Supporting Your Teenager's Band

Supporting Your Teenager’s Band

As a parent, you always want your child to know that you have his or her back and that you support their hopes and dreams. Sometimes it’s easy to support your child’s interests; other times, it feels downright impossible. If your teenager decides to start up a garage band with their friends, you may be feeling a little of both. You want to support your teenager’s creativity, and you know that they are at a developmental age where doing things with their friends trumps doing things alone or with the family. However, supporting a garage band can be difficult, especially if they play loud music, music you don’t appreciate, or—unfortunately—if they’re not very good.

If Their Loud Music Intrudes on Family Time

If your teenager’s band wants to practice in your garage or your basement or your teenager’s bedroom, it can be easy to become frustrated with the loud noises, especially if it intrudes on the rest of your family’s ability to enjoy each other’s company and concentrate on other pursuits. You don’t want to discourage your teenager, and there’s a part of you that feels blessed that they are choosing your home over other possible locations to practice, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t support them while also setting healthy boundaries for your family.

Discuss your concerns with your teenager. Explain that you support their band and that you want to provide them a practice space, but mention that you also have the rest of the family to consider and that sometimes their band’s practice gets in the way of the rest of the family’s ability to get things done. Then, come to an agreement. Maybe you set certain days of the week, or certain times of day, when it’s okay for them to practice—and other days where they need to either take time off or find a different venue.

If You Don’t Appreciate Their Music

It’s possible to support your teenager’s desire to play music—and even to acknowledge that, technically, they’re not bad at what they do—while still not liking the music they play. Unfortunately, when they look at you with eager eyes and say, “What’d you think?”, you can find yourself in a tough position.

Teenagers are old enough to tell if you’re not being honest with them, but they’re also old enough to understand nuance. You can be honest with them. Tell them, “I think you did a great job, and I can tell you practiced hard. It’s not my kind of music, but I can appreciate the work you put in and I bet your audience loved it.”

If They Aren’t Very Good

Remember back when your teenager was four or five years old and would present you with a drawing to hang on the fridge? They weren’t exactly Picasso, but you were proud of them because they were making a solid effort to learn a new skill and because they were excited. If your child is in a garage band and isn’t very good, channel that same parenting skill from back when they were five and support them anyway.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to lie to them to be supportive of their band, but you don’t have to be rude, either. Offer to pay for lessons for them so that they can improve their skills. After all, music is a worthwhile thing for them to be spending their time on, which makes it a good investment for you as well. You can also help them get better equipment. Sometimes, our teenagers don’t sound good because they’re playing on the wrong equipment, and the right equipment can make all the difference in the world. For example, singing on a poor-quality microphone can ruin even a great singer’s voice. If you suspect that might be part of their problem, help them find a better microphone by going to http://microphonegeeks.com/pro/live-microphone/.

Always Support Them

And if they say that music is what they want to do with their life, you can tell them that you support them—but also mention that it’s important, when pursuing artistic careers, to always have a back-up plan to pay the bills until they make it.


How to Enjoy Your Wine Party

One of the best ways to get the best taste of wine is to taste an array of wines along each other. This situation gives you a perspective that is hard to achieve if you only taste one wine at a time. When was the last time you opened various bottles at the same time?

The only solution is to get a few quality bottles and invite your friends to the party. Hosting a wine tasting party is one of the best ways to get some friends together and have fun as you drink the night away.

So, what can you do to enjoy your wine?

Choose a Theme

Come up with a theme for the day. You can go for a theme depending on the variety of wines. Compare different varieties to make sure you enjoy the wine.

You can also decide to go with a specific dollar amount. It is usually a great idea to pick a few bottles that are at a great price.

You can also choose a style to act as the theme. For instance, go for dry wines or dessert wines for the arty.

If you can opt for vintage wines though this might be a bit expensive for you.

If you feel adventurous, then go for blind tasking where you pour the wines into pitchers or decanters, and then serve them in glasses without the need to identify them.

