Use an Internet Filter to Keep Your Children Safe Online

Today, we live in a different world than we lived in ten to fifteen years ago. The internet is one of the many things which assist us with out daily lives. The internet can be used for both good and bad things and as a parent, you probably know that keeping pornography out of your home and out of your children's hands is a full time job.

The internet porn business is a growing business that is only getting bigger and worse. The number of viewers under the age of 25 is continuously growing each year. These are very concerned statements to parents all over the world. The challenge for you and I is to figure out how to block porn on our home and office computers, but not restricting the parts of the internet that are of good nature. There are literally millions of pornographic websites online already and hundreds more being added every single day. This is a war that will be thought for years to come.

There is good and bad news when it comes to blocking this content from your computer. There are dozens of porn filters on the market these days, however, not every porn filter will do the full job. There are both free and paid software that can be added to your computer that will help you filter content, but which is right for you?

The number one problem with internet filters is the fact that they put 100% of the burden on the parent when setting up filters and deciding which content should be blocked. This can take hours to even days of hard work. Also, if you have sites password protected, it is only an invitation to sneaky teens to try to hack the password and get into the sites anyway.

If this does not sound fun to you, then you are going to be better off by purchasing a managed internet filtering service. These types of service take all the work off the parent or guardian and use technology and some human hands to seek out and filter the content you do not want in your home. These are by far the best choice when choosing an internet filter software.

Whatever you decide to do, you need to work hard to keep porn and other dangerous things away from your children. You should start early and work hard on it through their lives. Keep your kids safe on the web and enjoy this amazing tool!

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Improve Your WordPress Blog Management – Here's How

Maintaining a blog or a website that uses WordPress as a platform requires having a program that can help you have effective WordPress content management. One program you can use for that purpose would be a WordPress Manager.

This program's usual role is managing blog networks, but it also has other features that allow you to create and manage the domains for your blogs. Plus, this program also help you manage contents that you have on your sites. Just to give you an idea of ​​how effective this program is when it comes to WordPress content management, we are going to take a look at some of the major functions that you've usually found in the WordPress Manager's content management feature.

The first one we'll look at is the capacity to do mass posts to your blogs. This function makes it easier for you to distribute all of the content you have to all of your blogs and websites which would be articles, blog posts, news, etc. All you need to do is simply set the details for the blog and the posts you want to use and it'll automatically get posted there. Of course, just like a normal blog dashboard, you'll be able to view your publish history and make changes to any posts you'd need to update.

Another cool function included in the WordPress content management feature is the post repository which is a fully categorized library containing all of your posts. It's just like the mass posting function, you will be capable of managing, updating and deleting the posts you have in the repository. Also, the post repository has a search function that can help you look for a specific post that you want to manage.

These two functions are just part of a larger set of WordPress Manager feature that can increase the efficiency in performing tasks related to WordPress content management.

These functions provide a lot of benefits for you. We are now going to take a closer look at 3 benefits today :

1. Less Work – Since the WordPress Manager does all of the managing for you, there's less work to be done when it comes to managing your posts. You will have more time for other things that would require your time and effort in managing your blogs.

2. Total Control – A WordPress Manager grants you total control over the overall management of your blogs. So, you'll be able to oversee everything that goes in your blog and in your blog network at as a whole.

3. Improved Efficiency – This is one of the main reasons why we use programs that can perform WordPress content management. Using a program like that can greatly increase your overall efficiency, making you feel at ease knowing that your blog maintenance activities and your blogging experience as a whole will be a lot more productive.

And so, if you're still in need of a program that can offer effective WordPress content management , I recommend that you start using a WordPress Manager and reap these benefits yourself.

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How To Avoid Identity Theft And Protect Yourself From Identity Thieves And Hackers

People spend a lot of time on the Internet. But this phenomenon can no longer be avoided because the online world has simply become an integral part of our lives. Shopping, paying bills, trading stocks, reading the news, listening to music, playing games, and even earning a living can now be made possible through the Internet, which is exactly why majority of households now have at least one computer. Unfortunately, the reality is that just as the online world has become part of our way of life, identity theft has also become a real threat that hounds and attacks computer users every single day.

But no, it is not really the end of the world. And most definitely, you do not have to stop yourself from using your PC and going online. If you want to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the dangers of identity theft, there are ways to make this possible. Below are the 5 most effective ways to keep you from falling into the hands of hackers and fraudsters.

Tip # 1: Buy only from trusted websites.

As mentioned, shopping can already be done online and all you need to get started is your computer and an Internet connection. But before you choose an auction site or an online shop where you will make purchases from, you should find out just how secure this website is. A lot of issues with identity theft occurs when people provide their credit or debit card information on a website that does not have reliable security features. You need to ensure that none of your personal details can be viewed by hackers lurking on the Net. It is advisable to pay using trusted payment processors like PayPal to be protected.

Tip # 2: Keep your network secure.

Seasoned hackers can easily access to your online activities if you use an unsecured wireless network. Be very careful about this; always see to it that your wireless router is locked and your information is encrypted. You can do this by simply configuring the documentation of your wireless router. A password authentication should also be enabled so that only you and other authorized users will be able to gain access to your network. In line with this, you should also be careful when using public computers. Make sure that you do not provide any personal data on any public computer, such as your username and password.

Tip # 3: Check your credit card billing statements.

Every time you receive your billing statements, take a few minutes to review the charges. You might be surprised to see a charge or two that you did not authorize. If you see unfamiliar transactions on your billing statement, make sure to call your bank or credit card company right away. Not only does this reverse your charges but this will also alert them to block transactions. The bank may probably require you to close the account and open a new one for your own protection.

Tip # 4: Do not click on unfamiliar website links.

You've probably seen more than a few spam messages in your inbox, right? Do not open them! Send them straight to Trash and delete them forever. Spam messages typically contain suspicious links that you should never click. Doing so could trick you into opening a site that's considered a "hot spot" for hackers and fraudsters, making you suspicious to identity theft.

Tip # 5: Keep security software programs up-to-date.

Lastly, always keep your security software programs updated. Turn on your firewall; install an antivirus program; and equip your computer with an anti-spyware technology. Make sure that all these software programs are updated consistently, including your Operating System. Doing so can help keep hackers and malicious programs at bay.

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Interior Design and Home Staging – The Benefits

Interior Design used to be the privelage of the elite. Your bank balance had to be large to afford to employ a Designer who could create your space. Things are very different now. With programmes like House Doctor people are becoming more and more aware of how to make the space they live in feel like their own little bit of luxury. Home Stagers are rarely qualified in Design, most have just have an eye for what looks good, so when an Interior Designer takes on both Interior Design and Home Staging then the results can be astounding.

Most Interior Designers look down on Home Staging, but that can be a costly mistake. Concept Design Studio in Maidstone have been amazed at the positive response they have received from utilising their Design Practice and incorporating Home Staging into the mix of Interior Design. Designer Saffiere says “It has been an interesting time here at Concept Design Studio, I have through Home Staging, been privileged to have helped many many clients who just need a push in the right direction, and never thought they could use the services of Interior Designer to reach their goal”

Home Staging can very easily be incorporated into the Design Practice. It takes up little of your time and can be a great assest to the business. It is remarkable how just a little bit of advice can assist a client and help them to go in the right direction.

Interior Design does not need to be so inaccessible and expensive, Interior Design should be available to everyone and the philosophy of Concept Design Studio in Maidstone is one that should be taken on by Interior Designers in the UK

Interior Design needs to move forward into this new market of ordinary people who want some advice from a professional but cannot afford to take on a whole project and all the costs involved

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Go Where Locals Go in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a crowd pleaser. Not only does it provide affordable entertainment for the masses, but also excellent multicultural cuisine, world-renowned museums and trendy shopping opportunities. Home to a major international airport, the city is easily accessible from most European destinations and many further afield. Guide books will give you a lot of useful information on what to do and see in Amsterdam, but here is what a local might tell you.

Getting around

Amsterdam has a reliable public transport network consisting of a metro, trams, buses and ferries. A single ticket will set you back €2.60, and a 24 hour pass costs around €7. Locals will argue, however, that the best way to get around is by bicycle. Cycle paths snake throughout the city getting users quickly from point A to B avoiding traffic jams. Look into renting a bicycle or find out whether anyone you know in the city has a spare to lend you. Make sure the bike is equipped with front and back lights and do not attempt to cycle after a few too many local beers. Rules of the road apply to cyclists too, and police make regular appearances to ensure public safety.

Eating and drinking

Whatever your budget, in Amsterdam you will be able to savour a variety of international meals. If you are looking to save some pennies, head to the De Pijp area for affordable food outlets serving up authentic fare from Surinam, a former Dutch colony, and other countries. From Monday to Saturday people flock to the area for the Albert Cuyp market selling foods, homeware, clothing and other useful goods. There are a few pop-up stalls offering fresh Flemish fries and local hit stroopwafels or syrup-filled waffles.

If you are planning to spend a bit more, you will find restaurants in most parts of town to suit any palette. De Pijp is again an increasingly popular choice, as is the Jordaan area closer to the Central Station. Neighbourhood restaurants are tried and tested by locals who generally tend to avoid the city centre for going out. Bazar is a favourite serving up Middle Eastern fare.

Pubs are everywhere but the city centre is dominated by loud tourist traps, many centred on an Irish pub theme. For a freshly brewed beer and a low-key atmosphere off the beaten track, try Brouwerij t’IJ, an old mill converted into a brewery. Choose a snack to accompany your tipple. The cheese is made from milk produced by animals fed with the brewery’s malt and hops.

Shopping

For a unique shopping experience, head to the area around The Nine Streets. Home to vintage and local designer boutiques as well as cute gift and homeware shops, you will be spoilt for choice.

Twice a month head to the north of Amsterdam for the IJ-Hallen flea market. Prized as the largest of its kind in The Netherlands, for an entrance fee of €4, you can browse seemingly endless (over 1500) stalls brimming with both the good and bad kinds of junk. The market is accessible by a free ferry from the Central Station that adds to the fun of the experience.

Accommodation

In Amsterdam, hotels and hostels are everywhere. Choose a central location but avoid the loudest streets around Dam Square and the Town Hall where you are not guaranteed a good night’s sleep. With so much touring to do, do not underestimate the importance of quality rest and recuperation and choose a hotel in Amsterdam with a solid reputation.

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What is the Best Tile For Your Home Interior?

When we are talking about interior decor, flooring will be one of the most influencing factors in creating beauty and cozy interior design. Flooring is not just a matter of covering the floor with tile and beautifying it with carpet or rug. Choosing the right tile for your floor will be important in determining the appeal of your home interior decor. For this reason, you should know well the best tile to improve the beauty of your interior.

There are several types of tile that you can choose to improve the beauty of your house. You can find linoleum and vinyl, ceramic, mosaic, porcelain tiles and many more attractive tiles in many attractive colors as well. Usually, each tile fits well to some rooms in your house. Each of them also needs different maintenance to keep its beauty and quality.

Ceramic is the most common type used in interior decor. This type of tile is more expensive but more durable than linoleum and vinyl tiles. This tile is also easy to be installed in your floor. You can find that ceramic tile has a lot of attractive colors, but the most common color to be selected is white. You can use this tile to the floor of almost all part of your house. But when you are going to install this certain tile to your bathroom, make sure that you choose ceramic with rough surface. Ceramic with smooth surface usually suits to be slippery when it is wet, so choosing the rough-surface ceramic will be your best bathroom.

To get more natural look, you can choose hardwood or laminate tile. Laminate tile will be more affordable and easier to be installed than hardwood tile. Both of them will bring natural accent and beauty for your house that you will not get from other types of tile. However, you have to be ready with the higher cost and effort of their maintenance. You can use it for almost the whole part of your house, but it is not recommended to install this tile in your bathroom.

Then, you can also use mosaic tile. The different shape and size of each tile is the specialty and the beauty offered for your interior. It may have hexagonal, round, or any other geometric shape. Typically, this tile is chosen for aesthetic purpose for the floor. Nowadays, you can find a mosaic tiles in ready made form so you can easily arrange them to form any image or picture. It will be perfect addition for your kitchen and bathroom because it is slip resistant.

However, any types of tile will not beautify your interior if you do not match its color and design with your interior. So, considering the style of your interior decor is an important thing to do before choosing a certain type of tile.

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The Basics on Becoming an Online Merchant

Online selling is on the rise because of the changing shopping habits of today’s consumers, those under 30 years old who were either entering into their teens or have just graduated from college when the Internet bloomed in the mid-90’s.

This is the generation who spend most of their time reading and sending Twitpics, shout-outs, reposts or jejespeak on their FB, Flickr, tumblr, and Blogspot pages, in their desire to be visible and look cool on the Internet (now broadband and a powerful tool for business) that has become collaboration-friendly, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies.

Fast forward to a cool question. Do you want to join the world of Internet retailing as a pure player to earn extra income out of the Net Geners whose disposable income will remain ‘awesome’ at least until 2020. Do I hear a resounding ‘yes’ out there? That means you’re getting into a winning ambit.

Online retailing poses the biggest opportunity for all Internet users to earn from the web. After all, you spend more than 4 hours before your computer screens doing any or all of these: researching, working, playing games, online chatting or instant messaging, Skyping.

Caveat: you will not immediately strike gold from your Internet selling but, initially it will give you an extra income and one that will grow in due course.

Consider this data from the March 2010 ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) report.

For the last 10 years, among the world’s top 10 Internet firms are those that have been successfully selling products and services like Amazon, eBay, Expedia, TD Ameritrade (into trading services), and of course Yahoo, Google and AOL, which collectively earned $58-B in 2006. Countries leading in e-commerce are UK, US, Sweden and Denmark.

E-commerce is growing in Asia too, where total B2C sales in Japan, China, Korea and India are expected to reach $115-B this year. At 52% (in Asia), Japan has the highest percentage of online buyers, followed by Korea at 45%. China, the world’s second largest Internet population with its 210 million Internet users, is expected to see large growth in its online retail sales – $18 billion in 2010.

In other parts of Asia like the Philippines, about 90 percent of the 28-M Filipinos with access to the Internet visit social networking sites to chat, play games and promote business and civic events. Social media has become a ubiquitous tool in any business marketing campaign.

To cut your mark in online retailing:

number 1 – you must have products or services to sell

number 2 – study the basics like on-time deliveries and packaging (you don’t want the merchandise getting squashed or broken)

number 3 – you must know how to use new media.

It is wise to focus first on a small range of products and know where to source reliable suppliers. Your products or services must be sellable like mobile phones, gadgets, fashion and accessories, souvenirs, homeware, health and wellness, appliances, travel reservation, insurance.

You can earn from your hobbies and interests like bead stringing, cross-stitching, photography, handicrafts, gardening, carpentry, used or antique items.

The Internet gives you the global marketplace, hence there will be customers in Trinidad, Los Angeles, Glasgow, Shanghai, Puchong, Cebu who will like to have those items on your web store.

Here are basic tips on becoming a trusted online retailer in the net world.

Build your website. If you can’t, ask friends and kinfolk who can. It’s an integral part of running an online business. Or you can buy an e-commerce software that has a complete e-trading platform that integrates payment gateways and logistics system for local and international deliveries. This way, you don’t have to worry about setting up payment and distribution intermediary services on your own. It’s never too late to have your own website up and running and be one of the over 80 million dotcoms in the world. Going by their sheer numbers, you’re in great company.

Get yourself discovered through social sites. Your FB friends and Twitter followers will be excellent starting points for engaging with consumers. You can advertise on popular social sites or you can create a Facebook fan page or a Multiply product page. Be innovative in your spiels (but don’t overdo it) about the benefits of your products so that consumers can connect emotionally to them, notwithstanding your commercial agenda.

Attend trainings. Learning additional skills on creating compelling customer content, photo editing, viral videos, SEO, etc. will boost your confidence as a netpreneur and if you cleverly apply them, you’re on your way to building a good customer base.

It’s usually in the first year when it’s all about deciding what to sell, where to source your products, and generating awareness for your online store. You need to keep intact your enthusiasm for your business and your customers so that in the succeeding years, you can get ahead and stay ahead.

Now this is looking beyond 2020, Net Geners and their progeny – because of their online behavior – put premium on time and convenience which online retailing meets 100% spot-on.

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The Jewish Menorah – A History

The menorah is a seven branched candelabra which has come to represent the Jewish People and Israel. Its origins directly derive from the Torah and its symbolism has proven to be long lasting.

Early coins and pottery containing images of the menorah and dating back to biblical times have been recovered from archaeological sites.

The first menorah was originally made for the tabernacle and later placed in the first and second temples. The Torah records how the great artist, Bezalel, fashioned the menorah in accordance to detailed Divine instructions. These instructions are recorded in Exodus 25:31-40, see excerpt below:

“31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made, even its base, and its shaft; its cups, its knops, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it. 32 And there shall be six branches going out of the sides thereof: three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candle-stick out of the other side thereof…”

Listed below are some of the facets of the menorah:

– (as stated above) it was hewn out of a single block of pure gold

– it weighed approximately 150 pounds and just under 5 ft in height

– it had seven branches; a middle branch and three branches extending from each side

– according to Maimonides and Rashi, the side-branches extended from the middle branch in a diagonal line, not in a semi-circular arc as most drawings depict

– extra pure olive oil was used in the cups – gently pressed, not crushed and just the first emerging drops were considered pure enough

– it was positioned beside the southern wall of the temple, opposite the ‘shulchan’, the table which held the twelve show-breads.

The daily maintenance and lighting of the menorah was a task allocated to the Kohanim (priests). Interestingly, although only the Kohanim were permitted to prepare the menorah, there were no restrictions as to who could light it.

It is written that one branch of the menorah miraculously stayed alight continuously. Synagogues today have a ‘ner tamid’ (everlasting light) situated opposite the ark, which contains the Torah scrolls. This reminds us of the significance of the menorah during temple times. In addition many synagogues also display a menorah, or an artistic impression of one, in painted decorations or on stained glass windows.

After the fall of the Second Temple, Jewish historian Flavius Josephus recorded that the menorah was taken to Rome and carried along during the triumphant homecoming parade. A depiction of this event is preserved on the Arch of Titus that still stands today in Rome.

During the Jewish festival of Chanukah a menorah is lit on each of the eight nights. This menorah differs from the temple’s menorah in that it has nine branches instead of seven.

The location of the original menorah is unknown today but the symbolism lives on; the national emblem of the State of Israel is a menorah, flanked by two olive branches.

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What Tools Do I Need For a BBQ?

Barbecues are an excellent method of cooking and also a good way of conducting a social occasion around food, when it is warm enough outside to do so. The secret of managing to host a good barbeque is to be really prepared, and that means having all of the tools that you could need to both cook and serve your food.

Obviously you need an actually barbecue and charcoal to be able to cook your food, but other than that it is advisable to buy some actual barbecue tools to help you out. These differ from normal utensils as they should have a longer handle and definitely be heat proof (most have plastic ends, or plastic handles); This is necessary due to the fact that flames can shoot up from the barbecue and so a safe distance needs to be maintained. Please ensure you use the correct kind of equipment for the job.

Firstly you will need a good pair of tongs. These need to grip well and mean you can turn over items on the barbecue, to ensure that you cook them all of the way through. Please wash these between uses to make sure if you touched raw meat with them, that you can not spread salmonella or any other food poisoning bugs.

A spatula can also be used for this purpose, and for serving burgers and larger items. Make sure that your food does not get stuck to the grill by regularly inserting your spatula underneath them and occasionally turning. A fork is also a good tool for picking up sausages and other smaller items to serve. This will be two pronged and have a long handle.

Food at barbecues is often skewered, so make sure you get a good set of metal skewers made of stainless steel, or a similar material. Thread the meat onto these, or use them for items such as sweetcorn cobs, in order to give a bit of variety to your serving methods.

An often overlooked tool for a barbecue can be a good quality brush. This can be useful for adding marinade, or a good barbecue sauce, to any items you are cooking. Adding extra components such as this can often increase the food quality, making sure the meat does not burn, and has an extra flavor to it.

Look in outdoor shops, as well as homeware stores, to find sets of barbecue tools. You can often buy a complete matching set in one go, which is already pre-packaged, and may save you money compared to if you bought the components separately. Having a back up set is always useful too, as you never want to have to rely on normal kitchen equipment for barbecue cooking if your tools break, as this can be dangerous.

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All About the Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms ('tehillim' in Hebrew, meaning 'praise') consists of 150 songs which highlight the greatness of Gd. The Book of Psalms was thought by many to be attributed to King David, although many of them are now now accredited to earlier authors, including Moses. King David appears to have drawn on other sources and incorporated them within his work to form a unique and inspiring selection of versa.

The recitation of tehillim is common among both Christians and Jews. They can be recited collectively or individually and are read either as a form of thanksgiving or a request for help.

Many psalms begin with a description of despair or a cry for help and then conclude with hope and joy. Their longevity may be due to the fact that they describe situations which are still applicable today and which before continue to inspire and help us. The recitation of psalms provides comfort to many and attracts a feeling of wellbeing and spiritual fulfillment in those who incorporated them into their prayers.

The Book of Psalms is divided into five parts, corresponding to the Five Books of Moses. These five parts are then further subdivided into sections, to be read by Jews each day. There is set rota of tehillim to be said on each day of the Hebrew Month. Psalms are also incorporated into the standard daily prayers and festival services.

In Israel and in religious communities around the world, it is a common sight to see people reciting psalms during their day to day lives, particularly while traveling. It is traditional to read tehillim when a person is sick, hoping for children, trying to find a spouse or has any kind of problem. They are also read at the happiest and saddest occasions; during a marriage and following a death. It is believed that psalms are an effective form of prayer that can bring peace and healing for those at critical points in their lives but which can also bring comfort to the souls of the deceased.

The most popular chapter to be read, especially in cases of danger or illness, is Chapter 20. This is relatively short, and can be read for an entire list of people, if required. The person reciting the psalm would add the name of the person or people they are praying for. Their Hebrew name is used, but unusually it is shared with their mother's Hebrew name and not their father's. The word "ben" (son of) for a man or "bat" (daughter of) for a woman is placed between the person and their mother's name; ie. Sara bat Rivkah or Yosef ben Rivkah. If the person being prayed for is not Jewish then we use their English name and 'son / daughter of' and then say their father's name (as non Jewish descent is via the father).

For the conductor, a song of David.
May the Lord answer you on a day of distress; may the name of the Gd of Jacob fortify you.
May He send your aid from His sanctuary, and may He support you from Zion.
May He remember all your meal offerings and may He accept your fat burnt offerings forever.
May He give you as your heart [desires], and may He fulfill all your counsel.
Let us sing praises for your salvation, and let us assemble in the name of our Gd; may the Lord fulfill all your requests.
Now I know that the Lord saved His anointed; He answered him from His holy heavens; with the mighty acts of salvation from His right hand.
These trust in chariots and these in horses, but we-we mention the name of the Lord our Gd.
They kneel and fall, but we rise and gain strength.
O Lord, save [us]; may the King answer us on the day we call.

Another tradition is to recite daily the chapter that corresponds to the year of your life. For example a 30 year old should recite Chapter 31 as they are in their 31st year. Another custom is to recite a verse beginning and ending with the same letters as one's name each day. Likewise, when praying for a sick person, in addition to Chapter 20, some also recites verses of Tehillim that begin with the same letter as their name.

