Before You Swat That Common Wasp or Hornet, Read This…

You have a few drinks with your buddies on your deck or a family BBQ when a bunch of annoying buzzing guys comes to destroy this occasion. You haven’t seen them all summer long, and all of a sudden, everyone is upset; they’re in a panic. You were waving your arms around like a helicopter against thees buzzing visitors – the common wasp

Always arriving in August and September, you may have wondered, “What is the point of this interruption. Why now?” You might be surprised by the response.

Many Different Types of Wasps and Hornets

Were you aware there are around 9,000 species of wasps? These include the parasites, of which some are so small that they are like pinheads. Of the 250 more giant wasps, the bulk is single and solitary and does not annoy people.

But when we talk about wasps, we almost probably mean the nemesis of our nation, the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris). You first have to understand their life cycle to see why these flying yellow striped bugs are especially unpleasant this time of year. These bugs are also called hornets in some areas of the United States.

Common wasps are like bees socially, but, in contrast to honey bees, storing food has not been developed to make the colony survive the winter. Indeed, only young fertilized queens who spend the winter sleeping are surviving. Then, in the spring, she emerges to make nests of walnut-size, where she has laid about 20 eggs.

Life of a Wasp

When they mature and become workers, the Queen feeds the resultant larvae until around May. She then focuses on more egg-laying and provides the workers, expanding the nest as they go.

The Common Wasp Nest

The wasp nest has developed by this time of year to roughly 16 inches in diameter and can have a population of up to 10,000 wasps! The most common spots for a wasp or hornet nest around your home include under the roof eaves, behind shutters, or in garden sheds. A hornet nest is made from chewed wood that gives them their characteristic papery walls, with the exclusion of mud daubers that use clay or muck.

Big Change in Late Summer of the Wasp Colony

Then there is a significant transition in late August and September. The Queen stops her egg-laying, and doesn’t produce the pheromone that makes worker wasps serve(except some that will be future queens and males to fertilize them).

These workers are essentially made obsolete and left without employment and unoriented. The trouble for us is that while adult wasps are predators of insects, that meat doesn’t feed the larvae itself. This is because Wasps can’t digest solid food, and sugar fluid is needed to survive in their adult stage. So now they are wildly and insatiably hungry without larvae to feed.

Wasps like simple foods; overripe fruit, carbonated drinks, and juices. Towards the conclusion of their short lives, their hunger leads them, exactly when we will use our gardens and outside areas to devour sweets, to look for simple sugar. For them or worse for us, the timing could not be better.

Tips For Dealing With Uninvited Wasps

So why are those who panic and try to swat them more likely to be stung than those who remain calm? The answer is that they have their pheromone, which helps guard the nest against the assault earlier this year, and it’s essentially a chemical cry for other workers to attack.

Then this rallying cry will go off if you swat the furious wasp and feel attacked. Then, suddenly, it all starts, and more wasps will be fired up and ready to defend their nests in aggressive mode. Therefore, keeping calm is the most excellent suggestion.

Think of it this way, from early summer, that wasp has been working its wings off, helping to keep things nice on planet earth. Now it’s going to die. So why not give it a break, save your swats, put a small plate of ripe fruit and bits of meat somewhere out of your way, and let it go out on a nice sugar rush. At the very least, don’t kill it.

What is the purpose of common wasps? Life would probably not exist without them since our planet would be overwhelmed by further destructive insects such as aphids and caterpillars in the absence of its role as predators.

Related Reading About The Common Wasp and Other Nature Stories

5 Things Know Before Upgrading Your Cellphone to 5G Technology

(StatePoint) By now, you’ve heard about 5G technology or might have access to it on your smartphone, but do you know what it is, how it works or what it can do for you?

5G is the next generation of wireless technology, building on its predecessors 2G, 3G, and 4G. It is available on today’s smartphones to make and receive calls, run applications and send and receive data.

This fifth-generation technology is a massive leap into what is possible in wireless. 5G is expected to deliver faster speeds and enhanced connectivity, giving businesses and consumers alike the potential to develop and experience new, innovative technologies.

