Board Shorts vs. Bored Togs

Swim wear isn’t only just a hot commodity to the sun bathing female species but is also a well-loved essential to a lot of beach bumming dudes. Though some would prefer swimming in the nude, most men still would want to fashion the latest and greatest trends in swimsuits. It seems that swim wear for men this year is leaning toward a much broader spectrum of garments. You have the classic Speedo-cut, the ultra moon friendly string numbers, and the ever reliable board short surfing apparel. Brands like Quicksilver, Body Glove, and Nike Swim have revolutionized modern men swimsuits, creating more options for all your beach and swimming pool needs. With a wide array of couture to choose from, you can go crazy shopping for the ones that strike your fancy.

Sure, the skimpier ones would probably look better on muscle-ridden athletes, but where in the Bible does it say you can’t wear them? Go to speedousa.com and find that perfect bottom for up to 50% off. The Speedo Summer Sale provides you big savings on the hottest suits this season. Check out the highly sought after Livewire Splice Brief. The printed number has accents of contrast piping that create the ultimate silhouette. The chlorine-resistant material, reinforced seams, superior low drag, and completely lined profile make it simply irresistible. It also has a non-slip draw string at the waist to keep it secure at all times. This combines supreme movement and style whether you are sitting pretty on the sand or playing active *underwater sports*. For only $26.25, you can buy this classic gem in blue, red, kelly green, navy-red-white, and sapphire-gold. Solid numbers, such as the Bayside Togs at http://www.hunkwear.com, can also be quite versatile. You could wear them at the beach or use them as everyday underwear.

It would be safe to assume that most beach-going lads nowadays prefer bulky board shorts to much revealing togs. These ultra hip shorts show just the right amount of lower ab action, which seems to make the girls go wild, and spare the user from revealing too much of their cheeky behind. A colleague of mine had just taken his recently purchased Men’s Love Not War Board Shorts by Billabong to the beach test and he told me they don’t just look great on him, they also feel awesome. The camouflage-inspired print creatively displays a little flower power love detailing, which gives a totally rad interpretation to peace, love, and sand. It could just be the detailed pattern and print but this attractive design doesn’t look like any other board short because it screams individuality right down to the front lace closure and the side pocket. The Billabong Men’s Love Not War Board Shorts is made from an unbelievably soft suede fabric and a supreme performance polyester material that dries pretty fast, so whether you are fresh out of the water or scanning the crowd by the side of the pool, the shorts just hugs your body perfectly without the water pulling it down so much. This is also made possibly by the side pocket drain holes that get rid of excess water in your shorts, keeping it light as if they were dry. You can get it for yourself at only $49.95 on altrec.com. Women seem to can’t get enough of the craze either. The Roxy Matchback 9″ Board Shorts is in classic black and goes perfectly well with any colored bikini or tank top. It’s available at http://www.usoutdoorstore.com for only $39.50.

If you are looking for a more updated look, try something in between both extremes such as the Retro Dots Swimsuit by Sauvage available at http://www.bestswimwear.com in small, medium, large, and XL. Wearing something like it would suggests playfulness with a touch of class. These hybrid swimming shorts are cut similar to the boxer briefs; nestling on the hip line right below the abs and ends at just the right length above the top of the thighs. While you’re there, check out their vast line which consists of attractive patterns and colors that would suit any mood or taste. Whatever you end up wearing this summer be sure to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand.

Reinventing Yourself After Sixty

Sixty years of age is a key milestone for the baby boomer generation. Some say sixty is the new forty with all the advancements in medicine and health consciousness. The fact is, people today are living longer and enjoying a higher standard of living and better health than did their parents and grandparents. According to the 2010 statistics published in The State of Aging and Health in America by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average life expectancy for American citizens has increased to 78.5 years old.

Since people are living longer, the years from age 60-80 have become a very important period in the lives of senior citizens. These are the retirement years. This demographic has fewer career and family responsibilities than other age groups, plus more money and powerful spending potential from investments, and large equities in their homes. They know what activities are fulfilling and have the spare time to learn and do new things. Rather than stay home and watch soap operas, many seniors are now starting new financial enterprises and activities such as stock trading, golf, travel, running a new home based business, volunteering, working in their church, participating in community groups and committees, sports, or joining new social circles such as dance groups, card clubs, fraternal organizations, and country clubs. For those who want to reinvent their life, all of these activities and interests are proving that this period of life can be very fruitful, productive, and fulfilling.

Retirement is different for every individual according to their personal situation and when they plan to retire. For many, a lot depends on their social security income and when they elect to receive benefits. The monthly benefit amount varies according to when a person retires. For seniors born during 1943 – 1954, the full retirement age is 66. Some will choose to retire as early as age 62, providing they meet the 40 minimum earned credit requirement, and their benefit amount will be reduced depending on how many months they receive benefits before they reach full retirement age.

Conversely, there are those who plan to delay retirement and work up to age 70, or longer, in order to draw an increased monthly benefit. Those working past age 66 and born during 1941 – 1942, will receive a 7.5% increase, while those born in 1943, or later, will receive an 8% increase up to age 70.

For many seniors, plans for an early retirement went down the drain along with the equities in their homes when the economy slipped into recession and many people lost their retirement nest eggs. Those not forced to extend their career will no doubt retire, however, those who must work until age 70, or longer, will be forced to reinvent themselves, like it or not. Here are some basic guidelines to help those who will have to experience the ordeal of change during their peak retirement years.

Before you can reinvent yourself, however, you need to take an inventory to see where you are now and determine where you want or need to be. This self-evaluation should include as many aspects of your body, mind, and spirit as you can identify. You need to examine your present belief system and determine your values, your ethics, your morals, and your attitude. One of the primary things you need to evaluate is your ability to change and how you handle stress and new circumstances. You will find that there are some things you can change while there are others that you cannot. It is not true that an old dog cannot be taught new tricks. Just because you are sixty or older doesn’t mean you are set in your ways and cannot adapt.

Remember, nothing changes if you change nothing, or cannot change, so for those who are motivated to alter their present lifestyle and situation; here are some suggestions to help you plan your own metamorphosis and get the ball rolling. Change begins with taking the first step and with baby steps thereafter. Change need not be so dramatic and stressful, or traumatic, but rather it can be a very pleasant experience composed of curiosity, discovery, experimentation, and acceptance; resulting in increased self-esteem, pride, and a new feeling of self-worth and renewal.

Reinvent Yourself Socially –

  • Get involved with others. Meet new friends. Join clubs, committees, and online dating services to maintain communication and interaction with people with common interests.
  • Do more things together with your spouse… take dance lessons, attend a pottery class, play bridge, go swimming, join a health club or country club, golf, browse thrift shops and book stores, watch videos, etc.
  • Do more things with your children or grandchildren… attend their functions, help with homework, teach them a craft, go to the zoo or a ball game, bake cookies, tell stories, or go shopping together.
  • Volunteer at your church or fraternal organization. Organizations always need organizers and workers and directors. Attend regular city council or town hall meetings and get involved in your community. You can also become a companion to shut-in seniors in nursing homes or visit patients in the hospital. Local government always needs volunteers for voter registration, jury duty, planning committees, advisory boards, and similar positions.
  • Get a cell phone. It doesn’t have to cost much. You can use a pre-paid minute phone and learn to text message on it. Texting will keep your fingers nimble and your mind sharp. Just don’t text message while you drive.
  • Get a laptop computer and get on the Internet. Join one, or several, social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or any forum that interests you. Surfing the web is a great way to improve your social skills and to stay informed and connected with current events.
  • Host more dinner parties, barbeques, or get-togethers with friends, neighbors, family, suppliers, customers, and coworkers.
  • Join a network marketing business and attend meetings and recruit new members.

