Is your business missing the boat on social media? Frankly, it depends. Social media can be an effective method for promoting your business. It can also be a massive “time suck” that eats up significant resources without providing meaningful results. The critical issue in determining if social media can effectively be utilized to promote your brand is the engagement level your target audience has with the product or service you are marketing.

Here are a couple of examples:

Fashion Designer – Mac Duggal

Insurance Broker – Hill and Stone

Mac Duggal designs prom dresses and homecoming dresses. Their target audience of teens is intensely engaged in the process of finding these special occasion dresses. The firm has over 12,000 Facebook fans that have “liked” them and they get dozens of new fans every day with the help of famoid.

Hill and Stone’s target audience of business owners is not terribly excited about insurance (unless they need to file a claim). The firm has 121 Facebook fans. No matter how much effort they put into developing their Facebook presence, they are unlikely to significantly increase their number of fans

Given the engagement level, it is not surprising a fashion designer has 100 times as many Facebook fans as a insurance broker. Social media is extremely useful for fashion designers as a method of building their brands with a very engaged audience. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that the Facebook page for an insurance broker is generating much in the way of sales.

For the most part, a business that does not have an engaged audience is not going to have meaningful success with Facebook, Twitter, Google+,  Pinterest or the second tier social media sites  However, there is a social media vehicle that is appropriate for most businesses, and that is to develop a blog. As discussed in the post, Should A Small Business Start A Blog? a blog can offer benefits to most businesses. However, other than a blog, there may not be a lot of potential in social media for a business in a mundane product category.

Social Media Engagement: Why It's Important and How To Do It Well - The Buffer Blog

Even for a business with a highly engaged audience, not all types of social media are going to be productive. As an example, Mac Duggal as an actively engaged audience for their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterst sites. Pinterest is unlikely to work for all brands. A brand needs to have access to interesting photography in order to be successful on Pinterest.

Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth

In the history of video games, games and movie licenses don’t go well together, unless your name is LucasArt.

To prove the point, anyone played Gods and Generals?

Buying the Lord of the Rings movie license must have cost EA a fortune and EA isn’t going to let you forget about that.

Off the bat, one notices on the box a nice shiny silver Lord of the Rings “Official Product” sticker, just to remind you that you are, in fact, buying a game that stems from the great movie trilogy Lord of the Rings.

The game comes in a whopping 4 CDs and 4.5 gigs installation requirement.

One wonders why a real-time strategy game would take up 4 CDs, but for now, it does.

The game also includes the standard game manual with controls, unit descriptions, and so on and so forth.

When you first start up the game, you can’t help but notice the clean and crisp graphics and interface.

In this game, you have the option to play the Good (Gondor/Rohan/Fellowship) Campaign or the Bad (Mordor/Sauron) Campaign, you can also take your skills online and set up theoretical battles.

The first thing that one notices when playing the game is that the graphics are quite good.

From lush elven forests to desolate Mordor landscapes, everything is well rendered and well colored.

The units themselves are nicely detailed and the animation is great, from Nazgul’s swooping down on humans to ents playing soccer with an orc, everything is smooth, and can’t help but remind you of the movie.

The sound and music are quite commendable.

Featuring the LoTR soundtrack and most of the movie’s original cast as voice actors, EA does a good job of associating the cinematic characters to the pixels and in a way, adding more life and depth, which in turn adds more enjoyment to the overall experience.

The gameplay is quite good.

First of all, Battle for Middle-Earth definitely leans more towards the single-player experience.

The only resource in the game is just resource, which is generated at a steady rate by buildings, such as the Rohan farm.

But these farms can only be built in certain designated areas.

Scattered around the map are a number of sites where you can build all your buildings, from unit producers to resource producers to miscellaneous buildings.

Holding these points is crucial to your success.

But the sites are scattered around the map, especially farm sites, which don’t come with tower sites, so defending your vast empire of farms is quite challenging.

To make the matters worse, your population limit is controlled by something called command points.

Each unit takes a certain amount of command points (Since the resource is generated and not harvested, there are no resource units) and so your army is restricted by this command point cap.

This cap encourages strategy rather than simply overwhelming your opponent with units.

Battles in the game are quite short, preventing any fine micromanagement.

This case is especially true if you are on the evil side, your orcs are quite prone to get mauled by anything and everything.

A Rohan cavalry can kill orcs in one charge.

Since your orc company is already dead as soon as combat started, you can’t really move them to the back and heal.

But the lack of micromanagement also has its upside, you actually get to enjoy watching the battle.

As I mentioned before, the animation in Battle for Middle-Earth is quite good.

From the charge of Roharims flinging Uruks around to felbeasts grabbing Gondor soldiers and dropping them, the battles in Battle for Middle-Earth feel truly epic.

How to redeem Warpath codes?

Battle for Middle-Earth also features a great system of veterancy.

Some buildings become better as you train more troops from them and gain levels.

These levels increase the efficiency of the building and sometimes even unlock new upgrades and units.

Units, not just heroes can also gain experience.

As units level up, they gain hit points and damage, hero units also gain special abilities.

The units also keep any upgrades you bestow upon them so it is in your best interest to keep your veterans rather than just churn out a batch of new recruits.

The campaign is quite fun.

It is basically a narration of the events of the War of the Ring.

Interestingly, while you do have to go through the campaign in chronological order (Challenging Sauron at the beginning of the campaign and taking the ring for yourself will have to wait another day), the result of the campaign is flexible to some degree.

For example, I managed to save Boromir from the UrukHai, but the rest of the campaign was still the same.

The campaign is not so deep as to give you branches for each action you take, but it does confer to you bonuses for your actions, and it’s nice to imagine that you have changed the fate of Middle Earth.

Another interesting feature is the ability to take veteran troops to the next mission, in fact, you get to keep the army you used in the last scene.

On a side note, you can even rename those armies, which adds a bit of attachment to your army.

Most scenarios start you off with a whole veteran army and pit you against an equally veteran army.

So if you lost all your elite units at the end of the last scenario, you might want to start over again as your little orc whelpling’s might not fare very well against the cream of Gondor.

EA did a very good job to create a sense of immersion, involvement, and continuity.

While this is by far not the best RTS game, it is definitely one of the funniest.

Even though the AI is decent and nothing to brag about, I found myself thoroughly immersed in the world and enjoying every moment of the game, watching my horsemen ride down fleeing orcs and watching my balrog make mincemeat of enemy ranks.

It’s not a very deep game, but it is definitely a very enjoyable one.

Battle for Middle-Earth is just the right mix of serious strategy and enjoyable gameplay to whittle away that rainy day.

Everything About Social Media

It seems that there is a new buzzword around the corner; “Social Media” and it keeps turning up everywhere.

Some of the things you hear are very confusing, others have a point but miss the mark completely.

So, what is the big deal with all the talk of Social Media and why should you care?

Well, if you’re interested in knowing more about it, then let’s have a look at what’s all about.

The main gist of it all is to promote your business or website online using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many others.

So what is so appealing about social media?

Quite simply, it allows you to reach an exponentially larger audience, without the hassle and expense of SEO.

All you need to do is set up your profile, add a few simple photos, and let the people come to you.

It also doesn’t cost anything except time, which for some can be a serious concern these days.

Now, what you may wonder about is all the hype about getting tons of traffic and sales and inquiries.

Is it true that you can pull in the same amount of traffic and sales as you would with SEO, just by having a few posts on a few social media websites?

Well, the answer to that is yes.

Here’s more information about everything about social media.

First, it’s all about the volume.

If you post just a few things on your status, you’re going to get tons of traffic.

It’s that simple.

If you’re posting five to ten times a day, you’re going to get even more traffic.

Second, everything about social media is about getting more people to notice you.

If you’re on one of the larger social media sites, you will have an easier time drawing attention to your business.