Psalms are a popular and cherished form of prayer which give comfort to many. The range of events described encapsulate the human experience, past and present and are there before something which is relevant to our lives today. The role and sanctity of Gd within all of these situations underlines the very nature of our relationship with Gd. They underpin the centrality of Gd within our lives and are a vehicle to communicate both our needs, anguish, faith and appreciation.

Their incorporation into our daily prayers, as well as the allocation of specific psalms for any given situation, give them a unique place and a special affection in our daily lives.

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The Year of Jubilee and Today's Economic Recession

Did you know that economic recession is actually ordered in the Bible? Every 49 years the people of Israel were ordered to celebrate a year of Jubilee, where the land would lie fallow and all property would be returned to its original owner. This year and the following year there would be no new crops, so the people were required to prepare. Imagine: Every 50 years they Israelites knew there was going to be an economic recession.

If you could predict when an economic recession would occur, what would you do? Would you just step back and allow it to happen, or do you think that you would take steps to prepare yourself and your company to weather the storm? Do you think you might even study the trends and find a way to make that economic recession work for you? Maybe store away a little bit extra during those forty nine years so that you could see to the people who did not have the foresight to put away what they needed to get by those two years of famine?

That's what we're going to be discussing in the next couple of sections. What you need to do to help yourself ride out a recession without losing everything you've worked so hard for, and what you can do to make this recession work for you. Remember, recession is nothing new. Men and women have been surviving recessions for as long as there has been an economy to recede.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?

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Top 5 Fair Trade Gifts This Christmas – Not Just Coffee and Bananas

Yesterday, The Independent reported that takeaway coffee giant, Starbucks, was to begin sourcing 100 percent of its coffee fair-trade. In the past, this might have seemed a very bold move for such a large company (especially during a recession), although their move can be seen to highlight the increasing popularity of fair trade goods and the gradual social acceptance that buying fair trade benefits everyone . Christmas is fast approaching and the time for trying to come up with suitable gift ideas is already upon us. So beyond coffee and bananas, what are the best fair trade gifts currently on offer?

5. Stationery. I think it was Freud that said, 'Deep inside us all there is a portion of our heart devoted to stationery'. Actually, he did not. But who can dispute the rush felt when receiving a new notebook, set of pencils, or an eraser in the shape of a stegosaurus. Thankfully, fair trade stationery has hurt its way onto the market shelves, and the range of cards, notebooks, and address books is of a quality that truly beats the chain stores.

4. Toys. Giving at Christmas is what the season is all about, and when a child receives a gift they really love, their display of joy and subsequent hyperactivity is something to behold. Today, there is a wide range of fair trade kids stuff available, including traditional wooden toys, children's instruments, as well as brightly painted money boxes, puzzles and mobiles.

3. Accessories. I admit that this is quite a vague area of ​​gifts, 'How about I get you an accessory for Christmas?' But there has also been an upsurge in bits and bobs in the fair trade sector. These range from eco-friendly recycled bags made from newspaper to more durable seeming carriers made from hemp and silk. Batik and sequin purses are also proving very popular this season.

2. Homeware. Homeware is sometimes the most intriguing area of ​​fair trade products. From cutlery carved from coconut wood and plates made from cinnamon sticks set in wood, there are many ingenious designs available for people looking for a slightly more original gift this Christmas.

1. Jewelery. The high street has been looking to the east for jewelery designs for some time now. Today you can get authentic fair trade Indian earrings in a host of traditional colors such as turquoise, onyx, and black – as well as original teardrop, lantern and coral designs. There is also a significant diversity in types of jewelery and this certainly seems to be one of the fastest growing areas of fair trade production. Alongside earrings, there are also pendants, bracelets and necklaces available in abundance.

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Cat Training Tips – How Long Can a Cat Be Left Alone?

Cat training is not as easy as teaching a dog to sit, stay or heel but it can be rewarding. Some of the most basic things to teach your pet cat are to use the toilet as well as to stay home alone and behave. To do this, every cat owner should know is that cats learn by experience.

It is important to understand how cats learn in order to be successful in your cat training exercise. Our beloved pet cats don’t understand English nor can they read books and fine print. It is only on how they experience a situation that they learn how to do it right. Just the same, if the experience was unpleasant to them, it is certain that they will do all they can to avoid it.

As a tip, the only way that your cat will take in what you’ll teach them is to make the training as exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable as you can. One mistake of most cat owners is that they reward their cat for their obnoxious behavior – somehow thinking it’s the only way for them to stop raking into the furniture or to stop misbehaving. This also goes for those cat owners who, after being pounced at by their cat at 5 in the morning, stand up to feed their cat, play with him or let him go outside. In the cats mind, this behavior can get him what he wants so it will keep doing this rambunctious behavior every 5 in the morning of your whole life together.

The most important question for cat owners, perhaps, is how long can a cat be left alone? The more appropriate extension to this question is “how long can a cat be left alone before he destroys the entire furniture and wallpaper?” In this case, it is important to understand that cats are very social animals. They possess more complex emotional needs. They intensely bond with human beings and they have that constant need for human companionship to truly thrive.

When isolated, cats can be incredibly resilient and adaptable. This also depends on how accustomed they are to being around people. If they’re used to having people around most of the time, the sudden change can really affect them emotionally. However, if it’s only for a matter of a few hours, they’ll surely be able to adapt to it.

A good cat training technique if you need to leave your cat alone when you go to work or to do some errands is to set the terms of interaction. Spend time with him as much as you can but also set a time that he can be alone. This way, your cat will learn to get used to being by himself.

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Decorating Frenzy – The World’s Best Home Decor Expos

Are you a home décor fanatic? A person who can’t help but spend their time decorating and looking around for new bric-a-brac to fill your home? You get distracted in IKEA, wander into antique shops and don’t leave for hours, and are constantly arguing with the hubby about whether you can afford another remodeling. True? Well, perhaps you want to splurge and check out some of these expos, both in your own backyard and across the globe.

