You spend a lot of money on your Internet service and want to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your dollar. Should you go with Satellite Internet or not? The debate continues, so here is a list of 5 advantages to Satellite Internet and 5 disadvantages to Satellite Internet that may help you decide whether Satellite Internet is right for you.
Since Satellite Internet is beamed directly from the satellite to your home, the signal does not have to pass through miles of phone or cable lines giving many advantages to this type of service.
Connection: For avid Internet users or people who rely on the internet for their personal businesses, having the internet constantly available is a must. With Satellite Internet, once you boot up your computer, you are connected to the Internet. There is no dial up or log on needed; you are just automatically connected.
Availability: Satellite Internet has a higher availability rate than DSL or cable. If you are in the United States, you are able to get Satellite Internet. Even in remote or mountainous regions where running DSL lines and cables are impossible, Satellite Internet is able to provide service.
Multiple Users: The number of computers per household has increased dramatically over the years. It is more likely that each person in a home has his or her own computer, rather than each home having one computer for everyone to share. Satellite Internet can easily accommodate all the computers a family has, all at the same time. There is no need to wait for one computer to “log off” in order for another one to “log on.”
Ease of Use: Satellite Internet is a ‘no problem’ Internet service. Once a technician sets up your account and installs a receiver on the exterior of your home, you are ready to go. No additional equipment is needed.
Service Outages: Downed wires and ice on the phone lines are just two circumstances that can bring other types of Internet service to a standstill, but not Satellite Internet. With satellite signal, you will not lose your Internet connection.
As great as that sounds there are some disadvantages to having satellite internet.
Fair Access Policy: The FAP limits the bandwidth of a subscriber’s daily Internet use. This means that during peak hours of use, your service is slower than it would be using cable or DSL.
Latency: Latency means that, again during peak usage times, people using voice chat applications or voice-over IP service may experience noticeable lag times between responses. Streaming videos and watching a movie may be significantly slowed during these times making for a less than enjoyable viewing experience.
Weather disturbances: Because the satellite data signals travel long distances, any disturbance can cause disruption in the connection. Rain, clouds, snow and high winds have all contributed to the lost data signals which leads to loss of connectivity and interruptions in service.
Placement of receiver: Subscribers must take extra care when having their satellite receivers installed. Placement should not be blocked by trees and should have a clear view location to be able to receive the clearest signals.
Cost: Satellite Internet is comparatively more expensive than either cable or DSL Internet. There are high start-up costs as well as monthly fees.
Whether you are ready to try Satellite Internet or are just exploring the idea, it makes sense to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of Satellite Internet service.
Although we may refer to it as ‘snail mail’ when comparing it to electronic mail, standard mail delivery moves at lightning speed compared to the time it used to take to send a letter or package by the postal service in the past. The US Postal Service has used every means necessary to provide delivery of communications across this country since it began operations.
Steamboats – In the 1800’s steamboats became the fastest mode of transportation on the water. Although mail had already been carried in boats and on rafts, steamboats provided a much faster delivery. Mail could be delivered between New York and California, via the Panama Canal in four weeks or less using steamboat delivery.
Pony Express – Pony Express riders and their speedy horses are legendary for their part in mail delivery in the west. However, pack mules carried plenty of mail bags themselves, though not as quickly.
Railroad – The railroad has played a large role in mail delivery throughout its history. In its early years of mail delivery, the postal service actually sorted mail in railroad cars while they were en route.
Automobiles – Cars and trucks continue to delivery mail between cities and along rural routes. In the early years of automobiles, both electric and gasoline powered automobiles were used by mail carriers.
Airplanes – Mail being transported through the air is common today, but in its beginnings it was considered quite unique, and certainly more expensive, to send a letter by Air Mail. The first regular pilots for mail delivery were Army pilots flying training missions.
Motorcycles – The use of motorcycles for rural mail delivery is not as well-known as some of the other forms of transportation, but they formed an important part of the transportation system, particularly following World War I. Sidecars were often utilized to assist with larger loads.
Pneumatic Tubes – You may be assuming that the use of pneumatic tubes for mail delivery was a Twentieth Century idea. It was not. Pneumatic tube delivery of mail began in the 1890’s in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. The tubes ran underground from one mail station to another within the cities. Tube carriers looked vary similar to the cylindrical carriers used at your bank’s drive-up service. The cost of the service prevented it from continuing.
Missiles – They tried it, but it didn’t work very well. In 1959 the use of guided missiles for mail delivery was experimented with. After a crash landing and an accounting of costs, the idea was discarded.
Stagecoach – Not all of the mail in the west was carried by lone riders on horseback. The regular routes of stagecoaches made them a natural choice for mail delivery as well.
People – The individual mail carrier has been a part of mail delivery longer than any other mode of transportation. Human feet are still the best delivery system to city homes.
Hopefully, you learned a few things about US Postal delivery systems that you did not know. Some of them were sure to have been new to you.
With each passing year, telecommuting – also known as working from home – is becoming more common. According to Forbes, one in five people now work from home at least part-time. That’s 30 million people working from home, with at least three million working solely from home. While working from home has its perks, it can also have its pitfalls. These 100 blogs are stocked with tips work-at-home moms can use to maximize on the benefits of working from home and avoid the drawbacks, helping you lead a happy, balanced life.
Get the Help You Need
Moms who work from home full-time probably are going to need some help on occasion. Hiring a nanny or babysitter to watch the kids can free up your time and allow you to get more done. Check out these 10 articles to find options for getting help in the areas you need it most.
Hire a nanny. Morningside Nannies explains both the benefits and drawbacks to hiring a nanny when you work from home.
Get a cleaning service. Superpages lists 10 reasons you might want to hire professionals to clean your home.
Get someone to help with administrative duties. EA Help examines how a virtual administrative assistant can aid you throughout the day.
Look into hiring a mother’s helper. If you don’t want or need full-time childcare, She Knows suggests hiring a part-time mother’s helper to entertain the kids while you work.
Choose a daycare that allows you to set your own hours.Planet Kids is a drop-in or flexible schedule daycare that works with parents who work unusual hours.
