How to Pack for a Long Bike Tour

1.Remember that you'll be out of range of your usual support network (friends, family, kitchen, washer/dryer) for much of the trip, so pack accordingly.
2.Realize that you can make changes along the way. You'll likely shed and pick up gear on the road no matter how well you've prepared.
3.Pack a slightly larger kit of tools and spare parts than you would for a shorter tour. The extra weight will seem pretty minor when the tools help you through a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
4.Take a slightly wider range of clothing than you would for a short tour. You'll want to look good when visiting museums and restaurants - and stay warm after you start shedding excess fat along the way.
5.Become thoroughly familiar with your camping equipment before you leave, putting up and striking your tent several times and doing actual cooking and maintenance work on your stove.
6.Avoid taking any liquids besides water. Bring dehydrated juices and soups to save weight. You can also buy canned goods and bottled beverages at a store close to your destination each night, hauling them the minimum distance.
7.Pack at least one full change of cycling clothes so that you can wear one outfit while washing the other (and possibly drying it on your bike's racks during the day). 
Tips: If you're carrying gear that isn't seeing any use and doesn't seem likely to, you might want to mail it to a town a week's ride ahead. There, you can reassess how much you need the gear and send it home if you think you can do without it. 
Warnings: If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. 

How to Fertilize Flowers Organically

1.Understand why you need to fertilize: to renew your soil and replace nutrients that plants use as they grow. Know that nitrogen is helpful for green shoots, phosphorus assists roots and strong cell walls, and potassium encourages flowers and fruit.
2.Know that you'll amend soil annually to encourage its healthy structure and ecology. But plan to feed flowers several times throughout the season.
3.Use compost tea to promote rooting and prevent transplant shock whenever you plant. Put 2 c. dry compost in a gallon of warm water; pour off or strain the liquid to use the next day.
4.Fertilize bulbs and perennials as they emerge - use organic nitrogen like fish emulsion, alfalfa meal or blood meal. Work a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil after flowering - buy one or mix it yourself: 1 c. cottonseed meal plus 2 tbsp. Epsom salts is a common organic formula suitable for three perennial or bulb clumps.
5.Discover alfalfa pellets added to fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizers (two pellets in 1 gallon) for annual flowers. Mulch annuals with compost for slow-release nutrients and use the alfalfa pellet mixture in your watering can every week or two.
6.Wait until flowering shrubs and trees bloom, then fertilize annually with a balanced granular organic formula or the alfalfa pellet mixture described for annuals. Scratch in bonemeal or rock phosphate for phosphorus and greensand (glauconite) for potassium every five years, in fall.
7.Plan to use organic mulches in your flower beds for their nutrition - turn them into the soil when they break down and replace the top layer. Sprinkle a fine layer of cottonseed meal on top of the soil to feed your earthworms, and cover it with the mulch. 
Store fertilizers in plastic bags or plastic containers out of the sun.
Use 1 c. compost tea for planting small seedlings, and up to a gallon for a large shrub or tree.
Mix only what you can use today - fertilizers don't store well in solution. 
Warnings: Water several hours or the day before fertilizing. Remember not to fertilize a dry plant.   

How to Make Pompoms

1.Gather materials: cardboard, scissors and yarn.
2.Cut two identical cardboard circles that are the desired pompom size.
3.Cut holes in the center of both circles so that the cardboard circles resemble flat doughnuts. The larger the hole, the fuller the pompom.
4.Place the two cardboard circles one on top of the other.
5.Cut several strands of your chosen yarn to a manageable length.
6.Place one strand at the center hole and wrap yarn from the center to the edge and back to the center again. Continue wrapping yarn in this manner until the center hole is packed with yarn. Distribute yarn evenly around the circle.
7.Insert the blade of the scissors through the yarn and in between the outside edges of the cardboard circles. Cut evenly around the circle until all the yarn has been cut.
8.Pull the cards apart slightly and wrap a length of yarn tightly between the cards - around the middle of the yarn strands - a few times. Secure the yarn tie with a double knot. Leave a trailing end of yarn long enough to hang the pompom with.
9.Adjust and fluff the pompom. Trim away any excess yarn. 
Cut the center hole to approximately one-third of the circle's diameter to make an average-size pompom. For example, if the diameter of your circle is 6 inches, the center hole should be 2 inches in diameter.
Cut the center hole to approximately one-half of the circle's diameter to make an extra-full pompom. If the diameter of your circle is 6 inches, the center hole should be 3 inches in diameter.
Use several yarn strands at once when you're filling the center hole. This will make your work go faster.
Cut the yarn strands at any manageable length. If you run out of yarn, just begin wrapping with a new strand and trim any excess yarn at the completion of your project.   