Reinvent Yourself Mentally –

  • Take personality tests in books and online to find your personality type, temperament and preferences
  • Join luminosity.com and participate in their program daily.
  • Play mentally challenging games such as chess, bridge, poker, Sudoku, Mahjong solitaire, and cross-word puzzles.
  • Attend lectures and take personal development classes at a community college or monitor any classes on subjects you are interested in. For example, if you are an art lover, consider taking a primer on Art History. If you have artistic skills, consider taking a drawing or painting class. Learn a new language for an upcoming vacation trip, or just for the sake of challenging your ability to speak a new tongue. Many people devote much of their lives to raising children, building careers, or both, and never took the time to learn new things, so now is a good time to learn something new.
  • Read more and watch less television. Write your autobiography or articles on various subjects that pique your interest. Learn to speed read. Try to read at least one book a week. If you don’t have the spare time, then subscribe to an audio book club and listen to at least four books per month to stay informed.
  • Start a new hobby or expand an existing one. Collect rocks, stamps, coins, or go bird watching; whatever brings you joy and satisfaction. Make a little hobby area where you can make candles, do pottery, grow plants or bonsai trees. Learn to paint landscapes or portraits. Learn to knit or crochet or perhaps you want to finally restore that old car out in the garage.

Reinvent Yourself Physically –

  • If you want to reinvent yourself quickly and effectively, stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, eat less red meat, eat more vegetables, stop eating fast foods, take vitamins, and exercise more. It’s the same advice your doctor and mother probably gave you in high school and just think if you’d followed it back then, where would you be now? I know you didn’t want to hear this again, but it was true then and its true now.
  • Join an athletic club if you’re looking for moderate activity with some social aspect, or join a walking group, or start one with your neighbors. Keeping fit and active is vital to make the most of the years after 60. Play tennis, racquet ball, or ping-pong with friends, or join a team sports league for bowling, volleyball, soft ball, or some similar sport designed for senior adults. The exercise will keep your energy up and the interaction with other participants will enhance your social life.
  • If you are on a tight budget, get more aerobic exercise any way you can. Walk, swim, ride a bicycle, or climb a hill at least three to four times per week. Increase your heart rate up to training levels lasting for twenty minute durations. Do something to work up a sweat. If you are overweight, then try to exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes each time to increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Cardio exercise is recommended, but check with your doctor first. Compute your body mass index (BMI) and follow guidelines for your ideal height-weight ratio. If you cannot be active, then try yoga or tai chi or chi gong exercises which will strengthen and stretch your muscles, improve your breathing, balance, and coordination.
  • Pay more attention to your diet and eat less. Stay within the recommended calories per day for your body and try to maintain your proper weight in proportion to your height. Your diet should contain fewer simple carbohydrates and more vegetables and fruits. Avoid fast food, sugar, salt, candy and try to eat more green salads. Try juicing and eating more dinners with less red meat. Fasting one day a week is also highly recommended.
  • Take food supplements and vitamins. Visit your health food store and start reading more information about your health. You should take a multi-vitamin supplement daily at the very least, but you can also custom design whole cocktails of supplements to accentuate and support desired conditions and specific areas such as memory function, eye sight, digestion, diabetes, stress, sleep, heart, liver, and colon cleanse.
  • Determine your body and blood type and follow the recommendations for your category. Check your blood pressure and pulse daily
  • See a medical professional for exams; at least twice a year, and have a complete blood work performed at least once a year. A complete annual physical exam should include monitoring blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen, peripheral circulation, weight, listening to your heart, examining your body for lumps, moles, lesions, abrasions, bruises, and examining your mouth, ears, nose, throat, feet, and genitalia. Women should receive a pap smear and men should have their prostate gland examined and a hernia exam.
  • See your dentist at least twice a year, or if you have dentures, schedule an annual exam to ensure your dentures fit properly and your mouth is not changing which could result in discomfort or sores later on.
  • Develop an active lifestyle… which may include boating, hunting, fishing, skiing, jogging, bicycling, and similar activities if you are able.
  • Get adequate rest; at least seven hours of sleep is recommended with a twenty minute long nap after lunch. As people age, they tend to need less sleep, but don’t become a night owl and stay up late. If you snore, ask your doctor about the potential for sleep apnea and follow his advice. If you find yourself sleeping a lot, especially during the day, or experience fatigue with wide spread flu-like pain, then ask your doctor about anemia and fibromyalgia. Don’t sleep your life away.

Reinvent Yourself Spiritually –

  • Attend your church, temple, or religious group regularly. Spiritual growth enriches life and gives hope and support for difficulties that arise as you age. You may wish to join yoga or a tai chi group in your community or attend Bible studies or even make a pilgrimage to some city or country that you have wanted to visit all your life.
  • Volunteer at public organizations, religious functions, food banks, free clinics, blood donation centers, parks and recreation departments, and local animal shelters so you can give back to your community by donating your time. Volunteer for an organization or cause that you truly care about. If you have loved animals all your life, then volunteer to walk dogs, socialize cats or organize fundraising events for your local shelter. If you have previously supported development projects in other parts of the world, contact the organization and ask if you are able to volunteer your time in your community as well. No matter what you do, reinventing your life after 60 should be about making your life the one you want to live. You only go around once, so make it count, and do it your way.

Reinvent Yourself Emotionally –

  • Change your diet so that you consume less alcohol, less fat, and eat more foods that support serotonin and dopamine production in the brain.
  • Fight bouts of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with SAMe and herbal supplements and exercise.
  • Find someone or a pet to love. Love is the best medicine for almost any problem and you can never get or give too much of it.
  • Laugh daily. Surround yourself with positive people who cause you to laugh and maintain a positive attitude despite difficult situations. Watch comedies more often and find funny and interesting videos on YouTube.com and similar web sites. Read funny stories, jokes, and watch uplifting and inspiring television programs.
  • Don’t live alone. If you can’t live with family or friends, find a roommate so that you always have someone who can look in on you and keep you engaged. Loneliness breeds fear, solitude, depression, and withdrawal.
  • Join a senior center for regular companionship and scheduled activities such as potluck dinners, bingo, card games, and music entertainment.
  • Visit family members often and call them all on a regular basis just to stay in touch. Remember birthdays with a card or gift and try to attend all holiday dinners and traditional get-togethers.
  • Nothing improves your self-esteem better than changing your wardrobe. If you have always wore blue jeans, then buy some nice slacks. If your old shoes have seen better days, then buy a nice new pair of shoes. Try wearing a suit around once a week; that will perk you up. When you look good, you feel good.

