag with 17 numbers on it. You can also find your VIN on the doorjamb sticker on the driver's side. It’s also noted in the engine somewhere. Here's how the numbers break down.
An RSS Feed is an easy way for you to check on your favorite websites without having to sludge through each and every one of them. It will provide you with a list of newly published articles from all of your favorite websites and you can decide by the title whether you want to read the article or pass.
Do you have problems with your RSS Feed? To check, click on the RSS Feed icon in the right hand column of this screen (it looks like the picture to your left) If it doesn’t give you a screen that summarizes everything in Crafts and Hacks (i.e., the page you are currently on), your RSS Feed is not working correctly. If you’re using the Chrome browser, there is an easy solution to this and, having done it once, you won’t have to do it again.
To Fix Your RSS Feed on Your Chrome Browser
Okay! You're good to go. Enjoy learning more about using your RSS Feed, it can save you lots of time!
I don't know about you but to me, the thought of a loved one being kidnapped and restrained in zip ties is a horrifying thought. We've all had to cut them off of boxes and other packaging so we realize how strong they are.
I happened upon a website that teaches you how to escape zip tie restraints and it appears to be relatively simple IF you know what you're doing; so I decided this was a perfect item to share with all of you. The website has videos providing fabulous examples. Please pass this information along - you never know whose life you might be saving or keeping safe. The men in the video are a bit on the survivalist side - don't let this be off-putting, they know what they're talking about.
Some of the highlights that you should keep in mind:
And, of course, the quickest way to escape restraint is to never put yourself in positions that could compromise your safety. I've read two fabulous books that help you to trust your impressions. First is the Gift of Fear; this is an older book and is the best you will read. It will teach you to trust your gut regarding safety and understand a bit more about what your potential abductor will do to convince you to not follow your instincts. The other book is Blink; this book is more general and provides fascinating cases proving that your mind makes extremely valid snap decisions that, although you may not be able to articulate your reasoning, are very accurate and should be trusted.
Both books and zip ties for practicing are available for sell through Amazon, below. Profits from any purchases you make from us will be donated to our non-profit organization, FoMo, to further our goal of breaking the cycle of violence, poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service, education, and opportunities.
There is nothing quite like chasing fireflies at sunset in the breezy evenings of summer. Do you remember the joy of capturing the magical glowing bugs in empty mason jars? Who can forget the thrill of clapping the lid shut and discovering you actually caught one! It was fun filling jar after jar with glowing beauties. Then, sadly, the inevitable dissapointment when your glowing friends' lights go out.
Today you can enjoy similar magic killing our insect friends. Even better, it's incredibly simple.
All you need is: