How to Perform a Rest Step While Snowshoeing

1.Strap on your snowshoes and get ready to go.
2.Step forward with the right leg and put all of your weight on this foot.
3.Lock your right knee. Your leg will be fully extended and straight.
4.Pause for a split second on your locked right leg. This allows your bones, rather than your leg muscles, to support your weight.
5.Step forward with your left leg.
6.Transfer your body weight to the left leg.
7.Lock the left knee, pause and repeat.  
The rest step is a subtle trick that at first will seem to have no effect. Give it a try on long snowshoe trips, though, and you'll feel less tired than normal.
The advantages of the rest step are most noticeable when snowshoeing uphill.
Try the rest step in the summertime while hiking. 
Warnings: Snowshoeing 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 Teach Children About the Fourth of July

1.Listen to patriotic music. Sing along with your child and explain the meaning of each song.
2.Go to the library and find children's books about heroes who fought for U.S. independence, or heroines such as Betsy Ross.
3.Rent a movie about an American hero or heroine.
4.Attend a Fourth of July parade and talk about the significance of each entry.
5.Obtain a copy of the Declaration of Independence and explain what it means in child's terms.
6.Go to an Independence Day concert and discuss the music.
7.Watch a public fireworks display and explain what the celebration means.
8.Wear red, white and blue and compare it to the colors of the American flag. Talk about what the colors represent.
9.Display a flag on your property and explain the flag's meaning.
1..Tell the story behind "The Star-Spangled Banner."
1..Visit a cemetery and put flags or flowers on the graves of soldiers. Talk about their sacrifice. 
Tips: Usually children do not need a complicated history lesson to grasp a concept.   

How to Grow Marigold (Tagetes)

1.Start marigolds from seeds indoors in spring, six to eight weeks before your region's last frost date. Or, if you don't mind later blooms, start them after the last frost date. Sow the seeds directly in the ground, covering them with about 1/4-inch of soil. Thin (gently pull out extra seedlings) until they're 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety (check the seed packet). Image a.)
2.Alternatively, buy healthy, green plants with no signs of wilting or disease. Plants should be stocky with plenty of leaves. It's actually a plus if they don't have any flower on them so that they'll divert their early energy into root development rather than flowering.
3.Plant marigold seedlings - either those you've started yourself or those you've purchased - outside in spring after your region's last frost date. They need full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Image b.)
4.Position seedlings 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety. Pinch off any blooms at planting time to redirect the plants' energy to their roots for long-term health and better flowering.
5.Mulch to prevent weeds and conserve moisture. Image c.)
6.Fertilize marigolds every four to six weeks, if desired. Organic gardeners may want to simply work in plenty of compost at planting time instead.
7.Pinch or snap off spent blooms to prolong flowering.
8.Pull up and discard plants in autumn after frost blackens the leaves. click photos to enlarge  
There's a wide variety of marigolds - from the elegant French singles to the giant pompoms of the African marigold.
Colors vary, too, from subtle creams to yellows and golds to brilliant oranges and crimsons. Height can vary from 8 inches to 2 feet.
In the South and Southwest, marigolds appreciate a little afternoon shade to prevent wilting. 
Warnings: Marigolds are so hardy it's tempting to ignore them. But keep them adequately watered - never let them wilt - or spider mites and whitefly may well become a problem.   

How to Make a Temporary Stained-Glass Window From Tissue Paper

1.Draw a pattern for your "stained-glass" window. It should be the same size as the actual window. Use butcher paper or newsprint to draft your design. Some suggestions are wreaths, bells, Christmas stockings and clusters of holly leaves with berries.
2.Purchase tissue paper in a variety of colors. Use lighter colors for the background of your design, with darker colors in the foreground to make your creation stand out.
3.Tear or cut the tissue paper into pieces. The pieces will fit into your design like a mosaic.
4.Begin by placing the background pieces of tissue onto the pattern. Use different colors of the same hue for a dramatic effect. For example you might use light green, lime green, yellow green and blue green for the background.
5.Tear more pieces of tissue to form the main body of the design. If your design is light-colored, such as a yellow bell, leave a void in the background so that the color can shine through clearly.
6.Fit the pieces together loosely. Overlapping is good - it will create a beautiful effect.
7.Paint a small section of the window with liquid laundry starch.
8.Place the torn tissue directly on to the prepared area of the window, smoothing it into the wet starch.
9.Work small areas of the window at a time, painting on the starch and laying in the tissue. Mistakes make for interesting designs!
10.Continue to paint the starch and lay the tissue until the design is complete.  
A small piece of cardboard makes a perfect squeegee to press out the major wrinkles.
Leave areas of clear glass so that you can see outside and allow a bright beam of light to shine through.
Clean up is easy: Simply peel the tissue off the window, and clean the window with glass cleaner.   