How to Monitor a Child's Fever

1.Seek medical care for any fever in a baby less than three months old.
2.Check temperature about every four hours.
3.Medicate your child with a fever reducer such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the fever is 102 or higher, or your child is uncomfortable - then recheck temperature after one hour.
4.Comfort your child with a lukewarm bath - besides making him or her feel better, it might also bring down the fever.
5.Call a doctor if fever is 103 oral or 104 rectal and does not respond to medication.
6.Make an appointment to see a doctor if fever shows no improvement after three days, or lasts five days or longer.
7.Assess other symptoms. Seek medical care if child is crying inconsolably, is very lethargic or difficult to arouse, complains of a stiff neck, or has red or purple spots on skin. 
Avoid giving aspirin to children under the age of 18, due to the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
It is important to monitor a child's temperature, as a high fever can lead to seizures.   

How to Become a Carpenter

1.Realize that you must have excellent manual dexterity, good math knowledge and the willingness and ability to do physical work.
2.Begin learning the trade while you are in high school by taking courses such as math, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading and general shop. You should also begin to learn how to use a variety of woodworking tools.
3.Ask your guidance counselor for information on the valuable carpentry apprentice programs for high school graduates in your area. Be aware that an apprenticeship lasts for about four years, includes classroom work and can be difficult to get.
4.Work in a beginner's position for a carpentry contractor if you cannot get into an apprentice program. You will probably receive on-the-job training in only one type of carpentry work, so you will eventually need to learn other carpentry skills elsewhere. Multiskilled carpenters get the jobs during tougher economic times.
5.Contact the Associated General Contractors, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Association of Home Builders and various unions for information about the carpentry field and apprenticeships (see Related Sites). 
Detail carpenters deal directly with the client, which requires them to have excellent interpersonal skills.
Keep in mind that one third of carpenters are self-employed. If that is your eventual goal, find mentors among owners of carpentry shops. 
Be aware that there is a high injury rate among carpenters.
Bad weather can result in unpaid downtimes.   Steps:
1.Interview managers of local restaurants or existing catering services for advice on beginning your catering career. Consider offering to become an assistant as a way of learning the basics, especially if you have had any type of cooking experience.
2.Understand that cooking delicious food for large numbers of people is a skill that cannot be acquired overnight. Many caterers first attend cooking schools and/or restaurant management schools. They will be your future competition in a very competitive field.
3.Be prepared to have just a few helpers in your early years. Since their work can make or break your catering service, check all references carefully.
4.Find out whether your local health department allows catering services to be run out of an individual's kitchen. Many require that you have separate cooking facilities, but sometimes they allow the additional kitchen to be located elsewhere in your home.
5.Expect to take courses dealing with health laws before the board of health will certify you. Such certification is mandatory.
6.Keep up-to-date about the field by subscribing to food and catering publications. 
Polish your interpersonal skills. Your clientele must feel at ease while you are presenting your menus and event suggestions.
Consider including unusual food specialties in your menus only if you are certain that they will appeal to many of your clients.
Visit the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Web site (see Related Sites) for further information about training for cooks. 
Make certain you have liability insurance coverage. It will be your responsibility if spoiled food is accidentally served to guests.
Keep in mind that you will usually have to provide everything from pots to china to glassware to a van. Rented equipment might be the route for you.   Steps:
1.Apply to a four-year college that offers solid foundations in psychology, education or child development. Some colleges offer a bachelor's degree in child life.
2.Find a part-time job that involves children. Look for work with your city parks and recreation department or as a summer camp counselor.
3.Volunteer in a hospital or clinic that employs a child life specialist. This is where you will obtain most of your experience, and it will be an important item on your résumé.
4.Apply for certification if it is mandatory in your state. Find out about child life certification in your state by contacting The Child Life Council, 11820 Parklawn Drive #3202, Rockville, MD. You must complete either an internship or a certain number of hours volunteering in a child life program to become certified.
5.Earn a master's degree in child life if you would eventually like to manage a program or be a director of child life, although some hospitals will accept a complementing degree in child development, therapeutic recreation or child psychology.
6.On your résumé and in your interviews, emphasize your previous hospital experience. Look for work in big cities, because most child life programs are located at large medical centers. 
You must be emotionally stable to work with critically ill children and their families.
Learn basic medical terminology.
Fluency in a foreign language such as Spanish is very helpful. 
Be willing to relocate.
There are not many child life specialist positions in existence. Be prepared to wait for an opening or to write a grant to start your own program at a hospital without a current child life program.   Steps:
1.Obtain a college degree with a concentration in science courses such as biology, chemistry and physics. Although only two years of college work have been required in the past, most of the applicants for a D.C. now complete a four-year degree.
2.Understand that the D.C. degree requires four additional years of schooling, with the last year spent practicing under supervision.
3.Apply to any of the 21 chiropractic colleges accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Go to the CCE Web site (see Related Sites) for further information about the field. Note that a few chiropractic schools have reciprocal agreements with liberal arts colleges that allow students to take their National Board exams for licensure a year earlier.
4.Be aware that some states require you to take additional exams.
5.Plan on taking continuing education classes every year to maintain your license.
6.Consider additional training if you want to concentrate on a specialty, such as sports injuries, orthopedics or neurology. 
Tips: Read chiropractic journals to keep up-to-date on this medical field.   

