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Cornhole: A Game for All Ages and Places

Cornhole is a game in which bean bags, or more appropriately, bags filled with corn, are tossed onto a board with the intention of getting them to slide into a hole in the board. It is normally played with four people where two teams of two compete against each other. Some people play simply for fun with no regard to rules or keeping track of scores. Others take it quite seriously and even enter tournaments wherever they can find one.

In order to fairly compete, there must obviously be a set of rules. This is true in cornhole or any other sport. These rules not only cover how to compete, but spell out things like the size and weight of the bags as well as the dimensions and spacing of the boards. If you want to find an official cornhole game, there are companies like Custom Corntoss can supply you with all the right equipment and a full set of official rules. After that, all you need is a little practice and you will be ready to try your hand at a little competition.

Regardless of how serious or casual you are about your cornhole game, there are several things that make the game attractive for kids and adults of all ages and skill levels. One of these has to do with the portability of the equipment. If you are planning something like a camping trip or family picnic, everything you need to have some fun with a game or cornhole will easily fit into the trunk of your car. There are no elaborate setups required, and anywhere there is a level spot will make a good place to play.

Compared to other recreational activities, cornhole is a very inexpensive game. Those who want to make their own boards can do so with the most basic carpenter skills.

Cornhole boards are easily personalized. You can purchase a set with your favorite college or professional sports team’s logo and have a little fun with friends who pull for a different team.

Because cornhole is more of a game of finesse instead of one in which brute strength is needed, it is appropriate for all ages. Senior citizens can compete with older children without either group having an unfair advantage. If you are looking for a game that can be fun and relaxing in all settings, you should give it a try.

The Beni Ourain Rug – The Gem of Morocco

Beni Ourain rugs are making their mark in the world of interior design right now, and it is easy to see why. These exquisite rugs are hand-woven in the Moroccan tradition by indigenous tribes and are a truly unique and stylish accompaniment to any décor. They are the gem of Morocco – a traditional, cultural element that will complement your interior design. A perfect way to add a touch of simple beauty and pure warmth to your room, Beni Ourain rugs are one design trend you should try right now.

A One-of-a-Kind Addition

These rugs present the perfect opportunity to add something truly unique to your interior design. Each rug is a handcrafted beauty, with its own look and feel. No two rugs are exactly the same, meaning you end up with a one-of-a-kind addition to your space. The thick, gorgeous pile will add texture and warmth. They can complement almost any décor because of their soothing, neutral color palette and uncomplicated geometric pattern. They don’t overwhelm or detract from the color scheme or other furnishings in a room, but rather add a signature element that pulls everything together. They are an easy way to say on trend without the worry of adding an element that will go out of style.

The simple, elegant styling makes them a perfect addition to any room, including living spaces, bedrooms, dining areas, nurseries, and offices. They are warm, thick, and cozy making them ideal for adding luxury and function to your space. The superior hand-knotted construction and thick pile stand up well to foot traffic too. This makes the rugs ideal for any high-traffic areas, pets, and families. The warmth they add to a room is also very effective in spaces that have hardwoods, laminates, or tile floors that can often seem cold. Functional but stylish, these rugs can be used in almost any application. You can even layer them with other, larger rugs to create a completely different look and feel.

A Cultural Tradition

Not only are these fantastic rugs a perfect addition to any space, they are also rooted in an amazing cultural tradition. Moroccan rug-making is an art as old as time, one of the oldest rug-making traditions in the world. The indigenous people began weaving these rugs in styles to assist with their daily lives – for clothing, bedding, warmth, and comfort. Thickly woven, heavy rugs were made to keep the Beni Ourain people warm in their native mountains. They are crafted from the wool of mountainous sheep, which is thicker and plusher than other wools. The ancient techniques and patterns have been passed on from weaver to weaver over the years, preserving the tradition to this very day. These amazing artists begin learning the knotting techniques at a young age.

