How to Help Your Child Prepare for the First Day of School

1.Begin preparing your child a few weeks before the big day (sooner, if this is his or her first school experience or a new school). If your household has relaxed bedtime and morning routines over the summer months, start to wake your child a little earlier each morning, and move bedtime up 15 minutes every few nights to re-establish "school hours."
2.Plan a "back-to-school" shopping day with each child individually, and make it a special event. Of course, you'll set (and try to stick to) a general budget, but leave some room for one or two small extravagances (reuse last year's backpack, but buy this year's hottest cartoon-character notebook).
3.Before the big clothes-shopping trip, spend some time with each child sorting through last year's things and decide together what goes into which pile (keeper, hand-me-down or donate). Insist that your child try on every keeper.
4.For a new year in a new school, plan a visit there a week or so before the first day. Walk through the building locating the classrooms, bathrooms and lunchroom.
5.If your child will be riding the bus, find out the route he or she will take and drive it together a few times there and back. If he or she is a walker, plan the route and walk it together both ways.
6.Help your child deal with first-day jitters by focusing on some special advantage of, for example, being a fourth-grader. Perhaps your child is now old enough for his or her own house key, an increase in allowance or some other new privilege.
7.Celebrate the big day. Go out for dinner or plan a special meal the night before, or present your child with a small gift. 
Overall Tips: Unless your child's school sends out a detailed list of required supplies for his or her specific grade and classes, it's best to buy just the general stuff in August. Middle school and high school teachers in particular are likely to provide lists of exactly what your child will need for each subject area a few days into the new school year.   
Overall Warnings:
Don't wait too long to schedule that back-to-school shopping trip. By mid-August, local sources may be sold out of hot items. Do you want to deal with that kind of disappointment?
Review important safety rules with your child such as using established walking routes to and from school, what to do if approached by a stranger, what to do if he or she misses the bus or loses the house key. 

How to Buy a Canoe

1.Decide how you're going to be using your canoe. Are you taking family trips on a gentle lake, or riding white-water rapids? Are you racing your canoe, or fishing from it?
2.Determine the best canoe type for your purposes. A family or camping canoe needs to be relatively large in order to hold all your gear and passengers, but it doesn't need to be as maneuverable and strong as a white-water canoe. A racing canoe must be light and narrow. A fishing canoe should be stable and big enough to carry all your gear.
3.Consider the various materials and decide on a budget. Royalex is very durable, though it varies in price and quality. Kevlar is a consistently light and very strong material, but it's usually expensive and is difficult to repair. Polyethylene is a strong, versatile material that is fairly inexpensive. Wood canoes can be both light and sturdy (or they can be heavy as sin and sturdy) with a great traditional feel to them, but due to the difficulty of making them, they are very expensive. Avoid buying aluminum canoes, which are heavy and hard to navigate.
4.Consider length. Longer canoes paddle faster and hold more gear and people. Longer canoes are also more difficult to transport and maintain, and also harder to steer. Short canoes are better for white water.
5.Pick a canoe with a rounded or V-shaped hull. Flat-hull canoes are more stable when you are sitting still in them, but rounded and V-shaped hulls out-perform the flat hull in every other category. They turn better, paddle better, and are less likely to overturn.
6.Examine the tumblehome (the inward curve of the upper edges) of your canoe. Tumblehome is added to canoes to strengthen the sometimes flimsy materials used to construct them. More tumblehome makes a canoe stronger and easier to paddle, but also easier to capsize. Avoid excessive tumblehome if you expect rough water.
7.Don't put too much weight on the advertised load capacity of a canoe. Bring a tape measure along and figure it out yourself. Assume that most of your load is going in the center of the canoe. Wider canoes will have more room, but they will also be slower.
8.Consider the number of seats in the canoe. Will you be paddling alone, or bringing your family?
9.Take into account how you will be transporting your canoe when you buy it. 
Avoid canoes with external keels. A keel is a fin running the length of the canoe. They are put there to help steer the canoe, but generally are more trouble than they're worth because they catch on rocks and run aground easily.
Paint will add weight to your canoe. White is the lightest color, but going with no paint is the lightest way to go.
How are you going to carry your canoe? Does it have a carrying yoke? Better check.
Don't forget to buy life vests and paddles. 