Here are five things you may not know about 5G Technology

  1. 5G improves overall wireless coverage: 5G can deliver better, more efficient coverage in both breadth and depth. Depending on where wireless operators deploy it, it can reach cities and towns lacking wireless access. Providers like T-Mobile are committed to providing 5G access to rural America and already cover more than 287 million people across more than 1.6 million square miles.
  2. Different types of 5G can support where you live: Providers deploy different wireless spectrum levels – low, mid, and high – with the ability to provide coverage and capacity whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or a rural community. For 5G, low-band spectrum provides far-reaching coverage outside and reaches indoors with speeds that are slightly better than LTE; mid-band provides blanket coverage across large areas with fast speeds, making it the “goldilocks” of the spectrum; and high-band – typically available in select urban areas – provides super-fast speeds over short distances, but needs line of sight to the device and doesn’t pass through physical obstructions.
  3. 5G will create “smarter cities”: From monitoring pollution or traffic levels to optimizing energy use or self-driving transportation, 5G can enable applications that urban cities and small towns alike can use to live smarter.
  4. 5G unlocks technology developments for industry: With 5G connectivity and new applications to support certain industries, businesses and industries can evolve to meet a connected world’s needs. Imagine farmers utilizing sensors and drones to enhance the agriculture community, or businesses using real-time language translation, or even enhanced location services to improve first responder times to save lives.
  5. Virtual and augmented reality or holographic scenarios: 5G gives us the ability to transform where and how we experience our lives. Imagine having virtual reality access to live concerts and sports games, using holographic telepresence to be a part of your family’s birthday party in another state, or having real-time driving data like traffic or road conditions displayed on your car’s windshield as you drive.

The possibilities with 5G are endless and will offer individuals and businesses the ability to do and experience the world around them in ways they couldn’t before.

From 5G-enabled smartphones to the latest connected devices, check with your wireless provider to see how you can get the most out of 5G technology where you live.


Related Reading to 5G Technology

5 Free News Feeds Reviewed for Publishing Automated Blogs

Setting up an automated blog using free news feeds is tricky. There are copyright issues with republishing someone else’s content on your site and search engines tend to punish the rankings on those sites with duplicate content. How can you possibly set up an automated publishing site without falling into a minefield of legal and technical trouble? 

Fortunately, some sites cater to content publishers by offering a steady stream of free high-quality content that will keep your site fresh on an almost daily basis. We reviewed the terms and content of these five content providers offering free news feeds that could help set up an automated or nearly automated news publishing system utilizing WordPress plugins. 

NewsUSA

NewsUsa offers news content & copyright-free media placements. The company calls them “Mat releases” which are consumer-friendly feature news stories that are pre-packaged and pre-formatted articles consisting of a headline, photo, and article. They offer copyright free news feed content for newspapers, radio, and social media channels. The site claims to have made over 3 million media placements to date.

NewsUsa’s Terms and Conditions

This site has some of the easiest terms to follow. Basically, you’re granted a world-wide non-exclusive right to freely make copies, distribute, publish and/or provide links to this content so long as attribution is made to NewsUSA in the byline or otherwise and no material changes are made to the content. The included photos may or may not be used, but in no case can they be used without the accompanying article. No registration is required. 

If you utilize NewsUSA content, you may find their name popping up from time to time in your Google Analytics reports. This is from reporting they do for their clients as proof that their content is being published. 

NewsUsa Content Observations

NewsUSA offers content and news in 30 categories over a wide range of themes. Two of the most unusual that drew our attention are Infographic and Listicle. Technically, both of these are not topic areas but post formats. However, I found the content in the Infographic area engaging enough to pick up on for my own blog. 

Each category has the ability to be picked up in an RSS to create your own free news feed. We set up an RSS feed for one of NewsUSAs categories with our auto publish plugin and it worked flawlessly. You can also manually download the article and images to work with via your own editor. 

Articles tend to be on the smaller side starting at under 300 words but occasionally ranges well past 1000 words. Each article is available to be downloaded in a range of formats from plain text, HTML, and PDF. A snippet with a short description and link to the source is also available. One useful feature offered is that each article can be downloaded in HTML and pasted in a WordPress editor for quick editing that is ready to publish. 