Washington Home and Garden Show

A renovators dream. This annual show takes place in March in the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre – in fact, it’s right near the city museum in downtown DC. Here 700 exhibitors show off their wares, so you can’t say you’re want for choice. Children aged five and under get in free, and it’s only $12 for an adult. Be sure to check out the innovative ‘Annapolis Lighting White Room’ where people stick colourful stickers all over a white room and its white furniture. It’ll be a sensuous piece of art by the end of it.

Home Base Expo, Perth

This expo is based in Perth, Australia, this expo is open seven days a week all year around. That’s right. You don’t have to wait until a particular season to get your fix of building, renovating, decorating, landscaping, interior design and architectural innovation. You can buy so many products from the 350 displays, and may find yourself feeling a little bit inspired. They also offer 6 week courses and half day seminars for anyone who wants a little bit of advice from an independent practitioner.

Home Décor Expo, Poznan

Come to Poland for this European design expo. Participants come from loads of countries – Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Frances, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary and Ireland – and know their stuff. There’s stuff for the person who wants to renovate their kitchen, their bathroom, or their backyard. This is about gorgeous interior design, from experts who know what’s important when putting together your perfect home.

Décor Expo, Algier

Algeria is your next stop – a small African country who offers their homeware exhibition in November. It’s got a stack of international furniture, decoration, home textile, housewares and electrical appliances up for grabs for the thrifty home décor shopper with a more exotic eye.

Home Dec, Asia

This exhibition visits many parts of Malaysia over the course of July, September and October. This requires less travel than a trip to the US or Europe, but offers just as many sights on the side. Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia are the first stops on this exhibition’s tour, and then you’ll move on to Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

Now that you’ve gotten yourself into the expo state of mind, you’ve got to get prepared! Pack a nice lunch or bring some money for some snacks. You won’t regret your day marveling at one of these great expos… and hey, maybe you could do a little bit of sightseeing on the side?

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Top Tips If You Have Been Invited to A Jewish Passover Seder

The Jewish festival of Passover is a spring time festival. A week long festival, it is marked by the absence of "chametz" leavened foods. The first two nights (or first night, in Israel) are called the Seder nights. Seder literally means order. On this night family and friends will gather to celebrate freedom and tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The service is read from a book called the Hagadah. Hagadah literally means the telling. The evening is full of symbolism and a festive meal is served.

So what do you as a visitor need to know, and what gifts are appropriate to bring.

You will notice that there is a large plate on the table full of symbolic foods. This is called the seder plate. Do not nibble from it. Each of the six symbolic food on the plate has a meaning and significance and will be ateen or remarked upon during the seder.

There will be small glasses of wine on the table, these are part of the order of the evening and should be drunk at a particular time.

There is a fixed order to the evening, you will be told what to do and when, so no need to worry about what you should or should not do.

Celebrants of the seder usually dress up for the occasion. Come dressed as if you were going to a special restaurant for a meal.

As with any meal or event you are invited to, you will probably wish to give a gift. Depending on the level of observation of the family, special food may only be ate for the whole week of Passover. To be safe it is probably best to avoid giving any foods, unless they have a special kosher for Passover stamp. Kosher for Pesach foods can be bought from Kosher shops and will have an up to date sealating that it is kosher for Passover 2014 So what is a good gift?

Good gifts to give include flowers and homeware gifts. Homeware gifts as very popular as the festival of Passover is a very social week. Lots of festive meals are eaten and tableware gifts would be very appropriate.

There are a number of Jewish gifts that are very suitable for the festival. Matzah plates, matzah covers and seder plate are very popular Judaica gifts to give for the festival. They come in a variety of styles, so try and choose something that suits the style of your hosts home. There are home and tableware gifts with Passover motifs. These too would be perfect hostess gifts.

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Make Cooking a Fun Task For Your Clients by Offering Personalized Aprons

There are many times when you will find that wearing an apron can save your clothes from being stained. While you will find numerous examples of these aprons in department shops and homeware shops being able to wear personalized aprons means that you have an apron which is owned by no-one else in the world. You will of course need to understand that such an apron can not be bought in your regular shop, instead you will need top purchase this item from specialty shops. One of the best ways that you can find these specialty shops and buy without any need for traveling is to go online.

Here the numerous online shops that you will find will be able to help you to find the perfect apron to fit your tastes and personality. The online shops where you will be able to look at these personalized aprons will provide you with sample ideas that you can consider. Some online shops will have a wide selection of aprons which are suitable not only for adults but also for the mini chef in your family. These adorable children's aprons are made from sturdy material which is stain resistant – a must when you consider the mess that children seem to love making – and will not get damaged easily.

There are also stores where you will find a good selection of text you can choose to have emblazoned on these aprons. For instance for the humorous chef in your family you can choose to have personalized aprons with sayings like Cooking My Way to the Top One Dish at A Time. Other sayings that you will see include ones like Love Me Love My Cooking. Other interesting sayings you will find on these custom designed aprons will have your name – or the person you are giving the apron as a gift to – and a perky word saying things like "You are in Gordon's Cooking Domain".

As you see with these personalized aprons you can make cooking a fun task and state your humor at the same time. Of course these are not the only types of aprons that you will be able to find on the internet. There are some online shops where you can provide a design or a photograph as the background image for the apron. The material these aprons will be constructed from will be both water and heat resistant. You will also have the choice of adding text or leaving the image to speak for the apron instead.

While at first shopping for one of these personalized aprons may sound daunting when you take the time to consider the person you are buying this apron for you will find that your shopping has gotten easier as you are now looking for an apron which will appeal to their tastes. The main thing to remember when you are looking to buying these customized aprons is that you should take some time and care to make your gift a special one that will be worn with pride always. With these gorgeous aprons let your imagination run wild as you whip up a fabulous meal and show off your culinary skills all the while wearing one of these distinct aprons.

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Where to Buy Cheap Wedding Reception Decorations

Many couples are trying to make their wedding budget stretch further. Saving money on wedding decorations is something many brides will consider. But you can still create an elegant atmosphere in your reception venue without spending very much money. Here are 5 places in the UK that you can get cheap wedding reception decorations.