Find a flexible childcare option. Working Mother explains the various ways that work-at-home moms can work around their kids, such as utilizing fitness club daycares, attending story time at the library and getting their spouse to help once he’s home.
Utilize before and after school childcare through the school. Many schools offer childcare before and after school to accommodate regular office hours, says Childtime.
Set up a babysitting co-op with other moms. Baby Center explains how to set up a babysitting co-op and how it can work.
Use a grocery delivery service. Check with your local grocery stores or use a nationwide company like Schwan’s to order and receive food at your home so that you can save time shopping.
Sign up for a meal service a few nights a week. The great thing about meal services like Family Chef is that they can often cater to dietary restrictions.
Time management is a crucial component of working from home. Use these 10 tricks to help you effectively manage your time while you work.
Eliminate time wasters. Momcomm reviews common time wasters.
Create routines for your family life. Work at Home Moms suggests building routines into your daily life for both your family and your work.
Learn to say no. Real Simple points out the necessity of saying “no” sometimes.
Stay focused on your tasks. WAHM explains different ways people self-sabotage themselves when working from home.
Set up a work schedule. Kids aren’t the only ones who need structure; Growing a Family says that grown-ups do too.
Keep track of your deadlines. Yahoo Voices advises using a calendar or other device to keep track of deadlines.
Utilize a timer. Circle of Moms points out that using a timer can keep you focused and let kids know when you will be available.
Set aside a chunk of time for you. The Mogul Mom urges work-at-home moms to take time to recharge.
Find your peak time. Babble explains that you need to figure out when you are at your best and take advantage of that time to do most of your work.
Create a task list and prioritize tasks. Examiner recommends starting the day with a list of tasks need to get completed and then prioritizing them so that you can work on those items first.
Finding a work/life balance is no easy feat, but it is possible to accomplish. To learn how to establish a work/life balance, read these 10 articles.
Don’t feel guilty. Many working moms feel guilty about not spending more time with their family, but this mindset isn’t healthy, says Parents.
Spend quality time with your family. Modern Mom shares that it’s not the amount of time that you spend with your family, but the quality of the time you do spend with them.
Know what you want to accomplish before you start. Inc. discusses different ways to find balance between work and home.
Look ahead before you take on a job to determine its flexibility. Miami Herald advises knowing your life goals before choosing a career to determine if that career will help you achieve those goals.
Know what you want. If you want to work from home full-time, Flex Jobs recommends talking to your boss and explaining a well thought out plan for you to do just that.
Figure out who you are. Big City Moms explains that some people need to work because that’s who they are while others need to stay home.
Try to exercise regularly. People who exercise tend to be happier with both their life and their work, shares Harvard Business Review, because it makes them feel stronger and more capable.
Taking time off to have a family won’t kill your career. Science Moms writes about high powered women who have found balance between having a family and working from home.
Manage others’ expectations. Generation Y advises working the hours you are able to and letting others know that you have a family and are not always on call.
Whether you work from home or not, having meal plans you can make ahead of time can be a lifesaver. These 10 sites will provide you with ideas and recipes for meals that can be pre-made and frozen so that you can just pop dinner in the oven and go back to work.
Overnight beef bourguignon recipe. Momeo Magazine has just the recipe for busy working moms.
Use your lunch hour to work ahead on dinners. Work at Home Dinner Guide explains how to cook chicken breasts and a beef steak for future meals and how to throw together some mixes for a breadmaker.
Make breakfast ahead of time to streamline the morning routine. Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms shares three recipes that can be pre-made so the kids can grab breakfast themselves.
Use these recipes to get a jump on dinners for the week. Cooking Light details several recipes that can be made ahead and reheated on the night you need it.
On the weekend put some dinners in the freezer. Fitness Magazine encourages busy people to avoid eating out by freezing dinners ahead.
Prepare a month’s worth of meals in a day. Everyday Rachael Ray gives you tips and recipes to make 20 different meals.
Make soup when you’re in a time crunch. Try this Minestrone soup recipe from Make Ahead Meals and freeze it for future meals.
Buy meat in bulk when it’s on sale. My Recipes explains the benefit of buying your favorite meats when they’re on sale so you can freeze them and use them for later meals.
Make a meatloaf to freeze for later. Food provides tons of recipes that are perfect for once a month cooking.
Prepare this casserole recipe before you go to bed. This Overnight Meatball Casserole recipe from Busy Cooks sits in the fridge over night or all day and is ready to cook that night.
Working from home doesn’t automatically mean you suddenly have the time to clean house all day. In fact, sometimes you may find you have even less time to clean. Use these 10 time-saving cleaning tips to keep the house clean with minimal effort and time.
Assign tasks to all members of the family. Jennifer P. Williams explains the benefits of having everyone pitch in around the house to keep it clean.
Work your way around a room clockwise. Woman’s Day shares how cleaning a room clockwise can help you get more done.
Clean as you go. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but Just Mommies recommends putting things away as soon as you’re done using them.
Break cleaning tasks down daily. Liberating Working Moms talks about how she tackles a few cleaning tasks every day to keep the house clean.
Create a cleaning caddy. My Sweet Nest Blog explains how to put together a cleaning caddy to save time while cleaning.
Multi-task your chores. According to Skinny Mom, you should find ways to clean as you go about your typical daily tasks.
Work in 15-min periods of time. Popsugar says that breaking up cleaning into smaller chunks helps it not seem so bad.
Make sure everything has a place. Advice with Dr. Julia recommends putting away items right after using them.
Take advantage of every spare minute. The Happiest Home encourages you to clean during your spare time, such as when you’re waiting for water to boil or for your coffee to brew.
Break tasks up into 5-minute chunks. The Confident Mom lists tons of chores that you can do 5-minutes at a time.
Define and Organize Your Workspace
While you may have the flexibility to work wherever you want when you work from home, it can be more beneficial to set up a designated work space. These 10 sites will help you create a defined work space.
Corral all your small desk items into a handy desk organizer. The Container Store shows some ways you can keep your desk clutter-free.
Determine how you want your office to function. Organized Impressions explains that you need to decide who is going to use your office, how often you will use the space and what will you be doing.
