Now that you know the ins and outs to cast iron cookware, you can start creating your own family heirloom - as well as some great food!

In the days before we had non-stick cookware, we had the next best thing - seasoned cast iron cookware. While non-stick cookware has certainly outdone cast iron cookware in the non-stick category, cast iron pots and pans are still favored by many chefs, including the professionals because of their durability and ability to retain flavor. 

But, if you're not lucky enough to have a hand-me-down from Grandma, you may find yourself confused about how to become a cast iron chef. Have no fear - you can learn to season cast iron cookware with the pros and keep them in great shape for years to come. 

Now that you know the ins and outs to cast iron cookware, you can start creating your own family heirloom - as well as some great food!

Seasoning New Cast Iron Cookware 

The process is actually quite simple. When done correctly, your pans will last a long time and may even become your own hand-me -downs in the future. 
  1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Coat the pan with lard or grease. (Be sure that you do not use vegetable oil or commercial cooking sprays. While they may seem easier, they will not only cause your cookware to be seasoned incorrectly, but they will also leave a sticky film on the outside of the cookware that is impossible to remove.) 
  3. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and allow it to bake for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the pan and pour out any excess grease or lard. 
  5. Put the pan back into the oven and bake for another two hours. 
  6. Repeat as needed 
Many cast iron enthusiasts will swear upon repeating the seasoning process several times before ever using the cookware the first time. Each time you season the cookware, the seasoning bond becomes stronger. Many people will recommend that the first few times the cookware is used it should be used to cook greasy foods (bacon, fatty meats, etc.) to again strengthen the seasoning bond. 

Re-seasoning Cookware 

If you find that you seasoned the pan improperly the first time, or if food starts to stick to the pan after a period of time in use, you may want to re-season the cookware. 

1. Wash the cookware thoroughly with a steel wool pad (doing this while the pan is warm and still safe to touch is best). 
2. Make sure the pan is fully dry (use a towel if needed). 
3. Follow the seasoning steps above to re-season the pan. 

Cleaning Your Cast Iron Cookware 

To make your cookware last the test of time, be sure to take proper care of it. Remember the creed of every enthusiast of cast iron - no soap and no steel wool. Soap and steel wool will cause a breakdown in the seasoning bond and should not be used to clean your cookware on a regular basis. If you're baffled at this moment, have no fear. Cleaning cast iron cookware is a breeze. 

You'll need to rinse your cookware while it is still hot. If food is stuck to it, then scrape the pan or pot as needed. 

That's it! Remember not to store food in your cast iron cookware because it may attach a metallic flavor to the food. In addition, store your pans with the lids off to prevent moisture from accumulating and rusting from occurring. 

Now that you know the ins and outs to cast iron cookware, you can start creating your own family heirloom - as well as some great food!
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These aren't simple words that can be taught to your child by rote

Counter The Effects Of Media Violence On Children - Despite the fact that their own ratings systems found the material appropriate only for adults, the motion picture, music, and video game industries practice "pervasive and aggressive marketing" of violent movies, music, and electronic games to children. - Federal Trade Commission finding regarding child entertainment

The values depicted on TV and movie screens are a far cry from the values you want your children exposed to in their formative years. For example, the average American child will have watched 100,000 acts of televised violence, including 8,000 depictions of murder, by the time he or she finishes the sixth grade. In a typical American home, the TV set is on for over seven hours each day, and the average child spends more time watching that TV than they do in school, or doing any other activity besides sleeping. And, while your children are glued to the tube watching so-called child entertainment, they will see between 1,000 and 2,000 television ads promoting alcohol every year.

These aren't simple words that can be taught to your child by rote

It's difficult to control parental outrage in the midst of that kind of media influence. How do you teach your child the concepts and character traits that translate into better learning habits at school, better behavior at home, and better citizenship in the world? How do you define loyalty to a five-year-old? How to you teach a four-year-old about bravery and respect? And how do you explain love?

These aren't simple words that can be taught to your child by rote. They're complex concepts that your child needs to know, understand, and adopt at an early age if they're to succeed in life.