Finally, you can go to a random party whereby everyone comes with a bottle of wine.

Keep It Small

Having a huge party can drain your resources and makes the whole party loses meaning. A small intimate group encourages you to talk and have a fruitful conversation. It is also easy to pour out single bottles into small portions as compared to large portions. If you exceed the guest counts, you have to consider having duplicates of the same wine so that everyone can have a sip.

From experience, it has been found that some guests will want to taste the wine to get their bearing. If you are the one buying the wine, then count a single bottle for everyone at the party, which can be expensive in the long run.

You need to start small and pour small shots for each guest. For those that don’t want to get tipsy, provide spit buckets for them.

Have the Necessary Supplies

You need to have all the supplies you need so that you end up with the best party ever. Have glassware, allotting each person a wine glass. However, if you have enough of the glassware, then have two glasses for each guest for better tasking and for comparing the wine at the same time.

You also need to have palate cleansers, which can be simple bread or crackers to prepare for the next taste.

You also need some stationery for the guests to take wine notes or print out the tasting grid. You also need a wine opener, which come in various types as seen on Pop a Cork.

Add Some Food

If you are a bit adventurous, you can add some food to the party. However, choose food that doesn’t interact with the wines. Make sure you tell the guests about the kind of foods that you will be serving so they don’t come expecting different types of food.

Set Up Space

You need to set up space with the right furniture so that you have everyone seated at their right places. Tell the guests not to wear perfume that might compete with the wine’s aromas. You also need to avoid decorating with aromatic flowers or scented candles for the same reason.

Serve Wine Correctly

Depending upon the party that you are hosting, you need to come up with a serving order for the wines. You need to come up with a certain order so that you get the right reaction. Try serving them at different temperatures, starting from the lowest to the highest.

You can get a few friends to help you with the serving to make it easy for you.

The Bottom-line

Hosting a wine tasting party is a great way to host your friends to a wine tasting party that will be both fun and exciting. Take time to have all the items you need for the day and keep your guests low.


Four Recommended Aquarium Items

Four Recommended Aquarium Items

Whether you’re still living at home, moving into a dorm at College or buying your first home, it’s always hard when it comes to deciding what pets you’re going to have. If you’re still living at home, then it’s mostly up to your parents. If you’re in a dorm, then it’s mostly up to your roommate. If you’re buying your first home, then it’s entirely up to you, or if you have a partner, they might want a small say in it. If you live in a city, it can be hard thinking about the logistics of having a dog, or the thought of watching a cat run across the road five times a day and almost get killed. Why not get a fish? Fish are low maintenance and easy to take care of. But before you even think about a breed, let’s look at four recommended aquarium items to go with your new pet.

The Tank

In the world of fish and aquariums, it is a well-known fact that the only item on the list of things to get for the fish that you need is the tank. A fish can survive, prosper and have a long and happy life with just a tank with nothing else in it, so if you’re a minimalist who doesn’t like the thought of it being overcrowded in there, you can stop at the tank. This does mean, however, that you’ll be spending more time cleaning it out – if you don’t invest in a water filtration system then you’ll be doing a lot of the hands-on labor, so you have to decide if that’s the kind of pet owner you want to be. Otherwise, for pet owners on a budget, a tank filled with water is a lovely fish home.

Sump or Filter

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can invest your money in if you’re thinking of committing to fish ownership for the long haul. A Sump, or a filter, is a little box that is placed in the tank either in one of the corners or up near the surface that filters out any nasty undesirables from the water. This is especially important if you’re somebody who is going to be too busy to change the water on a regular basis, or runs the risk of forgetting. Fish are continually excreting waste, which can build up over time to be fatal to them, so having a system that purifies the water, whether manually or through a sump is highly recommended. Visit Come into the Water and check out why you should invest in getting a sump for your tank – it’ll be better for both of you in the long run.