Try to make your office fit your tastes. Steve Pavlina stresses the importance of feeling good in your office space so that you can be happier and more productive.
Reduce paper clutter. Offices are often riddled with stacks of paper; Monster explains how to reduce this clutter.
Label everything in your office. Startup Nation suggests labeling cords, creating files for pending papers and filing most of the stuff in your office.
Decide where your workspace will be. Whether you have a dedicated room, a desk in a corner or a laptop in the dining room, you need to define your space, advises Unclutterer.
Organize your books onto shelves. House Beautiful shares a picture of a home office that doubles as a library with floor-to-ceiling book shelves.
Utilize an in-basket. The Couch Manager explains how an in-basket can keep paperwork organized.
Figure out the work flow and organize around that. How Stuff Works recommends looking at how your work comes in, how you handle it and how it goes out again to determine flow.
Only keep things on your desk that you use daily. Home Storage Solutions takes you step-by-step through organizing your home office.
Working from home can give others the false impression that you are available 24/7. While you may have a little more flexibility than office-bound employees, you also still have a job to do and can’t be running around taking care of things for everyone else simply because you’re home. Learn how to set boundaries with the help of these 10 blogs.
Set up an online calendar so your co-workers know when you are working. Working Mother says there is no reason to take on more tasks just because you are working from home, and having an online calendar can help.
Get a dedicated business phone line. Freelance Folder explains the importance of keeping your private life separate from your professional one.
Create a set of three cards that alert your family to your availability. Women Powering Business suggests putting a green card up when people can walk in, a yellow card when visitors need to knock and wait for an answer and a red one when you can’t be disturbed.
Create a firm quitting time. You are more likely to enjoy both work and home if you can separate the two, says Lifehacker.
Define your priorities. Mompreneur Network encourages setting priorities for both work and home.
Don’t answer work e-mail or phone calls after-hours. Amanda Abella explains that letting the line between work and home blur can leads to unhappiness.
Take time to figure out how quickly you will respond to e-mails or phone calls. Boston Wellness Coach advises setting clear boundaries.
Get up early on the weekends too. While that may seem counterintuitive, it isn’t. Use the early weekend morning to get housework done so you can have fun with your family and feel like you have boundaries between work and home, says Projective.
Make sure that you separate work time and home time physically. Hot Frog advises taking a walk when you are done with work for the day so that your body feels a separation.
Talk to your family. The biggest thing you can do to set boundaries is to talk to your family about not bothering you while you are working, explains Paul Maplesden.
Dress Code for Working at Home
There’s a common misconception that everyone who works from home lounges around in pajamas all day, but many people have found it beneficial to get fully dressed as a signal the day is starting. Use these 10 tips for implementing a dress code while working from home.
Don’t wear lounge clothes while working. Woman’s Work urges women to get dressed every morning before work so you sound perkier and are more productive.
Get fully dressed. The Coffee Stained Writer explains that getting dressed all the way to her shoes makes her less likely to nap during the work day.
Dressing in business attire helps ensure you’re prepared for any last minute meetings. Dressing so you are ready to take a meeting on a moment’s notice will help keep you in work mode, says Journo Advice.
Dress up if you feel more productive. Already Pretty suggests making a dress code for yourself and deciding if you feel better when you dress up, dress down or somewhere in between.
Find an in between style for working at home. Staying in your pajamas might make you feel and work like a slob, but dressing in a suit may be impractical. Find a happy medium from Our Little Apartment.
Try wearing stylish yet comfortable clothes because you may leave the house. Wardrobe Oxygen urges work at home women to still get “dressed” for work, though maybe in a more relaxed manner than you would for an office.
Add some fun to your work day by dressing up a little. XO Jane explains that you can have fun with your wardrobe even when working at home.
People who dress up are often more successful. Excelle points out that if absolutely no one is going to see you then you can just be comfortable, but even if just one person sees you it’s important to make a professional impression.
What you wear represents who you are. Yes and Yes has some upgraded comfy clothing ideas to share.
To take a break or not to take a break? Here are 10 reasons that taking breaks during the day is a good thing, as long as those breaks don’t lead to procrastination.
Take mini-breaks during your work day. According to Stillness Buddy, even a 30 second break every hour will make you more productive.
A five minute break several times a day can reduce stress. The Centers for Disease Control explain that taking a five minute break can improve focus, reduce stress and help you reduce your cholesterol.
Resting your eyes for a few minutes several times a day will ease eye strain. Singh Rahul talks about the many health benefits to taking periodic breaks during the day.
Avoid burnout by taking your lunch away from your desk. SF Gate encourages workers to step away occasionally for a change of scenery.
Stay efficient by taking an occasional break. Productivity 501 points out that some problems may benefit from letting your unconscious mind work while the conscious mind takes a break.
Working all day without a break can lead to making mistakes. Fortune says that people who push too hard at their jobs don’t take time to recharge, which can lead to mistakes.
Taking a lunch break can help you make better decisions. The Sydney Morning Herald explains that getting away from your desk helps you stay mentally sharp throughout the afternoon.
Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you will get more done. New York Times suggests working in 15 minute intense bursts instead of for hours at a time.
Moving around can reduce spikes in blood sugar. Shine encourages people to go for a walk after eating to avoid blood sugar spikes, which can cause weight gain and diabetes.
Taking lunch breaks can reduce sick days. According to the University of Toronto, employees who consistently work through lunch became ill more often than those that take breaks.
How to be Productive
It takes a certain type of person to be able to effectively work from home. To increase your productivity in your home office, use these 10 tips.
Alter your mindset. Fox Business explains that some people don’t have the self-motivation to be productive in a non-office setting.
Stay connected to people in your office. Business Insider points out that by staying in touch you can communicate your goals and intentions for the day.
Check e-mail at set times. USA Today encourages those that work from home to avoid distractions from e-mail notifications by having set times to check e-mail.
Be aware of the music you are listening to because it could affect your mood. Zen Habits advises you to listen to things that will put you in a positive frame of mind.
Don’t waste time setting up your work space every day. MSN explains the benefits of keeping your work space set up versus breaking it down at the end of each day.