How to Measure and Record Respiratory Rate

1.Observe the injured person's stomach or chest and watch until you see it rise and fall.
2.Count the number of times the stomach or chest rises for 15 seconds and multiply by 4, or for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. This tells you the respiratory rate per minute.
3.Note the rhythm of the breathing. Is it regular or irregular?
4.Note how much effort it takes for the person to breathe. Is the breath labored, or effortless?
5.Note if the breathing is deep or shallow.
6.Smell the breath for any unusual odor, especially noting a fruity odor or a fecal odor.
7.Record your findings in the following manner: rate, rhythm, effort, depth, noise and odors. For example: "Respiratory rate is 30, irregular, labored, shallow, gurgling and with no odor." 
Injured people may change their breathing out of nervousness if they know you are taking their respiratory rate. For a more accurate reading, pretend to be taking a pulse, but instead watch the stomach or chest.
If you have problems seeing the chest or stomach rise, place your hand lightly on the injured person's stomach to feel it rise and fall.
Healthy people normally take in 12 to 20 breaths per minute. 
Warnings: A fruity or fecal odor may indicate a serious medical emergency. 
Overall Tips: The more you practice taking respiratory rates of healthy people, the easier it will be to take a respiratory rate and notice irregularities with an injured person. 

How to Clean a Fraternity House

1.Mobilize the troops. Get all available brothers to pitch in.
2.Set the date and time. Have everyone arrive promptly. Start early so the brothers living in the house can't escape.
3.Give each person an assignment and begin upstairs.
4.Clean up all loose garbage - including that in each member's room.
5.Vacuum the floors; be on the lookout for stray bottle caps, which can ruin the vacuum.
6.Consider shampooing and steam-cleaning the carpets.
7.Clean the bathrooms, being careful to leave all sports magazines in the stalls. Mop the floors and clean the toilets.
8.Move downstairs and repeat the steps above. 
Make cleaning day a mandatory event. Promise food and beverages. Good attendance is the way to get the job done quickly.
Spilled beer can be sticky. It needs to be mopped with hot water and industrial-strength floor cleaner.
Consider having a dumpster delivered for all the trash.
Place air fresheners in appropriate places.
Put any empty kegs down in the basement, and recycle aluminum cans.
The outside can be cleaned while the inside is being transformed. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves and remove any unwanted debris.  
Ventilate the area well. Cleaning fumes can be hazardous to your health, as can stale beer.   Steps:
1.Gather the materials: the textbook, a ruler or tape measure, a brown-paper grocery bag, a pen, scissors and clear tape.
2.Measure the height and width of the textbook.
3.Calculate the following numbers: Add 5 inches to twice the width; add 2 inches to the height.
4.Mark off a piece of the grocery bag of these dimensions using the tape measure and pen, then cut the piece. 
Cut in straight lines. If you don't, the cover will be harder to make properly.
If you don't have a brown grocery bag, try thick construction paper. 
Make the Cover

5.Spread out the piece you cut flat on a table.
6.Center the book vertically, making sure the top and bottom edges of the book are parallel to the top and bottom edges of the cover. There should be about an inch of cover on the top and on the bottom.
7.Fold the cover up at the bottom, making a crease at the bottom of the book. Do the same from the top. Then remove the book and fold along the creases for the entire width of the cover. The cover is now as tall as your book.
8.Place the book back onto the cover, lining up the top and bottom edges of the book along the top and bottom edges of the cover. They should line up perfectly; if they don't, redo the above steps.
9.Slide the book towards the right edge of the cover, stopping 1 1/2 - 2 inches from the edge.
1..Fold the cover up from the right, making a crease at the right edge of the book. Remove the book as before and fold along the crease for the entire height of the cover.
1..Insert the back cover of the book into the pocket you've created. Push it in all the way and close the book.
1..Fold the left end of the cover over the book's front cover, making a crease at the edge of the front cover. Fold along this crease for the entire height of the cover.
1..Insert the front cover of the book into this new pocket. Close the book.
1..Secure the cover with clear tape: one or two pieces for each of the four corners.
1..Decorate at will! 
Overall Tips: If you're not feeling handy, pick up a ready-made plastic cover at the store...though you'd miss all the fun!   