How to Select a Gift for a 4-Year-Old Girl

1.Consider the little girl in question: Does she like soccer? Ballet? Arts and crafts?
2.Choose a gift that will tickle her interests.
3.Consult her parents about what might suit her, especially if you're far away or just can't settle on something.
4.Buy software. She'll love the sounds, shapes and colors of a game built just for someone her age - and she can begin building her computer skills early.
5.Go for a board game: an old favorite like "Chutes and Ladders" or a new favorite like "Blues Clues."
6.Consider a tricycle or toy car she can ride on, stuffed animals, or a small backyard slide or gym.
7.Plan an outing: This can give parents a needed break and give you special one-on-one time at the park or zoo.
8.Remember that books are always a great gift idea; browse the bookstore, online or real, for one that strikes your interest. 
Tips: Make sure that whatever you get can be returned, just in case she already has it. 
Warnings: Read packaging carefully to be certain that the gift you choose is safe for a preschooler.   

How to Understand Your Rights Under COBRA

1.Understand that COBRA is a federal law that allows an employee and his or her dependents to continue medical insurance coverage for up to 18 months after leaving a job. The law covers those who quit a job as well as those who are fired.
2.Realize that an employer with 20 or more employees must provide written notice offering COBRA coverage within 14 days of an employee's departure.
3.Be aware that the full cost of the insurance, plus up to a 2 percent administrative fee, must be paid by the employee. Although the insurance may be expensive, remember that coverage is purchased at a group rate and that an individual policy purchased independently would be much more expensive.
4.Know that COBRA coverage is available for up to 18 months after you leave a job. Many workers use COBRA during the waiting period before health insurance benefits begin at a new job.  
Tips: COBRA coverage is also available to family members after a divorce or when an employee dies. Different time periods apply in these situations.   

How to Know When to Time a Wedding Shower

1.Hold the shower four to six weeks before the wedding if you're using the traditional approach. If you hold a shower closer to the wedding, the bride and her family will be busy with wedding details.
2.Forgo tradition if the bride or her closest relatives live out of town. Hold the shower when everyone will be in town, even if this date falls close to the wedding or even after the honeymoon.
3.Choose a date and time for the shower. The possibilities are endless here, from a Saturday afternoon to a mid-week evening to a Friday night. Your choice should depend on the preferences of the bride and important guests, as well as on the type of shower you are hosting.
4.Send invitations up to a month before the shower. If the shower is to be held close to the wedding date, send shower invitations after the wedding invitations have gone out.
5.See the Related Hows for ideas on how to host and choose themes for a successful shower. 
If you hold the shower after the wedding or honeymoon, be sure that guests invited to the shower were also invited to the wedding. You might hurt some feelings otherwise.
Always consult the bride about dates and times that would be most convenient for her before planning a shower.
Couples showers are best held on a weekend day or evening. A work-related shower is perfect on a weekday lunch hour. A women-only shower might be a luncheon or afternoon tea. 
Remember to consider guests who work when you plan the shower. Those with full-time jobs won't be able to attend a midday affair on a weekday, for example.
Although it is not improper to hold a shower after the wedding, especially if this time works best for the bride, some guests may not be inclined to spring for another gift - especially if they've just given an expensive wedding gift. A group gift could be a solution to this problem.   Steps:
1.Always get input from the bride regarding the guest list for the shower, no matter what kind of shower you are planning.
2.Invite the bride's and groom's mothers, any other female relatives, bridal attendants and close friends of the bride to a traditional shower.
3.Include co-workers as directed by the bride. Remember that the bride's other friends might not know her co-workers, so make an effort to see that they are introduced and feel included.
4.Consider a couples shower if the bride and groom socialize regularly with a lot of other couples. See "How to Host a Couples Wedding Shower" in the Related Hows for ideas about couples showers.
5.Invite all of the bride's co-workers, but not necessarily relatives or close friends, if you are throwing a shower at work. See "How to Host a Work-Related Wedding Shower" the in Related Hows for ideas.
6.Avoid being limited by convention. These days, you are free to compose an eclectic guest list - with the bride's approval, of course. 
Tradition says that all shower guests should also be invited to the wedding. Since the wedding guest list is generally made before the shower takes place, work with the bride to create the shower guest list.
A comfortable shower generally involves 10 to 20 people. This number gives everyone a chance to interact with everyone else, as well as with the bride, and keeps details manageable for the hostess.
If the bride is having more than one shower, you might want to make sure that each guest is invited to only one or two. Buying multiple shower gifts may be a hardship for some people. 
If the bride's parents are divorced and her mother and stepmother can't stand the sight of each other, you'll have problems at the shower. Let the bride assess these sorts of situations and come up with the best solution before you send the invitations.
Avoid inviting young children unless the bride has a daughter or younger sister who would enjoy the festivities.   