Cover

A cover for the tank is another “luxury” item that can cost you additional money, which isn’t completely necessary. Your fish will have a high quality of life with or without a cover, but in some situations getting a cover is desirable. This is particularly applicable if you have any other pets that can roam. If you have a curious cat that can’t seem to keep away from the fascinatingly new fish tank, then you’ll probably want to get a cover for it – you never know what your cat might try to do while you’re not at home. Another excellent reason for a cover is to create a space saving shelf where you can store other accessories like food and nets – it keeps it all in one place without you having to keep items like this in the kitchen or bathroom drawers.

Lights

The fish has not a care in the world, which means it certainly doesn’t mind whether it’s light or dark in the aquarium. However, based on where the tank is placed in your house and what you’re hoping to get out of it, you might want to spend the extra money to light the tank up every once in a while. It can create a pleasing natural ambiance to the lounge or living room, and it also means that you can still admire your sea pets even when it’s nighttime. Putting lights in the tank is entirely optional, and fish certainly don’t need them to survive – but aesthetically it can be quite a cool look to have them illuminated.

Last words

Choosing a fish as a first pet is a safe, fun way to go. It’s the perfect test to see if you’re capable of owning and being in charge of a pet, but not too high maintenance that you quickly find yourself out of your depth. Plus, you can get as simple or as complicated as you want with it, buying all kinds of different accessories or just sticking with the trusty old tank you purchased when you adopted the fish.


What to Look for When Choosing The Best Snare Drum For Your Needs

Drummers are no exception when it comes to choosing the right playing instrument to suit their playing styles. Besides, each drummer has to create his unique drumming style to appeal to a particular audience. One of the top ways to do this is to get the right drum set. Choosing the right drum set is akin to picking the best shoe to match an outfit.

One of the best components of any drum set is snare drums. These drums create a dominant sound that should be used more than other components. Incorporating snare drums in your ensemble adds a clear, audible and legible sound that will help you create the rhythm and assist in counting. The best thing about these drums is you can use them to play any music genre. It is vital therefore that you make sure you choose the best quality snare drums that compliment your playing style.

Before you pick your drum set, make sure you compare the various sets and identify the benefits of each. Check out this comparison if you want to find a good snare drum for your purposes. Let us look at the features to look out for when buying these drums.

Materials The Snare Drums are Made Out of

These drums are made of different types of materials, both natural and artificial. Considering the material is important because it defines the sound quality regarding tones and pitch.

You can choose a shell made of natural wood, such as maple, bamboo or birch. Drums made of these materials produce a smooth yet loud sound and a tone laden with flavor. Drums made of metal shells, on the other hand, produce loud sound but the tone is high-pitched.

Choosing the right material will also depend on your level of expertise. If you are a beginner or an intermediate drummer, go for snare drums made out of metal shells.

With the material being so important, drum manufacturers have taken the idea a notch higher by coming up with shells made of other materials such as titanium.

The Dimensions of The drums in the Set

Both wooden and metallic shells have different applications when it comes to the genre. Therefore, choosing the material is not everything – you have to consider the dimension of the individual drums as well. The most common sizes for these drums are 5 – 6 inches in depth and 10-15 inches in width.

You need to know that different music genres also require different materials and dimensions. For instance, if you are a rock and roll drummer, you will most likely pick snare drums made out of metal shells measuring 14 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep. If you prefer jazz, go for a set that uses wooden shells to produce a sound that is smooth and not too loud. Therefore, make sure you go for materials and dimensions that produce a sound that will stand out for each performance.

The depth

The depth of the snare drum refers to the height of the drum when it is placed with the snare-side facing down. The diameter is vital since it influences the pitch of the snare drum. The deeper the drum, the lower the pitch.

The best attribute that the depth of this snare drum influences is the projection of the sound, also termed the power of the drum. The deeper the drum, the more power to expect from it. This means that a drum with a deeper diameter will project the sound over a wider area as compared to a drum with a shallow depth. You will be able to hear the sound from a deeper drum when you are seated at the back of the room, while it might be hard to hear the sound from a shallow drum when you are at the same point.

