How to Use a Paintbrush

1.Use the right brush for the paint: latex (water-based) paints need synthetic brushes, such as nylon or polyester. Alkyd (such as oil-based) paints need natural bristle or polyester. You can use foam brushes with either kind of paint, but these are throwaways, and may not always be right for the job.
2.Start at the top of whatever you're painting and work your way down.
3.Dip the brush no more than halfway into the paint: you'll get all the paint you need, and it will be a lot less likely to dribble off.
4.Use long, even strokes, and try to feather (thin out) all the edges as you go.
5.Paint from dry areas into wet ones - this will minimize paint ridges and humps.
6.Always follow the grain if you're painting wood.
7.When painting detailed work, such as moldings or windows, use only the tip of the brush. Remember that these areas don't require as much paint as a flat surface; the details will catch and hold paint, which may sag or drip when you're not looking.
8.Wipe off the brush from the can, don't tap it, and wipe off only one side. 
Buy the best brush you can afford.
Clean your brushes well and they'll last for years. For latex paints, use soapy water, rinse and dry. For alkyd, use solvents of whatever kind the manufacturer suggests.
If you have to set a brush aside for a while (to eat lunch or even overnight) either clean it or wrap in a damp rag, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap. You can even put it in the refrigerator (but never in the freezer).
Good brushes are contoured on the end, never flat-topped. Use angled brushes for areas of detail, such as the trim or panels in a door. For exteriors, you'll usually need a flat brush (except for details such as windows or trim).
"Cutting in" is a way of creating a line of one kind of paint (such as semi-gloss) next to another kind of paint (such as flat). For instance, using just the tip, you can slide the brush along a piece of trim where it fits next to a wall surface or another piece of trim.    

How to Teach Your Toddler About Winter in the Snow

1.Walk outside. Let your toddler experience firsthand the feelings and sights of winter. Explain how it is cold outside. Emphasize the need for coats, hats, mittens and boots when outside. If there is snow on the ground, touch it and walk in it. Let your toddler feel how snow is different from the ground. Don't be surprised if your toddler doesn't like it and wants to go inside.
2.Look for ice outside. Touch the ice and feel how it is cold. Hold some in your hand so your toddler can see it melt. Talk about how the cold turns water into ice.
3.Do ice projects. Place an ice cube in a glass and watch as it turns to water. You may have to come back and make comments like, "Where did the ice go? Did it turn into water?" Make ice ornaments by filling ice cube trays with water and decorative items like seeds, string or tinsel. Place a loop of yarn sticking out of each section. Place the tray outside overnight so it will freeze. Check it in the morning and hang the ornaments on a tree close to your house, and preferably close to a window.
4.Play in the snow if your toddler likes it. Make snowballs and see how far you can throw them. Make a snowman and dress him. Make snow angels.
5.Grow a fir tree. Check the Internet for sites where you can order trees, or pick one up from your local nursery. Digging might be hard if the ground is frozen, but you can always keep the tree in a pot until the ground is softer. Decorate your tree for Christmas if you celebrate.
6.Read books about the Arctic North. Look for books that have good pictures and examples of animals that live in the cold. Talk about people who live in the Arctic North and their clothes. Find books that discuss hibernation in simple terms. Discuss any animals you and your toddler have seen together near your home that are hibernating now. 
Spread your activities and events over several days and weeks. Toddlers learn best in small amounts and through repetition.
Toddlers learn through play. Don't expect your child to sit and listen to a lesson. Interaction is a toddler's best lesson.
Build an igloo. You can buy the supplies for ice block building in the sporting goods section of most stores.
Get a group of neighbors together to go caroling during the holidays. 
Keep your child well protected from the cold, and stay outside for short periods of time.
Signs of frostbite are a whitening and waxy look to exposed skin. Go indoors immediately, cover your child's exposed skin with a warm blanket, and call your doctor immediately.   

How to File Taxes Electronically

1.Prepare your tax return or have a tax professional prepare it for you.
2.Go to an authorized IRS e-file provider. Most tax professionals, particularly the big ones such as H&R Block, are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS has a list of providers near you, which you can access on the Internet.
3.Sign Form 8453, the U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for Electronic Filing. Obtain a copy for your records.
4.Attach copies of your W-2s, 1099s and other necessary statements to the Form 8453. The authorized e-file provider will then send your return electronically.
5.Mail the IRS payment voucher, Form 1040-V, along with your check by April 17, 2000, if you have a balance due. Direct debit or credit card payments are also available for electronic filers. 
If your return is fairly straightforward, many tax professionals charge almost the same price for electronic filing of a return you have completed as for preparing the return for you and then electronically filing it. It is probably better to have the tax professional prepare your return if you want to file electronically.
Your tax refund generally gets to you in about half the usual time if you file electronically. The IRS estimates that it will take three weeks to get a refund from an electronically filed return.
If you have your tax refund directly deposited into your bank account, you will get it even more quickly, probably in about two weeks.
Within two days of electronic filing, the IRS will send to your authorized e-file provider either an acknowledgement that the return is accepted or a rejection. The most common reason for rejection is Social Security number problems, such as the number not matching the name in Social Security records. This can usually be cleared up easily. 
Warnings: There is no set fee for electronic filing. Some tax preparers offer it free with tax preparation, whereas others charge an additional fee. The only rule is that it cannot be based on income, refund or any other tax return figure. Shop around for the best deal and service.   