Get rid of distractions. Technori points out the importance of focusing on your work and avoiding distractions.
Break up your day. Manilla suggests taking a break in the middle of the day to exercise and get away from your desk.
Get into a work routine. By maintaining a routine you can spend less time trying to figure out what to do next, says Work Awesome.
Put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. It can be difficult to avoid getting sidetracked by family members when working from home, so Make Use Of suggests letting them know when you can’t be disturbed.
Try a change of venue. Loop 21 advises sitting in a café or bookstore occasionally to increase your productivity.
Maybe there are people who enjoy grocery shopping, but I think most of us consider it a chore. However, it is one of those necessary evils. We need food to feed our families and the vast majority of us get all our food from a grocery store. This can be a pretty thankless job, so why not get the rest of the family involved? Here are 10 reasons the whole family should help get the groceries.
Get input – When trying to decide what food to buy it’s great to get some input from the rest of the family. The primary grocery shopper can get in a rut and tend to keep getting the same stuff week after week. Other family members can help come up with new ideas.
Compare prices – Family members tend to complain about the choices made by the main shopper. Being in the store and comparing prices may help them realize the big price difference between name brands and store brands.
Personal tastes – Each family member has their own personal tastes. By having the family along groceries can be purchased to cater to each person’s tastes instead of just one. Someone who doesn’t like mushrooms is less likely to want to buy them for someone else.
More eyes – Getting groceries week after week can put you on automatic pilot and you may miss things. More sets of eyes will notice in-store specials or new products you would normally pass up.
Appreciation – Other family members don’t usually appreciate what a burden it is for one person to get groceries. Each item purchased is handled at least 6 times before it reaches the shelf at home. Get the rest of the family to do all the work and they may gain new appreciation for your previous efforts.
Team effort – Having the rest of the family to pitch in will make getting groceries a team effort. Get the whole family to help make the list and form a plan. Give each member a special job to do and the shopping will be a snap.
Share the load – More hands make for a lighter task for everyone. Each person can grab one bag and make toting groceries a breeze. Nothings worse than having to wrangle groceries all by yourself.
Sticker shock – Most family members don’t have any idea how much the grocery bill is. Having them along when the clerk rings up the total may come as a complete surprise. After the sticker shock wears off, get everyone to help do their part to get that bill down.
See what’s available – Family members who have never seen the inside of a grocery store have no idea what’s actually available. They can then help come up with new ideas for what to make for dinner.
Educational – Grocery shopping can be a very educational experience for kids. Use the time to help them work on their math skills. This gives children a hands-on realistic reason for learning arithmetic.
On the other hand, if you’re not careful, having the whole family along can really make the grocery bill increase. You’ll need to be sure to lay down some ground rules before you start and let them know what the limit is. This will be a great opportunity to get the whole family involved in limiting the grocery budget. The family should be happier getting the food they like and helping with the process. The next time they grab a snack or eat a meal, they’ll know how much it cost and what it takes to get it in their home. Hopefully, they’ll appreciate it.
When you’re planning to move to a new area, one of your biggest concerns is going to be the quality of the schools in the area. Doing a drive-by look at a school or even visiting the school website will give you very little idea of the quality of the education that your children might receive there.
PSK12.com – This site allows you to look at the data from the ‘School Report Cards’ issued by the state’s Department of Education. With a free membership, you can see general data by county for some of the previous years, but not the previous year’s data. For more detailed and more current information, a paid membership is required.
City-Data.com – This is a location based forum where posters asks questions of each other about different cities and areas. It is a great place to get the views of actual residents of an area without having to go door to door with a survey.
NeighborhoodScout.com – A paid membership is required for this site, but it does have options as short as one month. The site will allow you to search for neighborhoods in your new location, which have the best school systems and lowest crime rates. The reports provided are very detailed.
GreatSchools.org – On this site you can find ratings on the schools in the area that you are looking at. There may also be reviews on specific schools posted by other visitors to the site. The site is free to use and no registration is required.
Schoolmatch.com – This is a paid internet service for anyone looking for information on a school or college, and compares both public and private schools. The information is very thorough, since it is designed to be used, not just by parents, but also by teachers and school administrators who are looking for positions.
SchoolDigger.com – Free customizable searches of schools anywhere in the nation. Search information based on what is important to you. Much of the same information that you would find on paid membership sites can be found here for free.
PublicSchoolReview.com – If you are looking for basic statistics and also recent news items regarding the school district you select. The use of the site is free for anyone without registration.
SchoolMatters.com – You can choose up to three schools in an area to compare side-by-side on this site. It will compare enrollments, reading and math proficiencies and ethnicity breakdowns.
Visit the Schools – Take the time to make appointments with the principals of area schools and visit them yourself. This will give you the opportunity to see the conditions of the school yourself and to ask the questions that are most important to you.
Ask for Referrals – Whether it is new co-workers or family, ask about their knowledge of the schools in the areas you are considering. You may be surprised with the information that you can collect from the people right around you.
There are plenty of resources available to help you find just the information you need to make a decision on which schools will be the best choice for your kids.
Doing home repairs can save you money when they are done correctly and safely. Fixing a hole in a wall or the roof can be very important, but they don’t carry the same risk as dealing with electricity, and the consequences when done wrong. Electrical current can lead to serious injury if you don’t follow practical ways of respecting the danger involved. Being aware of the risks, and what you need to do to avoid them, is the key to doing electrical repairs safely. The following are ten suggestions for ways that can prevent electrocution when attempting certain home repairs.
Water and Electricity don’t mix. When repairing wiring or outlets, or even an electrical appliance, prevent any contact with water while it is connected to electrical current. If there is electricity running through the wires, it can result in an electrical shock or worse.
Don’t check outlets with metal tools. Never stick a screw driver or any metal objects into a broken outlet to try and remove some fragment. If you are holding metal and the electricity is on, you are risking severe electrical injury.
Fixing A Toaster. It might seem like an easy solution when something is stuck in your toaster to remove it with a fork or knife. This can be a dangerous task, if you don’t take the time to unplug the toaster from the outlet first. If you make the wrong connection with the wires, then you can end up getting electrocuted.