If you are, at least, on a smaller site, you will have a hard time getting people to notice you.

If you get in the habit of posting to a number of different sites, you will be able to build your brand and reputation in the eyes of the public.

Boost up your TikTok journey today with some Tiktok Likes.

Finally, everything about social media should be about building a relationship.

If you use the social media systems correctly, you can do just about anything you set your mind to.

Even if you don’t have much money or much knowledge about marketing strategies, you can build a great customer base and marketing list.

In fact, you can build the largest customer base in the world within a relatively short period of time if you know how to use social media properly.

So take the time to understand everything about social media, and you will be doing your business a huge favor.

Social Media Marketing for Businesses

Social media marketing can help you attract new customers and retain your current customers.

Your target audience is much larger than you think and you will be able to reach more potential customers this way.

In order to get the most out of your social media marketing campaign, it is important that you get in touch with your audience and engage them in an ongoing relationship.

If you provide value to your audience and they notice you are connecting with them on a regular basis, they will begin to look towards you for recommendations and feedback.

This can help you build a loyal customer base.

There are a few different methods that you can use to engage your audience.

You can post comments on other people’s blogs or articles, join groups where you can engage your audience, create your own fan pages so that your audience can follow your business and connect with you, and you can create your own blogs and articles to provide value to your audience.

Each one of these will allow you to connect with your audience in a different way.

In turn, your audience will connect with you and they will start to see how valuable your information and brand are to your business.

When you use social media to build a brand, it is important that you work to keep your brand consistent.

If you develop a brand identity for your company, it will help you connect with your customers on a more personal level.

This helps to make it easier for your customers to claim Instagram username and identify with your brand and develop a stronger sense of familiarity with it.

It will also help you build a loyalty program within your social media networks.

Your loyal customers will be those customers who give you referrals, show up at your events time after time, and refer others to you.

It is also important that you do not use your social network as a sales funnel.

Sales will come in different ways and you will need to find the best way for you to get your products or services in front of your customers.

You want to use your social networks as a way to connect with your customers and to let them know what your business has to offer.

You never want to put up a brand and then have your customers discover it was nothing more than a slick sales pitch.

Another way you can use this platform to grow your business is to use it as a way to hold focus groups.

Hold focus groups online through various methods.

You can hold online forums where customers can air out their thoughts and you can hold surveys that ask participants a variety of questions.

All of these methods will allow you to understand more about what people in your community are thinking about your business and how they could benefit from having your products or services.

These are just some of the many different social media marketing for businesses methods you can use.

You will find that when you use this method of marketing, you will be able to expand your client base and you will be able to generate new leads at a much higher rate.

Remember, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

As the divorced single parent of a 15-year-old type 1 diabetic teenager, the article entitled “Some Diabetic Teens Prone to Risky Behaviour” written by Jeanie Lerche Davies on WebMD hit close to home.

My son has had type 1 diabetes since just after his second birthday. Throughout the toddler years and the pre-teen years, everything went along pretty well, at least according to his mother, who had custody. As I lived over 300 miles away, I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with my son as I’d like, but while he was with me on vacations and such we always seemed to be able to control his glucose levels pretty well.

Then the teenage years hit, and everything went absolutely nuts. Or at least, he did. My ex wife, unable to even control our son anymore and fearing for his life, willingly signed over custody of him to me just before his 15th birthday. Congratulations, I’m suddenly a full time father.

A1C Levels Can Tell You How Well You’re Managing Your Diabetes

Don’t misunderstand, I’ve always tried to be a good parent to my son, but his mother and I had gotten divorced when he was only a year old. Other than the occasional week here and there, and a month each Summer, I hadn’t really had to deal with being responsible for him. Now, suddenly I’m going to endocrinologist appointments with that “deer in the headlights” look on my face, doing my best to catch up on the 13 years of information and training that I’d missed.

When my son moved in, his A1C levels were practically off the chart at a whopping 13.6; his endocrinologist wanted it down to around 4.5 at least. A1C tests are used to measure the blood sugar levels and can tell how well they’ve been controlled for the past few weeks. Needless to say, my son’s was not being controlled well at all.