How to Handle Well-Meaning Friends and Family When You Decide to Be a Vegetarian

1.Decide who really needs to be told. If you know that a particular friend will be very negative, assess if he or she really needs to know.
2.Prepare yourself for the deluge. For example, if you are omitting animal products for health reasons, then have at your fingertips all of the documented scientific studies concerning negative consequences of meat eating.
3.Keep a sense of humor. Remember, your friends and family mean well. Be patient - this is new to them.
4.Have your comebacks ready. For example, if your mother fears you will die from lack of meat loaf, be prepared to point out all of the long-lived vegetarians in history (have a list ready).
5.Explain that lack of meat does not make you weak. Point out the numerous athletes, including gold medal Olympic stars, who do not eat meat. Again, do some research. This information is readily available in books and on the Web.
6.Tell them about all of the rich and famous people who are vegetarians. This includes beautiful movie stars as well.
7.Take your friends out to a really good vegetarian restaurant. Let them see how delicious and varied meatless food can be.
8.Buy your friends and family a vegetarian cookbook. If they really like Chinese food, for example, buy them one on meatless Chinese cooking.
9.Stay clear of the subject when possible. Don't go out of your way to boast about your new lifestyle.
1..Avoid dinner parties and gatherings where you know there won't be any vegetarian food served, and where the host refuses to accommodate you.
1..Bring great veggie food to BYO parties. For example, bring veggie burgers or veggie hot dogs to a barbecue. Let people see that you can eat "normally" without eating meat.
1..Be firm in your decision. Remember, it's your decision and your body. Other people have their opinions, but that's all that they are.  
Avoid preaching that your way is the better way. Keep in mind the old cliché: actions speak louder than words.
Stay patient, try not to lose your temper, and keep documented information at your fingertips.   

How to Care for Cows

1.Provide shelter. Cows need shade in summer and a windbreak in winter. The type of shelter depends on the type of winter your area has and the breed of cow.
2.Keep cows wormed. Change brands of wormer every other time to prevent them from becoming immune.
3.Provide water at all times - either a pond, spring, creek or watering tank.
4.Feed cows. Milking cows will need grain and hay for good production. Beef cows can manage on pasture with supplemental feedings of hay and grain in winter.
5.Keep salt and minerals out for cattle at all times. Check with your local vet or agricultural agent about types of minerals needed for your area and time of year.
6.Maintain a good fence or pen around cows.
7.Clean barn stalls and lay fresh straw if you keep your cows in a barn.
8.Milk dairy cows twice a day.
9.Check cows for lice and parasites and medicate as needed. Check with vet for any questions you have. 
Tips: Get to know your county agriculture agents - they can help answer most of your questions or get you in touch with someone who can. 
Warnings: Remember that even if they are gentle, cows are still animals. Teach your children the correct way to handle cattle and where not to play.   

How to Apply for a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

1.Make certain you qualify. You must be either a full-time sophomore or junior pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university; have a GPA of at least a "B"; be in the upper 25% of your class; and be either a U.S. citizen, a resident alien or a U.S. national.
2.Find out who the Goldwater Scholarship Faculty representative is on your campus and express your interest in being nominated for the scholarship. You can usually find this out from your institution's scholarship office or by contacting the Goldwater Foundation through their Web site (see Related Sites) or by calling them at (703) 756-6012.
3.Start on your application early. Faculty representatives typically receive nomination forms and related materials in late August and the completed application and materials must be received by the Goldwater Foundation by February 1 of the following year.
4.Talk with present and former teachers, teaching assistants and even employers about letters of recommendation, which must be completed according to the Foundation's standards and must be presented on official forms to be considered as part of your application.
5.Consider your essay of approximately 600 words. The essay should relate to current and future plans regarding your studies and prospective career.
6.Get together all peripheral materials that must be sent with the application. Nominees must provide official copies of all high school and college transcripts, including the most current semester, if available.
7.Consult your faculty representative about students who have previously received a Goldwater Scholarship. Talk with these previous award winners about their insight into the application process and see if they have any helpful tips.
8.Keep in mind that research experience, and demonstrating your interest in pursuing an advanced degree in mathematics, the natural sciences and some engineering fields, will help to make you a stronger candidate. 
Work with the faculty representative to insure all materials are together and your application is completed well in advance of the February 1 deadline. Stay on top of this procedure; only a faculty representative can submit your application, but you need to be the driving force behind getting this done.
Apply during your sophomore year in college to receive the maximum amount of benefit from the scholarship. Sophomores and juniors who are selected will receive a maximum of 2 years of support and 1 year of support respectively.
Keep copies of everything you submit, just in case there is any question about your materials or something is lost. 
Make sure you completely follow the instructions provided by the Goldwater Foundation when writing your essay, getting independent evaluation forms filled out and assembling other materials.
Carefully research any scholarship or fellowship you are considering to make certain it is legitimate. There are plenty of scams out there, so don't get taken for a ride.   