How to Use Visual Aids During a Speech

Deciding on a Visual Aid
1.Use a line graph to demonstrate how something has changed over a period of time.
2.Opt for a bar graph to compare data.
3.Consider a pie chart to show how percentages relate to each other within a whole.
4.Use an organizational chart to show chain of command, communication between departments and how different departments are related.
5.Try a flow chart to illustrate a series of steps in a procedure, decision, or other "stepwise" process.
6.Take advantage of slides to illustrate key points for large audiences; overheads are better for illustrating key points for smaller audiences.
7.Consider a flip chart as an easy, cost-effective way to illustrate key points for audiences of 50 people or fewer.
8.Make your presentation memorable with props, when appropriate. 
If you decide to use slides or overheads, make sure you're familiar with the equipment involved and the lighting system of the room you'll be working in.
Leave enough time before your presentation to prepare your visual aids adequately. If you don't have much time, overheads and flip charts are a good choice. 
Charts, Graphs and Flip Charts

9.Put an appropriate amount of information and data on each chart or graph. Too much data can overwhelm the audience and be difficult to remember.
1..Triple-check all numerical values. A slight error in just one number can discredit your entire presentation.
1..Make pie chart slices match their percentage values. A slice indicating 10 percent should account for 10 percent of the total pie. Make sure slices are accurate by multiplying their percentage values by 360 (i.e. 10 percent of 360 is 36) and measuring an appropriate angle with a protractor (36 degrees in our example).
1..Keep your bar graphs in two dimensions. Three-dimensional bar graphs are difficult to read accurately.
1..Add graphics to your charts and graphs, but be discriminating. If there are too many or they're too large, they will distract your audience.
1..Print large, fat letters and numbers on your flip charts so that the data will be visible from the back of the room.
1..Write in the top two-thirds of each flip chart sheet.
1..Use dark colors (black and blue work best). Avoid using lighter colors such as yellow, orange and pink.
1..Consider a variety of darker colors to make your charts more visually stimulating.
1..Make simple drawings on your charts, especially when it comes to human figures.
1..Leave two blank sheets between each chart, because flip-chart paper can be thin and semi-transparent.
2..Use correction fluid to correct any errors you make while preparing. Your audience won't be able to see it.
2..Test your charts' effectiveness by trying to read them from far away. If you can't read them, start again using larger figures. 
Flip charts are easy to use and inexpensive, but don't work well for audiences of more than 50 people.
You can prepare your sheets in advance or write on them as you present.
Don't write too much text on a single page. 
Slides and Overheads

2..Darken the room slightly so that your slides will be properly visible.
2..Leave each slide up for at least 20 seconds.
2..If you need to discuss something else between two slides, insert a blank (black) slide between the two slides so that your audience won't be distracted.
2..Use software templates to create professional-looking overheads.
2..Number your overheads in case you accidentally drop them.
2..Apply masking tape to the edges of the projector not covered by the overhead to avoid glare.
2..Use fewer overheads by showing only one part of a single overhead at a time.
2..Stand next to the screen (not the projector) after you place each overhead on the projector. This way, your audience doesn't have to look back and forth between you and the screen. 
Number your slides in case you accidentally drop them.
Overheads have an advantage over slides in that their order of presentation is flexible. The disadvantage is that they don't work well for larger audiences.
Use an overhead projector with two bulbs to allow for quick and easy bulb replacement. Bring an extension cord and adapter with you if using an overhead projector. 
Overall Tips:
Speak to your audience, not your visual aids.
Props can make your presentation more memorable when used properly and appropriately. Most props' effectiveness peaks in under 1 minute.
Be sure to remove or cover up any visuals left by the speaker before you, or they might distract the audience from your own presentation.   
Overall Warnings: Your presentation shouldn't rely too heavily on visual aids. They should support, not comprise, your presentation. 

