How to Make Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.Combine sugar, brown sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer until fluffy.
3.Add peanut butter, vanilla and egg. Blend well.
4.Add flour, baking soda and salt to dough mixture and mix well.
5.Stir in chocolate chips.
6.Take small dollops of dough and shape, with your hands, into 1-inch balls.
7.Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. (Cookies will spread.)
8.Dip a fork into sugar and flatten the balls lightly with the fork in a crisscross pattern.
9.Bake cookies for 6 to 9 minutes, or until golden brown.
1..Remove cookies from sheets immediately and place on wire racks to cool thoroughly. 
If baking above 3,500 feet, increase flour to 1 1/2 c. and bake as directed.
Try crunchy peanut butter too.    

How to Plan a Jewish Wedding

1.Select a location - a synagogue or temple, club, hall, restaurant, or hotel.
2.Have a ketubbah (wedding contract) prepared. This describes the rights and responsibilities of the bride and groom.
3.Include all members of your immediate families in your wedding party. Typically, the parents of the bride and groom walk them down the aisle.
4.Have a huppah, or wedding canopy, in place for the ceremony.
5.Have yarmulkes (skull caps) on hand for guests who do not bring their own.
6.Allow time prior to the ceremony for a veiling ritual, in which the groom places the veil over the face of his bride after confirming she is indeed the woman he plans to marry.
7.Use plain gold wedding bands, without any engraving or stones, for an Orthodox wedding. Place the ring on the index finger of the right hand. Following the ceremony, modern brides move the ring to the left hand.
8.Ask wedding guests to read the seven blessings.
9.Bring a glass for the groom to break at the conclusion of the ceremony. This reminds people of the destruction of the temple and also calls attention to the fragility of life and the need to care for relationships, which can be broken beyond repair.
1..Following the ceremony, the bride and groom retire to a separate room where they can be alone and eat some food (usually broth) before rejoining their guests at the reception. This period is known as yihud, or union.
1..Make sure the reception site has enough room for circle dancing. (See Related Hows.) 
The bride's family and friends sit on the right side and the groom's on the left.
Jewish weddings may not be held during the Sabbath, which runs from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. Most Jewish weddings take place on Saturday night or on Sunday.
A huppah is traditionally a solid piece of fabric held up by four poles. It may be made from any kind of fabric, including embroidered velvet with fringe, but is often made out of a prayer shawl. A huppah may also be formed of flowers.    

How to Treat Croup

1.Hold and comfort the child. Agitation and fear can worsen symptoms.
2.Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer. The mist will help relieve airway swelling and loosen secretions.
3.Turn on the shower to steam up the room, and then take the child inside. Sit on the toilet seat or on a chair. Keep the child in the steamy room for 15 minutes. Read a book aloud to help keep him or her quiet.
4.Bundle the child up and take him or her outside into the cool night air (most croup occurs at night). Croup usually responds quickly to moist air.
5.Make your own croup tent. Place the vaporizer under the child's bed. Drape a blanket over a crib (use an umbrella if your child is old enough for a bed). This will trap the steam.
6.Avoid leaving your child alone under the croup tent. You need to stay awake to monitor symptoms.
7.Encourage the child to drink liquids, especially clear ones. This helps to thin mucus.
8.Avoid milk, as it makes secretions thicker.
9.Continue to assess symptoms. If croup doesn't improve after trying several methods of self-care (steam, night air, croup tent) for at least 15 minutes each or seems to be worsening, you may need to go to the emergency room. 
Most cases of croup respond to self-care, and rarely is medical intervention necessary. Croup can also be caused by an allergy or can be an early sign of asthma.
Croup is often confused with croup epiglottitis, which is caused by a bacterial infection and can be life-threatening. 
If your child is gasping for air, drooling and can't swallow, or has a bluish tinge to skin, seek emergency care immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.   

How to Make Mexican Christmas Cookies

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.Blend the sugar and shortening in an electric mixer. Add the egg and milk.
3.Mix the flour, salt, hazelnuts, almond extract, ground cloves and cinnamon into the dough. Form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
4.Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead it with your hands. Sprinkle the dough with some flour to prevent it from sticking and roll out on a large flat surface.
5.Cut the dough using cookie cutters or a small knife (use whatever shapes you like). Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
6.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with colored powdered sugar while still warm, if desired.   