Supermarket

This may come as a surprise to many people. No longer is it just bread and coffee that you find on the aisles in Asda and Tesco. The big stores have large homeware departments where you can get all sorts of items for less. I've bought big bags of tealights, tealight holders, candles and plenty of flower vases from them. With a little bit of imagination, you could make some very tasteful reception table centerpieces from these items. The only problem is the stock does change frequently. Once they've sold out a particular item, they may not get any more in stock.

Hobbycraft

You can get ribbons, artificial flowers, confetti and place name cards from this superstore. And you can also get all the supplies to make you own wedding invitations if you want. You can see if there is a store near you by going to hobbycraft.co.uk.

Confetti

Confetti are the big name in retailing when it comes to supplying wedding accessories and decorations. You can get just about anything including decorated balloons, wedding favors and gifts for the bridesmaids. You can shop online at confetti.co.uk or you can visit one of their bricks and mortar stores around the UK.

eBay

If you think that the stuff for sale of eBay is just a load of old junk, think again. There are lots of great wedding items for sale, much of it at bargain prices. There are plenty of small one-person businesses that operate with eBay as their shopfront. They can get those hard-to-find items that you do not often see in high street shops. Maybe you want some red rose petals, or ostrich feathers or silk tropical flowers. You do not have to look any further than Ebay.

Ikea

Do not forget this retail giant when you're planning your wedding. Go down to the Marketplace section and you will find artificial flowers, candles and votives. And with prices as low as a pound for vases, you can create your wedding flower centerpieces yourself. Worried that you'll have 12 vases at the end of your wedding? With such a low price you can afford to give your wedding reception decorations away to your guests, as a present.

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How to Find the Best Deals on Technology

The modern world is driven by technology to an ever-increasing level, and with the growth of the technology market the choice is expanding as manufacturers introduce new models and refine their ranges all the time. The rise in popularity of the digital camera is a good measure of the market, with manufacturers abounding and many different levels of ability, features and price available.

Digital cameras have now taken over the photographic market, but finding the right one for you should not be a problem. If you know how much you have to spend, and what you require from your camera, a search on the internet should provide you with plenty of alternative websites offering digital cameras across a wide price range.

What to look for in a camera

Look for the greatest number of pixels the camera takes hosts in – this determines the basic quality – and also take into account the various anti shake mechanisms available on digital cameras these days, and you will be sure to find a camera to meet your needs.

The same is true of video cameras, the digital variety of which is now the market leader and has evolved from the old cine camera and VHS versions of before. Again, there are numerous sites that will come to the fore with a simple web search, and again the variety and specification available is wide ranging.

Lookout for a good size memory – a 30gb hard drive will provide you with a number of hours recording, anything above even more – and for universal docking to transfer your films to your computer.

One time use ideal for holidays

The one time use camera, if you are not looking for an instrument that will last a long time, is popular with holidaymakers and people on daytrips, and is affordable and easy to use. These are available across the internet at a variety of prices, and the primary choice should be made around ease of use and availability of film. Of course, the finished film needs to be given to a developer to produce your photographs, but the ease and simplicity of shooting a series of pictures and not needing to worry about the attractiveness of your camera to thieves, or losing the camera in a busy place, makes a one time use camera a good choice for holidays.

Home entertainment – audio and video

Home entertainment systems are also a sensible buy in the web, with audio and video both broadly available at good prices and with a choice that is almost unending.

In addition to television, home cinema systems are all the rage at the moment and enable you to watch movies with surround sound, and the home entertainment system market also includes DVD, CD, computer and audio devices devised for your pleasure.

If you wish, you can customize your laptop, mobile, I-pod and more with skins, colorful and attractive designs available on websites to make your device stand out from the crowd, and you the envy of your friends and family, too. Some suppliers offer you the opportunity to create your own skin, hence taking the individuality to another level entirely.

Shopping on the web offers convenience, not just in getting the best deal from the widest choice, but also in knowing your purchase will be delivered to your door shortly after you have completed the purchase. Remember to look for reputable, reliable and safe suppliers with what to make your purchase, and you can be sure you have found the best way of buying your items available.

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How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Eco-friendly is becoming the buzz word for most people. Most of us are becoming more aware of our environment and are doing what we can to contribute to being environmentally friendly.

Here are a few tips on how to become more eco-conscious in your home and implement a few green touches to help the environmental cause.

Insulate Your Home

Insulating your home is one of the most important things you can do to be eco-friendly. So much energy is wasted through poorly insulated homes and the more energy that escapes your property and there before you waste, the more you have to use. Not only that, heat loss costs a lot of money unnecessarily.

By using insulation in your walls and loft you can cut heat loss dramatically and conserve energy.

Seal Out Drafts

As well as insulation, you can make your home airtight against draughts and heat loss. Seal draughty gaps in windows and doors, and also use a draft excluder to prevent drafts coming into rooms. Double-glazed and recent standard, triple-glazed windows in new build homes will keep the heat in and exclude any drafts. If you have an older property, you can easily use sealants available in DIY stores to seal up any drafty gaps and voids.

Buy Sustainable Products

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Furniture, flooring and eco-friendly materials such as natural cotton and linens should all be supplied sustainably. Sustainability means that the raw materials used for household products and items are supplied from a sustainable source that can be re-grown and does not damage the environment. Sustainable sources will also have economic and social benefits such as providing income for communities in developing countries, for instance Fairtrade products. When you buy household products, make sure you know if they come from sustainable sources. Good homeware and furniture stores will have a sustainability policy and will know exactly where their supplies come from.

Lighting

Electricity and lights should be conserved as much as possible, so use environmentally friendly light-bulbs that consume less electricity and also last longer. LED lighting is also the most environmentally friendly because it is a very bright light and uses less electricity than standard bulbs. Make sure that you recycle your light bulbs safely.