Why Teenage Diabetics Can Have Problems Controlling Their Glucose Levels

Several factors can contribute to a Diabetic teenager being unable to control their blood sugar levels. Things such as raging hormones throughout the puberty years can seriously affect how well the insulin being injected is absorbed into the body, and the endocrinologist has to constantly adjust the dosage to compensate.

Of course, most of the problems are simply behavioral. As any parent of a teenager can tell you, they’re always hungry. It seems no matter how much you feed them, they’re still constantly looking for something else to munch on.

For an insulin dependent diabetic, this can be especially challenging, especially for those who still take their insulin by syringe. For those who are on an insulin pump, such as my son, the problem isn’t so much how often they eat, it’s that they simply forget to check their blood glucose and bolus for the carbohydrates that they consume. “Bolus” is the term used to describe using the pump to inject insulin. Insulin pumps, such as my son’s Animus pump, are great when used properly. They provide a constant flow of insulin and allow the wearer to bolus just by pushing a few buttons. No needles required. But they don’t work any better than a syringe if they’re not used. Sneaking food can be fatal to an insulin dependent diabetic if he forgets to take insulin with it.

Teenagers today have so many distractions between video games and MP3 players and computers and television and on and on and on that they often are overwhelmed. For most parents, this is just annoying, but for the parents of an insulin dependent diabetic child, this can be terrifying. I have to remind my son at practically every meal to check his blood glucose levels and to bolus Insulin through his Animus pump or he’ll forget to do so. I’ve recently had to set it up with his school nurse to do the same thing before he takes lunch.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that often teenagers feel the need to rebel against, well, anything. Their parents, their school, their doctor, or any person they see as having authority over them. So far, unlike his mother, who’s only around five feet tall, I’ve managed to avoid that particular pitfall, probably because I’m quite a bit bigger than him. But I’m almost certain it’s coming sooner or later.

For Teenage Diabetics, Sometimes Drastic Measures are Needed

Even so, at my son’s latest endocrinologist appointment, the test results were still too high. His doctor is seriously considering taking him off the Animus pump and putting him back on syringe injections at every meal. The thought of having to go back to the days when I had to use syringes is daunting, but if that’s what it takes to save my son’s life, then so be it.

Teenagers Think They’re Immortal, but Diabetics Can Cause Permanent Damage Unknowingly

As I’m sure many of you can recall, when you were a teenager you were the next best thing to Superman. We were all going to live forever, and 30-year-old people seemed ancient. Unfortunately for a type 1 diabetic, the things you do wrong as a teenager can seriously impact your life all too soon, for instance, in those far off 20s and 30s. Complications from poor glucose control range from blindness to amputation to organ failure to death. And it seems the damage may be cumulative, in that every time their blood glucose levels go above normal, diabetics could possibly be damaging their bodies, and not even know it or feel it.

If you are the parent or parents of an insulin dependent diabetic child or teenager, I urge you to watch them closely and stay on top of their glucose control. It’s better to have them mad at you now, than for you to mourn them later. Type 1 diabetics can have long, healthy lives, but only if they take care of themselves now, before the damage is done.

Document 11825210

And now for something completely different, I decided to write an article on the greatest players to play for the same coach/program over the past 50 years (since 1960). My rule of thumb for this list is that the coach had to be with that program for at least 20 years. Unlike my previous articles, I am in now way going to attempt to rank any of these five great programs, so this is simply a list in no particular order. I will however pick my starting 5 for each program and list the bench, so we can have some discussion regarding that part of it.

Coach Mike Zrzyzewshi and the Duke Blue Devils

Hard as this may be to believe, but this is Coach K’s 27 year at Duke, so you can now refer to him as an “icon”. Let me start off with my starting 5 of the Blue Devils.