Television Repairs. Removing the back on your television and probing around the insides, especially when it is turned on can lead to a lethal consequence. Although this isn’t as common a problem as it once was, that is one more type of home repair to avoid, unless you are trained in this area.
Computer Repair. This is a very common repair situation for most of us. There are times when you may feel you can do some minor repair without taking your computer to a technician. The biggest risk comes when we fail to make sure it is unplugged before opening the cover. It doesn’t take much for us to get voltage if the computer is connected to electrical current.
Electrical Outlets. Failing to make sure the power is off to a given circuit when trying to repair an outlet can lead to potential electrocution. Touching wires without checking them first is another potentially dangerous action.
Replacing Light Bulbs. This is so simple we just never give it much thought. But if you are not careful when handling a socket without a light bulb you can easily make contact with electricity if the lamp is plugged in or the power to the light fixture isn’t turned off.
Replacing Circuit Breakers. Trying to repair a fuse box or circuit breaker may seem easy enough to do, but it can be a real life threatening problem if you don’t make sure the main power is off first.
Power Tools. Trying to repair an electric drill or power saw while it is plugged in can be very risky. If you manage to connect with some current through a bare wire, you can be endangering your well being.
Replacing Ceiling Vans. Any time you must connect the wires of a fan to home electrical wires, you can face a risk of electrocution. Always make sure the power is off. Not realizing which wire has current in it can lead to serious injury.
There are books you can use to help with electrical repairs. You should never attempt these kinds of repairs if are not fully aware of the safety rules involved. It is better to get the assistance of a professional, than to risk electrocution.
Planning a family reunion is a huge undertaking that has many different steps. From finding a venue to planning activities, there are tons of details that go into throwing a reunion. To ease the planning burden, we’ve found 100 posts that detail all the ins and outs of successfully hosting your next family reunion.
Choose the Venue
There are several things you’ll want to consider when choosing a venue, such as location, hotel accommodations, length of the reunion and more. The following 10 posts will help you choose the venue for your reunion.
Try to make the venue centrally located. Belvedere Banquets explains that it’s important for the venue to be close to the planners, but also central enough that the rest of the family can attend.
Check for accessibility if you have elderly relatives attending. Genealogy advises making sure the venue is accommodating of any limitations, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
Adjust the venue for cost. Gathered Again suggests making sure that the venue isn’t so expensive that it will prevent people from coming because they can’t afford to attend.
Make notes about potential venues you visit. For Dummies provides a printable form that you can use to take notes about each venue you visit so that you won’t forget anything.
Think about holding the reunion at a campground. Camping can help keep the costs down and allows everyone to stay together, says Mister Spiffy.
Determine what activities your family likes to do before booking the venue. Gatherings suggest thinking about whether your family would enjoy sledding versus swimming and planning the date and venue based on preferred activities.
Pick the venue based on the number of family members attending. Try to get a feel for how many people you think will come to the reunion before booking a venue to make sure there’s enough room, advises Wikihow.
Check to make sure the venue has catering if you need it and enough restrooms. Facilities are important, says Eventzilla, so make sure you check those out in advance.
Try to book the venue as far in advance as possible. If you are booking a hotel or banquet hall, you will need to get your name on the list as soon as you can, suggests The Centre Escondido.
Invitations can be as casual as an e-mail or Facebook invite or as formal as a custom printed invitation on fancy linen paper. Use these 10 invitation ideas as inspiration for your invites.
Choose a vintage photo for the invitation. eHow has several suggestions for putting together the invitations on your computer using vintage photos.
Use a free downloadable invitation. Love to Know Party has a family reunion invitation that you can customize and print from your computer.
Make the invitation reflect the mood of the reunion. Life 123 suggests making the invitations enticing so that those people who aren’t sure about coming will commit.
Tie the invitation into the theme of the reunion if you have one. Family Details suggests matching the invitation to the reason for the reunion.
Include pertinent details about the reunion on the invitations. Our Reunion Plan explains that you should provide an event description, directions or a map, hotel suggestions, contact information and special instructions on the invites.
Determine the guest list before ordering invitations. Group Travel suggests beginning with immediate family up to great-grandparents or just one branch of the family tree. Numbers can quickly escalate if you start inviting aunts and uncles and their kids.
Form an invitation committee. Reunite recommends forming committees for planning the reunion. If you are inviting a lot of people you will need a few people to order and mail out the invitations, as well as keep track of the RSVP’s.
Keep it simple. iSnare suggests keeping the invitations simple. Provide the important stuff and enough to entice them to come.
Mail out ‘Save the Date’ invitations so everyone can get the date on the calendar and start travel plans. Family Tree Writer has a few suggestions for how to do a ‘Save the Date’ card.
Save money by doing online invitations. Family Share explains that you can save a lot of money by creating a website for the family and utilizing online invitations.
Themes and Decorations
While having a theme isn’t necessary, it can help make the rest of the planning easier. For tips on how to pick an appropriate theme, read through these 10 ideas.
Choosing a theme for your reunion will help with decorations. Archives provides 15 different themes that you may want to use for your next family reunion.
Put at least three people in charge of decorations. Buffalo Gal 1960 suggests picking a theme and then creating a decorating committee.
Decide on an ethnic theme. You can base this on your family heritage or pick a theme that everyone likes. Decorating is easier when you have a theme selected, says Family Tree Magazine.
Use photos in the decorations.Epicurious explains that using family photos and memorabilia for the centerpieces can spark conversation and keep the costs down for decorations.
Try decorating for a beach themed reunion. Outdoor Adventure Life suggests having a reunion on the beach or with a beach theme.
Set up a scrapbooking station. Martha Stewart recommends setting up an area where people can contribute photos and work on a reunion scrapbook.
Create a photo backdrop. Have everyone take pictures by the backdrop and then gather up all the pictures at the end. This suggestion and more can be found on Karla’s Cottage.
Balloons work well for an outside event.Party 411 recommends using balloons to help direct people to the right location.