Reinvent Yourself Financially –

  • These are hard times. If the economy has robbed you of your nest egg and forced you into austere circumstances, then you may have to swallow your pride and apply for public assistance. With high unemployment, you may have no choice. You have to eat. Contact your local food bank, Health and Welfare office, and any free medical clinics for assistance. Do what you have to do to get by until things improve. Make the smart move. Do the right thing. This is a temporary economic condition that will pass.
  • Instead of retiring early, or at the regular age; work longer and your monthly social security benefit will increase when you do finally retire.
  • If you lost your life savings when the “too large to fail” banks collapsed, then you may be reluctant to save or invest. However, making safe investments is still one of the best ways to increase your net worth. Consider safe growth stocks.
  • Day trading and saving your money in a bank are not good ideas. Consider buying tax deed certificates (paper trading) from county governments which yield high interest rates.
  • Finding employment that pays a realistic living wage is tough these days. You may have to return to school and retrain in a new occupation or field. For example, there are many loggers and construction workers who have switched to become insurance salesman, truck drivers, welders, CADD drafters, project managers, inspectors, and similar alternative occupations when their industries collapsed during the recession. Search online and find the best source for your training and secure a loan, or pay as you go, in order to acquire the knowledge necessary to change careers. It will be worth it.
  • Consider moving to a new city if you can’t find work in your community. If you have always wanted to live in a different location, take the opportunity to do it after 60. If you want to test out living in a new town without committing long-term, sublet an apartment or room for a couple of months. Check with the Chamber of Commerce and Senior Centers for recommendations. If your children have already relocated to another city, try to visit them and check out the area before you commit to a permanent relocation. If you don’t want to change cities, but do want to see more of the U.S., consider using a recreational vehicle for part of the year. You can live in RV parks and stay in new locations in comfort, providing the weather and fuel prices cooperate.
  • If you are inclined to gamble, then trading in binary options online promises higher gains in a short period of time with a potential of earning thousands of dollars monthly from the comfort of your home.
  • Start an online affiliate business. Create a web site with affiliate links that point to major league suppliers like Amazon.com and ClickBank.com, and drive traffic to that site to earn sales commissions. There is a learning curve involved, but the dividends are well worth it.
  • Turn your hobby into a small business operation. If you enjoy making things, you can sell your crafts on eBay, in local auctions, craft fairs, at garage sales, and at farmer’s markets. Make your venture low-risk and stay focused on something you like doing, regardless if sales are adequate or consistent. Reinvest some of your profits back into the business to grow and earn more income. Don’t forget to take all your tax deductions.

Assessments: How Instructors Can Overcome The Herculean Burden

Assessment, popularly known in the field of education as examination, is the eye-opener that helps instructors and educational managers to know whether the expected learning outcomes have been attained by learners. It is so worthwhile in education so much so that educational experts are advocating for it to be carried out even before, during and after every lesson delivery.

Its benefits are countless. It quickly sends a signal to the instructor that the content was or was not well digested by learners and might require a re-teaching. The causes may be due to poor lesson preparation on the part of the instructor or teaching the topic at the wrong timing or without considering the relevant previous knowledge of students. Whatever be the case, assessments enable the instructor to diversify his/her teaching methods, strategies, and techniques so that the expected learning outcomes would be achieved to the optimum. Thus, despite the assessments helping learners to grasp learning content and exhibiting the required expected behavior, it immensely helps the instructor to grow in his/her professional career with very rich instructional experience.

However, assessments can be a great obstacle for most instructors. This is especially true when an instructor has to assess the understanding of a large class of students. Owing to this, some instructors have greatly reduced the number of assessments they give to their learners. Worse yet, others have decided not to engage in pre-assessments (assessments undertaken before the lesson delivery) and the on-assessments (assessments carried out during the lesson delivery), reducing the three phases of assessment to only post-assessments (assessments done after the lesson delivery) at the end of the semester or term. As a result, it negatively affects the learning outcomes of students. No wonder students sometimes complete a course with empty barrels! Therefore, instructors must make it their priority to undertake all the phases of assessment. How can they overcome this seemingly difficult responsibility?

Peer assessment is one cardinal assessment strategy that instructors can adopt. The instructor would assign the students to assess the submitted works of their colleagues after the correct answers or marking scheme has been discussed and distributed to each student. To kill any form of favoritism due to relationships among themselves, some instructors decide to use pseudonym or anonymity identity technique where only index numbers are used. This is very effective for especially the pre-assessments and the on-assessments. However, the pseudonym or anonymity identity of students must be varied so that students would not engage in any foul play. Also, the instructor must randomly check the general assessments that the students have done to vouch for their validity. This assessment technique saves the energy and time of the instructor while minimizing the heavy task of assessment.

In addition, instructors must set simple questions that would require easy assessment of the scores of students. The table of specification for test item construction must be used tactfully. Knowledge based questions must be skillfully blended with the understanding, application, synthesis and evaluation levels of test construction. This also reduces the burden of assessment while also not compromising on quality assessment. In this technological age, instructors can set up online or virtual class discussion forums for his/her students and reward marks for students’ participation. Occasionally, the instructor reads the comments passed by the students in the forum discussions to ascertain their levels of understanding on the lesson taught. Clickers, Back Channel Communication, Open-Ended Response System as well as Live-Question Tool are specially designed online programs that can help an instructor to assess the understanding of his/her students. Thus, if an institution has a strong internet or technological infrastructure, these strategies can be implemented.

Interestingly, social media platforms can be created by instructors so that students can discuss lessons taught. The instructor must intermittently act as a moderator while policing the discussions so that it will not sway into other unnecessary discussions unrelated to the sole academic purpose.

The instructor can also use other traditional assessment strategies such as the use of response cards. The response cards are used to ascertain the responses of learners to the questions asked by the instructor. Students write brief answers to the questions posed on their response cards. Then, they hold up their cards that bear their answers to the questions the instructor asks. The instructor finally scans through the answers to glean the understanding of learners to the lesson taught. This strategy reduces the yoke of having to mark all scripts presented on the instructor’s table to assess the understanding of students.

Assessment is really an important feature in the teaching and learning processes of education. Every phase of assessment whether pre-assessment, on-assessment or post-assessment must be undertaken by instructors. They must assign great attention to them and improvise simple ways of carrying them out. This would ultimately heighten the expected learning outcomes of students.

34 Fun School Carnival Game Ideas

1. The Beauty Salon was a popular booth at our Fall Carnival. The boys and girls loved getting their hair colored, blue, green, pink!

2. Karaoke was also very popular this year!

3. About three years ago, our room moms rented an electonic bull. (I can’t think of the right name!) The line never ended! The kids and adults loved it!

4. My sons’ school has a Kissing Booth. They didn’t get actual kisses, but they did give you a Hershey’s Kiss instead. They also have a lips stamp, and they stamp your face with it! And you see TONS of kids running around their carnival with several kisses! Very cute!

5. We played “Bingo for Books” in the media center.

6. Snack Walk (like a cake walk but kids picked out bags of chips, a box of Little Debbies, bag of cookies, 2 liter bottle of soda, etc

7. We also auctioned off Janitor-, Principal- and Librarian- for-a-day. Those were very popular. (Janitor brought in the most!)

8. We have done Super Twister with dots painted on a large piece of tarp that got taped to the floor with everyone trying to touch the correct color with the correct body part. Ours is big enough that 30+ kids can play at a time.

9. A popular game at our school’s carnival was the football toss. Rings were hung from the ceiling (beginning with rings the size of a hula-hoop) and you would try to throw a football through a ring. The smaller the ring, the higher the points.

10. Hit the Teacher With a Wet Sponge. Hugely popular, even with the parents.

11. Bubble-gum Blowing Contest: Popular because gum’s usually a no-no.

12. Advanced Spelling Bee- Allowed students to take steps toward prize board if correct; end of the line if missed.

13. Dress up the Teacher: Hit garage sales and the Good Will for outrageous items to dress a teacher. Tie this in with problem solving/ academics standardized test review…use a digital camera to photo results as keep sake.

14. A few years back we had a carnival and one big seller was the “Loonie ” Jars (here in Canada we call our dollar a Loonie. ) We asked families to donate jars filled with items – such as packs of gum, small toys, marbles, pencils, – you name it, people filled them. We had over 400 donated. Then people drew a number from a basket and that was the jar they got.

15. We just had our carnival on Thursday and Friday, and I teach third grade. This year we did the toy walk (played just like the cake walk). We used small inexpensive toys ($1.00 limit) the kids brought in and also got some happy meal toys donated from McDonald’s. Another one we did was the Wii game. The kids loved it!!!