How to Make Low-Fat Stuffing

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once.
3.Remove nuts from oven and turn them out onto a towel. Roll up the towel and rub off the skins of the hazelnuts.
4.Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
5.Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.
6.Add the quince and sprinkle with sugar. Cook for 15 minutes or until very brown, stirring often.
7.Add 1/2 cup broth and bring to a boil.
8.Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until quince is tender and liquid is almost completely evaporated.
9.Add bell pepper, onions, poultry seasoning and garlic and cook 3 more minutes.
10.Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/4 cup broth, nuts, bread cubes, salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
11.Spoon the mixture into a 1-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.
12.Serve warm. 
Look for quinces that are large, smooth and fragrant. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the quinces. It's difficult, but it works.   

How to Prepare the Soil for an Annual Garden

1.Select a site in full sun. Make sure it is near a source of water.
2.Remove any weeds, rocks or debris from the selected site.
3.Use a shovel or tiller to turn the soil over. Dig down as far as you can to incorporate oxygen into the depths of the planting bed.
4.Lay down a thick layer of compost, composted manure and peat moss. The compost will add nutrients and improve the texture of the soil, the manure will add nitrogen and the peat moss will increase the water holding capacity.
5.Scatter a few handfuls of slow-release fertilizer over the bed.
6.Turn the soil again to incorporate the amendments.
7.Rake the improved soil with a bow rake to remove any large clods and also to level the surface. 
Tips: Make sure the manure is composted. Fresh manure contains weed seeds and is too "hot" for tender new roots.   

How to Make Chicken Chilaquiles

Making the Sauce
1.Turn the oven on to broil and place the tomatoes in an oven-proof casserole. Slide the casserole under the broiler and turn the tomatoes every few minutes until they are black in spots.
2.Remove the tomatoes from the oven and turn the oven down to 325 degrees F. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles.
3.Peel and seed the tomatoes and put them along with 2/3 of the onion, the chiles and their sauce, garlic and salt in a food processor.
4.Heat the lard or oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Puree the tomato mixture.
5.Add the tomato puree to the hot oil while constantly stirring. Cook and stir for 4 minutes.
6.The puree will turn a slightly darker color. Add the broth and keep warm. 
Tips: Frying the puree is a little tricky and messy because it splatters. Watch the heat of the oil to prevent too much splattering. 
Assembling the Dish

7.Heat the remaining oil in a small saute pan over high heat. Place the tortillas in one stack and cut them into eight wedges.
8.Fry the tortilla wedges using tongs, until they are just golden and slightly crispy. The tortillas should still be slightly flexible.
9.Drain the tortillas on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess grease. Put a layer of sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.
1..Add a single layer of tortilla wedges and then some of the chicken and cheese.
1..Repeat this process until all of the tortillas, sauce, chicken and cheese are used. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
1..Serve with a few onion slices and a little of the crema mexicana drizzled over the top. 
Tips: You can use sour cream or heavy cream as a substitute for the crema mexicana.    

How to Learn About Java

1.Contact a local university or community college. Many colleges offer programming packages that include Java and other programming languages, as well as Web design.
2.Log on to the Web site of Sun Microsystems, the company that created Java, to find tutorials and examples of Java programming.
3.Purchase a comprehensive book about Java. A good Java book will include an outline of Java history, an explanation of how it works, exam-ples and worksheets; some even come with interactive CD-ROMs.
4.Sign up for an online Java course. The HTML Writer’s Guild ( is one potential source.
5.Search the Internet for some of the many user groups, forums and Web sites dedicated to Java.
6.Consider learning JavaScript, used in Web browsers. Unrelated to Java, JavaScript is an interpreted language. JavaScript is easier to learn but more limited than Java.
7.If you’re serious about programming, read books or take classes on general skills such as developing algorithms and designing data structures. 
Java applets are small applications written in Java. Applets are typically attached to Web pages.
One of Java’s strengths is that it is platform-independent. Java programs can run on various operating systems, as long as the computer running the pro-gram has a Java virtual machine installed to interpret the standard Java byte code into code that will run on that system. 
Warnings: Use another’s source code only to learn. Using parts of someone else’s Web page as your own is copyright infringement. Once you have learned HTML, you can create your own pages.