The depth of the snare drum ranges from 3 inches upwards. Long-term use of these drums has made drummers to give the drums unique names according to the depth. A snare drum with a depth of between 3 inches and 4.5 inches is termed a “Piccolo”; a drum with a depth of between 5 inches and 5.5 inches is termed “Standard,” while a drum with a depth of 6 inches and more is termed the “Deep.”

It is upon you to choose the diameter to match the depth you need depending on the genre you play and your audience. Choose wisely, because your main aim is to make an impression with your audience and master a specific snare drum. You can also have a set of these drums so that you choose what you need depending on the situation at hand.

Let The Drums Roll!

Snare drums are some of the most important instruments that any drummer can use, which makes it vital that you choose yours carefully. You should never be in a hurry when making the perfect choice, take time to look around. Consider vital factors such as the dimension of the drum, its depth, and the material it is made out of.


16 Simple Smoothie Hacks to Try at Home

There is nothing as refreshing and delicious as an ice-cold smoothie after a testing workout or for breakfast. However, sometimes it can be quite tricky to make one thanks to weird consistency, missing ingredients, and annoying clean up. However, there are many tricks that can help make your smoothie making routine more seamless. Check out these 16 smoothie hacks so you can easily whip up that tasty, nutritious drink at home.

Pick your liquid first

If you want a low-calorie smoothie, use purified or tap water as the liquid base. Alternatively, you can try green tea, fresh fruit juice from a juicer, or coconut water. If you prefer a thick, creamie smoothie, choose milk, be it regular, soy or almond.

If in doubt, go frozen

Freeze as many ingredients as possible so you can get the smoothest final drink possible or better still; add frozen fruits and veggies to give your drink a healthy boost without extra work necessary.

Add liquid gradually

When adding liquid to your smoothie, begin slowly. A nice starting point is to add half a cup of liquid for each serving. Adding too much liquid too quickly could make the smoothie watery and it’ll be difficult to thicken it back up.

Prepare portions

Gather enough smoothie ingredients and freeze all of them together in a plastic baggie or muffin tin. This will decrease the time required for preparation, increasing the possibility that you’ll opt for a healthy smoothie instead of an unhealthy snack.

Thickening hack

If you’ve added too much liquid base and want to make your smoothie thicker, try avocado, yogurt, chia seeds, oatmeal, or extra banana.

Healthy ways to sweeten

If you want your smoothie sweeter, try adding a very ripe banana (frozen or sliced), honey, stevia, agave or maple syrup.

Nut butter is better

Try to add some nut butter, such as almond butter or peanut butter to make the smoothie creamier.

Flair and flavor

If you’re looking to spice up your smoothie a little bit, try ginger, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or vanilla extract for a flavor-filled punch.

Go green

If you don’t like vegetables, this one is for you. Put some kale, broccoli or spinach in the blender if it’s difficult to have greens included in your diet. Choose the right recipe of green smoothie and sweeten it with apple, fruit juice or honey.

Protect the protein

Blending protein powder too much may diminish the impact. To add some protein to the smoothie, wait until the last moment after you’ve blended all the other ingredients.

Gain some grains

For a healthy way to begin your day, add a few spoons of cooked oatmeal or some rolled oats to your mixture. You should grind the oats in your blender in advance so you get a powder that doesn’t overshadow your smoothie’s texture.

Add ice last

If you intend to add some ice to your drink, make sure to do it last, after blending all the other ingredients. Don’t add it alongside other ingredients as it’ll make the smoothie watery rather than cold.

Use the right vessel

Find a glass or jar with a large opening. There are specially made smoothie jars, but you can also use portable mason jars. If you want to drink from a straw, ensure it’s wide enough and make sure to buy a straw brush to help you easily clean afterwards. If you’re not packing your smoothie to go out with it, freeze it for a refreshing beverage.

Protect your blades

While adding your ingredients randomly is not directly related to doing it wrongly, adding them in the right order can make the process more seamless and increase the life of your blender. Start with yogurt or liquid, then soft fruits, veggies, and ice last or on top. This lubricates the blades of the blender so they easily grind the tougher stuff. Use a blender that’s powerful, easy to use and easy to clean.