16. We do a “Great Pumpkin Obstacle Race” where the student dresses up like a great pumpkin (we use my orange hunting coat, hat, and gloves) then they go through tires, over hay bales, and weave through pumpkins. The kids love it!

17. Last year at our fall festival we had a duck race. You set up a small pool and get the little bath ducks. You also need squirt guns. The students “race” their ducks using the spray from the squirt guns to make them go. It was really fun!

18. We had a carnival many years ago and the booth that was the biggest hit, was the engraving booth. We ordered necklaces from Oriental Trading and had one of those hand held engraving machines and wrote the kids names on them. It was quick and easy.

19. A parent built a Plinko board that travels from grade to grade with his son – it’s the most popular item at the fair. We have a stage in our gym so kids stand on the stage to drop the Plinko disks.

20. The Fortune Teller booth is our most popular one.

21. Mystery boxes- boxes with holes that the kids put their hands into- had peeled grapes, cold spaghetti, jello with fruit. We gave each one a scary name.

22. Guess the weight of a big pumpkin.

23. We sold plastic gloves filled with popcorn. Each “hand” had a spider ring on the finger.

24. Musical Chairs with Stuffed Animals. Before the carnival, collect stuffed animals (kids can donate these by the arm loads). Put them in a pile in the center of the room. Place chairs in a circle around the stuffed animals. put numbers under the chairs. Play music for a minute. Have kids sit. Draw a number. Winner picks a stuffed animal.

25. What about sand art? The kids love it! You can get supplies on line, such as small plastic bottles and bracelets. Use salt dyed with food coloring for the sand.

26. Another idea is to make a box maze in your classroom. It could be a crawl through. Maybe kids could solve a puzzle along the way.

27. Guessing contests are fun. Decorate clear glass jars and fill with what ever. Lollipops, M&M’s, individual wrapped candies, pretzels, dry beans might add a soup making recipe, so that it shows on the outside of the jar. Here again have different people bring a decorated jar full of something and have them count and put on a folded paper on the underside of the jar lid the number of items in the jar. Only one prize per winner and of coarse family members can’t win their jar. The more jars the more winners. Any size jar will work – jelly jars, gallon jars, miracle whip jars and etc. Decorating is fun. Example one person completely covered the jar with wrapping paper and put 1 bag of candy in the jar, so the correct guess was one. Stick on stickers. Make a puff top on the lid. Glue on lace. Tape a pattern on the inside of the jar and use enamel paint and paint the design on the outside of the jar and maybe outline with permanent fabric paint. The outline isn’t necessary, but adds an extra nice touch. Don’t forget to remove your pattern when complete.

28. Fluky Ball: Set up an easel with a bucket below. Child must bounce a ball off the easel into the bucket to win.

29. Tin Pan Alley: child rolls a ball down a ramp. At the bottom there is a box with 2 muffin tins painted with 3 different colors. The child rolls 3 balls. If 2 colors match, you win.

30. A great carnival idea is do offer a DINO DIG! Take a baby swimming pool, fill it with sand and small plastic dinosaurs (oriental trading has them cheap) give the kids a small shovel to dig for their dino. We also do digging for diamonds! Girls love finding little rings and such in the sand.

31. Pumpkin Ring Toss. We get donations from the local nurseries for pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, gourds, etc. We take about ten of the larger stemed pumpkins and use them as the targets for the rong toss. I found wooden hoops at the local fabric store.

32. Gourd Bowling. I purchased a set of those plastic children pins and then used some of the gourds from the nurseries. The gourds roll funny so it makes it more fun.

33. Ping-Pong Ball Toss. We purchased ten of the plastic pumpkin trick-or-treat containers that the kids use and had them placed as the target. I had a half dozen or so orange ping-pong balls that the kids have to toss in.

34. One of my favorite games is “Chicken Chucking”. Get a few rubber chickens and set up an area that people can throw them into a pen (rubber maid bin) I place mine about 30 feet away and at 40 feet away. Its hilarious watching everyone throw it. When I did it at my church I found some real cute rubber chicken key chains to give away to the people that made it into the 40 feet away pen.

50 Reasons to Travel to Sonoma County (In The Heart of the California Wine Country)

1. It’s a Golfer’s Paradise

There are over 16 golf courses in Sonoma County, many of them near luxurious accommodations where you can celebrate a great game (or “forget” a bad one) with good food, spa facilities, and luxurious beddings.

2. Fly to New Heights

Ride a hot air balloon for a completely different kind of tour. Take lots of photos, and get a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the amazing California landscape.

3. Wash Away Your Worries

California has a natural source of hot water springs, which the Sonoma Mission Spa has turned into a holistic bathing ritual (using top-of-the-line Jacuzzis and steam rooms). Guaranteed to soothe tired muscles and worn-out spirits-and leave you glowing and refreshed. Try the other 40 treatments, too!

4. Unlock the Secrets of Wine

Go on a wine-tasting tour at any of the 200 wineries located in Sonoma county. Learn about the different kinds of grapes, and the different factors-mixture, climate, soil, and picking procedure-that make each vintage unique. By the end of the course, you’ll be the smartest person at the cocktail party.

5. Get Your Pilot’s License

Sonoma’s one of the best places to fulfill your dream of flying your own plane! From on-ground lessons to one-on-one guided flights to your first solo flight, you’ll be guided by experienced, patient flight instructors who actually care about your progress and will adapt a learning plan just for you.

6. Get a Golden Tan

This is California, after all! Hit the beaches and enjoy the great weather, the refreshing ocean, and the brilliant blue sky!

7. Explore the Arts Scene

Sonoma County has a thriving arts and crafts scene. ARTrails provides a rare opportunity for the public to meet local artists in their studios and learn about their diverse creative processes and techniques. Through hands-on demonstrations as well as intimate conversations, ARTrails artists will take you into their world for a day.

8. Mix Business and Pleasure

Santa Rosa, the largest city in Sonoma County, has excellent facilities for meetings and conventions. Go ahead, have that team building exercise or hole up for that mid-year review. Then reward yourself with a night on the town. After all that work, you deserve it!

9. It’s in the Middle of Everything

Sonoma County is just 55 miles north of San Francisco, and 30 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. That makes it very accessible to both the key business districts and premium recreation and vacation spots. Talk about having it all!

10. Let Nature Heal You

Lake Sonoma is a 17,700-acre reserve where you and your kids can escape from the stress of work and housework. Choose a quiet, shady spot under a tree where you can read a book or sketch. Or, take a calming walk through a canopy of oak, madrone, alder, redwood and bay trees. You don’t even have to worry about entertaining the kids-they can go hiking,   swimming  or bird watching.

11. Pay Homage to Snoopy

Visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and see comic strips, story boards, and other “Peanuts” paraphernalia. Schulz, who called Sonoma County his hometown, was one of the most important American cartoonists-and some say, modern-day philosophers. Come and visit-you may even see The Great Pumpkin. http://www.snoopy.com

12. Live the High Life

Feel like a Hollywood star and see California via limo! This is one of the best ways to go on a wine tour. You get to sip the latest vintage in comfort, and feel very cultured, very pampered, and very elite-at least, for a few days. (Paparazzi not included.)

13. Go Skiing on Lake Tahoe

While California is primarily associated with beaches and sunny weather, you can also indulge in skiing, snow and winter sports at the Lake Tahoe area. Not a bad way to end the year!

14. See a Rare Bird

Bodega Bay is one of the favorite haunts of members of the Audobon Society, since it’s the nesting grounds of some of America’s rarest birds (and quite a few whales and ocean animals, too!). After a day of roughing it out in nature, retire to the award-winning Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa, which has ocean-view pools and spa services.

