Cool Activities For The Family This Summer

summer
 

The mercury is rising. School is over and It’s hard to be cooped indoors for a long time. Don’t you just hate it when you’re stuck at home and not doing anything aside from eating and sleeping? Not that they are bad to do but it’s healthier to do something fun while your on summer break, right?

Stay cool with your family this summer with these fun and “cool” activities you can do with everyone.  These fun activities not only get you moving and going but it won’t break the bank as well. It is perfect for everybody at home to engage in these fun and cool activities for summer.

  • Play board games
  • Sing along
  • Walk the dog
  • Do arts and crafts
  • Learn to bake
  • Learn to sew
  • Ride the bicycle with your family
  • Read books
  • Learn a new language
  • Start painting
  • Re-arrange your room
  • Paint the fence
  • Camp at your backyard at night with the whole family
  • Volunteer at your nearest pet rescue
  • Volunteer at the home for the elders
  • Solve puzzles
  • Get fit

 

And yes, there are more activities that you can do with the whole family, and even with your friends this summer. The break from school must not be boring. Fill it with activities and learning escapades that will enhance your skills, bring knowledge, build good values, and foster quality time with the whole family. Happy summer!

 

 

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Four Ways to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Usage in the Summer Time

If you’re like most people with an air conditioning unit, you have undoubtedly seen your electric bill soar as soon as the temperatures rise in the summer time. However, there are many things that you can do to reduce your use of the AC. The following are four of them.

Buy one or more good fans
You don’t have to replace your AC with electric fans, but if you can set the thermostat higher by a few degrees, and then use a fan where you are sitting in your home, you will likely use a lot less electricity. Fans consume much less electricity than your AC system, so they can reduce your electric bill.

Use your windows
This is especially a good idea in the evening, after the sun goes down. If the temperatures are cool enough, open a couple of windows and get a good cross breeze in your home. If the temperatures are not too hot, you may be able to get by with only a few open windows and a couple of fans. You will need to make sure you have screens on your windows and doors if you try this. You can have custom screens made for all of your doors and windows. There are even screen doors for french doors available.

Have your AC system serviced
It is important that your AC be working at its best. If not, it may take more electricity to keep your home cool. One common problem is a lack of Freon. Your AC will not put out cold air when this happens. The cooler air it does put out may not be cold enough to cool down your home quickly, and this will cost you a higher utility bill as your AC unit is simply running longer than it should. Call to have your AC system tuned up once a year.

Turn your thermostat up when you are not at home
You don’t necessarily need to turn it off, but at least set it higher. For example, if you normally like to have the temperature set at 72 degrees, then you may want to set it as high as 80 degrees when you leave for work, to the store or or just an evening out.

These are only three ideas to get you started. In general, remember that the idea is to keep your air conditioning unit running as little as possible.

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2 Easy to Cook 4th of July Barbecue Sandwiches

A good cook-out during celebration of US’ Independence Day adds fun to the day’s event. Plenty of families and friends will gather up for a picnic and good barbecue to enjoy each other’s company, watch the fireworks, and be thankful for their forefathers who fought hard to give them their freedom.

Common food served are finger foods likes sandwiches, light meals and barbecues. Since there will be barbecues around, why not serve any of these sumptuous barbecue recipes for a fantastic 4th of July gathering.

Pulled Chicken Sandwich
(Credit: recipe taken from http://www.myrecipes.com)

pulledchickensw
Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver
 

What you need:

For the CHICKEN sandwich filling:
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray

For the SAUCE:
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the BREAD:
8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
16 hamburger dill chips

How to prepare:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients; rub evenly over chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Shred with 2 forks.

3. To prepare sauce, while chicken grills, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and next 5 ingredients (through ground red pepper); cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes.