5 Ways to Conserve Gasoline

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Courtesy of auto.howstuffwork.com

It is no secret that the prices of goods, like the universal muffler and even gas, are going up and up. With no estimated date in sight as to when the prices will go down, consumers need to be smart about how to save on fuel costs before they reach the pump. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save gas. The most effective way, however, is to actually reduce the amount of gas you use. When we find we must use gas to reach our destination, there are tricks that might cut back on gas consumption. Here are some ways you can save some of your car’s gasoline:

  1. Drive Less

There are a number of reasons why some people drive less and it is the rising cost of gas. If you plan to go on one errand, it is best to combine your errands into one trip to avoid repeat drives around town. If the place is near, consider walking instead of driving for nearby pick-ups. Or better yet, use your bicycle, if you have one. You will save gas and be able to have a mini-workout at the same time.

  1. Accelerate Slowly

Every time you punch the gas to accelerate after stopping, you are burning extra fuel and increasing tire wear. By accelerating slowly, you are only using the required fuel to get the vehicle to the speed you want. Use the gas and brake pedals as little as possible. Repeated braking simply wastes energy because it converts unnecessary heat energy, greatly reducing the service life of your brakes. Keep that in mind while driving to keep your gas usage to a minimum.

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Courtesy of arizonaenergy.org

  1. Drive until your tank is empty

A lighter car uses less gas. What does this mean? A lighter car means its tank is not full. When you hit that 1/3 of a tank and are tempted to fill up, give it a few more days. That last 1/3 may last you a bit longer than the first third did.

  1. Avoid Excessive Idling

If your car has been idle for more than a minute, it is better to turn off the engine to save gas. Also, when your car is new, it does not need to be warmed up often; just a couple of seconds will do the trick. If you are waiting for someone and he or she is taking too long, turn off the engine to save up some gas.

  1. Eliminate Wind Resistance

As much as possible, keep your windows closed. An open window increases drag and costs you fuel in the long run. In addition to that, it will keep you safe from snatchers especially during traffic. Another thing to remember is to remove unneeded car racks and carriers. If you drive around with a bicycle rack or luggage rack on your roof, take it off when it’s not in use to make your vehicle more aerodynamic.

Keep these tips in mind so you can save up on your gas and money.

Author’s Biography

Pam De Guzman, a.k.a the kid from the North, is a frustrated writer, event organizer, business owner and an aspiring director and writer of a personal/fashion/movie/book/travel blog. She’ll be writing about pretty much anything under the sun.

 

Baby Gift Ideas for Your Baby Shower Hamper

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Image by Jenny Hair via Flickr

If you have just been invited to your best friend’s baby shower, and have no idea what to take for her new-born, a hamper for the little one should be your best bet. Gift hampers cover a few must-have items that every new mum needs. With so many items in one package, the hamper might look a little expensive to buy. However, with the right products and packages, you can arrange a hamper that is cost-effective and useful.

There are a few essential things that every new mum needs, and should be included in the baby hampers if possible. A whole list has been put together by Parents.com, but the following five items top the essentials list.

  1. A Nightlight

Many mums do not think about this when making their registry list. Chances are that the new mum has already set up a nursery room for her little one. With the right choice of nightlight, parents can create a beautiful ambience in the room, and help the baby distinguish between night and day.

  1. Teething Toys

Newborns love teething toys especially when their tiny teeth begin to show. The growing teeth can cause them discomfort, and by gnawing on teething toys, the little ones can soothe themselves. Teething toys are long-lasting, and will be used by the kid until the age of 2 at least.

  1. Blankets, towels and Diapers

Mums can never have enough of these three products. Diapers and nappies become a daily need. Blankets – the softer, the better. Newborn babies ruin a lot of clothes, towels and blankets with their drool and spilling food everywhere. The more of these products, the easier it is for new mum to manage her little one.

  1. Baby clothes and Booties

 Since babies are always growing, baby clothes and booties are not the best hamper option. However, they are counted as essentials because mums can never have enough clothes for the little ones. You should only include one set of clothes or boots though, keeping in mind that the little one will grow out in a month, and will require new clothes.

  1. Cuddle Toy

Babies love their cuddle toys. Often they find a favourite toy that they do not let go of, for years. These cuddle toys can either be a plush teddy bear or a soft puppy. Regardless, the toy can give the baby company at night while he sleeps. Many a times, these cuddle toys also become a good way to soothe a crying baby, as the little one finds a friend in his favourite plush companion.