15. See Sonoma by Mountain Bike

Join small guided tours (less than 10 people) that will take you through Northern California’s best trails. Pass through Annadel State Park, meadows, coastlines, and forests of Douglas-fir, Bay, Redwood, and Manzanita. The tour includes a relaxing lunch by the lake, where you can cool off by  swimming . Open to both beginner and advanced riders.

16. Explore the Wilderness

At the Pt Reyes wilderness reserve you can explore over 140 miles of hiking trails that cover diverse terrain. The view is fantastic, the air is fresh, and entrance is free. (You even get a complimentary map!) Pack a picnic lunch and you can spend the whole day there, just walking through the forest or relaxing under the shade.

17. Take a Scenic Air Tour

You may not have the time to “see everything” – at least, not in the traditional sense. But with one special scenic air tour you can travel over miles and miles of land in mere hours, taking amazing photographs and even reaching spots that are normally inaccessible by road.

Your pilot can also give geographical and historical information, or customize the trip especially for you. Visit [http://www.sonomacountyairport.com/scenic-air-tours.php] for more information.

18. Take the “Golden Route.”

California’s famous Highway 1 will take you through the world’s most beautiful coastlines. Get an amazing view of the Pacific ocean, going past beaches and tree-lined paths. Roll down the windows and breathe in the refreshing breeze. Drink in the freedom of the clear, blue horizon. No wonder it’s called the “All American Road.”

19. Discover an Ancient Forest

What a refreshing change from skyscrapers and cramped condos or office cubicles! Armstrong Woods has over 805 meters of tree groves (some dating to over 1,500 years old). These redwoods reach up to 300 feet, creating an amazing canopy for long walks and relaxing picnics.

20. Meet Mark Twain

Hear about the history of California from one of the country’s best story tellers, Mark Twain. A professional actor and historian will portray the famous writer as he talks about the beginning of his writing career in 1964, with interesting trivia on the Gold Rush woven in between.

21. Feel Like a Belle

All you need is a parasol and a hoop dress and you feel like the perfect belle of the ball, as you take a carriage ride around Lake Tahoe. You’ll be accompanied by a historian. Lots of photo opportunities. Be sure to have one picture taken of you and your special someone with the Lake in the background!

22. Be a Farmer for a Day

Go on the Farm Trails and discover Rustic America. Sonoma County is one of the US’ key agricultural areas, with the fertile soil yielding fruit, vegetables, as well as the grapes that have made it one of the world’s most famous wine areas. Farm Trails let you explore a completely different life, feeding the livestock and picking fruits.

You can even get fresh produce straight from the farmer, and visit wineries, breweries and cheese factories. This is perfect for anyone who’s ever dreamed of retiring to the countryside. Try scheduling your trip during August 11 and 12 to participate in the Apple Fair.

23. Travel by Train

Combine great wine, great food, and romantic interiors-no, not at a restaurant, but by going aboard a beautifully restored antique train (circa 1915) for a tour of the Napa Valley. You are served lunch, and given a wine tasting tour right before you board. The train also has a wine tasting car. Now that’s a unique way of “savoring” the view! http://www.winetrain.com

24. Go Kayaking on the Russian River

The Russian River winds through serene landscape, embraced on both sides by vineyards and lush landscapes. Explore this by kayak, for a serene and enchanting ride with amazing scenery embracing you from all sides, and a chance to see wildlife like snowy egrets and blue herons. Plenty of chances for  swimming , too!

25. Enjoy a Moonlight Boat Ride

This is a romantic and unique way of taking in the breathtaking scenery of Lake Sonoma. The tour starts with a picnic dinner, with dessert served at sunset. Then, watch the moon rise over the lake as you explore the countryside by kayak.

26. Have a Champagne Breakfast by the Cove

Take one of the many Lake Tahoe cruises, many of which offer delightful hot and cold breakfast buffets. Some will even show videos of the historical areas and the underwater treasures of the lake. The cruise includes stops to key tourist attractions, including casinos and the best picture-perfect spots.

27. Go on a Safari

Head to the Porter Creek Road and see the Safari West Wildlife Preserve & Tent Camp. Consistently ranked as one of the favorite family attractions in Sonoma, this place is home to nearly 500 animals and birds, such as zebras, giraffes, lemurs, and big cats. Your kids will love it!

You’ll even have safari-like accommodations like canvas tents, for that “out of Africa” vibe.

28. Hear a Family Secret

The Ledson family has been making fine wines for generations. Hear some of the secrets that have made this winery so respected, and participate in special wine tours or sign up for a wine club. For your convenience you can also check in the Ledson’s Hotel, or schedule your trip during the special tasting events.

29. Have a Great Time at Howarth’s

Howarth Park, on Summerfield Road, has loads of family activities for every age and personality. You can go on a picnic underneath the oak and eucalyptus trees. Dad can go fishing or fire up a barbecue, kids can go sailing, and you can burn off those calories with a game of tennis or a relaxing jog around the park. Schedule your trip during the summer and you can even ride a carousel or a train.

30. Support the Arts

Between the Sonoma and Napa Valley you will find the di Rosa Preserve, which is home to one of the United States most extensive regional art collections. And unlike most museums around the world, the paintings are surrounded by Mother Nature’s own masterpiece: miles and miles of beautiful landscape, thanks to the vineyard setting.

31. Get a “Premium” Experience

The Ferrari- Carano Vineyards have everything you need for an unforgettable, and ultra luxurious experience. The gardens are well cultivated, the orchards heavy with the grapes that have made this one of the best vineyards in the country, and the wine shop stocked with an extensive collection of Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonneys and Merlots, as well as other accessories for the budding wine expert. You can’t call yourself a lover of wine without a visit to this place.

32. See the Works of Michael Holland

Discover one of Sonoma’s most beloved painters. He has wonderful paintings of the wine country, including the landscapes and figurative work. Art enthusiasts will see the strong influence of European artists from the turn of the century.

33. Get Yourself a New Set of “Wheels.”

Now here’s a new way of seeing the sights in Sonoma. Buy a Zappy Electric Scooter, that lets you zip past traffic and into alleys or bypaths. Shop downtown, drink in the sights, get dinner, pass by museums. Hey, at least you don’t waste time in the traffic plus you’ll be cool for “going green”. http://www.zapworld.com

34. Go Camping

Choose from several camping locations. Some are equipped with electricity and piped in water, others really let you rough it out. It all depends on your needs and preferences. Enjoy the view, the fresh air, and the opportunity to bond with family, friends or co-workers. Great for vacations or team building exercises. (Some campsites even have amphitheaters for corporate functions.)

35. Rent a Harley or Motorcycle for the Day

Only in California can you see the sights and live out your dreams of riding a motorcycle through the sunset. (Come on, admit, it, you’ve always wanted one.) Rent a Harley for several days and go where your spirit leads you.

36. Find Art and Nature in One Place

Go to the Wildwood Farm Nursery and Sculpture Garden along Sonoma Highway for an amazing Zen experience. Here you’ll see the beautiful craftsmanship of nearly 30 artists, displayed among Japanese maples and very rare plants and shrubs. You can purchase them as souvenirs (they can help you with the shipping). Definitely one of the most unique and relaxing “galleries” you’ll ever visit.

37. Train Under a “Racing Coach.”

Learn to race like a pro at the Russell Racing School, which includes course on karting, driving and other racing courses. Check out other exciting ventures at the famous Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California. You can also arrange group adventures.