  1. Point Guard – Bob Hurley
  2. Shooting Guard – Grant Hill
  3. Forward – Christian Laettner
  4. Forward – Elton Brand
  5. Center – Mike Gminski

Bob Hurley ran coach K’s offense just like it was drawn up, he finished his career as the all time leader in 3 point field goals made in NCAA tournament history, a mark that lasted until this year (2007) when it was broken by Humphrey of the University of Florida. Grant Hill was the ultimate team player, could score at any point in the game and basically play 3 different positions for the team. Christian Laettner was the greatest college player since Bill Walton at UCLA, and was the leader on the last college team to repeat as national champion until Florida this year. Elton Brand was a strong rebounder and an underrated scorer in college whose picture could have been in the dictionary under the word Power Forward. The Center, Mike Gminski was one of the first true stars for coach K and was a hard working “lunch pail” type of player that coach K just loved. Filling out my Duke bench are Johnny Dawkins and Jay Williams, Phil Henderson, Tommy Amaker, Danny Ferry, Shane Battier, Gene Banks, Mike Dunveavy and Carlos Boozer round out my roster.

Coach Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers

Bobby Knight coached at Indiana for 30 years and was coach K’s coach and mentor. For the Indiana starting five you have.

  1. Point Guard – Isiah Thomas
  2. Shooting Guard – Keith Smart
  3. Forward – Scott May
  4. Forward – Landon Turner
  5. Center Kent Benson

Isiah Thomas was probably the best overall player for Knight at Indiana and was a tremendous scorer as well as a floor leader. Although he only played 2 seasons at Indiana, leaving for the NBA after his second season, there is no doubt he belongs as the starting point guard. Shooting guard Keith Smart was as his name reflects a very smart heady ball player that fit perfectly into Knights system. Scott May was a workaholic forward who had a great college game. Landon Turner was a bull of an inside presence both on the rebounding side of the game as well as having great post moves. Kent Benson at Center provides the wide body game and passing that any great team needs to be successful. Off the bench you have Tom Abernethy and Bobby Wilkerson, Randy Wittman a very deadly 3-point shooter, Dean Garrett, Steve Alford, Quinn Buckner and Calbert Chaney.

Coach Guy Lewis and the University of Houston Cougars

One of the biggest injustices in all of basketball is the fact that Guy V. Lewis is not in the basketball hall of fame. This man coached the Cougars for 32 years and was the first college coach to integrate African-Americans into a southern school back in the 1960’s. Let’s take a look at his “all-time” team in my opinion.

  1. Point Guard – Don Chaney
  2. Shooting Guard – Clyde Drexler
  3. Forward – Dwight Jones
  4. Forward – Elvin Hayes
  5. Center – Akeem Olajuwon

Don Chaney got the slight nod over Rob Williams as the starting guard on this team, paired with Clyde “the glide” Drexler at the shooting guard, who was the leader of the famed 80’s “Phi-Slamma-Jamma” teams. Dwight Jones was an extremely tough and powerful rebounder and Elvin Hayes was the schools first true superstar and the main figure that made college basketball popular on the TV with his match-up again Lew Alcindor in the “game of the century” in the astrodome in 1968. Rounding out the starting five was 3 time Final 4 participant Akeem “the dream” Olajuwon, who wound up at U of H by accident after his flight landed in Houston from Nigeria. On the bench for Guy V, were Dwight Davis, Ken Spain, Theo Lee, Michael Young, and Sweet Lou Dunbar, who was the first 6’9″ point guard, Alvin Franklin, Rob Williams, Ricky Winslow and Otis Birdsong.

Coach Dean Smith and the University of North Carolina

Dean Smith coached at North Carolina for 36 years and when he retired he held the NCAA division 1 record for most victories in a career, both men and women. Lets take a look at the starting 5.