Create signs and banners for your reunion. The Knotty Bride suggests making signs and banners for your reunion so that everyone can find you.
Make your own string globes. Purple Trail explains how to take yarn, balloons and glue and wrap your way to colorful decorations for your reunion.
Planning a Potluck
Food is an integral part of a reunion, but cooking for a crowd can be hard. Instead of tackling the meals by yourself, consider arranging a potluck. Check out these 10 posts for potluck planning tips.
Assign family members a dish category. Betty Crocker encourages reunion planners to ask family to bring an appetizer or a dessert.
Choose a menu and assign recipes. All Recipes has tips for planning reunions on a dime. You can minimize costs by throwing a potluck and having each family bring a dish.
Go with picnic food for an outside barbeque potluck. Deep South Dish details recipes for everything from deviled eggs to pimento cheese finger sandwiches.
Punch works well as a beverage for a crowd. Family Cookbook Project provides a recipe for Barbara’s Easy Family Reunion Punch.
Bring a dessert that will impress your family while being kid-friendly. Sweetened with Honey shares a recipe for homemade graham crackers that she paired with marshmallow fluff and melted chocolate to create frozen s’more bars.
Mix up a fruit salad. Jo Cooks shares a recipe for fruit salad dressing.
Freeze cupcakes before taking them to a potluck. The cupcakes will thaw by the time you get to your reunion, but will still be fresh, according to Taste of Home.
Make sure that you have enough food for everyone. No one wants to go hungry at a family reunion. For Dummies provides a printable for keeping track of dishes as well as recommendations for how much food you will need for a crowd.
Choose recipes for larger crowds versus doubling and tripling recipes. Daily Holiday Blog explains that recipes that are doubled or tripled don’t always come out right, so instead use a recipe meant for feeding a crowd.
Save money by creating a baked potato bar. Ask people to bring toppings for the bar, as well as desserts and drinks, explains Fun Cheap or Free.
Prior to the reunion, create bags or baskets filled with goodies, maps, an itinerary and other treats for each family member. The following 10 articles are stocked with welcome gift ideas you can use at your reunion.
Create a basket with maps and snacks for each attendee. USA Today explains that you can put useful things in a basket to welcome your family members.
Include donations from local business in the welcome bag. Better Homes and Gardens recommends asking local businesses for pens or pads of paper to include in the bags.
Include a welcome letter from the reunion planners. Affiliate explains that welcome bags help set a positive tone for the reunion.
Include a directory with all of the contact information for the family. This idea makes a useful souvenir for the family, according to Live Strong.
Make a spa welcome bag for family members. Yahoo Voices suggests providing disposable heat packs, bath salts and tea to relieve any pain or stress from a long day with family.
Go to the visitor’s bureau to collect brochures and things for the welcome bag. Visit Canton Stark recommends providing ideas of places that family members can visit while they are in town.
Create a special welcome bag for kids. Group Travel suggests having a kid’s bag that contains a coloring book, crayons and other trinkets to keep the kids busy.
Make men’s and women’s welcome bags. Shop Rite explains that creating welcome gifts for both men and women is a nice added touch.
Order special T-shirts for everyone at the reunion and include them in the welcome bag. Koyal Wholesale recommends providing attendees with a T-shirt, a reusable water bottle and sunscreen.
Provide details for the events and directions to get to each venue. Life 123 recommends this for any family member staying at a hotel or coming in from out of town.
It’s not every day that you have your extended family together, and reunions are a great opportunity to learn more about your history. Take the 10 ideas found on these blogs and create a family tree to display and expand on at your next reunion.
Designate a table for people to work on the family tree. Wikitree has blank family tree charts that you can provide for each branch of the family to fill out during the reunion.
Put up a family tree on the wall. Genealogy explains that guests can fill in the blanks or correct any erroneous information.
Provide a laptop for family tree creation. Ancestral Story suggests bringing a laptop and asking your guests to fill out the relatives they know that have not been included.
Create a photo identification table. Family Search suggests letting others bring old photos. Have people at the reunion look at the photos and identify people that they know.
Set up a camcorder to record family stories. Make sure that you record everyone sharing details and stories about their family, explains Stretcher.
You can use your family tree on a blog when planning your reunion. Geni suggests creating a blog where your family can learn about the reunion and leave comments.
Include index cards about the family. Ask the family to fill in a box on the wall where they belong on the family tree and then check to make sure there is an index card about them, recommends Ancestral Story.
Order a classic family tree for the reunion.Classic Family Trees has different size trees you can use for your family.
Let people add their fingerprint to a tree. Love My Dress shows a tree and various green ink pads and people were asked to put their fingerprint on the tree where it belongs in the family.
Make a tree and cover it in leaves with family names. If your family reunion is celebrating a milestone birthday, make this simple tree with leaves project to give to the honoree. The project can be found on The Mrs. Mrs.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that everyone interacts with each other at a reunion is to organize some fun family games. These 10 sites have games that the whole family is sure to enjoy, and will have everyone chatting and laughing in no time.
Adventure suggests playing this game at your next reunion because it’s easy and fun for all ages.
Guess Who?Real Simple says to have everyone send in a baby picture or an old picture of themselves. Put the pictures on a wall and have people guess who’s who.
How’s Yours? Thrifty Fun suggests this comical game where one person is forced to guess what the “thing” is. For detailed instructions, check out the Thrifty Fun site!
Water balloon toss. This classic game can be played with all ages and any number of people. Prepare tons of water balloons and have each pair toss one back and forth. After every toss, have the pair take a step apart. The winners are the ones that keep the balloon together longest, says How Stuff Works.
Family trivia. Wikihow explains how to set up this simple game with family members.
The Amazing Race. Coral Springs Resort describes how to do a local version of The Amazing Race, complete with clues that send your family around the neighborhood or city.
Minute to win it games. Check out the You Tube video describing the many fun games that you can set up for your family reunion using supplies you have around the house.
Have a field day.Makobiscribe suggests putting together different events like sack races, ring toss and bobbing for apples.
Play Frisbee golf. Six Sisters Stuff recommends bringing some Frisbees and setting up various holes for Frisbee golf.