Our Take on NewsUSA

Of all the content sites we reviewed, we found this one the easiest to use and felt comfortable with their very succinct terms and conditions. We utilized NewsUSA for a couple of articles and it did draw a bit of traffic. We were able to grab content both manually and with a WordPress RSS feed plugin suitable for an automated blog.

FamilyFeatures

FamilyFeatures is a well-established industry leader in food and lifestyle content. They provide free, ready-to-publish, full-page feature and editorial content for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Starting in 1974, by creating and distributing free, feature articles for the food and lifestyle sections of newspapers.

FamilyFearure’s Terms and Conditions

The FAQs for using content in FamilyFeatures, (and its other sites) are worth a careful review on your own. However, I found the following key points worth highlighting. 

  • With your registration, you may then display and electronically copy, download, and publish material contained on those FFES sites for your publication or Web site.
  • Once registered, you can use the materials on the Editors.familyfeatures.com site (the “Media Web site”) for publication in print and online. 
  • If materials are used as provided, sponsor attribution is already included and must be retained to allow for full disclosure and transparency of the source provider.
  • If you choose to edit the materials, attribution must be maintained as provided – typically presented as: “Courtesy of (Sponsor)”, “Photos courtesy of (Sponsor/Getty)”
  • If provided within the copy, we also ask that you retain sponsor Web-links.
  • Photos may be used only in conjunction with the content provided. They may not be used independent of the content and should include appropriate attribution such as “photo courtesy of (Sponsor/Getty).”

FamilyFeatures’ Content Observations

FamilyFeatures offer over 47 categories of content in five broad areas. They include Features, Food & Beverage, Lifestyle, Home & Garden, and Spanish. They also have a video area that we did not review. 

One aspect that is appealing is that they offer a Content Widget. This allows the website owner to offer dynamic headlines and images that display the full article with a color scheme to match your theme. Articles are automatically updated articles every week. Choose from three categories with the food, lifestyle, and home & garden topic areas. Layouts include a carousel, sidebar, and main.

The one drawback is that FamlyFeatures does not offer an RSS to create our own free news feed to push content. RSS feeds are typically utilized in WordPress plugins for automated blogging. Thus to automate, you will have to utilize their Content Widget. 

Our Take on FamilyFeatures

This site is the granddaddy of all the free content provided we reviewed. They also offer very rich, well-edited content that users will find appealing. The only drawback is their lack of offering an RSS feed in favor of their own proprietary content wizard. As a result, we will not be able to test the feed feature for an automated blog within our current configuration. We will circle back later. 

ArticleGeek

Articlegeek – Offers articles and content with the ability to make your own free news feeds for an automated website. This cotent provider we would consider as being crowdsourced. Running since 2006, authors submit content to ArticleGeek with the hope that other websites will pick up their content and republish it. This leads to link building back to the author’s own site. Everyone wins right? It’s a nice concept but we found that we would have to be a bit more diligent with proofing content. 

ArticleGeek Terms and Conditions

As a publisher you are on the honor system to adhere to the terms and conditions. Which are quite simple. Here are a few of the notable points.

  • Articles must be published in their original format, unedited.
  • Articles must be published with the Author’s Bio unedited. Publishers must include a clickable hyperlink to the author’s website (if included in the author’s bio). 
  • As a courtesy, publishers should notify the author when and how they plan to use their articles. 
  • Articles must be published with a hyperlink pointing to ArticleGeek.com as the article source.

ArticleGeek Content Observations

We counted over 96 categories in 17 topic areas. Topics ranged from Art to Law. This site has many online gaming categories that make them a stand-out in this emerging topic area. With such a huge amount of content, a publisher could offer fill for areas that they are weak in or start a whole new subject area in an automated blog.

Thankfully they have RSS feeds that can be utilized in each of the 96 categories. However, I was disappointed not to see any of the content dated. This would be a problem for automatic feeds which tend to depend on dates being available for content publishing control. There is also not thumbnail or feature images on any of the articles. 