How to Buy Lisa Frank Items

1.Discover Lisa Frank products, which are designed for girls in the 5-to-12 age range.
2.Recognize them by their very bright colors featuring purple, fuchsia and yellow. Often the designs incorporate cute animals.
3.Note the wide range of products. Most popular are school supplies - notebooks, pencils, pens and stationery. Backpacks, purses and water bottles are also available.
4.Check out the items that foster creativity - the Paper Play Studio and Forever Fun CD-ROMs and craft kits, for example.
5.Look for the Lisa Frank line of girls' clothing in small, medium and large sizes. Overalls, sweaters, T-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, pajamas and shoes all have the distinctive Lisa Frank design.
6.See the many other Lisa Frank items such as key chains ($2), clocks, soap, cosmetics and sleeping bags.
7.Note the reasonable prices: Paper products are under $5; lunchboxes, under $10; and backpacks, under $15. None of the clothes are over $35.
8.Select Lisa Frank products from the How Shopping List, the Lisa Frank online store, or local retailers like Kmart and Toys 'R Us.  
Tips: Be sure to show the Lisa Frank site to the girl you are buying for. It includes games, activities and chat rooms.   

How to Choose an Umbrella

1.Consider the weight and bulk of the umbrella. If you're a frequent traveler, lighter and more compact is better.
2.Find an umbrella that is easy to open and close. Again, if you're a traveler who may have bags and other items to carry, consider an automatic opening button. Some umbrellas also close automatically, another boon to the traveler or shopper.
3.Think about the size of the umbrella hood when opened. Collapsible umbrellas can open to between 42 and 44 inches, which provides excellent coverage.
4.Get an umbrella that is weatherproof and windproof, meaning it won't rust and won't turn inside out in high winds.
5.Choose a Teflon-treated hood. The nylon repels water and the hood will dry quickly.
6.Consider the color and design. You won't have many matching dilemmas if you opt for a basic, neutral color such as black, beige or gray.
7.Make sure the umbrella has its own pouch for storage. It's also handy if the pouch has a clip or loop to carry the umbrella easily.
8.Check the warranty. Some umbrellas actually have lifetime warranties.
9.Ask about the return policy, in case you decide to return or exchange the umbrella. 
If you're buying an umbrella as a gift, be conservative in the color or design that you pick, especially if you don't know the recipient's tastes. You may like cats, but Uncle George may not like pictures of kitties all over his umbrella. A basic, neutral color such as black or gray is the best choice.
Some umbrellas come with amazing features, such as small lights on the handle to illuminate the user's way in the dark.
You can purchase an inexpensive umbrella for less than $10, but you'll probably want to spend between $20 and $30 for a good-quality umbrella.   

How to Replace Shake and Shingle Siding

1.Pry up the nail heads holding the damaged shingle.
2.Split the shingle with a wood chisel if it doesn't slide right out.
3.Pull out all of the pieces and discard them.
4.Cut off nails covered by the row above the damaged one with a mini hacksaw.
5.Cut a replacement shingle to fit where the damaged one was.
6.Put the shingle into position and then slip it down about 1/2 inch.
7.Drive the nail with the head angled toward the ground.
8.Hold a piece of scrap wood along the bottom edge of the new shingle and tap it with a hammer. The nail will straighten out below the covering row. 
Examine the damaged pieces for signs of rot, insects, mildew or mold.
Keep up on the sealants (about every 5 years) and control mildew, or you'll be replacing shingles more often than every 30 years.   

How to Decide Whether to Replace or Repair a Computer

1.Find out if the repair is covered by manufacturer’s warranty or an extended service agreement.
2.Get a free estimate, if repair shops in your area will provide one. If not, find out the hourly labor charge.
3.Expect to pay $60 to $80 per hour for labor in U.S. cities, with a 1-hour minimum charge, and twice as much for on-site repair.
4.Find out how long a repair will be warranted. Most shops warrant repairs for 60 to 90 days.
5.Expect a hard drive and a power supply to last 3 to 6 years, expect the life of other mechanical drives to vary depending on usage, and expect electronics to last many years.
6.Remember that one third of computers are repaired each year.
7.Repair your computer if the repair costs less than $200, and the machine’s performance and functionality are completely satisfactory.
8.Replace your computer if you are willing to buy a computer that is better in every way, or if you need a repair that costs more than $500.
9.Buy a new machine if you have a 486 PC or 86040 Macintosh or older. If you are reading this by mid-2000, buy a new machine if your CPU is less than 100 MHz.
1..Choose a new machine if you are using Windows 3.1.1 or older.
1..Get a new machine if your current computer lacks specific functionality that you want or need.
1..Expect a new computer to come with at least a 1-year limited warranty. 
Do not have your computer repaired with refurbished parts.
Repair your computer if the power supply, hard drive and CD drive have already been replaced.
Replace your computer if you will need to rent or lease one for several weeks while yours is being serviced or awaiting parts. (Renting a computer can be exorbitantly expensive.) Understand that computer manufacturers can be slow to send proprietary parts, or may no longer stock them.  
Warnings: If you diagnose the problem yourself, remember that replacing the part you believe is malfunctioning may not solve the problem.    