 Start slow

No need to pull out all the stops from the beginning. Start at the lowest speed of blender, and then gradually increase the speed whenever necessary. You’ll put less wear and tear on your blender’s blades or motor.

Save and keep away bananas

Got ripe bananas that you aren’t ready to munch just yet? Save them for future use by keeping them in your freezer. Be sure to peel and cut them into small pieces though, so it’s easier to toss them in your blender. You can also pair frozen slices of banana with almond butter, peanut butter or Nutella for a healthy desert.


Options and ideas for self defense

Self-defense is one of the most emotive topics you can bring up in a discussion. Pretty much everyone has an opinion on what should and shouldn’t be allowed, which method or tools are better than others and under which circumstances etc. For this article we’ll assume that you’re familiar with the laws in your particular jurisdiction regarding what you can and can’t do – in some areas, openly carrying an assault rifle won’t bat an eyelid whereas in others, you need a license to practice certain martial arts and the only people carrying guns are the criminals.

Even if you do live in a jurisdiction in which you can carry an AR-15 openly as you walk down the street, you’ll likely find it to be impractical and cumbersome to take with you everywhere. While it might be an ideal weapon to have in the event of a terrorist attack or a zombie swarm, it could actually increase your chances of becoming a victim of crime. As your hands are occupied with the weapon, your focus is distracted from the rest of your person, meaning that you could easily be pickpocketed. Even more seriously, as the AR-15 is not suited to close quarters combat, you would be at a disadvantage if you were jumped, especially by more than one assailant. In such an event, you could very well have your own weapon turned against you.

Weapons such as semi-auto rifles are suitable for patrols in no-go areas, preferably as part of a unit and not alone. They are also suitable when out hiking in the event of surprising a grizzly bear. Hopefully you would not have to shoot the bear, but if you did, such a weapon would get the job done much more easily than, say a .22 pistol. A single shot at close range from a large handgun, such as the .500 S&W Magnum would also do the trick.

In most built-up areas, your best bet for stopping an attack is to carry a pistol. Concealed carry can be more dangerous than openly carrying. A would-be attacker might be put off by seeing your gun on your hip. But if the attacker cannot tell that you are armed, you may be forced to draw and shoot, at which point any number of things can happen. Don’t draw your weapon to make a threat – if you have to grab it, be prepared to use it. Not doing so, or drawing an unloaded gun puts your life at serious risk.

Aside from firearms, tasers, pepper spray and pepper guns are good alternatives for stopping an attacker without killing them. Tasers are cumbersome and difficult to use and should probably be left to law enforcement officers who need to make an arrest. Pepper guns work best at a range of 15 to 20 feet. It can be extremely difficult to get a good shot at a pursuer, so you may need to switch to the spray, which is designed for use close up. Spray directly into the eyes, nose and mouth and step to the side, maintaining your aim as you do so. This should stop most attackers, but if you continue to be attacked, fight aggressively, attacking the eyes, neck, groin and other sensitive areas until you can get free and run.

Traditional martial arts are of limited use in street attacks. It’s difficult to practice street fighting without actually doing it for real, but be aware that there are no rules – your attacker will use bottles, knives, rocks and fight dirty. So should you. If you are knocked to the floor, try to get up immediately.

If you are attacked, make as much noise as possible to draw attention and hopefully intervention on your side. This seems to be a particularly useful tactic for lone women who are pursued by a lone male. Having a rape alarm makes this easier, but remember to shout, too, as rape alarms are sometimes confused for car alarms. They’re not just for women, either.

A military grade flashlight, though slightly cumbersome, can disable an attacker in the dark. The light is so bright that their eyes will automatically close. This will stop the attack and give you’re the chance to get help or make your escape.