Our Take on ArticleGeek

This no-frills site offers the widest range of content topic areas of all the free providers. Some of the content is unique and one of a kind. However, I would not use this provider’s feed on an automated blog on autopilot. This is a great site to bookmark and check out for special articles that you could grab manually. 

StatePoint

StatePoint Media provides free news feeds for editorial content suitable for print and online newspapers, as well as to radio and television websites, and other media websites. They offer feature stories and special supplements to crossword and sudoku puzzles.

StatePoint Media stories are sourced from highly trusted experts at leading non-profit organizations, professional trade associations, government agencies, and corporate community affairs departments. The site claims more than 15,000 newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and magazines have registered to use their content.

StatePoint Terms and Conditions

Of all the free content providers StatePoint has one of the more involved and verbose terms. So it’s worth reading the T&Cs line by line to ensure you’re in compliance. Especially when utilizing their auto-feed. Here are a couple of points to be aware of. 

  • You only are permitted to publish StatePoint Media Editorial Products in the print and online publications that you register within your StatePoint.net account, and not in any other publications.
  • …you may delete certain text or a photograph or illustration within any Editorial Product except StatePoint Crossword or StatePoint Sudoku.
  • You must properly attribute StatePoint Media Editorial Products. You may not remove the StatePoint Media attribution (e.g. ‘StatePoint’ or ‘SPM Wire’) within any StatePoint Media story or puzzle. 
  • You may not publish or post a StatePoint photo separately from the specific StatePoint article with which it is distributed.
  • You may not copy or otherwise select individual stories or puzzles from StatePoint Media’s Automated Feeds for publication in a print publication(s), or on any website(s) except as part of the automated feed on the website you designated in your StatePoint.net account. If you wish to publish individual StatePoint stories and/or puzzles in a print or Web publication, you must register that publication in your StatePoint.net account and download individual stories and/or puzzles from the StatePoint.net website.

StatePoint Content Observations

StatePoint offers 17 categories of content over a wide range of content areas. Most articles were between 300 and 700 words. The site also offers seasonal supplements along with crossword puzzles and Sudoko. The free puzzles make this site a standout and if I was a print publication I would be taking a hard look at offering that specialized content.

All the stories reviewed had a print preview and a featured image to utilize. 

Our Take on StatePoint

This was the one review that I stopped and registered to try in real-time. While the T&Cs were lengthy, none of the legal language drew red flags. We will be circling back to this site and try it manually before using the free news feeds on our automated blog.

BrandPoint

BrandPoint offers free news feeds for copyright-free premium content for editors, ad directors, bloggers, and print and online publishers. The Brandpoint (BPT)  has been in operation since 1996. Content is available for editors, ad directors, designers, publishers, and bloggers.  The cost is free as much of the content is sponsored or provided by Brandpointcontent’s clients and partner brands who want to share their insights.

Brandpoint Terms and Conditions

It’s worth reading BPTs Content Licensing Agreement carefully. Here are some of the key points I found within their terms and FAQ.

  • Registration prior to use is required. 
  • Brandpointcontents byline must appear in the article or post at the beginning or end of the content. 
  • If you edit the article you must retain at least one brand reference. 
  • Images associated and offered with an article can be published only as an accompaniment to the article’s text. Any other use is prohibited. 
  • Alternative photos may not be substituted.
  • If you’re a print publication, Brandpoint offers publishers $2 to upload articles used from Brandpoint in the last four months. 
  • If you publish the feature articles on a Web site you may be asked to provide reporting metrics, including Page Views.

Brandpoint’s Content Observations

BPT offers 26 categories of content in four broad areas of Lifestyle, Home & Garden, Business, and Health. My scan of the content showed each article ranged from 400 to 1200 words with a majority standing between 500-700 words in length. Each category had an RSS to utilize as a free news feed.

In addition to traditional articles, Brandpoint offers 100-150 word “Quick Read ” versions of some full-sized articles. If an article has a Quick Read, it will have a checkbox below the thumbnail.

BPTs website has a handy publication calendar for their features and health content. I found this extremely useful if planning on an upcoming posting schedule. 