Do a standing roller coaster. Play with Your Family explains how to do a standing roller coaster by using a thick climbing rope. It’s sure to get your family laughing!
Rainy Day Back-up Ideas
You’ll want to make sure you have some indoor activities planned in case of bad weather. For plenty of activity ideas, read through the following 10 posts.
Balloon volleyball. Family Reunion Success shares the rules for setting up an indoor balloon volleyball game that the family can play.
Wits and Wagers. This board game/trivia game works well for a large crowd, says About Board Games.
Your Family Time explains the rules for this game. The first player chooses an obscure word from the dictionary and tells everyone else the word. Then each player writes down what they think the definition is. Everyone then votes for the one they think is correct.
Game Yum suggests bringing a white board with markers so the family can play Pictionary. Try to draw words associated with family reunions to make it fun.
Scavenger hunt. The facilities at Woodloch have exercise rooms and game rooms, which can come in handy when deciding on a venue for you reunion. Multiple rooms also make it easy to hold a scavenger hunt.
Relay races. Whether you’re inside or out, Family Fitness says that you can come up with various group relay races.
Bid it right. Select a group of items and put them on display. Give everyone in the group paper and pen and have them write down the price of each item. The person with the most correct answers is the winner, according to Buzzle.
Play charades. Charades World is an app that gives you words and a two minute timer so that everyone can play the game.
Talent show. It may surprise you how fun a family talent show can be, especially as everyone begins showing off their hidden talents. Give everyone a chance to practice and organize their act, then let the show begin, explains Lifestyle.
Mummy wrap. Buy inexpensive toilet tissue and break the group into two teams. Have each team wrap a team member up completely in toilet tissue. The team that finishes first wins, describes Party Love to Know.
Most family reunions are teeming with kids, so it’s imperative to have some kid-friendly activities planned to keep them entertained. The 10 activities in these blogs are sure to keep the kids busy and happy throughout the reunion.
Hot Potato for kids. The Bump suggests playing Hot Potato with the little kids.
Hot Potato camera. Kids Goals suggests setting the timer on the camera and then passing it around the circle. When the camera takes the picture whoever was holding it has to take a picture doing a predetermined action.
Cake walk. Bring baked goods and do a cakewalk for the kids. Tape down numbers on the floor in a circle and bring a music player of some sort. Have the kids walk in a circle around the numbers until the music stops, then draw a number and whoever is standing on that number wins a cake, explains Carnival Savers.
Organize a toy swap.Atlanta suggests having every child who attends the reunion bring a toy that they no longer use. Then arrange a toy swap so everyone goes home with a new toy.
Frozen T-shirt race. Mamapedia recommends getting T-shirts wet, folding them up and putting waxed paper between the shirts and then freezing them. Each team then has to open up the shirt and get it on. The first team to do so wins.
Outdoor Twister game. Cut a circle out of some cardboard to use as a template and then create circles on the grass with spray paint. For further instructions, check out Sassy Style Redesign.
Water balloon piñatas.Milk Allergy Mom suggests hanging balloons full of water from a tree, blindfolding the kids and giving them a stick to swing at the balloons until they pop and water sprays everywhere. Perfect for a warm summer day.
Giant outdoor Kerplunk/Shishkaball game. This Old House shares how to put together a wire cage on a stand with some sticks and pit balls so that you can play this game outside.
Giant outdoor Jenga game. Instructables explains how to build your own Jenga game, and even provides suggestions for storing the blocks.
Glow in the dark bubbles. RV Kid describes how to crack open glow sticks and add it to bubble juice (homemade or store bought) to create glow in the dark bubbles.
Take Plenty of Pictures
Since you likely don’t see your entire family all at once very often, it’s important to snap plenty of pictures at your reunion. Make sure to get at least one big group shot, and take plenty of candid and posed shots, too! These 10 sites offer tons of photography tips you can use at your next reunion.
16 do’s and don’ts of photographing groups. Click it Up a Notch goes through some tips on how to come up with the perfect group photo to remember your family reunion.
Tie the group together by having everyone wear similar colors. Photos by Wendy G recommends everyone wear a similar color palette to complement each other in pictures.
Take special candid shots during the reunion. Cameras suggests various photo opportunities to catch during a reunion, with an emphasis on capturing candid shots.
Create digital photo collages of various generations. Digital Collages is a site that combines various pictures that can be used in a scrapbook or as a reunion gift.
Set up a simple background. Photography Concentrate explains that a backdrop can be as simple as a piece of fabric.
Provide a box of funny props. Shoot Q gives detailed advice about taking pictures and provides suggestions for props like hats, wigs, sunglasses, mustaches, etc.
Create a photo booth on a budget. A Pop of Pretty explains that something as inexpensive as a dollar store tablecloth can be used as a backdrop for the photos. You can also use cardboard masks, funny glasses and other cheap things from the dollar store.
Use a large empty frame for people to pose with. Oversized frames are a popular photo booth prop. Check out examples and ideas on A Practical Wedding.
Take silly shots of each family unit. The Idea Room shares pictures that she took, including silly photos that added some fun.
Hire a professional photographer to shoot candid photos. Studio Style explains that hiring someone to shoot candid family shots gives you a chance to enjoy yourself without worrying about taking pictures.
Radio has been a household staple in America since World War I, and during that time great strides have been made in broadcast technology, from AM to FM and, now, to satellite service. Satellite radio has not completely replaced earlier broadcast systems, but service is becoming more widely and inexpensively available, though subscription fees still deter many people. Here are some points to ponder if you are thinking about making the move to satellite.
Commercial-free Listening – Not free listening, but commercial-free listening, via subscriptions which underwrite the services offered by a satellite station, similar in scope to existing publicly-funded broadcast stations, but more widely available.
Sound Quality – Not an absolute, since local AM radio can actually have the best sound quality, but satellite can provide very high quality sound, and often in places that broadcast and cable don’t reach.
Big Brother – Satellite radio is not completely devoid of governmental regulation, but privately-funded satellite stations are subject to far less scrutiny over content, one of the reasons “shock-jocks” like Howard Stern switched from broadcast radio to satellite-only programming (Sirius XM).