Finally, don’t keep your keys at the bottom of your bag. People do get attacked on their doorsteps, as this is a moment when many drop their guard. Have your keys ready as you approach your door. Even having an automatic garage door opener can help you here, just click when you approach the driveway and the door will be open when you get to it. If you have a shotgun in the garage, now is the time to fire off some cartridges.


Socialize Your Parrot

How to Successful Socialize Your Parrot

Just as we humans do, parrots can sometimes suffer from social anxiety. Even for a socially well-adjusted bird, they may experience some nervousness in new situations. To prevent problem behaviors, discomfort, and stress to your bird, it is important to go through some steps in appropriately socializing him. There are several situations that you should be aware of when socializing your parrot. These situations and special circumstance include:

  • children
  • outsiders
  • you, the owner
  • household pets
  • other birds

Introduction to Children

Children can be loud and energetic, which can frighten your parrot. This stresses him unduly, and may even lead him to acting out in fear and biting or scratching. Socializing him to children involves teaching the children as much as teaching him. Caution children to make smooth, quiet movements toward him and to keep their voices down. Never let them play with your bird without your supervision. This will protect both the child and your bird.

Introduction to Outsiders 

Some birds are very sociable by nature and enjoy interacting with outsiders. They will talk to your friends very quickly. Others are more cautions, and many even have a type of social anxiety. You should strive to make them feel comfortable with outsiders, but don’t unduly stress him. Have a friend who is very tolerant and understands birds to be the first to try to befriend him. Only expose your bird for short periods, letting him recoup in between friend attempts.

Once he accepts one outsider, you can introduce him to others, one at a time. Never let anyone tease him, or get loud and aggressive toward him. Teach them how quietly approaching him if they do not already understand nervous birds. 

Developing a Relationship with You, the Owner 

When you first begin your attempt at building a relationship with your bird, remember that you are a stranger to him. You know you have wanted him and love him, but he does not have a clue about who you are. Begin by being very quiet around him, feeding and caring for him gently until he begins to trust you and then to see you as his caretaker and someone he can trust. 

Interaction with Other Pets 

If you have another pet, such as a cat or dog, it is crucial to introduce your bird to him or her. Never, ever, leave them unattended with your bird when he is outside his cage. It is even wise to remain in close proximity when they are in the room even with him in the cage. They may try to jump up or climb up to investigate and hurt your dear bird.

Relating to Other Birds 

If you have other birds in the home, or will be taking your bird around other birds, such as at shows, it is important to get him acclimated to being around other birds. It is best to do this by starting him out with just one other bird. Choose a quiet, non-aggressive bird for his first introduction. Be sure the bird is not one that is intimidated and non-assertive. You don’t want your bird to learn to be a bully. At the same time, you don’t want him bullied.  Watch carefully as they interact with each other.

Once he is accustomed to a single bird at a time, introduce him to being around a couple of birds at one time. Gradual introduce additional birds until he is comfortable with however many birds he might have to tolerate.

If you don’t plan to have him around several birds at one time, you won’t need to do the last step. However, it is important that he tolerate other birds for such things as vacations, vets visits, and visits from friends who have a bird. 

Social Teaching 

Socialization is merely a matter of teaching. In the wild, his parents teach the young parrot, as he stays with the mother for a prolonged period. He gets instruction in taking care of himself, so has a confidence that gives him social prowess. For the young bird hatched and raised in a hatchery, he does not get this teaching. It is up to the humans in his life to give him that teaching.

  • Shared Responsibilities – Both the breeder and the owner are responsible for training the young bird. Training should begin upon hatching and continue throughout the young bird’s early years.
  • Learning Survival Skills – In the wild, the bird learns how to hunt for food, how to manipulate food for survival, such as cracking nuts, etc. The ability to care for itself gives the bird confidence in its ability and helps it develop socially as a viable part of the flock. In captivity, the owner must fulfill that role.
  • Potential for Behavior Problems – Any lack of teaching can cause the bird to develop behavior problems. The owner needs to be aware of this potential and address them as necessary.

I’d like to thank Pets Sensation for their contribution, read more about them here: www.petssensation.com!