38. Step into a Watercolor Scene

John Muir was a famous bird enthusiast and painter. Explore the woods that inspired some of his most popular works, by going to the Muir Woods National Monument. Tours can also take you to the nearly town of Healdsburg, wineries, and the picturesque Russian River. You can also incorporate wine tours.

39. Go on a Sightseeing “Marathon.”

Take a multi-sport tour that incorporates all the outdoor activities and attractions in Sonoma. You’ll bike, kayak, and hike, with plenty of pit stops at wineries and restaurants. It’s the perfect trip for people who love the outdoors, or those who want to exercise in a fun way. At least this is one vacation where you won’t gain several pounds from eating too much!

40. Bring Home a Priceless Pot

Why get a cheap knock off when you can invest in one of Beverly Prevost work of art? This talented potter has a studio at the Le Haye Art Center, and her works have graced restaurants and the collections of some of California’s most avid art collectors.

41. Chocoholics Paradise

Some wine tasting tours also have chocolate tasting rooms, like the Jack London Village. The premium chocolates are made with extra quality milk to yield delicious dark chocolates. You may even get a free chocolate treat!

42. Reach Out and Touch the Stars

That’s how close heaven feels like when you look at the sky through the Robert Ferguson Observatory. Great for those who have interest in Astronomy. However, check their calendar for days of public viewings. The observatory is located at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

43. Visit Train Town

Kids will love it and adults too! This miniature rail road runs over 10 acres with over a mile of track. There are 3 antique cabooses that date back to the thirties, as well as steam and diesel engines. These are all made according to scale. Visitors can also go by the petting zoo or join the amusement rides. Train Town is found on Broadway and is open from Friday to Sunday.

44. Art Meets Technology

Enjoy classic Italian Renaissance combined with state of the art sound and light equipment at the Sebastiani Theatre. Watch special performances while feeling you’ve gone back in time. It’s located at First St. East.

45. Learn to Cook

Sign up at Ramekins Sonoma Valley Culinary School, the region’s best cooking school. You’ll learn everything from basic cooking skills to special courses on ethnic cuisine. You’ll also get strategies on running kitchens-perfect for professionals. The university also gives courses on the seasonal menus of famous chefs.

46. Get “Oil” the Facts

Sonoma may be known for its wine, but it also has a lot of other food industries, such as hand-made olive oils and wine inspired vinegars. Head for the B.R. Cohn Winery Olive Oils to find out how they use traditional methods (perfected to exacting precision) to make some of these gourmet products. It’s located at Glen Allen, along Sonoma Highway.

47. Enjoy California Cuisine

California’s abundant harvests, with fruits and vegetables available year round, has led to organic and healthy cuisine that fuses western and eastern flavors. Take a culinary tour and taste for yourself.

48. Buy a Guitar

Frankly there’s no better place. The Luthiers Gallery makes one of the best guitars handcrafted by the world’s independent craftsmen. You’ll find vintage, used and new guitars as well as accessories like strands, traps, picks, amps and strings.

49. Relax

It’s not a vacation if you’re stressed out while planning it. Sonoma’s studded with several spas that not only use the natural mineral sources but also offer massages, facials, and other beauty treatments. What an amazing way to relax and forget all your worries!

50. Arrange a trip – stress free!

Go to http://www.sonomacountyairport.com to save yourself time and money before you head to the Wine Country. You can also find information on attractions, flight schedules, and other services that will make it easy to plan and book your trip to Sonoma.

Building Self-Esteem in Children – What Role Do You Play?

I have posted an earlier article (7 self esteem boosters for children) which gives an outline of how the parent or the caregiver can help. Now I want to inform you on how to take action on the theory. I’ll walk you though how I do it. You will be able to look over my shoulder and do the same.

These are generally father and son activities, but many of them can work equally well with daughters and mothers participating.

This article will show you how to create and enjoy activities which help in building self esteem in children.

1 – How to plan to spend time with your children

2 – How to choose and plan an activity to do together

3 – Doing the chosen activity together

4 – Joining a community

5 – Letting the children fly

Holidays are perfect for spending time with the children. Often though, you have to plan to make this time. This is your choice. You and you alone are the one who controls your time. Time is not something you can save or bank for a later day. Time is your life, now!

I’m extremely lucky as I work from home. Therefore, I can plan my own time. I sleep for 8 hours, work for 8 hours and that gives me 8 hours to play. I’m able to plan to spend 2 to 3 hours on each day of the holidays on activities aimed at building confidence in children. This is the first step; you must make the choice how much time you will spend with the children on the activity.

So what can you do together? Well that of course depends on the age of the child. It could be sand castle building or vegetable plot creation. Make a list of different things you could do together. See what will attract your children. I find it great fun, to surf the internet together, to seek out activities on your list and see how the children respond. The children love this responsibility and it is a good start in building self esteem in children. If they do not get excited, then never mind, move onto the next activity on your list. I’ve been surprised at what ages the children pick up different activities and let go of others. Our two boys were still playing with their Brio wooden train set long after we had built a WWII battlefield complete with Hornby trains and airfix models.

If you decide upon an activity, where you have an interest or its something you have always wanted to do, then even better.

We’re located close to a beach here in Finland so we decided together to try windsurfing this summer. Our two boys are just beginning their teenage years and are good swimmers.

What resources or support do you need to carry out the activity? For sand castle building you just need to find a couple of buckets and spades, and you are set to go. For vegetable plot creation there will be more materials to obtain: timber, soil, young plants, protective netting etc.

For windsurfing, I needed to check the local beaches and find a windsurfing school who could provide lessons and rent equipment. So again there is planning to do before you can try the activity. Again you can do some internet research together. You will be surprised at how fast they can obtain the required information. Again, this is another activity promoting responsibility and greatly assists in building self esteem in children.

Let the action begin. Remember this is not a competition! The aim of the activity is to promote building self esteem in children. You want them to enjoy the activity. The more they enjoy the activity, the more they will practice. The more they practice the more they will shine. Once they excel then they really start to build high self esteem. You want to encourage them along the way. It is their effort to master the activity which must be praised, not the level they achieve. This is a hugely important point – it is the effort that is praised. This will program them that it is the effort that counts.

If success comes early so be it, but the children will be programmed to keep at it until they succeed. Children truly appreciate it when parents and carers recognise their efforts rather than their results. As my 13 year old son said this week, “I’m really proud of my efforts to succeed at windsurfing. It takes a lot of practice and effort. Football is so easy; you just have to kick a ball!”

So those are the moments I live for. To be present as the children’s self esteem is built block by block. There is an excellent product by Dr Joe Rubino for overcoming negative cellular memory in elevating children’s self esteem.

Quite often activities are undertaken as part of a community. Vegetable plots on a local allotment are extremely social places. Children’s plots can be appreciated by the other allotment members. In our case, the windsurfing school has other surfers on the water who often compliment the boys on how they are progressing.

Compliments from others are powerful in building self esteem in children. Teenagers especially look for acceptance in the wider world. Sometimes, this is a big step to take. We have found that self hypnosis products by Uncommon Knowledge can actually help in overcoming a fear of social occasions. Their products can even be used for dealing with exam stresses.

Let the children fly. If they take to the activity, support them in their efforts. Let them spread their wings. Remember it is the effort you are praising, not the result.

These are the first, essential steps needed to prepare them to leave the nest. The final act for the parent is to allow the children stand on their own two feet. Once they can do this then it is time to kick them out from the family home.

Here, is a list of activities which are all terrific for building self esteem in children.

