How to Claim Your Child as a Dependent When Separated or Divorced

1.Read all legal papers signed by you or the courts. Legal documents, which are generally controlling, often state which parent can claim a child as a dependent every year or alternate years.
2.Determine if you and the other parent together provided more than 50 percent of the costs of raising your child during the year. If a third person or governmental agency other than the Social Security Administration paid the greater share of support costs, neither parent can automatically claim your child as a dependent.
3.Determine if you had physical custody of your child at least 183 days during the year (184 days during a leap year). If you did, you can claim your child provided that no legal document states otherwise and you and the other parent together paid for more than half of your child's support costs.
4.Determine if you or the other parent are willing to give up the right to claim your child as a dependent on this year's or any year's returns. Either parent may transfer this right to the other parent for any or all years by filling out and signing IRS Form 8332. 
When a legal document states your right to claim your child, include proof with your tax return. For example, staple the first and last pages and the pertinent page of a divorce decree to the back of your return.
Attach the original, signed Form 8332 to your tax return if the other parent gave you the right to claim your child.
With shared custody and a less-than-harmonious relationship with your child's other parent, mark on a calendar the days you had physical custody. Add up the days at the end of the year to determine if you had custody at least 183 days (184 days in the year 2000). Keep the calendar as evidence if your claim is contested.
Keep extra copies of legal documents and Form 8332 in a folder stored with your tax papers for future reference and use. 
If a legal decree or agreement was signed prior to 1985, you cannot claim your child as a dependent unless you contributed at least $600 during the year toward your child's support.
Consult with an experienced tax preparer if you have questions or a complex or unusual situation.   Steps:
1.Verify that you are a dependent of someone.
2.File a federal return if your gross income was more than $4400 and your unearned income was $250 or less. Add $1100 if aged 65 or over. Add $1100 if blind.
3.File a federal return if your gross income was more than $700 and your unearned income was more than $250. Add $1100 if aged 65 or over. Add $1100 if blind.
4.File a federal return if you earned $400 or more from self-employment; received advance earned income payments from your employer; or earned $108.28 or more from a religious organization that does not pay Social Security taxes.
5.File a federal return if you owe other taxes. The most common are taxes on unreported tips and taxes on early withdrawal of retirement funds or IRAs. 
Married Dependents

6.Verify that you are a dependent of someone other than your spouse.
7.File a federal return if your gross income was more than $5 and your spouse itemizes deductions on a separate return.
8.File a federal return if your gross income was more than $3675, your unearned income was $250 or less, and your spouse did not itemize deductions on a separate return. Add $850 if aged 65 or over. Add $850 if blind.
9.File a federal return if your gross income was more than $700, your unearned income was more than $250, and your spouse did not itemize deductions on a separate return. Add $850 if aged 65 or over. Add $850 if blind.
1..File a federal return if you earned $400 or more from self-employment; received advance earned income payments from your employer; or earned $108.28 or more from a religious organization that does not pay Social Security taxes.
1..File a federal return if you owe other taxes. The most common are taxes on unreported tips and taxes on early withdrawal of retirement funds or IRAs. 
Overall Tips:
Unearned income for filing purposes is income you have received that is not for work you performed. It includes interest, dividends, capital gains, unemployment compensation, taxable portions of scholarships and fellowships, taxable Social Security benefits, annuities, pensions, and distributions from trusts.
Gross income for filing purposes is income that is not exempt from taxes. For example, child support is not part of "gross income," but alimony (spousal support), lottery winnings, jury duty pay, the value of bartered goods and services as well as wages, interest and dividends are some of the many forms of gross income.
If your child was under the age of 14 on January 1, 2000 and had income of less than $7000 from only interest and dividends, you may be able to avoid a tax return for your child by electing to include the child's income on your tax return. Get Form 8814 and the instructions for the form from an IRS office to see if this is applicable. It can be tricky, so be careful.    
Overall Warnings:
Even if you're not required to file a tax return, you'll need to file in order to get a refund of withholding taxes.
States generally have higher thresholds for filing; you might not need to file your state return even though you must file a federal return. 