The key to teaching children sophisticated character traits - such as courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty and love - is character-based education. The heart of character-based education is guiding your children toward TV shows, kid movie, and books that reflect positive values. While you may not be able to give your child the words that explain diversity, you can exert and control parental influence by giving him or her any Winnie the Pooh book, which demonstrates that theme in ways a child can easily understand. Pooh Bear also interprets the concept of family and the value of friendship.

Thomas the Tank Engine teaches lessons about cooperation, sharing, and the value of hard work. Your child may not realize that they're being taught a lesson while reading about or watching Thomas and his friends, but by the end of the book or TV show, they will have learned a complex concept - and been entertained in the process.

For older readers, The Wizard of Oz follows a similar theme. When the Scarecrow complains of his lack of a brain, the Cowardly Lion discusses his lack of bravery, or the Tin Man wishes he had a heart, your child learns what intelligence, bravery, and love are, and why they're so important. Dorothy tirelessly tries to find her way home, and in doing so surrounds herself with new friends who work together to overcome their weaknesses and harness their strengths. Even though your child is engrossed in the story, the concepts of family, courage, cooperation, home, and love are made clear.

When you look at the values presented in the media, it becomes clear that positive character traits are poorly defined for children. What one child learns about bravery and loyalty from watching two bank robbers in a kid movie is much different than what another child learns about bravery and loyalty through reading about or watching Winnie the Pooh helping a friend out of a jam.

As parents, combating the negative influence of media by filtering the content to which our children are exposed - such as looking at a movie rental review - may not be enough. Even if our children are an exception to the national average - over six hours of daily exposure to the media - it's safe to assume that their peers have internalized negative media messages and will influence our children. To counteract negative media and peer influences, we must take charge of our children's character education. That's not easy, given that our active lives and hectic schedules leave little time for reviewing and selecting appropriate reading and viewing material for our children.

Still, you should do what you can to guide your family toward materials that reinforce values that you hold dear. Evaluate the content of each children's book, television show, and movie rental review for positive and negative examples of the following ten traits: self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith. Also, look for negative behavioral influences, such as violence, profanity, nudity, sexual content, scary elements, and the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Then, make your selections according to the messages that each book, television show, or movie sends your children.
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It is most important to note that not all autistic people are the same

Busting the Autism Stereotypes. As with anyone with a physical or mental disorder, autistic people deal with a wide range of reactions from others, from full support to uncaring ignorance. Unfortunately, even those who support autistic family members, co-workers, and friends may not understand autism very well. This leads to stereotypes, which can result in hatred, embarrassment, or other unhappy situations. By becoming educated about autism, you can help others in your community cope with this disorder.

It is most important to note that not all autistic people are the same. Other diseases and disorders have their own sets of rules, but autism is such a complex medical condition, that everyone reacts differently to it. Autistic people are usually rated on a functional scale, with high-functioning people being able to hold jobs and low-functioning people needing 24-hour-a-day care. Symptoms include behavioral challenges, uncontrollable movements, speech and communication difficulties, and emotional inadequacies. Some show all symptoms, while other show few, and still others may have most under control to the point where you cannot tell they have autism at all.

Busting the Autism Stereotypes

Because every person is different, no one thing can be said about autism and be true overall. However, most autistic people have trouble communicating emotions. This does not mean that an autistic person does not feel. He or she simply cannot express this feeling. It also does not mean strong relationship bonds are not possible. On the contrary, many autistic people are happily married and in love. Forming relationships is more difficult for most, but can be accomplished over time.

Many people believe that being autistic coincides with being a genius in some aspect. While it is true that some autistic individuals have extraordinary math, music, and art skills, this number is nowhere near the majority-in fact, relatively few autistic people function outside of the normal range in any skill. This stereotype is perpetuated in the movies and on television, because the story of a talented person fighting disadvantages (such as autism) makes a good plot. However, this is not the norm, so nothing more than the best they can personally do should be expected from an autistic person. However, it is important to note that autism is not a form of mental retardation. Some autistic people are mentally retarded as well, but most are not and should not be treated as such.

In the end, the most important lesson to take away from your studies on autism is one of tolerance. You will probably need to be patient when dealing with autistic people, but by understanding a little more about the disorder, perhaps this will be easier. Learn what you can and spread the knowledge to those you know to help create a more tolerant setting for autistic individuals in your community.
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Some Ways to Stop the Weighting

Controlling your weight and avoiding weight gain as you get older are important ways to prevent a host of weight-related health problems.

