DIY Musical Instruments to Do with Your Kids

Simple musical instruments are fun DIY projects that can be crafted at home together with your kids. This is a good way to make good use of free time while allowing your little ones to appreciate music, or to introduce it to them. Do not worry, because there are basic instruments that are very easy to do, and they will surely have fun playing with the finished product afterwards. A tip you should consider though is use brightly colored materials that are very attractive to look at.

Tambourine

tambourineTo make a DIY tambourine you only need a glue or stapler, 2 paper plates, hole punch, crayons and jingle bells. You just have to glue the two plates facing each other. After that, create holes around it using your puncher. The next step is to tie the jingle bells in each hole using strings. You can decorate it using crayons or if you have a poster paint, paint it with your kid’s favorite design. It is best to choose thick paper plates for these are more durable.

Drum

Drums are boys’ favorite  instruments. Introduce it to them by making your DIY drum. Gather the materials, which consist of pen, yarn, empty cans with plastic lids, two pencils, crayons, and construction paper. You can also substitute oatmeal boxes in place of the cans. You may decorate the cans or boxes using the construction paper, crayons and pencil. This will already serve as your drums. Make it as colorful and attractive as possible. The yarns will be used to be able to hang the drums around the neck of your child. For the drumstick, you can just use pencils or twigs and glue cotton at one end, securing with tape.

There are many other DIY musical instruments to choose from and most of them are easy to do, but the drums and tambourine are ideal to create with your kids because they can do the designing. This is a good way for you to make them appreciate music, especially if you observe them to be interested in it.

If they love dancing or singing with the hits of pop singers like Bruno Mars, support them all the way. Watching one of his concerts is also a way for you to have quality time together. Why not check out Bruno Mars 2015 tour and see if you could spend time watching one of his performances.  Your child will surely love to watch the man in person, especially if they enjoyed watching his music video of the Lazy Song.

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How to Create the Best Video Using Windows Movie Maker

x-movie-maker6Whether if it’s for a gift, corporate presentation, or just a personal hobby, we’ve all wanted to create our very own video. Luckily for us, there are lots of video-making software available today. One of them is Windows Movie Maker that comes installed with the Microsoft Windows OS. I recommend using Movie Maker in Windows 7 as it has more modern transitions and allows for more flexibility.

You can do lots of things in Movie Maker. I recently did a fan-made music video of Imagine Dragons 30 Lives and it was fairly easy. Start creating your own video with these easy steps:

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the interface.

Once you open the software, take time to familiarize yourself with it and get a feel of how to navigate the tools. Look for how you can add photos, videos, music, and also edit its appearance and transitions.

Step 2: Add photos or videos.

When you’re done with that, add the photos or videos you wish to include in your video. Remember that you can’ add music before you add photos; it always has to be vice versa. This is because the software layers the song with the photos. Don’t worry, you can add or remove more photos/videos later. You can adjust the duration the photo/video appears in the video.

Step 3: Add music.

You can now add music to your video. You can split or trim the audio if you wish. You can also add transitions like fade in, fade out, and others. You can also slow it down or make it faster.

Step 4: Add transitions for photos and/or videos.

Once you’ve arranged your photos/videos and made it appropriate for the audio, you can now add appropriate transitions. Transitions are used to achieve smooth flow of visual elements in your video and also to highlight important elements in the photos/videos.

Step 5: Insert captions.

Don’t forget to add captions! This is how you can effectively convey your message. In the case of creating a music video, you simply add the lyrics to the video. For personalized ones, you can input absolutely any text you want. You can also use transitions and effects to emphasize certain texts.

Step 6: Polish and publish!

Finalize your video by adding a few retouches here and there, and voila, you can now save it on your computer or any memory stick!

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Tips on How to Leverage Online Casino Bonuses

gamblingA lot of gambling enthusiasts are now turning to online casinos instead of the brick-and-mortar casinos for various benefits. One of these is the bonuses that online casinos generously offer to entice new customers.

Online casinos offer some profitable bonuses such as welcome, reload, loyalty, high-roller bonuses, and a lot more.  Rake in the most of these to fund your trip to the gym or to Justin Moore Outlaws Like Me Tour  with the help of these tips:

1. Know your bonuses.

The number one rule in playing at online casinos is to know the business. Research on various casinos, their gaming system, and their bonus systems. You can take advantage of reviews in forums or other websites.