How to Escape From a Car in the Water

1.Don't panic.
2.Get out before the car goes under.
3.Open the window quickly, if you can't get out fast enough. The idea here is to get the pressure inside the car equal to the pressure outside the car. Water exerts greater pressure than air, and if you are in a car full of air, you'll never get a door open. You won't be able to get the door open easily, but you can likely climb out the window.
4.Break the glass if you can't open the window - kick or smash a heavy object against it.
5.Recognize that whichever end of the car the engine is in will sink faster. The depth and current of the water may cause the car to flip over on its roof.
6.Leave your valuables. They'll probably still be there when your car is recovered. 
Tips: Air will escape the car from all kinds of places. Don't rely on surviving by breathing inside that air bubble you see in the movies. 

How to Protect Children From Insect Bites and Stings in the Wilderness

1.Apply an insect repellent regularly to the child's skin if in an area where bites and stings are a risk. Use a repellent with the lowest possible concentration of DEET or use a natural repellent without DEET.
2.Dress the child in dark clothing thick enough that insects can't bite through it.
3.Teach the child to be respectful of bug's homes: this may mean not turning over rocks and logs (or doing so carefully and only with adult supervision), and not disturbing spider webs.
4.Teach the child to shake out shoes and clothing before putting them on, especially if they have been sitting outdoors.
5.Teach the child to freeze ("play statue") when he or she is being investigated by stinging insects so that the child doesn't frighten the insect into stinging.
6.Zip tent screens shut, and open screens only when entering and exiting the tent.
7.Have the child sleep enclosed in a mosquito net if in an area where mosquitoes or wasps are especially numerous or persistent.
8.Shake out the child's sleeping bag or bedding before going to sleep.
9.Have the child wear shoes at all times, especially after dark when insects are likely to be around. 
Overall Tips:
Coating the skin with mud also acts as a repellent.
Apply repellent to children yourself so that it doesn't get on their hands or in their mouths or eyes. Keep repellent off of a child's hands so they don't rub it in their eyes or get it in their mouths.   Overall Warnings:
Do not apply insect repellent to infants.
Do not apply insect repellent underneath clothing.
Wash insect repellent off of the skin after bites or stings are no longer a threat.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. 

How to Wakeboard

1.Check out wakeboarding on television, a video or at an event like the X Games to see whether it's something you'd dig. Trust me, you'll know right away.
2.Find some friends who wakeboard and go with them on their next trip.
3.Watch your friends ride for a while and let someone explain the basics to you while you watch.
4.Strap in, get on and get wet.
5.Pull you knees to your chest, and point the nose of the board up and toward the boat as it begins driving. The resistance of the board against the water will pull you quickly to your feet.
6.Ride straight for a while to get the feel of the board beneath you.
7.Do some small turns to get a feel for your edges against the water.
8.Ride over and outside the wake, then repeat faster and faster.
9.Lean back and pop up to do a bunny hop.
1..Jump the wake and practice spinning in the air.
1..Bend your knees and twist your body in the air to get the feel of tweaks and tricks. Then try grabbing the board to stretch out your air time.
1..Combine your tricks: Bunny hop as you hit the wake, then spin, tweak and land riding backwards (fakie). Or try to spin, grab, tweak and roll in the air.
1..Get your own board, buy a boat then start your own wakeboard team.
1..Win the X Games.
1..Found your own line of wakeboards and wakeboard accessories and retire at age 35 to wakeboard out the rest of your days at your private lake. 
Tips: Learn the fundamentals first, and the harder stuff will be a lot easier to learn later on. 
Warnings: Always wear a life jacket and observe proper boating safety, no matter how good you are. 

How to Attract a Man

1.Realize you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Appearances do count.
2.Give him a reason to think about you. Wear a lingering fragrance that haunts his memory, soft clothes that he yearns to touch, a smile that he can't get out of his mind.
3.Appeal to his senses with your sensuous voice, fragrance, clothing and appearance.
4.Flirt with him by sending silent signals of your interest through subtle body language.
5.Make him feel like he's the most important person in the world by focusing your full attention on him. Listen intently to what he has to say, and respond with respect for his opinions.
6.Let him know you're different from all the rest. Emphasize your originality through your appearance, personality, intelligence and behavior. Don't try to pretend that you're anyone other than yourself.
7.Leave a little something to the imagination. Don't bare all or tell all immediately. An air of mystery can be provocative and appealing to a man. 
Tips: Your appearance and body language may catch his attention, but it takes personality and charm to sustain a man's interest.   