  1. Point Guard – Phi Ford
  2. Shooting Guard – Michael Jordan
  3. Forward – Bob McAdoo
  4. Forward – Walter Davis
  5. Center – Brad Daughtery

This was a team that was probably the second hardest to pick a starting 5 from. So since you know whom that is, now I have to give you a bench. How about Charlie Scott and Kenny Smith (a NCAA player of the year on the bench huh?) And Jerry Stackhouse (oh wait make that 2), Sam Perkins, Eric Montross, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, Bobby Jones and Mike O’Koren round out this FANTASTIC team. It is hard to believe that with all of these great players, many of which did play together on the same team, that they only won 2 championships (1982 and 1993), but there is a very good reason for that, it is the final school on my list.

Coach John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins

Let’s see here, we have the coach for whom the current NCAA Player of the Year award is named after coached the Bruins for 27 years and is mostly responsible for all of the coaches listed above, with the exception of coach K, not wining more NCAA championships. During the 60’s-70’s Wooden won 10 championships in 12 seasons. UCLA won 38 straight tournament games and had streaks of 47 straight and 88 straight and he had 16 First Team All Americans. So you tell me picking his all-time team was easy, let alone the starting 5.

  1. Point Guard – Lucious Allen
  2. Shooting Guard – Gail Goodrich
  3. Forward – Marques Johnson
  4. Forward – Sidney Wicks
  5. Center – Lewis Alcindor (AKA Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Now for the bench, and this is the scary part of this team. 3 time player of the year Bill Walton, Curtis Rowe, Henry Bibby, Walt Hazzard, Larry Farmer, David Meyers, Richard Washington, Keith Wilkes and Swen Nater.

Well there you have my college basketball teams of teams. See you soon.

Apollonius of Tyana is a 1st century philosopher and orator. Apollonius’s biographer, a man named Philostratus, places Apollonius’s life from 3 BCE to 97 CE. Many scholars compare Apollonius to Jesus in that they both were “Messiah figures”.

Much of what is known about Apollonius comes from Philostratus’s biography of him written in the 3rd century, called Life of Apollonius of Tyana. Philostratus used as sources a few scattered writings that may or may not be written by Apollonius himself, and a diary written by Apollonius’s companius Damis. According to Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Apollonius apparently wandered the nations of Asia Minor, preaching and performing miracles. He defied the emperor Domitius, and was then executed. Like Paul was to the New Testament, much of what can be believed about these Apollonius depends on how much modern scholars can trust Philostratus.

Apollonius’ Story, According to Philostratus

If Philostratus can be taken seriously, Apollonius was a well-traveled man. Apollonius of Tyana stayed mainly in Greece and Asia Minor, bu talso traveled to Italy, Spain, North Africa, Mesopatamia, India, and Ethiopia. During his travels, he reportedly taugh philosophy and performed miracles.

 

The Emperor Nero (of Rome) had reportedly banned all philosophers from the capital city of Rome, and this ban remained after his death. In defiance, Philostratus sometimes went to Rome and spoke there to those who would listen. Later, in his later years, he was apprehended by Roman authorities and at his court trial under Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus (or just Domitius), he was sentenced to death. Apollonius was accused of conspiring against the emperor, performing human sacrifice, and prophecying a plague. Philostratus also suggests that Apollonius ascended to heaven after his death.

The miracles were healings, prophecies, the ability to see events as they happen far away, and his heavenly ascension.

What Apollonius Believed About God

Apollonius’s god was very similar to deism, in that he believed that god couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be persuaded by prayers or sacrifices and has no wish to be worshipped by humans. Where Apollonius breaks rank with conventional deism is his belief that god can be reached through a spiritual procedure involving ‘nous’ (or intellect), because god himself is pure ‘nous’, and ‘nous’ is the greatest of man’s abilities.

In contrast, deism is the belief that a god had to have created the world, but is in no way interested in human affairs.

Allegations of Jesus of Nazareth Being Apollonius

Any attempt to misconstrue Jesus as mimicking Apollonius’s miracles, or the Gospel stories as somehow borrowing from Apollonius’s life, must deal with the fact that most of what is written about him was written well after the Gospels were made. While the earliest Gospel, which is Mark, was written sometime around the year 70 CE; Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana was finished sometime around 220 CE.