The important thing to remember is that almost all online casinos offer welcome bonuses. Welcome bonuses are those you get just by signing up. It can be a Match Bonus, No Deposit Bonus, and Percentage Deposit Bonus. These bonuses give you free extra credits that will allow you to try playing in these casinos.

If the casino offers a good welcome bonus, it is now time to find out if it offers other good bonuses. Keep in mind that good online casinos provide not just welcome bonuses but also other bonuses for long-time players.

2. Understand rules and regulations.

However troublesome you find reading the rules and requirements of the bonuses, you have to read and take note of the important information there. You have to know the rules of acquiring and spending the bonus to avoid trouble later on.

You also have to be aware of the requirements for various bonuses so you can know if you are eligible for that bonus. For example, some online casinos have VIP programs for loyal players. You have to know how you can avail of such bonuses, or if you are automatically signed up to it, know the rules so you can maximize your profits.

3. Stay updated on the latest bonus offerings of the casino.

Online casinos often change or update their bonus systems. Be on the lookout for latest bonus offerings and promotions through subscribing to weekly or monthly newsletters. These newsletters may inform you of new bonus offerings, tournaments, and promotions that you can avail of. It may also be notifications of changes in bonus rules and requirements.

4. Explore other casinos.

It is usually more profitable if you sign up and try other casinos, too. Other casinos may have better bonus and promotions offers, and you have to be aware of these. You can read reviews of online casinos in various websites and sign up to see for yourself.

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Tips on Maintaining Hardwood Flooring

hardwoodIf you have a hardwood floor in your home, I envy you lots. Hardwoods are so elegant and durable that it can literally last for many generations. They’re pretty easy to maintain, too. As is with other things, it needs proper maintenance so that its quality and durability will not diminish.

Here are some quick tips you can use to keep your hardwood floors as shiny and classy as it is:

1. Regularly sweep or vacuum the floor to prevent the accumulation of dirt. No one wants a floor with thick dust. Dirt can also damage the surface of the wood in the long run.

2. Use carpets, doormats, or rugs to keep the floor from being scratched by objects and being spilled with liquids. This is a good idea especially in heavy traffic areas of your home like hallways, living room, and kitchen.

3. Do not use wax and oil soaps in cleaning the wooden floor since they damage the quality of the wood’s finishing. There are cleaners specialized for hardwoods that you can buy at grocery stores.

4. Do not use plenty of water in cleaning the floor because it can permanently damage it. You should squeeze the mop tight to remove water before you mop the wooden floor. Be careful to not leave the water on the floor for too long.

5. Do not expose your wooden floor to sunlight and intense artificial light because this may change the color of the wood. We don’t want a faded wooden floor, don’t we?

6. Recoat your wooden floor if you think the floor is too damaged already. Before you do this, you should consult a hardwood flooring professional to make sure that the floor will not get damaged. You can do this by yourself or hire a professional. Remember that if you decide to do it by yourself, you have to leave the coating 24 hours before you step on it. You can browse Blake Shelton Rodeo tickets  while you’re waiting!

Follow these simple tips to make sure your hardwood floor is the envy of many. Remember that allowing your wooden floor to be irreparably damaged will cost you more bucks than you will spend in maintaining it. So go ahead and give your floor some love!

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How to Build an Emergency Kit

Even though emergencies and disasters rarely happen, we all want to be prepared when these things arrive. It could mean saving our family and being comfortable when things go from bad to worst. It is better to have a back pack ready for transport when the government issues an evacuation order or if time won’t permit us from packing things which we’ll eventually need after a disastrous event.

I have here a few tips on how to pack an emergency kit, excluding the very basic food and water. If you want your family to be a little prepared (because we are not supposed to be totally prepared with these things), you’d want to check these out and start making or revising your emergency kit.

First-aid kit and medications. It is important to think of this stuff when you are planning the things that you’ll pack in case of disasters. You might sustain an injury when disaster strikes and you know how important it is to treat wounds immediately to avoid infection. It is also crucial to pack medications, especially if some of the members in your family need to take medicine because of chronic illness.

Source of light. In case of power cut-off, you should have another source of light aside from electric-powered ones. You could pack solar-powered torch light and some battery-powered flashlights and extra batteries. Also, remember to change the battery once a year so that you’re sure that you have good, working batteries in times of need. It is also advisable to pack candles, matches and lighters (water-proof).