I hope you can think of some more, especially mother and daughter ones. Better still post your stories and experiences

Self Esteem activities for children:

Toddlers

Reading together

Sand castle building

Pre teens

Vegetable plot creation

Washing up

Preparing a course for a meal – salad

Team games – football, ice hockey etc

Horse riding

Camping out

Fishing

Hornby trains and airfix models

Early teens

Body weight exercises – press ups, sit ups

Golf

Mountain Biking

Wind surfing

Creating and maintaining a blog

Cross country ski ing, skating, snow boarding

Trips to hockey, football and other games

Best regards and be free!

Holidays in Britain – Your Guide

As the credit crunch continues to bite its way through our disposable income, more and more people are making the decision to holiday in Britain. Britain as a holiday destination has not only become, perhaps by default the preferred location for the Brits, but it continues to attract ever increasing numbers of European holidaymakers due mainly to the weak pound.

Holidays in Britain lost there popularity, particularly during the last decade, when it was perceived to be cheaper to go abroad where the British pound gave more buying power. Consequently the Brits in droves flocked to the Spanish costas, Greek Islands and turkey to name but a few destinations. Summer 2009 will inevitably become one of change as people are forced for economic reasons to put aside fears of the unreliable weather and look for ways of enjoying a family holiday in less sunny climes.

Why not take a look at my survival kit,  maximise your fun without going over budget. Plan to start your holiday the moment you lock the front door behind you. With no lengthy check -in queues and stuffy departure lounges to contend with, you are free to relax and enjoy the journey from the offset. Travelling time can be used productively, particularly if you go by public transport.  There are bargains to be found for train and coach journeys you just have to look around:  

National Express Funfares.

Travel to selected destinations for as little as £1 per person, one way. Available on 180 routes to towns, countryside and seaside resorts, the length and breadth of the UK. Subject to availability and only available online.   

Train Operating Companies.    

The groupsave offer allows three or four adults to travel together for the price of two adults. In addition up to four young persons aged between  five and fifteen can travel for as little as a £1 per person single or return. 

Family and Friends Railcard

Costs just £24 and up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel. Saving 1/3 off adult fares and 60% off children’s fares. 

 Advanced Saver Tickets offered by most train operating companies, offer exciting discounts providing you book in advance. Discounted tickets become available from 12 weeks before the date of travel and with Trainline you can sign up for alerts when the discounted ticket prices become available.   Before you buy your rail tickets it is advisable to check out the destination station. If a taxi is required then it may be cost effective and ultimately quicker to get a train to the nearest largest town and pick up a taxi there. Chances are if you are in a location that does not have a taxi service you will have to pay for the journey from the town to where you are and then onward to your final destination.  

Accommodation.

Always check your prospective accommodation on trip advisor to find out how others rate it. This often proves invaluable.    Make your hard earned cash go further by holidaying in Britain this year. Britain 2009 has become the preferred holiday destination for hundreds of thousands of holiday makers. Here at OPH we have devised a general guide to holidays in Britain and we trust this shared experience will not only give you alternative ideas but also prevent you from falling into some of the pitfalls and make your British holiday experience more enjoyable.  

Endorse the British weather.

We all know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least,especially during the summer months. If you plan your holiday around hours of sunshine you may be disappointed. Simply by endorsing the British weather and planning your holiday around weather defying activities will set you in good stead to have an enjoyable time.  

Do Your Homework Before You Go

Its never been so easy to find out about your holiday location. Look on the internet or contact tourist information for events and activities, particularly freebies and those held indoors. Take time out to discuss which events you would like to attend. This way you’ve got your party onboard from the outset  

All Weather Attire

Sunglasses and swimwear are all well and good but remember to pack wellies and a rainmac. Chances are if you have to start buying such clothing from the local gift shops you will have to pay well over the odds. It can actually be fun jumping into puddles and walking in the rain when you are dressed for the occasion. It surely beats huddling in shop doorways and moaning about the weather.  

Accommodation

Choose accommodation wisely. Cheap b&b’s are all well and good but not if you feel obliged to leave the property immediately after breakfast and not return until the evening. Communal rooms such as TV room, games room and lounge are a must particularly if you are travelling with children. Hotels are usually less restrictive and may therefore afford better value for money in terms of having more facilities onsite. Check out Trip Advisor before you book, that way you can learn form other peoples mistakes without risking your hard earned cash. Hotel websites are after all meant to be enticing.  

Travelodge offers cheap rooms for as little as £9 for basic, clean accommodation. Up to 3 adults can share or two adults and two children. Many are in town locations so if you are using public transport it,s not a problem and you needn’t be far from the action.

Fabulous Penis Sensations – How Acetyl L Carnitine Boosts Sensitivity

If 100 men were polled about their sex lives and asked what would make it better, it’s not too hard to imagine what types of things would be on that list. Most men desire to have a bigger penis, last longer in bed, be ready for back-to-back romps in the hay, and achieve mind-blowing orgasms for themselves – and hopefully their partners – each and every time they slip between the sheets. Ironically, much of that can be achieved by the average man if he simply spends a little more time caring for his penis and maybe a little less time simply wishing for a better sex life. Sadly, however, unless Santa Claus has begun fulfilling some rather adult wishes these days, the size of one’s penis is not going to be drastically changed – without the aid of a seriously expensive and painful surgery! Luckily, a man can still experience fantastic penis sensations with the equipment he was born with, so long as he takes care of it and maintains a healthy penis throughout adulthood.

Why Penis Sensation is Key

Most men rarely take the time to really stop and think about the functioning of their penis. As long as it comes to attention in a reasonable amount of time and gets the job done, the penis is fulfilling its primary sexual duties. However, if a man takes pause, and even does some casual exploration of his penis, he may realize it does not have the same sensitivity level it once did. A man reflecting back to early sexual experiences may remember a day when the slightest touch could drive him wild, or even the delicate brush of a feather could nearly send him over the edge. Whereas today, it may take rough stimulation or a 5-minute blowjob for him to become hard enough to actually have sex. Now, while it is true that few men long for the days of middle school when walking briskly in a pair of corduroy pants could inspire an embarrassing erection, no guy wants to waste time coaxing his penis to come out and play when the time is right. Now, what’s the main factor that determines if a guy’s manhood snaps to attention in an instant or slowly slouches its way up to standing? Sensation. Simply put, the less sensitive a guy’s penis is, the longer it takes – if ever – to achieve erection and vice versa.

What causes loss of penis sensation?

Most men are none too gentle with their member; years of vigorous masturbation and sexual activity gradually causes desensitization from the harsh friction. In fact, even non-sexual activity can add insult to injury and reduce sensitivity to the area. Friction from blue jeans, drying soaps, and even chemicals in laundry detergents can all damage the delicate skin of the penis, making it less sensitive to touch. Imagine the skin on the fingertips and how it becomes calloused, thickened and tough through repetitive labor. A finger with a callous perceives fewer sensations than one without the thick skin, which is essentially what happens to the penis over time, but to a lesser degree.

Can anything prevent loss of sensation in the penis?

Acetyl L Carnitine – or ALCAR for short – has been found to have penis health benefits in terms of penile sensitivity. ALCAR works on the penis by repairing and renewing damaged nerve cells while also helping the body grow new, healthy nerve cells. New, healthy nerve cells, in turn, lead to an increased sensitivity of the penis itself. ALCAR not only helps to heal old damage to the nerve cells; it also protects future damage through its neuroprotective properties. Applying a penis vitamin cream that contains ALCAR (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) is the perfect way to ensure the penis gains all the benefits of this powerful ingredient. Daily application can repair old nerve damage, while preventing future damage and loss of sensation.