Indeed, if you are more than 20 pounds over your ideal weight, you are at greater risk for a rogues’ gallery of potentially deadly conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, endometrial cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, and breast cancer.

What’s more, most people who are overweight tend to avoid exercise, and that avoidance just adds to the toll paid for extra pounds.

If you have a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight, you are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. And, if you already have a medical condition such as high cholesterol, being overweight puts you at higher risk for complications.

Some Ways to Stop the Weighting

The good news is that even modest amounts of weight loss can improve your health significantly. Loss of 10% of body weight can reduce blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglyceride, and high blood sugar levels.

Today, there are many procedures that can contribute and help people loss weight effectively. One of the known procedure in losing weight is through hypnosis.

However, many misconceptions have come up with regards to the application of hypnosis in losing eight. And because it does not involve drugs or any kinds of medications and surgery, many people tend to think that losing weight through hypnosis seems to be one of the safest weight loss program.

To know more about hypnosis and its effects on losing weight, here is a list of some facts that will give you an insight about what it can do to your body weight.

1. Hypnosis can be an imminently risky if not done properly and not utilize by people who are highly trained with the real concept of hypnosis.

Even if many people tend to think that hypnosis will not pose imminent danger to their health, still, it is important to know that the person who will do the procedure is skilled enough and that he or she knows what factors to consider before doing the procedures.

2. Hypnosis alone cannot eliminate excess fat from the body and, therefore, make somebody lose weight.

Most health experts contend that hypnosis should only be a part of a whole assimilated process. It should never be used as the sole weight loss procedure.

Moreover, one session of hypnosis will only have very minimal results on an individual’s weight. When losing weight, hypnosis matched with psychotherapy will be more effective than hypnosis alone. This is because hypnosis is only a state of deeply relaxing the mind, in which one can still be in control of his or her own body.

3. Hypnosis is one way of getting into the subliminal state of a person. When a person is on the “hypnotic stage,” the body is more responsive to suggestibility because of its intensified state of concentration.

However, this does not necessarily mean that through hypnosis, one can already “reprogram” the mind of an individual.

In reality, hypnosis can only run the range from trouble-free relaxation condition to proper initiation managed by a professional hypnotists. Hence, it should not be considered paranormal and magical in its upshots.

Boiled down, people should be more aware that hypnosis is not a sole effective process in losing weight. It is more of a facilitator of various treatment techniques.

Therefore, it should be combined with other weight loss management program to be effective in making people lose excess weight. In this manner, people will be able to lose more weight with a more relaxed and refreshed state of mind.

As they say, a healthy mind is a healthy body.
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Mortgages for people with bad credit

The most important factor that determines whether a person is can procure a loan for himself or not is the fact, whether is past credit history is stable enough or not. All factors depend on his past record of handling credits. A bad credit history implies that his appeal for a loan would be rejected and won’t be met in most of the places. And the worst part is that, if the concerned individual in his past has ever been declared as bankrupt or had a foreclosure, then for sure the borrower would face difficulties when he tries to get a financing for a home mortgage purchase, home equity or second mortgage loan. But the gab that home loans are not available for people with bad credit history is just a baseless myth. Since these loans are available to people with bad credit history too. The way however to find such a kind of loan, however is to be to be persistent in looking out for such kind of loans, because there are home mortgage loans for people with bad credit.

Mortgages for people with bad credit

The basic problems involving, the process of procuring loan arises from the activities of sub-prime lenders. These are those lenders who actually work really hard for fetching loans for the people with bad credit background and low credit score and then the charge absolutely unreasonable price for the job. Borrowers should be careful of borrowing money from sub-prime lenders, as they can charge high interest rates which, comparatively are too high than the market rate. Not only this, but these lenders also charge unreasonable pre-payment penalties. Online articles are posted in websites to inform the borrowers about their existence and caution them.

However, it’s not absolutely impossible to find lenders who give out loans at reasonable rates and agreeable charges, to people who have a bad credit history. All a borrower needs to do is look around and talk to different mortgage brokers, which would prove to be helpful to find a lender, that can get them an approved loan with a reasonable interest rate and fair terms of repayment.