Radio. Of course, it is given that it’s battery-powered or wind-up radio. In case where televisions won’t work because of power cut-offs, you can still hear the news and government-issued announcements.

Clothing. A change of clothing is also a recommended item to pack ahead in case of an emergency. Remember to take into account the climate especially when it is cold. Also, pack your clothes in a separate plastic bag so it won’t get wet.

Money. It is advisable to bring travellers cheques and cash especially smaller bills because ATM machines might not work after a disaster.

Basic Tools. You might need to fix things up so it is better to have handy tools in hand like hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask and the ever useful Swiss Army knife. Also include some duct tape—it is extremely helpful in binding things specifically if you need to tape up your shelter.

Toiletries/ Personal Care Supplies. This includes but is not limited to the following: toilet papers, tampons and pads, soaps and hand sanitizers for you

Shelter. As much as possible, you want to be ready when disaster strikes. The government would probably provide you with shelter but it is good to be self-sufficient during these times. If you can or if you have any, bring tents or if not, at least some sleeping bags or warm blankets for each member of the household.

Whistle. Or it could be any small object (which is easier to pack) that creates a loud noise. This is important because you might need to signal for help.

Documents. In case of fire or any other emergencies, your documents should be ready for immediate evacuation. This includes a copy of your emergency plan, local maps, your contact information, birth certificates, the deed of the house, passports and visas, insurance papers and cards, drivers’ licences and other legal documents. Also, it is better if you secure them in a plastic wrapper so that it won’t get wet.

Sentimental things. When disaster strikes you can lose everything, including the things you consider important not because it’s expensive but because of its sentimental value. This may include keepsakes, photo albums, home videos and family heirlooms like original paintings and jewelries.

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Emergency: Food and Water

Emergencies happen in a blink of an eye. Well, that’s why they are called emergencies in the first place. But the point is, it is best to plan ahead, to prepare ourselves and our belongings when these things happen. Preparing our belongings or our disaster kit ahead will not just save us from getting hungry or from losing important documents, it could also mean saving what’s important and sentimental or saving our life. We might think that evacuations rarely happen and yes it is true. But if an emergency occurs and we only have a very limited time to choose what to bring, or in some extreme cases, no time to pack at all, having an emergency/survival kit all set and ready for a quick grab could mean life or death.

There are available survival kits in the market but having our own, knowing that it suits our family’s needs is better. We all have different priorities and different things that we consider important but food and water are our common denominator. We all don’t like to get hungry or to feel intense thirst so it is better to create and put together our own kit ahead of time, especially if the disaster won’t permit us to pack the things we need. Here are the two most important things to consider when these situation strikes, for us to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours:

Water. Clean drinking water might not be readily available after a disaster because of contamination or it could be cut-off entirely. The recommended allocation per person is at least one gallon per person per day. It is also important to keep in mind the different water needs of each member, the climate and the diet. It is advisable to include water purification tablets when packing for you to have safe, clean water if your supply runs out. Also, small bottles are as important as the big ones. Small bottles are much easier to carry when the situation requires you to move from one place to another.

Food. The market offers a wide range of pre-packaged food perfect for when emergency strikes. If you want to put your own together, it is a good idea to make them (the pre-packaged) as reference when packing. Also, consider the different needs of each family member, like members with allergies, elderly, lactating mothers and infants and those with special diets.

Pack foods that won’t spoil like ready-to-eat canned goods, fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty like those with chilly and salt. Also, do not forget to bring a can opener. Remember to check your food and water’s expiration date so as not to waste the supply and to make sure that when disaster comes, you have perfectly safe water and food tucked in your house.

The following foods are suggested when packing for emergencies:

  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

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How to Prepare for Public Speaking for the First Time

publicIt is inevitable for kids to be invited to give speeches in various school activities. It could be for graduation day, foundation day, teachers’ day and many others. If your child is invited to provide a speech in front of many people for the first time, it is both exciting and terrifying. You will feel excited since your child will finally be able to speak in front of a crowd, but also nervous that something might go wrong. To prepare your child for the big event, here are some tips for you to follow:

  1. Find a good material to be read. You can either create an original piece or look for a related piece. Make sure that it is not too long or too short. You can also ask the teacher if your child is allowed to read the piece or it has to be memorized. If memorized, then you need to spend more time practicing.
  2. Make sure that you practice all the details of the speech together. Take time to practice correct pronunciation, proper pauses, appropriate facial expressions and gestures. If there are mistakes, they have to be corrected.
  3. Do a stage rehearsal. This will help a lot to ease the tension of your child. There should be an actual practice on stage so that he or she will know how it feels to be there. If possible, you can practice in front of relatives to provide support and encouragement.
  4. Provide a backup copy. Whether the speech is memorized or read, you must give a backup copy for your child. Some words might be forgotten. Therefore, it pays a lot if a backup copy is hidden on the pocket. You should also be there during the actual speech to provide support and boost morale.

If this ends up in success, it will be a huge achievement for you and your child. You can also treat yourself to a Daniel Tosh June Bloom Tour if this endeavor is successful.

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Benefits of DIY Projects

There are things in life which are best done with your own hands. Say a present (birthday, anniversary, Christmas) or other things at home where you feel the value of the thing because it was done with your own sweat seasoned with creativity and style. Well, there are times when you just copy the internet’s idea but well, you get the point. You finished the project with your own efforts and it feels like you won the lottery, given that it was a successful venture. The feelings you get after being able to complete a project or of being able to do things on you own help you gain confidence. You feel that you can do other things aside from being a mother/father or aside from the work (that gives you money) you have and it helps you establish a strong sense of self.

Aside from gaining confidence and sense of self, DIY projects also helps you gain knowledge. You go out of your comfort zone and learn new things just for the completion of the project and because of this you gain skills and knowledge which gets useful as you get older and older. You will know how things work, especially if it is a home maintenance DIYing.  You might not get it on the first try, but the more you practice, the more you finish projects, you’ll eventually get better with it.

Gaining knowledge and skills and the great feeling you get after finishing a DIY project are not just the benefits of this activity. DIY, especially in home improvement, also presents us the chance for maintaining a healthy body. Most activities require great effort and physical involvement and in turn it can work up a sweat and burn those extra calories. DIY projects such as gardening can burn up to 270 calories per hour. Imagine that—a disguised workout and you can also eat what you plant. According to research, gardening also helps lower anxiety and can also lead to better sleep.

People say that DIY projects do not really let you save money. Imagine the things you buy to get started, the self-help books, the tools, all of those this-and-that and when you all add them up, it will cost you even more than hiring a professional help. Yes, it is true. However, you can actually save money if you want to. Why buy a book when there are plenty of reliable self-help guides for free in the internet? Also, you do not need to buy a lot of tools and an expensive one at that. Unlike professionals, they need to have variety of tools because they use it all the time. Some people also say that instead of repairing, you might mess things up big time and it will cost you even more. Yes, it is also true. But I know you are smart enough to know your limits and if you believe that it is best done with a professional help then you will call one. However, whether you save money or not, the feeling of satisfaction and the confidence it brings after creating things and the knowledge and skills you gain are more than enough and that money can never buy.

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How to Study Effectively

headacheIf we take a survey and ask what students hate the most, studying would probably top the list. We simply hate it and all our energy just alarmingly drops just thinking about it. But we just have to suck it all up and study especially when the big finals is coming. I have here a few tips on how to study effectively for you to ace that exam without studying 30 hours a day. I know I’m exaggerating but sometimes it just feels like studying for an hour is like studying for half a day. These tips will make you study smarter instead of harder. Read on and discover what’s best for you.

Attitude

Like what I said earlier, we see studying as a chore and I tell you that it is wrong, so wrong! Well there’s really nothing wrong with it but researchers say that when we view studying that way, it will affect our studying performance. They say that being in the right mindset will help us focus and it will simply help us do a better job because we do not see it with dread. If there’s a time where you really can’t focus because you have other things in mind, then, do some other productive activities instead.

With the right mindset we can do a lot more in a short time because we focus all our energy to the task. First, we should avoid thinking that we are studying to have good grades during exams. Well, we study for the exams but we also have to keep in mind that studying will help us gain more knowledge and will make us understand the concepts better. We have to keep in mind that having complete understanding of all the concepts is also for our own good especially if we venture on to the working world. Let us remember that we study to actually learn something.