The only similarities that can be drawn conclusively about both the New Testament and the writings of Philostratus is that the truth of their content is questionable. In the case of the New Testament, the Gospels were written anonymously (the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were added much later) decades after Jesus; and Paul, the founder of the religion, wasn’t even in Jerusalem when the story of Jesus even took place. Paul was writing of a vision.

In contrast, Philostratus’s sources were a series of letters from Apollonius, of which scholars doubt their authenticity.Another of Philostratus’s sources was a diary from a companion of Apollonius named Damis. But, there are a few scholars who think the diary was an invention of Philostratus, or that it was a real book forged by someone else.This latter diary of Damis is probably the most valuable source of information for Philostratus. So, his writings depend greatly on whether this diary is authentic.

One method of preserving meat for prolonged storage is to smoke it. There are compounds in hardwood smoke that provide antioxidant and antimicrobial protections as well as the distinctive taste and aroma. This process, born out of necessity, has grown into a tradition for many families and a commercial enterprise for others (beef jerky).

Types of Woods Used for Smoking Meat

Generally, hardwood chips are used to smoke meat. Hardwoods contain much less resin than softwoods such as pine, where the resins impart an unpleasant flavor. Even in hardwoods the quality of flavor varies.

Mesquite has good flavor while other, softer hardwoods are lacking. This is sometimes attributed to the higher burning heat of mesquite, which could produce more of those compounds that may contribute to the flavoring of the meat.

 

Smoking Meats for Preservation

Smoke itself may not have originally been seen as a way to preserve meat. However, it has been shown that heat used to dry out foods will preserve meat longer. Meat and fish will not go rancid as quickly when dried, and smoke lends that smoky aroma and taste to otherwise dry bland meat. The constituents of smoke, like phenols, slow rancidity.

Other compounds such as formaldehyde produce an antibacterial effect which helps to slow the breakdown of organic material by bacteria. Smoking meats is not a complete preservation method since the smoke does not penetrate the meat; which means its effects are on the surface only. Thorough drying will complete the process of preservation.

 

Health Concerns About Smoked Meats

Phenols and formaldehyde occur because of the incomplete burning of gases. Though these compounds have beneficial effects, they are also carcinogenic (cancer causing). Meats and fish absorb other compounds through smoke such as nitrates. This in turn, could change to nitrites in the body, causing low blood oxygenation.

Liquid smoke is an alternative to traditional meat smoking. During the production of liquid smoke many of the carcinogens are removed, making it a safer alternative. Marinate the dried meat in liquid smoke to get the smoky flavor minus the carcinogens.

Economy of Smoked Meats

Having a method to preserve food without refrigeration takes a smaller slice out of the financial pie. Knowledge of these kinds of methods; which were once very common to everyone, will pay off in big dividends in the areas of greater financial and personal independence.

Earlier generations smoked meats and fish to put by when needed. The next generation can pick up where they left off – ushering frugality back into fashion.

Camping is a wonderful way to bring the family together. Driving for miles to a distant camping destination and packing everything from bedding to food can be stressful and expensive. Families can save money and eliminate packing troubles by creating an unforgettable camping experience in their backyard.

Before the backyard camping trip begins, lay the ground rules. Designate a time that the camping trip is to begin. When the time approaches this means all family members must shut off the computer, television, cell phones and other electronic devices and head outside.

During the backyard camping trip, keep the focus on spending time together and having fun. Only allow access to inside the home to use the rest room or to grab additional clothing, otherwise the house is off limits.

Camping Supplies for a Backyard Camping Vacation

To enjoy camping at its best, a tent, sleeping bags and pillows are essential gear to have on this frugal family vacation. To guide the way after dark, each camper should have a flashlight, glow stick or lantern available. Other supplies that may come in handy include a grill, fire pit, outdoor candles, bug spray, outdoor seating and table.