Our Take on Brandpoint

As a content provider for an automated blog, this site is no better or worse than the other sites we reviewed. However, what makes BPT standout is the featured calendar. This is very handy and allows us to plan ahead for our future issues. This was the one site that tended to offer some long-tail articles which is helpful in specific content areas such as gardening. 

Conclusion with Using Free News Feed Content Providers for Automated Blogs

There is no clear winner in our review. All have positive points, unique content aspects and technical features that make acquiring their content easy. But each has their own quirks and things to watch for, or live with. Our recommendation is to try one or two of these providers on your own site and let us know your results in the comments below. 

Automated Blog Best Practices Using Free News Feeds

Autoblogging is a fine way to get a new WordPress site on its feet quickly with content to draw in initial readers. But it shouldn’t be the sole way to run a site. Here are a few of the best practices to follow if you are using or considering auto blogging for your new or existing blog. 

  • The best practice and most good-looking content are to offer a summary of the article and a link to the main post containing the publication’s name. 
  • Acknowledge the author and image sources if provided. 
  • Utilize images and thumbnails if available. I tend to not publish a post without them. 
  • Do not reuse images from one post into another. This is typically not allowed in the terms and conditions of the content provider. 
  • If allowed, use your own images in posts.
  • When using free automated blogging plugins, save the free news feeds post as a draft. Review the content and edit accordingly. Ensure titles and key phrases are in place then publish. I do this once a day and it only takes a few minutes.
  • Use care if you utilize any automated blog rewriting tools or spinners. I shy away from them as if typically make a great article a bunch of gibberish. 
  • Consider setting up a separate author account for each of your feeds. This will allow you to quickly sort by author in the WordPress dashboard for that feeds content. 
  • Circle back on auto-generated posts and update the meta description and keyword(s) Use the free version of Yoast to do this. 
  • Don’t solely depend on using free news feeds for an automated blog for all of your content. Author or pay for fresh, unique, and useful content to improve SEO. 

Top 10 Most Disturbing Movies Never To Let Kids See

( Disclaimer! This article talks about the morbid, scary, and just plain disturbing. Even traumatic for some people. Descriptive language is used. You have been warned. This is not for anyone under the age of 18 )

The fascination with the macabre has not been a new thing. People for centuries have been experimenting with the darkest material they can. Most of these movies go so far into the disturbing that I wouldn’t recommend seeing them, especially if you are faint at heart. This list of the most disturbing horror movies I personally have seen. I’ve viewed them, so you don’t have to. Here we go, brace yourself. This is a count down to the most disturbing movies I’ve ever been exposed to

#10 The Fly

This 80s remake of the original movie adds more detail and better practical effects to really kick up the gross-out factor. People watching this in the theaters reportedly were fainting, throwing up, and leaving in disgust. I wouldn’t blame them, as watching this body horror nightmare beginning to end left you disgusted and disturbed.

#9 Eyes Without a Face

If you hate body horror, this will haunt you even though it’s one of the older movies on this list. A little girl with a face like a rotten corpse wants a face. Her father, trying to help his daughter, finds a pretty woman so that he can remove her face and attach it to his daughter. Yes, that concept alone is disturbing; shot in black and white, it is downright terrifying and wrong.

#8 Alien

Now the whole movie itself isn’t that disturbing, scarier than anything. But take it like this, you are 6 or 7 years old walking downstairs to talk to your parents. When you turn the corner, you see a man with something bulging out of his chest on TV. Blood starts filling the shirt until a terrifying alien pops out and shoots blood everywhere. Needless to say, I had nightmares for weeks and developed a phobia of parasites and other things living inside of me. It might not be that disturbing than the other movies, but I felt the need to put this movie on here anyways.

#7 Pink Floyd’s The Wall

I love Pink Floyd, but I was exposed to one part of this movie very young. The scene in observation is with the song, “Comfortably Numb” at some point the main character becomes a worm man who rips out his own eyes violently while the guitar solo rages. That part seriously freaked me out as a child. The rest of this movie is no easy watch either. With scenes of war, violence, death, kids being put in a grinder, and amazing animations that capture the darkness of the subject matter. This movie is amazing yet still contains some of the most disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen.