Things that the borrower, should make sure about, are that he makes use of the lowest interest rate and terms possible. Specially a borrower with a bad credit history and bad credit score should make sure that he sends application for loans to a number of different lenders, since it would be sensible for him to make comparison between different mortgage loan quotes, so that he makes sure that he chooses the best one.
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Frugal Menu Planning

Getting Started By Cyndi Roberts Getting started making a plan for a week's worth of meals can surely be a bit daunting at first. It need not be complicated--though a little bit of time spent planning will be well worth it! 

A good way to start is by looking at what you already have on hand -- sort of taking a visual inventory. Next,it's helpful to list on a piece of paper, all the meals for the coming week. 

For example, list all the days, then Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, etc. On this list of meals, write down a main dish and a couple of side dishes that you want to make, keeping in mind what staples are on hand in the cupboard and in the freezer. 

Frugal Menu Planning

Try to come up with as many meals as you can with what you have on hand. Remember to write down some of the extras you think you might like to make during the coming week -- such as cookies, snacks or desserts. Always keep the ads from the local grocery store handy and plan meals around the weekly specials, if possible. 

Don't just think about main dishes; if bananas are on sale, make banana bread for snacks, or lunches, for example. While you are making your menu plan, think about what will be happening in the next week. Is Friday night Football Game Night? Plan to have a supper that is quick to fix. 

Is Wednesday your day off? That is the day you might want to try out a new recipe that takes a little longer to prepare. Whatever your schedule, plan your menus around it. And be flexible! If it snows on Tuesday, and you hadn't planned to make chili until Thursday, you can just switch the menus around. 

Keep your lists, so that in weeks to come, you can be reminded of some meals your family especially liked (or disliked!). After a few weeks, you will end up with a set of weekly menus that you can use over and over. 

With your plan in hand, you won't be tempted to go for takeout because you just can't think of anything to make for supper. And you won't get caught without that "one ingredient" you need to make tonight's supper, so no more last minute trips to the grocery store!
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Are you interested in losing weight?

Weight Loss: Developing Your Own Weight Loss Plan. Are you interested in losing weight? If you are, you may have been told to create your own weight loss plan. 

Weight loss plans, which serve as guides and motivation for many individuals, have been known to help many achieve their weight loss goals. 

Although it is more than possible for you to join a local weight loss program or an online weight loss program and have a weight loss plan given to you, many take comfort in creating their own, customizable weight loss plans. 

If this is your first time attempting to create a weight loss plan for yourself, you may be unsure as to how you should proceed. 

Are you interested in losing weight?

If that is the case, you will want to continue reading on. Below, a few of the many components of a weight loss plan are outlined for your convenience. 

Perhaps, the most important component of a weight loss plan is that of healthy eating. Healthy eating is a vital component of losing weight. 

When it comes to healthy eating, you don’t necessarily need to cut junk foods, like chocolate, completely out of your diet, yet you should limit your intake. 

If you find that you have a problem cutting junk food or sweets from your diet, you may want to create an eating schedule for yourself. 

That eating schedule could include days or meals where you allow yourself to have a treat. In a way, you can consider that time as a reward for doing so well. 

In addition to making a generalized schedule for yourself, you may also want to create a more detailed eating schedule. 

To get started, you may want to research healthy recipes online or buy a healthy eating cookbook. 

Once you have a collection of healthy foods to make, you can better plan out all of your meals. 

To help prevent you from becoming bored with eating the same foods over and over again, you may want to experiment with different healthy foods and healthy recipes. 

The best way to keep yourself focused and on task is to “spice,” up your weight loss plan as much as possible. Aside from eating healthy, another important component of losing weight is regular exercise. 

That is why your weight loss plan should include exercise. 

Similar to the healthy eating schedule outlined above, you may want to create an exercise schedule for yourself. 

When incorporating exercise into your workout plan, you have a number of different options. For instance, you can get a membership at one of your local gyms, buy workout DVDs to use at home, buy other exercise equipment, like a treadmill or a stair climber, or exercise for free with walking. 

If you do decide to create your own exercise plan, there is something that you may be missing out on. 

Should you join an online weight loss program or a local weight loss program, you would likely be a part of a larger group; a group that offers support to each other. 

When creating your own weight loss plan, you may not necessarily have that same support. 

For that reason, you may want to think about seeing if you have any friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers who would like to exercise with you. 