How to Pack a Lunch for Teens

1.Gather nutritional information from several sources and focus on the special nutritional needs of growing teenagers.
2.Find out what your teenager likes to eat. Respect personal food choices such as vegetarianism.
3.Peruse magazines, newspapers, cookbooks and Web sites for lunch ideas that meet your teenager's needs and preferences, as well as your own nutritional standards.
4.Learn how to make easy international foods such as sushi, knishes, calzones and spring rolls, which can be novel and fun.
5.Consider sandwiches, burrito-type "wraps," salads, pizzas and pizza-like foods, and rice bowls, which are both portable and proven teen pleasers.
6.Use fillers that are healthy and tasty: peanut butter, cheese, meat, hummus, tofu, greens, vegetables and eggs.
7.Think blended. Smoothies and shakes are delicious, different, trendy and power-packed with nutrients.
8.Pack power bars, fruit bars, smart trail mixes or yogurt to boost a picky eater's lunch.
9.Variety should be a priority. Teens get tired of the same old thing every day. 
Stay open-minded; teenagers have very definite ideas about most things.
Rice bowls are easily made at home. Use a protein-rich topping (tofu, meat, cheese, beans) and veggies for the greatest nutritional value. 
Keep your eyes open for unexplained weight gain or weight loss, as eating habits can often be the first sign that your teenager is troubled or unduly stressed.
Consider food safety. If the lunch will remain in your child's warm locker for several hours, be sure you use foods that will not spoil.   

How to Change Your Motor Oil

Getting Ready
1.Gather necessary tools and materials (refer to Necessary Items list). If you plan to change your oil regularly, consider investing in jack stands, a socket set and an oil drain pan.
2.Run the car's engine for 10 minutes before you drain the oil. Warm oil drains faster than cold oil.
3.Park the car on a level surface, engage the parking brake and turn off the engine. If your car has a low clearance, raise it by driving it onto a ramp or by jacking it up and supporting it securely (see "How to Jack Up Your Car Safely" under Related Sites).
4.Open the hood and place the new oil and funnel on top of the engine to ensure that you won't forget to add oil afterwards (an expensive mistake that many do-it-yourselfers make!). 
Consult your owner's manual or an automotive parts specialist to find out the weight of oil and type of oil filter your car needs.
You'll need the year, make, model and mileage of your car if you go to an auto parts store. 
Make sure the car is securely supported before you crawl underneath.
You will need two jack stands to support the front of your car after jacking it up. Never get under a car that is supported only by a jack! A pair of jack stands costs less than $20. 
Draining the Oil and Changing the Oil Filter

5.Crawl under the car once it is securely supported.
6.Locate the oil drain plug on the underside of the engine, usually near the front center of the car. Consult your owner's manual for the exact location.
7.Place the oil drain pan under the plug and loosen the plug with a socket wrench. Remember: turn counterclockwise to remove bolts.
8.Remove the plug by hand. Be prepared for the rush of hot oil!
9.Let the oil drain into the pan. Hold onto the plug.
1..Reposition the pan, if necessary, to catch all the dripping oil.
1..Wipe off the drain plug and the plug opening when the oil finishes draining.
1..Replace the drain plug gasket.
1..Reinstall the plug. Always start threading any bolts or screws by hand to prevent cross threading.
1..Tighten with a wrench or socket. Be careful not to overtighten the plug.
1..Locate the existing oil filter. Oil filters are usually on the side of the engine. Image a.)
1..Position the oil pan underneath the filter to catch any remaining oil.
1..Use an adjustable oil filter wrench to unscrew the old oil filter. Image b.)
1..Use a rag to wipe the area where the filter mounts to the engine. Make sure the rubber seal of the old filter is not stuck to the engine.
1..Use some new oil to lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter. Image c.)
2..Screw the new filter into place by hand. It's usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the oil filter wrench, but have it at the ready if you're grip's not strong (or large) enough. click photos to enlarge  
Wear gloves to remove the plug if it's hot.
It's always best to replace the oil drain plug gasket.
Use the right size wrench or socket. Don't use an adjustable wrench: you can strip the bolt. 
Handle hot automotive oil with extreme care.
Be careful when removing the old oil filter. It's full of oil. 
Installing New Oil and Cleaning Up

2..Locate the oil filler cap on top of the engine. Remove it. Image a.)
2..Place the funnel in the opening and pour in the new oil. Typically, you will use 4 to 5 quarts of oil. Check your manual for the correct oil capacity. Image b.)
2..Replace the cap when you're finished.
2..Run the engine for a minute, then check the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary. Image c.)
2..Check the area around the oil drain plug and the filter for oil leaks. Tighten the plug or oil filter if you find leakage.
2..Use rags and newspapers to wipe away excess oil.
2..Pour the used oil into a plastic container after the used oil cools.
2..Dispose the used oil properly: either bring it to a recycling center or an auto repair shop that can recycle it for you. Don't pour it down the sewer! click photos to enlarge  
Tips: Record the date and mileage after you change the oil so you will know when your car is due for another oil change. It helps to put a small sticker on your windshield to remind you. 
Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution.
Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.