Readymade Baby Hampers

If you are still confused about your options, you should look for readymade packages such as hampers at Baby Boxes. With a variety of budget, styles and packages to choose from, there must be something or another to your liking.

Baby showers are occasions where soon-to-be mums look for support from their loved ones. Often, mums prepare the registry themselves, and you can create a hamper out of their wish list. However, in times when there is no registry involved, seek out the essential items mentioned above – you will not go wrong.

Gear Buyer’s Guide: Round Out Your Collection with Unusual Instruments

If you’re like most musicians with an interest in gear, you probably have what adds up to a metric ton of the stuff. Most musicians stick with one or two instruments when building a collection though.

While that’s great if you’re trying to perfect a sound or you’re a touring musician, sometimes having more tools at your disposal in the studio or home studio can be beneficial too. Use this guide to help you learn more about instruments you should consider buying.

Whether you find them on the used market or new in the store is up to you, knowing what could help you can make shopping a bit easier. Especially if you happen to find a killer deal while you’re just out and about.

Electric Organ

Electric organs were all the rage in homes across American for 20-plus years. Now, most people simply don’t have room for them when smaller versions are readily available. Still, there’s something unique about older electric organs – especially the models with a real rotating Leslie-style speaker.

Check thrift stores and salvage shops to score a unique organ. You might not find a professional model this way, but you might pick up something pretty cool and useable for the cost of dinner and a movie.

Fretless Bass

Every musician knows how important bass is, and a lot of people, from guitarists to drummers, have on or two on hand to work out ideas or lay down a simple track when recording. Not everybody considers a fretless model though.

While they do take some time to learn, musicians that enjoy the challenge can really sink their teeth into a fretless instrument. You’ll get some amazing sounds once you learn how to play the thing as well.

Look for this type of bass in music stores or online. There isn’t much chance you’ll find a playable model in a thrift store or junk shop.

Lap Steel Guitar

The lap steel guitar is the little brother of the pedal steel. Luckily for you, they’re much more cost-effective and they won’t take you a million years to learn to play.

You can find lap steel guitars online, but make sure you get a chance to play one before you buy. There were a lot of inexpensive older models made and those don’t always stand up to years of abuse or storage.

As long as you have these essentials, you’re well on your way to becoming the new Hendrix on the block.

Exploring and Understanding the Power of Music

Even if the majority of us cannot sit down and write out a scientific explanation of why, every single one of us understands that music affects us. When people are driving in their vehicle, working, or exercising at the gym, a change in music can have a profound effect on how they act and feel. If a fast-paced song is playing on the radio, they are inclined to put their foot down on the accelerator and to drive a little faster, walk a little faster on the treadmill, and work a little harder.

Commenting on the power of music, Frederick Nietzsche said, “life without music is a mistake.” Scientists are only now scratching the surface of the way that music can affect the human brain. One thing that they have learned is that music can affect the way that we see another person’s face. Why? Well, when our brain hears music, it determines whether or not the music is happy or if it is sad. Our brain reacts differently to happy music than it does to sad music. Even after listening to sad music for a short period of time, participants of a study interpreted the neutral facial expressions on images of people that they saw as sad. The same thing happened when they heard happy music and then were showed images of people with neutral expressions on their face. The participants viewed the images they saw as those of happy people.

Music changes both heartfelt emotions and our perceived emotions. This is because when we listen to music, we are able to understand emotions that are being transmitted by the music, even if we are not feeling those emotions at the time. This explains why a person can sit down, listen to a sad piece of music, and thoroughly enjoy it. They listen to the sad music and they don’t feel depressed, yet they understand the emotions that the music is transmitting.

Even though the music that a person listens to may be sad, it does not pose any real threat or danger. People are able to perceive the emotions in a vicarious way without actually feeling them.

Many communities, especially in New York City, have been using the power of music in a positive way. Pop up pianos in New York have served as a way for random musicians to play music that is both uplifting and encouraging to the entire community.

