Friday, February 29, 2008

Diagnosing Engine Problems

What's Wrong With My Engine?

It's a good idea to know how your car behaves when it's healthy, because if something starts to change, you'll know there's a problem. Your engine exhibits certain symptoms depending on the problem. A trained mechanic has many diagnostic tools at his disposal to pinpoint the noise you're hearing, but here are some common worries:If you're getting bad fuel mileage and your engine is missing a beat, there's probably a dead cylinder. You'll need to find the problem cylinder to find out why it's not firing.Are your spark plugs sparking? Are the tips covered in gunk? While disconnecting spark plug wires, be sure the engine is turned off to minimize risk of shocking.If you have sparks and your tips are clean, you may have a dead fuel injector.An oil test can help determine the problem. A sample of oil sent to a lab can reveal traces of metals in your oil. Aluminum in oil comes from pistons. Bearings and radiators are made of brass or lead. Steel comes from the crankshaft. If the test shows coolant or water, you know there's a leak.A badly tuned engine will use more fuel and money. Pay attention to when your dashboard engine lights come on and what you're doing. For instance, does your "check engine" light come on when you're going uphill, or at certain speeds?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Overheating Advice

An Overheating Overview

Have you ever had this problem with your vehicle?
Your car is starting to run a little hot. You don't want to be stranded by the side of the road with steam coming out of your ears and the hood. What should you do?
I'd say take it to a professional repair shop and let them handle it, but the cost of diagnosis alone could be enough to give you a full head of steam without even opening the radiator. Instead, let's do some under-cover, err, under-hood detective work ourselves and save the $50.00…$60.00…$75.00 an hour most repair shops would charge to run the same tests.
First, either clean the engine yourself or have it done professionally. Too much grease, oil and dirt can hide leaks and keep cooling air from the engine. Inspect the radiator for damage and clean it of bugs and debris. Get a new radiator cap if the rubber gasket on the old one is dried-up, cracked or missing.
Check to make sure it is the correct cap for your make and model. Look into the radiator or the radiator overflow bottle. If the coolant looks rusty, flush the system and fill with 50% plain tap water and 50% ethylene glycol anti-freeze. Inspect all radiator and radiator hoses and replace any with leaks, cracks or soft spots. Also tighten all hose clamps.
Check all engine belts for excessive wear or cracks, especially the V-ribbed serpentine belt which operates many of the engine's hangons. If the belt grooves show excessive cracks or if pieces have actually been "chunked" off, replace them. There you have it. The basic repair shop procedures for finding and repairing most over-heating problems.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fertility Diet

Having trouble with conception? It just may be your diet and weight. There are so many foods and eating habits we take for granted, forgetting they may be an issue when trying to conceive. Having a healthy body is always the first and final step in pregnancy- so why not before conception? Although I think this diet is gold and accurate there happens to be some
plans under way to conduct a randomized, controlled study to test the diet in a more scientifically rigorous manner. In the meantime, achieving a healthy weight is a good first step for any woman planning a pregnancy, 10 ways to enhance fertility“The Fertility Diet,” based on a Harvard study, offers 10 key recommendations to enhance fertility:

Avoid trans fats.
Use more unsaturated vegetable oils, such as olive or canola oil.
Eat more vegetable protein, such as beans and nuts, and less animal protein.
Choose whole-grain sources of carbohydrates instead of highly refined carbs.
Drink a glass of whole milk or have a small dish of ice cream or full-fat yogurt each day.n Take a multivitamin that contains folic acid and other B vitamins.
Get plenty of iron, but not from red meat.
Avoid sugary sodas. Coffee, tea and alcohol are OK in moderation.
If overweight, lose 5 percent to 10 percent of your weight.
Start an exercise program. If you already exercise, keep it up but don’t overdo it if you are quite lean.