Talk-Talk – This one might be considered a disadvantage by those who don’t care for talk-radio , but satellite offers more talk-shows than anybody could ever listen to.
Static – AM and FM broadcast radio is easily interrupted by almost any type of electrical interference, in contrast to the clear reception on a satellite station.
More Tunes – Dozens of stations, with dozens of formats, are accessible via satellite; listeners can hear a wide range of music, from opera to rap, from reggae to roots-rock to the Rat Pack and everything is digitally clear.
Info, Please? – Did you ever hear a song on the radio that you enjoyed years ago, but you can’t remember the artist, and just as the dee-jay is about to tell you who did it, you enter a tunnel, or maybe you drive under high-tension lines, and reception is lost? Aaargh! With satellite radio this isn’t a problem; information about the song or artist will show up on your receiver, though this article does not endorse the mixing of trivial pursuit and driving.
Connectivity – Another advantage of satellite radio over broadcast systems is the versatility of connections, with signals obtainable on many Internet-connected devices, including computers, smart-phones and tablets.
Carolina-to-California – With satellite radio, you can drive cross-country without having to search for reception, so you can listen to your favorite music, non-stop.
Once is Not Enough – With services like Sirius XM, it’s alright to miss what was just played, because, even though your mother-in-law was rattling-on while Iron Butterfly played the entire 17-plus minutes of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, all was not lost; satellite radio offers a play-back feature.
There will still be room for local broadcasting, as more and more small stations become satellite-capable, so satellite looks like it is here-to-stay; at least until the next wave of technology hits.
The rate you pay for your electrical power in Texas can vary from one household to the next, even within one neighborhood. Texas electrical service has been ‘de-regulated’, which means that the customers may have more voice in selecting where they power comes from and how much they pay. Below are ten of the factors that can cause electrical rates to vary in Texas.
Choice – The biggest reason for the variation in rates is the freedom for most Texan’s to choose their own source of electrical power. This creates competition for customers.
No choice – There are some municipalities and electrical cooperatives that have chosen not to give their customers a choice in providers. If you live in one of these areas, your rates will be determined by your local provider.
Aggregation – These are cooperative buying groups. Members can join these groups to gain the benefits of being able to negotiate lower rate prices from electrical suppliers because of their representation of a larger group of consumers.
Brokers – An electrical power broker is a sales or marketing agent for retail electric providers. These brokers put together marketing strategies for enticing customers to sign up with the REP’s they represent. The brokers earn commissions from the REP’s for each new customer they enlist. These commissions naturally will figure into the cost that these supplier’s pass on to their customers.
Green Power – When Texan’s look at their choice of power suppliers, they will see that some electricity is generated by 100% renewable energy sources and others only have a portion of their electricity generated by renewable sources. The amount of renewable energy and the type of renewable energy that is used can affect the pricing of the electrical power it creates.
Rate Plans – In addition to choosing our electrical supplier, suppliers also offer different types of rate plans. There are variable plans, in which your rate per kilowatt may go up or down from month to month. There are also fixed rate plans, where you are guaranteed a set rate for a period of time, usually 6 or 12 months.
Minimum Usage charges – Many suppliers have minimum usage charges. This is a base amount that you will be charged each month, even if you are not using that minimum amount of electricity. These charges can vary from one supplier to another.
Electrical Suppliers There are many differences between the different electrical suppliers that consumers can choose from in Texas. The Texas PUC has set up a website called Power to Choose that provides information to assist consumers in comparing their electrical power options.
Different fuels – One of the factors in the price of electricity is the type of fuel used to generate it, and the costs involved with that production. Electricity can be generated by wind power, nuclear power, coal and a variety of other options.
Location – Where the electrical power plants are located also affects the price of the electricity they supply. Not all the electricity used in Texas is generated by power plants located in Texas.
All these different factors affect the prices that Texans pay for their electricity. To simply choose a supplier and a plan can be quite a process of education in itself.
We’ve all had to ship a package at one time or another and we need to be able to track it in case it doesn’t arrive on time. There are several different options available to ship packages with varying degrees of tracking capabilities. Here are 10 different options for you to consider when you need to send and track a package.
Fedex – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” was the Fedex slogan from 1978 to 1983. With Fedex you can send a package anywhere in the world with excellent tracking capabilities.
UPS – The United Parcel Service is another worldwide package delivery company. UPS is usually the first option you think of when you need to send a package. They also have a great system to keep track of your package after it ships.
DHL – Based in Bohn Germany, DHL also delivers packages around the world and anywhere in the U.S. Starting out just delivering between San Francisco and Honolulu, they’ve now expanded their delivery service to countries not served by other companies.
TNT – Starting with one truck in Australia, TNT now delivers worldwide to over 200 countries. They have a variety of options for sending and tracking your special package.
Purolator – Another choice you have for shipping packages within Canada, the United States or worldwide is Purolator. They’re based in Canada but have shipping locations all over the U.S. as well.
Spee-Dee – This delivery service ships packages all over the upper Midwest and is often sub-contracted by larger companies for rural deliveries. If you live in the Spee-Dee area, they may be a good bargain for shipping packages locally.
USPS – Of course you can send and track a package through the United States Postal Service. They have several options such as flat rate boxes, express mail, certified mail and return receipt with each option having different tracking capabilities.
PackTrack.com – This online service gives you the option of tracking packages shipped by UPS, Fedex or DHL. It’s free and quick, saving you time at one simple website.
ParcelsPackages.com – You can compare rates of the major international package delivery companies at this website. With so many options available, it’s confusing and time consuming trying to find the best rate, so this can be a great tool.
Local Courier – If you just need to get your package delivered across town, you may want to use a local courier service. They will usually pick up and deliver the same day, but you want to make sure they provide track and trace service.
The option you choose to send your package depends on where it’s going and when it needs to get there. Each company has different levels of reliability and rates especially if you’re shipping your parcel internationally. You want to compare rates, but sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little more to get reliable service. Convenience is another consideration when making your choice, so you need to know what companies service your area. Whatever you choose, make sure to get that tracking number.
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