Also, there are times when we think it is too late for us to study and then when we do open our books and view our notes, we spend most of our time thinking that it is too late for us and that we’ll never going to finish all the coverage for the exams. There are also times when we compare ourselves to other person’s studying habits. We say Person 1 studies every night or that Person two never ever study but still get good grades in school. Well, we can see what’s wrong in the picture, right? Instead of worrying, focus your energy in studying and what you think works best for you. Set your own pace and be positive.

Location

The question of where is important when studying. Know what works best for you. Some people like complete silence when studying, some likes to have a music playing and some likes to study in a noisy environment. I have a friend who can’t stand to study in libraries and prefer to be surrounded with people talking while she diligently studies.

But for most of us, a conducive environment for concentrating means a silent place with no distractions like the TV, the computer or a friend who makes studying very pale in comparison. If you are one of these people, you should go to the library, the study hall or the quite coffee house. Find the ideal place for you to study.

Time

It is better if we schedule our study time just as our class time is scheduled. Your mind (and heart) will get used to it eventually. We can write it in our planner and it will not just remind us of our schedule but it will also help us put things into perspective. We will be able to see that at least 30 minutes of our day was put to good use. It is even better if we pick and stick to the time of day when our brain is most alert. It could be early in the morning, the time after class or before going to school. Again, determine which suits you best.

Determine What You Need

We should also consider what we need when we want to study. We should narrow it down and surround ourselves with the things that we REALLY need. It is important because sometimes those things provide a distraction especially when we really don’t want to study in the first place. Things like our cellphone, laptops and tabs provide great distraction. So if you really can do without these things, better keep them away from you. One of the reasons why it’s good to know what we need is that we might waste our precious time running around and fetching things that we need for our study session. Things like an extra sheet of paper, pens, calculators and our notes are the things that can be considered important when we are studying.

Devise a Game Plan

Or in this case, a study plan. Some people outline and rewrite their notes because they remember the information better. What is good in writing our own notes and not just copy from our classmates or rely on books, is that we put in into writing using our own words—we put the information and explain the concepts into words and terms that we best understand. Writing notes also helps because you can sometimes picture the paper and the position of the information and it will help you remember the terms or the concepts. I’ve been benefiting from this for a long time now. Whenever there are just so many concepts to remember that it feels like my brain is going through an information overload, I write it in a piece of paper and I remember where it’s located and yes, I can actually picture out the words and their position. Think of it as categorizing the info, not just in your brain but also using your sense of sight. If this works for you, you could also try mouthing the words and you’ll surely remember it. There are times when I act like I am talking to someone and I am teaching that someone the things that I am studying. I know, it sounds crazy and it’s embarrassing especially if your roommate suddenly opens the door, but it is helpful for me. Maybe it will work for you too.

Another popular trick to remember the terms especially if you are going to enumerate things is to use the method of mnemonic devices. You use simple association of common words to the terms you’re studying and it will help you remember the information. Some people string together words to form a sentence that is easy to remember.  Some also form a word by using the first letters of the words you are trying to memorize. Some people, especially in memorizing difficult terms, use a common word that sounds like the term or that associates with the term.

It is common for some people to study alone, but if you can do it with friends, then do so. The danger in this is that you and your friends could end up discussing things which are very irrelevant to your lessons. However, if all of you stick to the plan and the main goal—which is studying, it could also bring lots of benefits for your group. For one, being with friends will make studying fun. You can device lots of games for you to remember the concepts and the terms better. You could use flash cards or challenge yourselves to a game of who can answer the question first. Being with a study group also helps because if there are concepts which you do not understand, you could ask someone to explain the concept to you and vice versa.

Breaks and Rewards

This is the fun part when studying. But aside from being the fun part, taking a break also helps to refresh your mind so you can concentrate better and retain information more. Determine your limit and take a break—stretching, eating a light snack or walking a little distance. It is also important to give yourself a reward after you finish a section of your lessons. I have a friend who studies five days a week, not all the time of course, more like two to three hours of the day and during Saturdays, she’ll go out and treat herself. She said that a rest is more meaningful if it is a well-deserved rest.

Healthy, Mind and Body

It is important to take care of yourself, not just when you are studying but everyday. Take vitamins and eat a healthy diet to make sure that your body is in a perfect condition. There are times, especially when you are cramming to study all your lessons that you forego eating. It is a very bad habit and one that you should break. But if you follow the tips above, you won’t find yourself in a no-choice fasting because all is set and ready a day before the exam.

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