Having a workout partner may help give you the support that you need, as well as serve as a little bit of motivation for you. 

When creating a weight loss plan for you, you are advised to put your plan in writing. You may even want to turn to your computer, as many computers have nice template programs that you can use to make easy to read schedules or charts. 

Having your weight loss plan in writing, namely the exercises that you wish to do and the foods that you wish to eat and when, may help to motivate you with losing weight. 

What you may want to do is post your schedules in a well-seen spot, like on your refrigerator. 

In short, weight loss plans serve as guides, as well as motivation. 

The above mentioned points are ones that you should keep in mind, when making a weight loss plan for yourself.
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Strawberry Banana Milkshake

There’s nothing more delicious and nutritious than strawberries and bananas together. Now you can have these two delicious fruits in a scrumptious milkshake. Strawberry Banana Milkshake is a great drink to have any time of day. 

Bananas and strawberries are good for you and go perfectly with milk. You’re probably used to having them on your cereal, but now you can see how delicious they are in a tall, frosty glass filled with this wonderful milkshake. Enjoy. 

Strawberry Banana Milkshake

Strawberry Banana Milkshake 
  • 2 bananas 
  • 10 oz. box frozen strawberries, partially thawed 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 2 pints strawberry ice cream 

Slice the bananas. Combine bananas, strawberries, milk and 1 pint of the ice cream in blender, in batches. 

Blend until smooth. Top each with scoop of remaining ice cream.
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How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

Autistic children and adults often seek pressure in a variety of ways to calm themselves and cope with sensory overload. Oftentimes, hugs and squeezes from other people can cause more distress because autistic children or adults are often unable to communicate their needs by indicating a particular amount or length of pressure. This is both frustrating and ineffective for both the autistic person and whoever is hugging or squeezing them.

The hug machine was created to help relive this frustration, putting autistic individuals in control of their situation. Both children and adults who suffer from autism sometimes crave pressure to help calm anxiety. Because of this, one woman with autism developed the hug machine, also known as a hug box or a squeeze machine. The hug machine has two padded sideboards connected near the bottom of the boards to form a V-shape. A lever helps push the sideboards together to create pressure; the lever also allows the autistic child or adult the ability to control the amount and length of pressure.

How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

Studies are still being conducted to find out why those with autism respond to pressure and how it can produce a calming effect. The hug machine may affect the heightened sensory perceptions of those with autism who often feels disruptive or distressing behavior. By applying pressure, perhaps the autistic child or adult moves his or her focus to a single feeling-the pressure-which in turn produces a calming effect. For many autistic children and adults, anxiety can be completely incapacitating. Not being able to function with the anxiety is frustrating, and so appropriate social behavior is even more difficult. Sometimes, the only release from such anxiety is through pressure. To this day, the hug machine is used by several programs and researchers studying autism as well as therapy programs.

Remember that hugging or squeezing an autistic child may not help him or her. You may, in fact, increase their senses and cause more anxiety. Though you may not be able to purchase a hug machine, you may be able to create a similar object. Try wrapping the autistic child or adult in a blanket, where they can control how much pressure to apply. You can also look into buying padded boards that more closely simulate the hug machine's side-boards and perhaps tie or tape some heavy-duty yarn to each side to allow the autistic child or adult control over how much pressure to apply and for how long. Contact your child's school to see if there has been any interest in purchasing a community hug-machine. This may not be a cure to all your child's problems, but it works well to help many autistic individuals cope with the world.
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Banana Chocolate Milkshake

Got any ripe bananas sitting around the house? Great. Then instead of letting them get too ripe to eat, make yourself a nice, cold delicious banana chocolate milkshake. It’s fun and easy to do. 

All you do is slice up the banana and add it to some cocoa chocolate and milk and you’ve got yourself a nice afternoon snack. This milkshake will also give you a real boost of energy too. Now you know you’ll never have to waste another banana again. 

Banana Chocolate Milkshake

Banana Chocolate Milkshake 
  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 medium ripe banana, sliced 
  • 8 large ice cubes 

In blender container pour milk. Add cocoa. Cover, blend on low speed until well mixed. Add sugar, vanilla and banana. Cover, blend until smooth. 

Add ice cubes, one at a time, blending until thick.
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