4. Place 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 2 pickle chips and top of bun.

Special note: The chicken filling and sauce can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

 

BBQ Beef Sandwich
(Credit: recipe taken from http://www.tasteofhome.com/)

beefbbqsw
Photo credit: Taste of Home
 

What you need:

2 cups ketchup
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
14 sesame seed hamburger buns

How to prepare:

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients.
2. Cut roast in half; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
3. Pour ketchup mixture over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
4. Remove meat and shred with two forks.
5. Skim fat from cooking juices. Return meat to slow cooker; heat through.
6. Using a slotted spoon, serve beef on buns.

 

Happy 4th of July!

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Tips For Buying Used Cymbals

Buying a brand new drum set can cost you an arm and leg  but it should not be the case. If you are just in the early stages of your hobby or passion for playing the drums, then you may consider purchasing used cymbals to go with your used drum set. However, here are some pointers to note when picking used cymbals for your drum set:

Sound

The cymbals you will choose must meet that certain criteria of your sound preferences. If it sounds like a garbage lid being banged then don’t buy it.

Size

Consider the size of the cymbals for your drum set. They should fit perfectly so that they can nestle properly on your drum set and make beautiful sound.

No dents and cracks

Even if they are used, ensure that the cymbals are crack and dent free as they will affect the kind of sound they will produce.

 

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8 Tips to Improve Your Home Audio System

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The day is winding down, and all you want to do is to sink into your sofa and listen to your favorite tunes. However, the smooth sounds you expect to fill the room just do not seem to be coming out of your system the way they have in the past. Here are eight ways to improve your home audio system to get you back on track.

  1. Invest in Headphones

Obtain high-quality headphones that fit your needs. Consider an on-ear option that allows you to hear the music without completely blocking out all other noise, or invest in over-the-ear headphones, which allow you to have a full listening experience without the distraction of exterior sounds. The latter is often the more comfortable of the two and offers a snug fit.

  1. Create a Music Zone

Create a space in your home that is dedicated specifically to listening to music. Set up a seating area that faces your stereo system to receive the full effect of the speakers. If you are limited on space, a compact component may be the way to go, but if you have the room, go big and traditional for the ultimate sound.

  1. Speakers 

Your current speakers may have been the ones with you when you first fell in love with your favorite album, but take a step back and reevaluate whether they are still producing the same quality of sound that they did at the beginning of your love affair. With time, a speaker’s quality can degrade, creating subtle changes in sound production. Invest in speakers that fit not only your personal style, but the room in which they will be placed. Since not all speakers can produce the necessary low frequency sounds, consider investing in a powered subwoofer.

  1. Improve Acoustics

Once you have obtained your ideal speakers, it is imperative that you set up your room design in such a way that the speakers can perform in the best manner possible. A few simple tweaks such as moving furniture away from the wall, installing curtains over large windows, or adding a rug to a hardwood floor can make a dramatic improvement in a room’s acoustic quality.

  1. Check Converter

The degradation of your sound quality may be something as simple as having an inadequate converter transferring your digital media to analog. Research digital to analog converters, or DACs, that may be a better fit for your sound system.

  1. Educate Yourself

With all the online reviews and self-proclaimed gurus on the subject, it is best to educate yourself on how to create the ultimate sound as well as troubleshoot issues. Read up on product options as well as professional reviews. Find out what experts in the field suggest and take your neighbor’s brother-in-law’s advice with a grain of salt.

  1. Opt for Quality Recordings

Frankly, bad music seldom produces anything but a bad sound. It does not matter how much effort you place into boosting your audio system if your picks are not up to par. Be choosy in the recordings you seek and invest in quality artists and albums.

  1. Upgrade

Sometimes, no matter how much you troubleshoot, the fact remains that your system is obsolete. Take an objective look at your audio system to decide whether it is still working for you. If not, it may be time for a complete overhaul. Reevaluate your needs and upgrade accordingly.

Music is meant to offer an escape, and when the sound does not match the quality of the recording being played, it is time to switch things up. Make these changes to get your home audio system back to the level you deserve.

 

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