How to Outfit a Guest Room

1.Make the bed with attractive linens.
2.Provide spare pillows and a bedside lamp in case your guest likes to read in bed. Remember that people often have difficulty falling asleep in a less-than-familiar environment.
3.Provide a television and a program schedule.
4.Set out reading material that will suit your guest. Examples include recent news or fashion magazines (not two-year-old magazines) or a paperback novel that you can spare in case your guest becomes hooked and asks to keep it.
5.Prevent pets from entering the room.
6.Make sure the room is quiet - oil squeaky hinges, remove or disable ticking or chiming clocks, fix a drippy faucet in a nearby bathroom, and so on.
7.Provide an alarm clock. Check to make sure the alarm isn't set to go off too early for your guest.
8.Clear out a drawer for your guest's things.
9.Leave some empty hangers and open space in the closet.
10.Clear some floor space in the closet for your guest to stow luggage, or provide a luggage stand at the foot of the bed.
11.Provide a flashlight on the bedside table so the guest can navigate to the bathroom easily in the dark. Stow some extra batteries nearby and tell the guest where they are.
12.Offer one-size-fits-most slippers and robe.
13.Set a pitcher of water and a glass on the bedside table (with coasters).
14.Anticipate any special wants of a particular guest. This might be a hand lotion dispenser on a bedside table, a bowl of sugar-free mints, an electric blanket, etc. 
Tips: Prepare the room a few days ahead of a guest's arrival and then sleep there one night yourself as a test. You may learn, for example, that the mattress is uncomfortable (an egg-crate mattress pad may fix that) or the lighting is too dim (swap the lamp or the bulb). 
Warnings: Remove area rugs that pose a tripping or slipping hazard and any other floor obstacles (footstools, planters, etc.) to assure your guests a safe visit.    

How to Know if You are Ready to Run a Race

1.Pick a distance you can handle. It should be no greater than one-third of your weekly mileage.
2.Make your first goal just to complete the distance, not to compete.
3.Start short. The largest races in the country are in the 5K range (3.1 miles), mostly because they appeal to beginners. Avoid longer races your first time; you can try them later.
4.Find a good program. Make sure it is specific to the distance you wish to race.
5.Take it easy afterward. You will likely run the race faster than your normal training pace, so run easily or switch to another activity (biking or swimming) to let your muscles recover. 
Start at the doctor's office. Make sure you have a physical exam before beginning any exercise program or undertaking a race.
Be in shape. A race is much more meaningful if you are well prepared. If you are not in shape, pick a race at least a few weeks or months away to give yourself time to prepare.
Wear the proper shoes and clothing. Some runners have special gear they reserve for racing.
Make sure not to overdress. Races require some waiting at the start. You may be a bit chilly while waiting, but you will soon warm up once you begin to run. 

How to Hire a Hardwood Floor Contractor

1.Determine the areas where you want hardwood flooring installed or refinished.
2.Learn about the differences in material costs for various flooring products if you're having new floors installed, and decide which type of flooring you want to use. (See Tips below for details about different options.) You can shop for flooring at a building supply store.
3.Ask friends and relatives for recommendations to help find a contractor, or look in the yellow pages under "Floors."
4.Have contractors come to your home to measure and give estimates. Get several price quotes from competing contractors.
5.Discuss the finishing/coating options with the contractor. Do you have children or pets who make greater protection a must?
6.Ask to see pictures of past jobs if you're looking for a contractor to do specialty work, such as elaborate parquet or inlays.
7.Learn whether each contractor is experienced in the specific work you want done. For example, a contractor may install very high-quality standard oak floors, but may not be sufficiently skilled to handle a complex project with inlays or difficult cuts.
8.Ask the contractors for references, and check these references. Are previous customers happy with the work that was done? Was their experience satisfactory?
9.Select the contractor with the best combination of satisfied references and price.
10.Make arrangements with the contractor to cover damage to painted trim and other items that may be damaged when refinishing or adding a floor. (You may have to accept the fact that you'll have to repaint or touch up base moldings in a room that's being worked on.)
11.Execute a contract specifying the work to be done, price, payment schedule, start date, and estimated completion date. Try to pay the minimum possible deposit and arrange a payment schedule that matches the completion of work and delivery of materials to the site. 
Many types of wood flooring products are available. The most common type of hardwood flooring is unfinished oak, typically 2 1/4- or 3-inch-wide strips (3/4-inch thick), nailed into place. Maple is also commonly used, though less frequently than oak. These floors are sanded and coated with polyurethane on-site.
Many engineered wood products are also available that offer thicknesses significantly less than 3/4 inch. These 5/16-, 3/8- and 1/2-inch-thick products are particularly useful in renovations where a subfloor is already in place.
Many wood flooring products are now available in a pre-finished form. These floors are typically glued in place and are 100 percent complete after a brief drying period.
Several decorative options also are available, including contrasting borders (such as a walnut strip inlayed around an oak floor) and various forms of parquet. 
You'll be unable to use the new floors for one or more days while the polyurethane coating is drying.
Though refinishing hardwood flooring yourself is an option, seriously consider whether it's cost-effective. The work involved can be difficult for the inexperienced, and renting a sander can be quite expensive.