That’s why nothing can stop me from listening to my favorite defunct pop band if it makes me deliriously happy.

Remembering Lost Family Members With Cremation

If you have ever lost a family member, then you know that it can sometimes be difficult to have the money together for a funeral that the person deserves. There are some who make arrangements before they pass away, but if the death is unexpected, then it can leave other family members in a position to make a decision as to how to care for the body. One option that is affordable and still offers some of the same respects of a funeral is cremation.

This is an option for those who might not have a large family and simply want to have a memorial service so that family and friends can say a final goodbye. Even though the body is cremated, you can still have the remains buried in a cemetery with a grave marker. A funeral service can also be held as some cremation services in Virginia can be postponed while the family holds a traditional remembrance ceremony. The person is placed in a casket that is rented from the funeral home so that there is a viewing before a memorial service.

Cremation will save money that is spent on embalming, a casket, cosmetic charges and transportation fees. After the body has been cremated, the remains are placed in a container. This makes it easy to take the person to any location, which can give some family members a peace of mind in knowing that the loved one is with them instead of being in the ground. This is also beneficial for those who plan to move in the future. If the person is buried in a cemetery, then it can sometimes be difficult to visit the grave and leave flowers when you want to compared to if you have the remains in an urn in the home. The process of cremation only takes a few days. An environmental advantage is that there isn’t any land that is disturbed in order to bury a casket in the ground. You can also have the remains placed in a sapling. This is somewhat of a new idea and offers a way for you to plant a memorial that will be seen for years to come.

Crying Over Spilt Breast Milk

And so, it happened.  It’s any breastfeeding or pumping mom’s worst nightmare.  I spilled a good ounce of expressed breast milk all over my office desk.  I clumsily tipped over the bottle of milk, and spilled all that liquid gold on my table.  As any breastfeeding mom knows, this is sheer heartbreak.  It takes a lot of effort to pump out all that milk and to see it all go to waste is simply soul-wrenching.

This provides the perfect backdrop to what I’m going through right now.  Although breast milk has nothing to do with how I feel at work right now, the heartbreak is all but the same.

I feel slightly demoralized at work.  No, my boss didn’t yell at me or anything like that.  I just think that I’m in the wrong profession.  Or I can probably still be a librarian- just at a different institution.    But I have been working in this school for nine years now, so I doubt that’s the problem.

Thoughts are just swirling around my head like a pool of fatty breast milk.  I guess what matters most now are that my job helps me provide for my children’s needs, and that my boobs are the wellspring of nourishment for my baby.  As long as my milk ducts are all good, I’m a happy camper.

As for the spilt breast milk, there’s no use crying over that now.  Besides, there’s more where that came from.

Valentine’s Day Around the World- and What This Day Means to Me

Truth be told, I have always been the proverbial Scrooge of Valentine’s Day. I even remember making it a habit to wear black on this day- mainly just to screw things up for everyone else. But this year, I’m happy to announce that things are going to take a turn for the better. Ever since my baby boy was born three months ago, I have become more optimistic about things- including Valentine’s Day. I now see it as an important day to celebrate love and life.

Anyway, all this outpouring of love has led me to learning about how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world:

In Japan, men are king on Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, it’s the women who spoil their men with chocolates on this day. It was a tradition started by Morozoff Ltd., a confectioner based in Kobe, way back in 1936.

In Canada, children exchange gifts with their friends. On Valentine’s Day, kids put all their gifts or personally crafted cards inside a decorated box that their teacher then distributes to everybody in class.

In Malaysia, single women get a chance to literally “put themselves out there”. They write their phone numbers on oranges and then throw them into the nearest river, hoping that Mr. Right picks one up.

I may be single as of the moment, but this does not deter me from celebrating this day of hearts. I think I might actually outdo myself and send my closest friends some flowers (won’t that be a surprise!). I’ll take the convenient route of buying flowers online. I saw this box of Valentines Day flowers with Lindt chocolates from Fresh Flowers– an online flower shop.

Life has changed dramatically for me. I have been blessed with a new baby, and things are going great. Valentine’s Day finally has meaning. Now, it’s time to spread the love.