#6 Teeth

Another gross-out movie that labels men as evil sex addicts. The movie is about a woman’s private parts that have teeth that mutilate men. Whoever wrote this movie needs serious help and anyone that likes this movie or thinks it’s funny needs help too. Don’t watch this trash. Like the human centipede, it leaves you asking, who would make such a movie, and who in their right mind would watch it?

#5 Un Chien Andalou

A 1929 film made by Salvidor Dali is just as weird as you would think. Only it has one scene, particularly that was so real and revolting that many theaters refused to show it. Using practical effects, you see a man take a razor blade and cut open the woman’s eye. Even by today’s standards, it looks real. That one scene is too much for me to watch as I have a phobia of eyes being messed with. This twisted artist never shied away from the uneasy imagery. This movie proves that as a fact.

#4 Human Centipede

I ask why, why would anyone make such a disturbing and vile movie. The top three at least tried to be an actual watchable movie instead of a gross-out flick. It’s about a mad scientist that sews his victims together from mouth to rectum. Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to see this movie unless you gravitate towards movies centered around a disgusting concept.

#3 Clockwork Orange

I can’t even think of the song, “singin’ in the rain.” Without also thinking about one of the most disturbing scenes put on the big screen. I can’t watch the scene anymore, and it’s too real and terrible. Rape scenes are never good, but this movie doesn’t shy away from the sheer evil. Some people can’t even listen to “singin’ in the rain” ever again because of this one scene. However, in the movie, you follow a despicable psychotic, so the dark imagery never ends. Some consider this the most popular disturbing movie of all time, and I would have to agree.

#2 Eraserhead

This movie is a fever dream from hell. Nonstop disturbing shows that leave you feeling ill by the end of it. A hissing radiator, a mutated baby, horrifying imagery, and unnerving behavior. You know something is terribly wrong, yet the movie keeps going. What got me was the crying of the mutated baby as it lies neglected. It’s disconcerting and fills you with such dread. You’ll be asking questions and won’t be able to shake those images from your brain for a while.

#1 Enter The Void

It’s the single most traumatic experience I’ve ever had when watching a movie. This trippy and incredibly dark movie is all shot in a first-person view. It starts with flashing texts that really instill a feeling of something psychedelic and eerie. About a quarter of the way through, you see the main character’s view of his childhood. Watching his parents arguing while driving. They enter a tunnel, darkness; then a blinding light suddenly images with the sound of a truck’s horn blaring. The screen goes black. Then when the film returns, you see, in the eyes of this child, the bodies of their parents mangled. The children’s realistic screaming sells the scene. It was too real. Later in the movie, a flashback happens that puts you right back at the scene. After that, I couldn’t continue watching as it was too much for me. Even though I was around 18 at the time.

Related Reading

Detroit Bead Museum Honors African Culture

The outskirts of Detroit, Michigan, have experienced a lot of upheaval over the years. However, Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum helps to offset those past issues. Created over 16 years ago the museum takes up an entire city block. Its located on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd.

Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum – Courtesy TheValeMagazin.com

The museum is committed to exhibiting a culture that extends some 8,000 miles away. Dabls has over four decades of visual storytelling within his art. The artist uses four different media in his creations. Namely, iron, rocks, wood, and mirrors. These elements the African people knew they had magic and medicine energies to create stunning works of art,

Read the original article about the Detroit Bead Museum Honors African Culture on TheValeMagazine.com

Related Reading and Discovery

34 Free Preschool Worksheets to Help Teach At Home

A new website for educators and homeschoolers can assist with providing worksheets and other educational aids. The site, www.abbythepup.com, provides free, publicly available preschool worksheet aids for teachers and parents. All free worksheets are in PDF format. The content is provided under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication. This website is easy to use, safe, and commercial-free for teachers and parents to access quality content to educate their 3-4-year-old children.

Abbythepup.com was constructed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. With social distancing rules and schools and daycare closed, young children began to have their lessons remotely from home. It was a stressful time for children, parents, and teachers. Out of this crisis came the inspiration for abbythepup.com

Types of Preschool Worksheets and Aids Available

Currently, there are 34 sets of worksheet printouts freely available to download and print in your home classroom. All are in full color. However, there are no rubrics or teacher notes with any of the sets. A select sample of each type of worksheet is available in the links below. Please visit Abbythepup.com for the full collection.