How to Find Pet-Friendly Vacation Destinations

1.Ask fellow pet owners, such as friends and co-workers, where they've traveled with their pets.
2.Look online for pet travel guides, which provide listings of pet-friendly lodgings across the country (and in some cases the world).
3.Search travel sections of bookstores for local or regional travel guides targeted at pet owners. Also, check with your auto club; AAA's accommodations books indicate whether pets are welcome at hotels.
4.Call several hotels and resorts in the area you'll be visiting and find out which ones welcome pets. Find out which places offer special pet services, such as dog walking areas and pet-sitting.
5.Call restaurants, fairgrounds and other places of interest in the area to find out where you'll be able to take your pet once you've reached your vacation spot.
6.Decide on a specific destination based on the availability of pet-friendly facilities. 
Make sure you fully understand a location's pet policies before making reservations. For example, some hotels only allow pets during certain times of year, or only allow pets of a certain size.
Carry plenty of water and pet food for your pet during long car trips or hikes.
If your pet has health problems, make sure there are qualified veterinarians in the area you'll be visiting.
Observe proper etiquette while vacationing with pets. For example, always keep your dogs on leashes in public and avoid leaving a dog alone in a hotel room.   

How to Maintain a River Raft

1.Pad the frame area. Abrasion of the frame on the raft is the most common area of wear. A little foam padding glued to the frame can dramatically reduce this wear.
2.Avoid dragging or standing on a deflated raft.
3.Never overinflate a buoyancy chamber on your raft. Test the air pressure. It should be around 2 lbs. PSI.
4.Wash off the entire raft with buckets of water before deflating it at the end of a trip. Use only mild soap to wash dirt from the raft. Harsh detergent is corrosive to the raft material.
5.Remove any small rocks or twigs from the raft before deflating.
6.Air raft out and dry completely before storing it away after a trip.
7.Leave air pressure valves open and roll the raft loosely when storing it to prevent rot. A light sprinkling of talcum powder sometimes helps, too.
8.Store your raft in a cool, dry place free of rodents. 
Check all gear before any rafting trip. Do not start a trip with faulty gear.
Always recheck your first-aid kit and survival kit before each trip. 
Overall Warnings: River rafting 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 Hold a Three-Legged Race

1.Mark a starting line and a finish line with tape, string, paint or flour.
2.Divide everyone into pairs. You can have people evenly matched by height or have child-parent combinations.
3.Tie one of each pair's ankles with a scarf, cotton rope or bandana. You will be tying a right leg to a left leg so that the pair is facing the same direction.
4.Make sure there isn't anything hanging down to trip the team and don't tie it too tight.
5.Set up everyone at the starting line.
6.Tell the racers that they must stay tied and all "three" legs must be used.
7.Give the signal to start the race.
8.Award a prize to the first pair to cross the finish line. 
Make the race more interesting by making it an obstacle course.
Stand by with a video camera to catch this uncoordinated event.   

How to Buy a Video Capture Card

1.Read reviews in computer and video magazines and on the Internet to narrow your choices.
2.Compare features of any bundled video editing programs.
3.Consider a multipurpose video card to save money.
4.Look for a card with S-VHS quality for better video, or a FireWire (IEE1394) port if you will be using a digital camcorder.
5.Compare the audio and video inputs and outputs on the cards. Look for an S-video jack if you will be using video hardware with S-video input or output.
6.Find out the transfer rates of cards under consideration. Expect to pay more for faster cards.
7.Compare the capture resolution and color-depth capabilities of cards.
8.See if the card allows you to transfer digitized video back to your camcorder or VCR, so you can watch your edited movies on TV.
9.Consider external devices such as the Iomega Buz, with SCSI card; composite and S-video in and out jacks; stereo audio in and out jacks; and full-screen playback.
1..Consider a Pinnacle Studio series product for software-controlled video editing without video capture.
1..Consider an external device such as a Snappy video digitizer for still-image (only) capture.  
Warnings: Make sure your computer meets the system requirements of any card you buy.    

How to Make Scrunchies

1.Cut a piece of fabric 4 inches wide and 16 to 20 inches long. Image a.)
2.Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, with the printed side in. Image b.)
3.Sew the side seam, leaving the short ends open. Image c.)
4.Turn the tube inside out so that the fabric is right side out.
5.Insert 5 to 10 inches of 1/2-inch-wide elastic through the tube, holding one end as you thread the other. A safety pin stuck through the end of the elastic can make it easier. Image d.)
6.Stitch the elastic at each end of the tube. Image e.)
7.Slide one end of the tube over the other end and make a small hem. Image f.)
8.Hand-stitch the ends together. click photos to enlarge