I Made This With My Own 2 Hands

I Design

This idea is for a personalized gift for your sweetie. Iron-on T-shirts are easy, very fun and cheap. You need a t-shirt or sweatshirt, a computer, an iron and transfer paper. (Try Staples or crafts stores for the paper.) Then, simply find a favorite picture online, scan an image, or write something racy! Print the picture onto the transfer paper, and iron the picture onto a shirt. This gift is great because it is so versatile! I also like this idea because it never gets old, most people love and wear out a good t-shirt/sweatshirt. Have fun with the endless creative ideas on the designs too. Trust me, your sweetie will cherish and keep the shirt which is the real bonus!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't Buy These Cars!

The Right Car for Teens

Your teenage son wants a souped-up foreign sports car. You want him to have a sluggish American tank. Is there anything in the middle? Okay, for one arguable reason or another, the kid is getting his own car. Because you can't hold his hand (or his steering wheel) forever, and you are weary of being the household hauler, the best parental protection you can give him now is heavy-gauge metal and a lot of it. You've done enough in giving him the right to drive, you don't have to give him the right to have an early funeral. Here are some general car-selecting no-nos that might help keep the kid out of traffic court, jail, hospitals, and the mortuary:
Do not give him a super-charged, turbo-charged, "Super Zoom" anything. Drivers, every one of them, in hot, high-performance cars automatically catch "Fast Foot Fever;" an incurable ailment that often leads to premature loss of license at a minimum – life, at the ultimate.
Do not give him a "roller." High center of gravity vehicles like SUV’s, especially the small ones, are not an intelligent choice for new drivers who have little experience with the limits of vehicle stability. One bad over-correction because of too little judgment or too much machismo, can easily make the high vehicle topple and roll, leading to tragic consequences.
Don't get him a mini-car. New drivers should have a lot of metal around them. If he doesn't want, or you don't want to give him the family barge, today's mid- and full-size cars offer a lot of crash energy-absorbing metal for your money.
Don't buy him an older car. Give him the best chance to drive and survive with a car that's less than five years old. Most of these will have the newest built-in safety equipment including the two absolute mandatory items -- airbags and ABS brakes.

No More Work Stress

Why did you quit your last job -- assuming you left voluntarily? the No. 1 reason why people quit is excessive stress. Yet employers seem unaware of this, or in denial: When asked why they thought employees were leaving, most HR managers gave insufficient pay and lack of career development, including promotions, as the main reasons.On top of the usual stressors -- ever-higher productivity targets, only 24 hours in a day, and the struggle to carve out some kind of life outside of work -- economic uncertainty adds "the fear of layoffs and feelings of powerlessness. If You're Overwhelmed By it All,Try These Four Stress-Fighting Tactics:

Make a long-term to-do list. Think about all the small, incremental things you can do to build career success over the course of a year, or five years -- take someone out for a networking lunch now and then, work on picking up a new skill, put in a little extra time helping the boss solve a knotty problem. Making a list of these, and doing something on the list when you feel "stuck" in your regular job, will help you feel you're getting somewhere and not just spinning your wheels. That sense of accomplishment is a powerful stress reducer.

Several times a day, just chill. From taking a deep breath, to stretching, to going over your schedule to cross off non-essential commitments, we each have things we know we can do to ease our stress level. Get in the habit of taking a few minutes several times a day to consciously manage stress. Take a short walk. Call a loved one on the phone. Check out a web site that makes you laugh. It sounds simple but, over time, you'll probably find you're less exhausted.

Fight perfectionism. Many successful people suffer from a neurosis I call "A-student syndrome," which makes them feel they have to be perfect at everything. This is a dandy way to stress yourself out even more than your job, or your life, actually requires.