Free Preschool Worksheets for Alphabet, Words and Letters

  • Alphabet Identification – Colorful alphabet letters and associated pictures for each letter. 34 pages
  • Alphabet Trace and Write – Color worksheets that a student can repetitively trace each letter. 26 pages
  • Match Letters – Worksheets to match capital letters with lowercase letters or sight pictures. 36 pages
  • Sight Words – Words and pictures that can be cut into flashcards. 22 pages
  • Word Recognition – Match word with a picture, circle word that matches the picture and missing beginning letter. 31 pages
  • Rhyming Words – Rhyming word cards, match the rhyming word, circle the rhyming word. 31 pages
  • Word Families – Simple words with the same letter combinations but different words. (e.g. pad and glad) 23 pages
  • Missing Letters – Fill in the missing letter of the word. With picture prompts. 21 pages

Free Preschool Worksheets for Counting and Numbers

  • Number Identification – Count the number of pictured objects. 11 pages
  • Number Trace and Write – Trace the shape of each number. 10 pages
  • Match Numbers – Count and match, match the same number, match number to name, match number cards. 30 pages
  • Counting – Six sets of counting worksheets. 31 pages
  • Addition – Six sets of picture and number counting and adding worksheets. 26 pages
  • Subtraction – Six sets of picture and number counting and subtraction worksheets. 26 pages
  • Comparing – Count and compare pictures with numbers. 26 pages
  • Ten Frame Cards – Frames and count cards to match. 21 pages
  • Patterns – Patterns with colors, shapes, and pictures. 25 pages

Free Preschool Worksheets For General Knowledge and Skills

  • Colors – Identify colors
  • Shapes – Trace and identify shapes
  • Color Cute Animals – Trace and color animal shapes
  • Tracing – Tracing lines and pictures. Dexterity skills.
  • Matching Cards – 12 sets of flashcards for letters, animals, numbers, shapes, etc.
  • Positions – 7 sets of worksheets. inside/outside, over/under, up/down, near/far, etc.
  • Sizes – 6 sets of worksheets. big/small, tall/short, long/small, etc
  • Dot to Dot – Follow the number sequence to create shapes and animals.

Free Classroom Resources

  • Customizable Awards – Award pages you and customizes and print
  • Calendar – cutouts to make a dynamic calendar
  • Name Cards – Print and make name tents for desks
  • Center Signs – Huge collection of classroom center signs
  • Nursery Rhymes – 23 pages of colorful nursery rhymes for display or handout
  • Preschool Assessment – Worksheet for parents and teachers to assess progress and opportunities.
  • Posters – 31 various classroom posters and aids
  • Reward Cards – 4 sets of punch out reward cards for students

Other Free Learning Resources

The Estimating Challenge

How big do you think something is. How much do you think a container will hold? This video offers a neat approach to doing estimates.


Related Reading

28 Quirky But Innovative Ideas For Coffee Filter Uses

The lowly coffee filter can be one of the handiest items in your kitchen or workshop. Because coffee filters are so inexpensive, they can be utilized for hundreds of single-use applications. Here are some of the top ideas and uses for coffee filters. We are always looking for more ideas. If you have some, please comment at the bottom of this article.  

#1 Applying Shoe Polish

Wad up a coffee filter into a small ball to apply shoe polish. Apply polish sparingly. The filter will keep hands and fingers clean. Have another filter handy to buff the shoes to a shine. Filters are lint-free so utilizing them for polishes and waxes is an ideal application. 


#2 Use Them in the Microwave

Filters can be used to cover small bowls and dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers. Once used, they can then be re-purposed to wipe up moisture or food pops from the microwave trey, walls, and door. Or you can use the filter as a thin mat to set down a hot bowl or dish until it cools.


#3 Cleaning Mirrors and Windows

As mentioned before the filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows streak-free. Use a wet coffee filter to attack the grime at the bottom of window sills. 