To make the camping vacation a success, plan the menu ahead of time. Be prepared to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. To discourage campers from going inside to grab items from the refrigerator, consider packing a cooler full of drinks and leaving outside near the camp site. All family members should be involved in putting together the snack and menu items for the camping trip. Be sure to remember the graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows for smores.

 

Camp Out for Inexpensive Family Fun

Before preparing dinner for the evening, select a suitable site for the tent. Work together as a family to put the tent up and get it ready for sleeping in later that evening. Young children can get involved by placing their favorite blanket or stuffed animal inside and selecting their special sleeping spot.

To create the right camping ambience, build a fire in a portable fire pit. If a fire pit is not available, use a group of candles or outdoor lanterns. Be sure to keep fire safety in mind. Other ways to light the night sky are to line the patio or deck with outdoor Christmas lights to create a fun and inviting atmosphere. Or create a glowing fake fire by using several glow sticks and placing on the ground together.

As the sun begins to set, be sure to have everything necessary to enjoy a comfortable night sleeping under the stars. Make smores around the fire or enjoy favorite family snacks together. Sit together and tell stories under the stars or sing camp fire songs. Talk about other family vacations and recall favorite moments.

Creating unforgettable family vacations doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a little planning and creativity, a fun, family get-away can be as close as your backyard. The only cost of this frugal vacation idea is the groceries, if a tent is already available for use.

Making beads is inexpensive. There is quite a bit of preparation required, but the versatility of the craft makes it well worth the effort. The students will need to be patient as there will be 6 stages of preparation as they design, assemble and package their Mother's Day Gift Set.

Preparing the Materials and the Area

For students to be able to do justice to this project, they will need a working area and some storage space. Read through these recipes to make a list of the materials needed to create the beads.

How To Make Paper Beads is a blog about a no fuss way to make extremely cost effective beads. The blog, Making Beads With Salt Clay (found by scrolling up above the post), gives directions for beads that are more chunky and rustic. Clay items, on the other hand, are durable, but making and firing them is also quite time consuming. When reading the article How To Make Clay Beads, remember that you must allow more time than you would need for the other two.

Make sure you read the instructions thoroughly before choosing which medium you will use. How much work you can manage and the time required for process will greatly influence the quality of the project. Don't cut yourself short of time.

Designing the Gift Set

Decide on the look and feel you want. Do you want an old fashioned antique feel, something rustic, modern and flamboyant, or chic and elegant? Firm decisions about style need to be made at the designing stage so that the appropriate materials can be purchased. Shape and size will be influenced by the image you wish to portray. Sleek and stylish will most likely be assembled from slim and tiny beads, while a modern look will be more chunky and flamboyant and colourful.

Have the students draw a picture of the desired outcome. Make sure you encourage students to draw the connecting threads, clasps and hooks. Leave nothing to chance, especially if the students have not experienced a project like this before.

Ask them to bring a picture of their mother to school so that they can draw the jewelry draped around her neck and draw on her earrings. This will greatly influence the way they design the jewelry. It will confirm with confidence that this gift set will be just right for mother.

Making the Gift Set

Follow the recipes cited above. if you want to add spice and flair, make several types of beads and mix and match. Make sure that you are clear about how the beads will be strung together. Items that could be fashioned into sets are bracelets, necklaces, earrings, chokers and paper mache rings. Designed from matching beads, they will look stunning when packaged.

Packaging the Gift

If the class has plenty of time, the students could make an attractive paper mache box and line it with felt. Maybe they could decoupage photos of mother onto the lid. What a heart warming gift giving idea!

If time is scant, they could simply arrange the jewelry onto a card by punching holes through the board. They could then tie the pieces onto it in an attractive arrangement. By taping clear or lightly coloured cellophane over the arrangement, they would add a touch of class to a beautiful display.

Making the Card

Tying Ribbon Through Gift Cards gives other Mother's Day ideas and compliments this Mother's Day project. The ribbons would serve as one last chance to embellish the tender moment by fixing some more beads to the ribbons trailing from the cards.