Mark necessities on your calendar in ink, not pencil. Sure, we all know people who seem to fit in a weekly massage, get a haircut every six weeks without fail, and somehow make time for volunteer work and book clubs. Never mind those people. Instead, ask: What are the things that you know are non-negotiable to you over the course of a year? From dental exams to your annual vacation, commit to the really necessary stuff as soon as possible. By holding these times as 'sacred' in your calendar. You'll carry a calming sense that there is a baseline of self-care in place no matter how chaotic things get in the meantime

So next time you feel super stressed at work, just take a deep breath,remember you could be unemployed, and that its ok not to be perfect - Nothing is the end of the world and you'll be fine- well... at least stress free!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Recycle The Clutter

Get a jump on Spring cleaning this year
Let the internet help you rid your house of clutter
Wheter its clothes,books or cell phones, I have listed below how to recycle your unwanted items

Find a new home for that old computerInstead of tossing it contact the National Cristina Foundation ( will match you with a school or organization that'll be happy to take it

Clear the closetYou can donate old prom dresses for low income girls at your old business suits can helpout of work women interview for jobs if you donate them to(

Got an old cellphone?The wireless foundation reprograms phones and gives them to women at risk for domestic violenceVisit ( or for locations by you

Kids Outgrown their books?Donate them to ( which will send them to kids all over the country

Let your unused electronics help save livesOld TVs,PDAs,cameras,and MP3 players can find a new home at ( group will recycle your goods for a profit and donate the money to a national breast cancer charity

Let your old glasses help someone else seePrescription glassess or sunglasses are welcomed by ('ll clean them up and send them to people in developing countries with similar vision needs

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just A Spoonful

Discount Dishwashing Detergent

I learned this tip from my grandmama when I moved into my first apartment a few years back- it is so good and works so well- I had to share with all of you
In your dishwasher, use baking soda in the first detergent dispenser and dish washing detergent in the other. You won't need more than a heaping tablespoon full. Your dishes, pots and pans will be spotless and there will be no need to use the liquid rinses.

Benefits of Car Donation (pt.1 )

Donating Your Car To Charity – Part I

All these appeals! What actually happens to the old, used cars that are donated to charities? I know, I know, giving your unloved vehicle to a charity is supposed to be a wonderful thing. And it can be. But often for the wrong people. In many cases, too many cases (some, actual court-type cases), well-meaning donors of used cars to charities are aiding and abetting a rapidly growing mini-industry in charity-blessed scams. What started out as an innocent, well-meaning way to raise a few bucks for established religious, medical, and public welfare charitable organizations, has – in a number of cases – become a great groaning board of free lunch for the operators, the opportunists and even the downright dishonest. For a number of years now, tax season has become peak season for donating the unloved, the abandoned, and the broken vehicles to good causes – especially good causes like a good, healthy tax deduction. Charitable groups now report that an increasing number of vehicles are being donated all year around. Unfortunately, regardless of how generous the vehicular gift, only a percentage of the value goes to good works, the rest goes to people working the system. Donors are deliberately misled by these scammers to believe that their contribution is going to help hungry orphans, or kidney transplants, or remedial schools, or the disabled -- when actually only a percentage of the car's worth actually gets to the charity. In fact, the invasion of the commercial fundraising money-snatchers has become so blatant that in 1999, the state of California initiated some heavy-duty legislation to start controlling some of the charity-cloaked cons. So bad had their incursion been into charity donation coffers that a couple of years back, financial papers turned in to the state attorney general's office by eleven fund raisers showed that only 20 cents out of every dollar collected actually went to the charities.
Tomorrow: Part II. Where your car donation money goes…

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentines Night

Bedroom Antics

You will need several small index cards to make this playing deck. Split the cards into two equal piles. On one pile write romantic actions (kiss, massage). On the other set, write body parts. The more unusual the suggestions, the better! Keep the two piles separate. Each partner takes their turn to choose one card from each pile, and whatever combination they get, they have to perform what it suggests on their partner. Have fun!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bottle Of Bliss

Before Dinner Sampler

I wanted to surprise my boyfriend before we went out for dinner one night, but I didn't have much cash, so I went to the store and got a bottle of massage oil and 2 bags of Hershey’s kisses. I spelled out "I LOVE YOU" with the kisses on the bed. I put the massage oil in the middle of a whole bunch of hugs and kisses. Then I turned off all the lights in the room and lit a whole bunch of candles. I also put some nice, soothing piano music on. So he thought he was coming over to take a nap before dinner, and he was surprised with a nice massage. He loved it.