Recycling

According to the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs in the UK (DEFRA), 290 million tonnes of waste is generated in England each year. Dealing with household waste contributions to climate change and also adds to the problem of landfill disposal sites that are damaging to the environment. Recycling is becoming increasingly important and producing so much waste is simply unsustainable. Over 40% of household waste was recycled in England during 2011-2012. Recycling collection and waste recycling centers are abundant and most household waste can be recycled. All types of materials and packaging can be recycled including paper, card, tins, aluminum, plastic, ink cartridges, electrical goods and garden waste.

Composting

Another form of recycling is composting household food. You can produce your own free, rich organic compost by composting vegetable peelings, egg boxes, egg shells, card, newspaper, leaves and grass clippings. Avoid composting meat because it will attract pests.

Eco-Friendly Food

Growing your own fruit and vegetables has really taken off and saves air miles and the impact on the environment. Even if you have a small space to grow your own, it is surprising how many crops you can produce. You can also grow vegetables in pots, containers and hanging baskets.

If you can not grow your own, then why not use local farmers' markets which will support your local producers and economy, and saves on the air miles.

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Eco-Friendly Gift Options for Christmas!

Going 'green' is the need of the hour and nowdays people have started acknowledging this fact. As the festive season is round the corner, many have opted to spread the holiday merriment the Eco-friendly way. Are you one of those?
Well, if not … Here is an article to help you choose from a wide range of extravagant gifts that would put a smile on to your loved ones face as well as support the environment in many ways. Ready for a change this year? Read on …

Option 1: Incense sticks-

A season of joy and cheer await you, a gathering of close family and friends look forward to embrace you. So, why not elevate the entire festive spirit by gifting organic incense sticks to your beloved kin? Fill their homes with the aroma of raw nature this Christmas by giving them a basket of incense sticks varying from Ayurvedic incense, deity incense, healing incense, incense powder blends and incense holders and accessories to place these celestial aromas. Aromatherapy products work as great gifts to live up to the spirit of Christmas.

Option 2: Gift Kits-

Spread the festive joy and gift your family a kit of soothing fragrances to ensure their lives are filled with scents of love. This Christmas, fill their hearts with the joy and relaxation of rejuvenating sweetness. Opt for a gift basket full of aromatherapy candles, essential oils and other diffusers that could help calm themselves from the unbalanced and chaotic routine life puts one through.

Option 3: Tea & Dinner Sets-

It's Christmas and everyone is bound to have guests pouring in and out. So, why not opt ​​for a ceramic tea and dinner set, which is hand crafted with loads of love and care. Without a doubt, these sets make a very unique and beautiful gift, especially on Christmas Eve! Do not you think so?

Option 4: Vedic Homeware-

Scanning through organic, Eco-friendly gift options could lead you into a rather confused state of mind. Therefore, keep yourself away from the clutter and make your loved one's day by presenting them with a rare yet ethnic Vedic home ware artifact. Introduce them too to the world of pure and natural living by gifting them something as thoughtful as an authentic Vedic Homeware.

Option 5: Baby Bamboo Wear-

Every family get together is incomplete without toddlers crawling around the place. So, why leave the little ones out? Gift the apple of your eye, a comforting and soft organic bamboo clothing, which is a 'must have' in the list of baby care products you plan to shop for this season. This will keep them cozy, warm and away from the harsh chemicals that could affect their tender skin.

People of all ages love the idea of ​​getting presents, especially during the joyful days of Christmas! Be your family's Eco-friendly Santa this year by purchasing only organic and green gifts this festive season.

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Top 5 Tips When Purchasing a BBQ

This season of winter sales is a great time to buy your new BBQ. You will be able to get some great deals online and in stores. Here are my top 5 buyers tips to consider to find the perfect BBQ for you.

1. BBQ size matters! Think about how much space you have in your garden, backyard or garage. The last thing you want to do is return home with a BBQ that swamps the space at the back of your house or apartment. If you can afford a larger BBQ, and you want it to be 'parked' outside, make sure that you get a suitable cover for your BBQ so that it does not take too much of a bashing from the elements!

2.Think about easy storage and mobility. If you are looking for a larger BBQ for entertaining and for cooking up big BBQ feasts, make sure you can easily move the BBQ around. I have seen so many BBQ's on the market with small wheels that definitely wont move the heavy BBQ. At best I have seen friends struggling to 'wheel' their BBQ back to the garage in a way that resembles dragging, taking half of the garden with them in the process! Make sure you opt for a BBQ that has 2 large wheels on one side of the BBQ, so that you can tilt and wheel it into position.

3. How much cooking space do you need? There are plenty of different BBQ's on the market with different cooking options. You can get 1 to 6 gas burners on gas BBQ's (sometimes more), and medium to large grills for coal BBQ's. You can even occasionally find gas BBQ combo's with separate gas burners on the side for cooking up your pot stews, rice and other hot sides. Make sure you consider what you need rather than what you think you will use as you might be throwing good money away on an option that you are not going to use. I personally like to opt for a large grill charcoal BBQ so that I can cook up a storm, and if there are any other sides to cook, I do not mind putting those extras on the stove in the kitchen. I rarely need to use the kitchen however as I will throw almost anything on the bbq!

4. Think about durability. Although you may think that opting for a small, cheap kettle BBQ is a good idea for cost effectiveness in the short term, they will usually not last for more than a couple of years, and the frame and parts rust very easily. Look for an option that gives you the space for cooking that you need, coupled with a solid frame that will last well and provide you for many happy BBQ years.

5. Design needs. Consider wherever you want extra space and shelving for storing cooked and uncooked foods whilst you prepare your feast. I always think it is a good idea to have at least two flat surfaces on your BBQ to put food, BBQ tools and plates, condiments, etc. Otherwise you will probably end up needing an extra food trolley at an extra cost anyway!

Enjoy looking for the perfect BBQ this season. Winter is often the best time of year to buy the perfect BBQ as you can get your hands on relatively cheap discontinued lines in larger homeware stores. Happy Shopping!

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