How to Select a Piano

1.Order and read sales brochures from different piano manufacturers.
2.Go to a reputable manufacturer or dealer and compare the looks and sounds of different models.
3.Take along a pianist or piano expert and have him or her evaluate the instrument if you don't feel confident in your own knowledge.
4.Have a secondhand instrument inspected by an expert. The costs of restoring a neglected instrument may be excessive, and only an expert will be able to judge that.
5.Look out for defects like rusty strings, warped hammers or dampers, a cracked soundboard, moth-ridden felts, pedals that stick and rattle, stiff action (the way the keys respond to your touch) and worn-out ivory keys.
6.Consider a five-year purchase plan instead of paying cash.
7.Consider renting a piano. Most dealers will give credit if you decide to purchase the piano at the end of the rental period.
8.Inquire about using a piano at a church or school, possibly for a small donation. 
Pianos come in several shapes and sizes. Grand pianos with horizontal strings are much more expensive than uprights and will not fit into small rooms. Upright pianos vary in size.
The tone of large uprights compares favorably with small grands, but small uprights tend to have a weaker tone.
Good uprights are usually overstrung. That is, the strings are crossed diagonally to make the bass strings longer and fuller in sound.   Steps:
1.Understand that the type of acoustic guitar you buy depends largely on what style of music you wish to play.
2.Choose a guitar that is neither too big nor too small for you. Find one that is easy and comfortable to play.
3.Listen to several models, if you can, and compare their tones. A deep and mellow sound usually indicates good craftsmanship, but let your taste be the guide here.
4.Check to see if the instrument has a warped neck (see the Glossary).
5.Look out for a nut (see the Glossary) that is too high. 
Nylon strings are more comfortable for beginners' tender fingers than the steel and bronze strings used on folk guitars. You can always switch to metal strings after your fingertips have developed the calluses that result from frequent practice.
If the neck is bowed back, the strings halfway down the neck will be too high off the fingerboard (see the Glossary). With a reverse warp, the strings will be too close to the fingerboard at some point, and a buzz will result.
When the nut is too high, the strings will be hard to press down. Ask the dealer to correct this problem by filing down the grooves holding the strings. Be careful that the strings are not lowered enough to cause a buzz when you pluck them, however. 

6.Choose a reputable music merchant who stands behind the products he or she sells.
7.Take along your guitar teacher or a friend to advise you if you don't feel confident enough to deal with the sales clerk alone.
8.Use a merchant who is both able and equipped to service your instrument, since adjustments and minor repairs are often necessary.
9.Inquire about renting an instrument. Many music stores have attractive rental programs.
1..Consider buying a used guitar for a good deal.
1..Consider a guitar in the $150 to $300 price range. You don't need the most expensive instrument to begin. When in doubt, ask your teacher. 

1..Determine how much your guitar is worth to you. Buy a case that reflects the degree of protection you wish to give your instrument.
1..Consider a vinyl bag or cardboard case for a beginner's guitar.
1..Purchase a plywood case for the best - but also the most expensive - protection.
1..Pay less for the case than you paid for the guitar. 
Warnings: Remember that if you drop your guitar in its case, you are likely to crack it - regardless of the type of case. But if you drop your guitar outside the case, you will crack or even destroy it with absolute certainty.   

How to Reinforce Your Child's Learning at Home

1.Teach reading and writing by using vacations as a learning experience. Have younger children read road signs, and encourage older children to keep a travel journal.
2.Enlist your child's help in writing cards and greetings during holidays.
3.Ask your child to read at least 30 minutes a day, and encourage him to keep a daily diary or journal.
4.Sharpen your child's math skills while you shop - teach your child to compare values and bargains and to add up prices.
5.Take your child to a baseball game and teach him about batting averages and other statistics.
6.Bring your child into the kitchen and ask him to help you measure ingredients for cooking.
7.Use items around the house - cans, boxes, books - to teach younger children about geometry.
8.Expand your child's horizons with history and geography - for instance, construct a family tree with him, using your family history as an example of how history connects us with the past. Read about historical events in an encyclopedia.
9.Give your child a puzzle of the United States to work on at home, or have him follow a map on family trips.
1..Introduce your child to the world of science by having him observe and record details about the environment, such as the variety of plants and insects in the front yard, and by buying science kits.
1..Take your child to a science museum, especially one with lots of hands-on activities.
1..Have your child observe the properties of water: freezing, melting, boiling, evaporating and condensing.