How to Step Over Front to Back on Two Water Skis

1.Use a 75-foot rope and ski on two trick skis directly behind the boat. Get very comfortable riding your trick skis before you attempt this trick.
2.Stay low and get into a vertical crouch position.
3.Hold the rope close to your body and as low as you possibly can. The lower you can hold the rope (without sacrificing your balance), the easier the stepover will be.
4.Bounce up and swing your right ski up and over the rope. It's very important that you bounce high while still holding the rope low.
5.Release the rope with your left hand and begin your 180 as your ski crosses over the rope. Your ski should be over the rope by the time you reach the high point of your bounce.
6.Keep your head and torso erect and continue to hold the rope low with your right hand. Keep your right arm almost straight to counter the strain of the pull of the rope.
7.Hold out your free arm (in this example, your left arm) to help maintain your balance as your right ski lands on the water. You are now straddling the ski rope and skiing backward. 
Stay low and hold the rope low. These are the two essential elements of successfully performing this trick.
A good high bounce is necessary to perform this trick. With a good bounce, your 180 spin should come very easily.
You may have some difficulty holding the rope as you land. Brace your forearm against your inner thigh and keep your head and torso up against the pull. Don't try to hold the rope with both hands or you'll end up rolling forward and falling. 
Always wear a life vest when waterskiing.
Use extreme care and caution when performing stepover tricks. Try this only with an experienced teacher and skilled boat driver. 
Overall Warnings: Waterskiing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity. 

How to Prevent a Domestic Disagreement From Escalating to an Argument

1.Schedule a brainstorming and problem-solving meeting with your partner when you are both calm, rested and in agreement. Identify what will reduce your escalation potential.
2.List your top five issues, statements, conditions or attitudes that will push your psychological buttons.
3.Share these with your partner, and then listen to your partner's list of button-pushing issues.
4.Verbally agree that you will both avoid using these hot-button issues, statements, conditions or attitudes.
5.Admit to each other that you are both human, and as a result, you will probably disappoint each other by making button-pushing statements.
6.Agree upon vocabulary to use when either of you is overtaken by anger or intensity. For example, you may both agree to say, "Hey, we are off track," or "We are both pushing the wrong buttons."
7.Consider taking a break in the discussion. You could take 5 minutes to write a list of the current issues or verbalize the top three reasons why this relationship is important to both of you.
8.Use "I" statements during your discussion. For example, say, "I feel angry and ignored when I am...." or "I feel sad and disappointed when I am...."
9.Avoid "you" statements. When you say "you" to your partner in the heat of disagreement, your partner may hear, "You ignorant, stupid #x!*+%&/."
1..Discuss individual feelings about the situation that started this specific disagreement. Listen to your partner. This is not the time for an in-depth review of all historic sins originating from the dawn of your relationship.
1..Prevent future disagreements by answering this question: "OK, what can we both agree to do differently the next time this situation comes up?"
1..Identify any remaining parts of this specific issue that require additional discussion. Clarify them if needed. Close the discussion with affection.  
Tips: Your partner holds a uniquely intimate position in your life. With this position comes the ability to profoundly disappoint and hurt you. Paradoxically, your partner may do this with no intent to hurt, disappoint or cause pain. When your partner pushes your buttons, try to immediately respond with, "What did you mean by that?" 
Warnings: Button-pushing issues frequently come from childhood disappointments. Personal therapy directed toward resolving these hurts may help you as an individual and your relationship as a couple.   

How to Launch a Windsurf Board

1.Bring your board and rig to the water's edge and prepare for action by attaching the mast to the board, inserting the dagger-board and putting on your life vest.
2.Carry the board and rig into the water as a single unit. If you are absolutely unable to carry it by yourself, ask someone for help. If you are on soft sand, you can hold the nose of the board and the mast and drag the board into the water.
3.Enter the water knee deep with the board floating completely in the water and the sail on the leeward (downwind) side of the board.
4.Position yourself adjacent to the board on the windward (upwind) side and hoist the rig up by the up-haul line. Keep the clew facing leeward.
5.Grab the boom with both hands.
6.Place your back foot onto the windsurf board and follow it with your other foot.
7.Sheet in and you should sail immediately. 
Tips: Always handle your rig with the mast on the windward side. 
Always wear a life vest when windsurfing.
Learn to windsurf when the conditions are mild. 
Overall Warnings: Windsurfing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity. 

How to Prevent Identity Theft

1.Be extremely protective of your PIN numbers, especially at ATMs. Try to memorize your PIN number, but if you have to write it down, don’t write it on your ATM card or leave it in your wallet or purse.
2.Change passwords often.
3.Remove mail from your mailbox promptly. If you suddenly stop receiving mail, call the post office immediately. Crooks can forge your signature to have your mail forwarded elsewhere, then obtain information that will allow them to apply for credit in your name.
4.Refuse to give your credit card number or other personal information to an unsolicited caller.
5.Tear up or shred credit card receipts, unused loan applications and any other items with personal information before throwing them into the trash. Thieves often go through garbage.
6.Obtain a copy of your credit report regularly to check for fraudulent accounts and other information. Report all errors to the credit bureau.
7.Report stolen credit cards immediately.
8.Take the time to carefully review all of your bank and credit card statements and other bills. Report any inconsistencies at once. 
If you find out that a forwarding order has been placed on your mail without your knowledge, go to the post office to check the signature and cancel the order. Ask the post office to track down the mail - it can remain in the postal system for up to 14 days.
Call the U.S. Postal Service Crime Hot Line (800/654-8896) if you are victimized by mail fraud.
To put a fraud alert on your credit file, contact the credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Any future credit applications will have to be confirmed with you over the phone. 
Warnings: If Grandma dies, do not toss out her unused checks or other personal documents. Thieves even steal the identities of dead people and wipe out accounts. 