Fitness Video Games Compare Well With Traditional Exercise

Although I was initially opposed to the idea, my wife recently decided to buy a Nintendo Wii game system for our 9 year-old daughter and 6 year-old son. Like many school-age children, our two kids already seem to have more sports classes, academic classes outside of school, and play dates than they have time to attend. (Oh, and let’s not forget about the daily deluge of homework that they bring home each evening from school!) Having been overruled by my wife, however, I resigned myself to yet another distraction (centered around the television) for our children to deal with each day.

Soon after setting up the Wii gaming system in our home, our two children were happily immersed in playing various fantasy games with each other, leaping around our living room while clutching the wireless remotes, screaming and laughing the whole time. Every now and then, despite my feigned lack of interest in their new gaming toy, I would also find myself drawn into a vigorous game of Wii bowling or Wii table tennis. While playing these and other Wii games with our hyperkinetic 9 year-old daughter, I actually found myself working up a bit of a sweat in the process! Soon thereafter, we purchased some additional “Wii Fitness” games, as well, including a “step pad” that allows players to perform stepping exercises with a group of imaginary fellow steppers. And so I watched, with some amusement, as our rambunctious 9 year-old daughter briskly hopped up and down from the step pad along with her imaginary stepping friends, clapping her hands and flailing her arms about in the process.

While I still have some reservation about having a video gaming system in our home, I was impressed that our exercise-adverse kids had found an entertaining way to burn off some extra calories using Wii fitness games. This week’s health research review column is, therefore, focused on the potential health benefits that may be associated with fitness-related video games (“exergames”), including the Nintendo Wii system that we have in our living room.

A newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, sought to actually measure the amount of calories burned while playing video-based “exergames.” In this study, 39 boys and girls (average age was 12 years) were asked to participate in several different fitness-related video games. These games included Dance Dance Revolution, Light Space Bug Invasion, Nintendo Wii Boxing, Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, Sportwall, and Xavix J-Mat. These children were also asked to walk on a treadmill set at a 3 mile-per-hour (mph) pace. Using standardized metabolic measuring equipment, the energy expenditure associated with these physical activities was measured in “metabolic equivalent task values” (or “mets”).

At a time when obesity is rampant among both adults and children, the findings of this new study have further decreased my reservations regarding the Nintendo Wii gaming system that now resides in our living room. First of all, the six different measured activities all significantly raised these children’s energy expenditures above resting levels. Walking at a moderately brisk 3 mph on a treadmill resulted in an average energy expenditure of 4.9 mets. In comparison, while playing Wii Boxing, these kids reached an average of 4.2 mets. The energy expenditure of the remaining four “exergames” was even more impressive: 5.4 mets for Dance Dance Revolution, 5.9 mets for Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, 6.4 mets for Light Space Bug Invasion, 7.0 mets for Xavix J-Mat, and 7.1 mets for Sportwall.

The findings of this study are very impressive. Just to place the measured energy expenditures noted with the six activities assessed in this clinical research study into perspective, moderate physical activity, which includes activities such as walking at a brisk pace, swimming, and moderate-paced bicycle riding is associated with an average energy expenditure of 3 to 6 mets. Vigorous physical activity, which includes such activities as jogging, mountain climbing, singles tennis, or riding a bicycle uphill, involves an energy expenditure of more than 6 mets. All five of these “exergames” were associated with an energy expenditure level of at least “moderate physical activity,” while three of these gaming systems were actually associated with “vigorous physical activity” levels more commonly associated with intense levels of aerobic exercise.

As we struggle with the rising incidence of obesity among an increasingly sedentary generation of boys and girls in the United States, and in many other countries around the world, the use of “exergames,” such as those that were evaluated in this clinical research study, may offer our children an opportunity to combine the video gaming that so many of them love to play with levels of exercise that were formerly associated with the high-intensity sports that are, increasingly, being eliminated from school-based and after-school physical fitness programs. The findings of this important study strongly suggest that it is possible to combine video-gaming with significant levels of exercise, and in a format that many children will find entertaining and fun to engage in. So, in the end, my wife’s decision to purchase the Nintendo Wii system may not have been such a bad idea after all… 

For a complete evidence-based discussion about exercise as part of an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.” For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

Easy Family Travel in Great Britain – Great For Grandchildren

Anyone who has traveled in the USA with children knows how hard it can be to research the area, plan interesting activities for the kids, and at the same time, relax and enjoy your vacation, too. But when you plan your family vacation with a travel professional to plan your overseas trip, it can be worry-free.

Traveling with a family requires a different type of vacation, and traveling overseas has its own challenges – passports, time changes, disrupted sleep schedules and more. England, and all of Great Britain come to mind as stress-free family vacation destinations.

Are you or your children history buffs, Harry Potter fans, or just interested in travel? We arrange everything for your family travel packages to England, Scotland and Wales, so there is nothing for you to do but enjoy yourself.

Here are just some suggestions for your family travel packages to Great Britain:

Rent a cottage or a castle in Britain. When you’d like to be on your own, an a small house on an estate or castle grounds, or in a holiday vacation village of 8-10 identical cottages with other vacationers from around the world. Walk to the local store, cook your own meals for that finicky eater, and have your own home away from home for a week or more.

Self Drive Britain

Relive the history of your father’s father’s father. Visit all the sites they’ve only read about – King Arthur’s England, the fabled land of knights and maidens, Harry Potter and more. Go wherever you please with our open prepaid voucher program, or pre-plan your itinerary. Hotels with   swimming  pools are highlighted for family fun.

Harry Potter Tours

Have your children enjoyed Harry’s adventures? The new Harry Potter film comes out in November 2009. Be there for the buzz. See where the movies were made. All of the attractions are featured in the “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, and “Chamber of Secrets” films including the Hogwarts School.

Self drive tours and guided tours but if you have a group of friends or family (6 or more), we can do an individual escorted tour for you. These trips are created to give children, parents and grandparents an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in a far-off and exciting destination. On these tours, enrollment is limited to family groups. Sightseeing and other special activities are designed with the interests and attention spans of all generations in mind.

Grandparents Travel to London and England.

Do you relish the idea of having your children and their children all together at one time? I got the idea for grandparent travel when I realized just how important a part grandmothers and grandfathers play in so many families. Some are baby-sitters when parents are so busy with their working lives, while others try to keep in touch though from states away, maintaining a unique relationship with their grandchildren. Is your family spread out all over the world, so this can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get everyone together. Many grandparents are struggling with the effects of divorced, separated, second marriage, or single parent families I know the special relationship that exists between grandparents and grandchildren. A family trip to England is the answer, with something to delight every member of the family, from school-age children to grandparents. Plan your own, special itinerary with the help of your travel professional, or choose from well planned, well tested plans. Plan memories that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Scotland Family Vacation – The Clan Escorted Tour

Fun adventures include a castle climb, a visit to a sheep farm, monster-hunting and traditional music. This very special tour for your clan combines enriching experiences in the charming towns of Scotland with some extraordinary accommodations at guest houses, hotels, and inns, and even a romantic castle. Family togetherness is at a premium and no one will complain about being bored.

Small barge cruising on the River Thames

ACTIEF cruises the River Thames. Join Toad, Ratty and Mole from Kenneth Grahame “Wind In the Willows” on this truly magical journey, winding through woodland and open country, passing quintessentially English villages of great beauty en-route. This special family itinerary has been designed to combine the magic of life on the river with exciting family tours and excursions. Available for charters on any departure date. Throughout the week children (and adults too) can also enjoy rowing and fishing from Actief’s dinghy. In addition Actief will run a treasure hunt and scavenger hunt, plus various other fun competition and games throughout the week.

Whatever your family needs, and no matter what their ages or attention spans, England is the perfect place for a family travel adventure.