Hershey Kissed

I Can't Wait

I wanted to do something to let my sugar pie know that I’m thinking about him. First, I bought a large bag of Hershey’s kisses. Next, on the outside of the package, I taped the message “I CAN'T WAIT TO...” Then, on each kiss, I taped a little message of special things I want to do with him. I made some romantic, some funny, some serious, etc. He is now waiting with tremendous anticipation to cash in all 127 of them! I suggest trying this for Valentines Day
it is perfect with the festive kisses candies and the sentiment of the special day- good luck!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cholesterol Cut

Take the Stairs

If you're tired of waiting for the elevator at work, take the stairs – and cut your cholesterol.
The University of Ulster at Jordanstown in the United Kingdom enrolled 22 women in a study to evaluate the effects of short periods of exercise on overall health. One group made no changes in their lifestyles, while the other stopped using the elevator and started taking the stairs.
Using a rather long staircase -- 199 stairs -- the study group started with one ascent a day, and at the end of seven weeks was going up the stairs six or seven times each day.
At the end of the seven-week study, the control group's health hadn't changed. But the study group had lower overall cholesterol, a higher HDL (good cholesterol) level and could climb the stairs with lower oxygen consumption and a slower heart rate.

Improving Your Car's Fuel Efficiency: Part 2

Purchasing a Vehicle

When showing for a car, people need to decide between purchasing a new or used vehicle. But what people should really focus on is the average miles per gallon a vehicle gets, whether it is old or new. A car or truck that gets high gas mileage will save thousands of dollars in fuel bills over the lifetime of a vehicle compared to a vehicle with low gas mileage. This vehicle will also reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. As you may now realize, there are many opportunities to reduce your car's fuel economy. So take some time to explore which ones work for you and you will soon be saving money and reducing wear on your vehicle. Just say no to "gas guzzlers"
you'll be better off,car and wallet too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Improving Your Car's Fuel Efficiency: Part 1

Maintaining Your Vehicle

There was a recent study that says a majority of the vehicles on the road today are riding on under-inflated tires. Not only do under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy, but they also wear quicker and can make it more difficult to handle your vehicle. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your car's fuel economy is to make sure your tires are properly inflated. If you are unsure of the proper tire pressure for your vehicle, consult the owner's manual. Also, if you have them, remove snow tires during good weather seasons. These deep-tread tires reduce fuel economy. Changing your car's oil on a regular basis will also help improve fuel economy by increasing the life of the engine. Clean oil reduces wear caused by friction between moving parts and also removes dirt and grime from the engine. A clean air filter will also improve fuel economy and protect your engine. A properly tuned engine will also help lower fuel costs. Consult the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual for tune-ups and you will help your car save fuel and run better. It's also a good idea to buy gas from a high-volume station. Since its tanks are refilled often, there is less chance of the fuel having impurities such as water or rust. In addition, don't waste money on premium fuel if your vehicle doesn't need it.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meatless Meals

If you go to the market and have noticed that meat has become pricier than ever,(I know I have) Here is a quick tip for you and your budget. Try to have 2-3 times a week, a meatless meal. Eating a dinner consisting of just vegetables is extremely budget friendly, as well as very healthy. I have listed below a meatless recipe that is cheap, delicious,and simple to make. I also like it because it uses a vegetable people usually seem to skip over,eggplant-bon appetite!

Eggplant Gratin
Good olive oil, for frying
3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.
Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm. ll usually skip over: eggplant- bon appetite!Give me courage to face anything, to endure everything--with you by my side.

-courtesy of