How to Ski Trees on Telemark Skis

1.Practice quick, short-radius turns on a groomed or open slope. A short-radius turn is a short turn used to control speed.
2.Enter the trees slowly and look for patches with a good amount of turning room between trees.
3.Look down the slope and plan a few turns in advance so you can ski through any obstacles.
4.Start making short-radius turns, skiing around the trees.
5.Look through the trees at the open spaces for areas to turn. This works better than looking at the trees and trying to steer around them.
6.Be aware of your surroundings. For example, slow down and give yourself time to look around if you're entering a thick patch of trees.
7.Fall back on your hip or rear end to stop if your only other option is to hit a tree. Or quickly drop a knee and steer both skis uphill to stop if space permits.  
Tips: The snow in the trees will usually be different from that of ski trails or open areas. Once you get into the trees, stop and check out the type of snow you'll be skiing. 
Warnings: Telemark skiing is a physically demanding sport that could result in serious injury. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity. 

How to Receive Service in Table Tennis

1.Await service in a relaxed ready position. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, with your shoulders squared toward your opponent and your paddle up and ready. Image a.)
2.Watch your opponent's paddle as he or she serves. Watch for telltale tendencies - players typically have certain serves they like to use over and over, and you can try to capitalize on this.
3.Remain calm during the serve. Keep your paddle up and ready. Image b.)
4.Recognize an upward swing and a forward-tilted paddle as a sign that topspin is coming. Be ready for the ball to bounce low and fast. Image c.)
5.Block topspin by angling your racket forward as you return with a push or a block (see Related Hows section for more information on these shots). Image d.)
6.Recognize a downward swing and a backward-tilted paddle as a sign that backspin is coming. Expect the ball to take a slow bounce and lose speed. Image e.Image f.)
7.Neutralize backspin by tilting your paddle back as you return with a block or a push. click photos to enlarge  
If your opponent is hurting you with lots of spin on the serves, return the ball right off the bounce to hit it before it can spin. Or try hitting it late, after the spin has mostly worn off.
Watch for the sidespin serve, which is easily noted by the extra sideways movement on the service.   

How to Know the Rules of Dating for Men

1.Dress nicely. The average woman changes her clothes four times before she leaves the house. Don't embarrass your date by showing up mismatched.
2.Be careful with the compliments. "You look nice," gives a woman no information. "I love your shoes," wins extra points.
3.Call if you say you will. If you don't, you're a liar and a jerk - expect to be treated like one.
4.Don't talk about your ex, her ex, your mother, or your medications.
5.Be you. You don't have to impress your date with tales of big money, kicking someone's butt, or fast cars. In fact, she's likely to stifle a yawn as you bluster.
6.Tell your date what you like about her. Be sincere and don't focus on the physical.
7.Be considerate – for example, call if you'll be late. If you don't show up, don't expect another chance. 
Tips: Don't drink too much on a date. Of course, you're nervous, but you're also sloppy and say stupid things when you do that. 
Warnings: Don't look at other women when you're on a date.   

How to Perform the Psychic Card Trick

The Trick
1.Lay a row of 11 cards face down on the table.
2.Instruct the other person to move any number of cards one at a time from your right to the left end of the row. Turn your back or leave the room while he does this.
3.Return to the table, and move your hand magically back and forth over the cards.
4.Stop dramatically over one card and slowly turn it over. The number on the card is the same as the number of cards moved. 
How It's Done

5.Use the ace through 10 of any suit, plus a joker. When you lay the cards out on the table, the order must be: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A J 10 from your left to right.
6.Use the last card on your right - the 10 - as your count card.
7.Suppose that the other person, who has been told to move as many cards as he wants, moves six cards. The order would now be: 4 3 2 A J 10 9 8 7 6 5.
8.Your count card in this case was 10, so while you're waving your hand over the cards, count from the left end and turn the tenth card over. Here it is a 6, the same as the number of cards that were moved.
9.Start again with the far right card as your new count card. In this example, it's 5. 
The cards must be moved from your right to your left. If they are moved from left to right, the trick won't work.
The key to this trick is to practice counting - you need to always keep track of your count card.
If you ever turn over the joker, no cards were moved — the other person tried to trick you.
If your count card is the joker, the card you turn over will be the last card on the right. (The count is 11.) 
Warnings: Don't lose track of your count card or your trick won't work.