#4 Strain Cooking Oil

Pour cool used cooking and frying oil through a colander or metal meshed strainer lined with a coffee filter. It’s a slow process; use a mason jar to collect the stained oil. Utilize a rubber band to secure the filter around the jar mouth and make a cone. You may have to go through the process several times as the filters will become covered and clogged with the fried bits. 


#5 Use as Mini Snack Bowls

Perfect for popcorn, chips, and any snack that can leave your hands greasy. When empty, the filter and be used to wipe your hands with and disposed of. 

#6 Separate Fine China

Protect fine china plates and saucers by placing a coffee filter between each dish.

#7 Filter Wine when Decanting

A coffee filter is perfect to strain broken cork bits from wine. It also can take away some of the yeast and tannins of homemade wines when you decant them. 

#8 Season Cast-iron Skillets and Dutch ovens

Use a coffee filter with a bit of cooking oil to wipe the entire surface of your cast-iron cookware. Place the oiled skillet in the oven, upside down, and heat at a low temperature until the oil comes to a nice shine.

#9 Holding Small Items on a Food Scale

Filters are perfect as a lightweight holder of chopped ingredients when measuring on a kitchen scale.

#10 Holding Messy or Oily Foods

A coffee filter is a perfect wrapper for holding tacos, chicken nuggets, and other messy finger foods. Especially for children. When you’re done using it as a holder, you have a handy napkin to wipe up any loose crumbs or spills. It’s also a perfect “bone plate” when eating fried fish or as a crumb catcher.


#11 Line Potted Plant Containers

Placing a coffee filter at the bottom of a plant pot will keep the soil in and prevent the potting soil from coming out of the drainage holes. It will also help keep dirty water from leaking out.

#12 Pressing Flowers

Use two coffee filters as a blotting paper to make pressed flowers. Put the flower between the filters and place it between two heavy books. 

#13 Ice Cream and Frozen Treat Holder

Prevent drips from ice cream cones and popsicles.  Poke a hole in the center of a coffee filter and place the stick or cone in it. 

#14 Capture Grease from Fried Foods

Utilize several filters on a platter or plate to drain grease from fried bacon, sausage, or chicken to catch and hold the grease and oil. 

#15 Coffee Filter in First Aid

Grab a coffee filter as a quick cover for small cuts and nicks. They are clean and will keep until you can get a bandage on that cut. They also can be torn and used to cover a nick made with a razor. 

#16 Embroidery Backing

The clean white filters make an excellent sewing backing for embroidering or appliqueing on soft fabrics. Once done the filter is easy to remove.

#17 Eliminate Shoe Smells

Place baking soda into a coffee filter, fold, and insert into athletic shoes to absorb moisture and or inhibit odors.

#18 Seed Starter

One innovative coffee filter uses is to use moistened filters in an egg carton or plastic bag to spout new seedlings. 

#19 Herb Pouch

Place your favorite chunky herbs into a coffee filter and fold and tie with string to make a herb pouch for making soups and sauces. 

#20 When Adding Motor Oil

Have a coffee filter or two handy when adding oil or windshield fluid to your vehicle. They are handy to wipe up a spill or drips.

#21 As a Spoon Rest

A filter on the countertop can be a quick spoon rest while cooking, then use to wipe up small counter spills.

#22 As a Temporary Bowl

A filter can hold dry ingredients when baking or when hold cut fruit or vegetables. It beats having to wash a bowl when you are done. 

#23 Store Fragile Items

Use coffee filters to wrap small figurines and Christmas ornaments for storage.

#24 Use Instead of Cotton Balls

Perfect for removing fingernail polish. Coffee filters are slightly abrasive so they do a good job of removing stubborn polish.

#25 Clean Oily Hands

One coffee filter uses takes advantage of it’s slightly abrasive feel makes it a fine addition to soap and water when cleaning oily hands 

#26 Dust Computer Monitors and Keyboards

A coffee filter is a perfect tool for dusting your computer monitor and keyboard. Fold the filter and attack the gunk in your keyboard.

#27 Finishing Furniture

A small wad of several coffee filters serves as a final wipe to capture dust and debris when doing final stain coats on furniture. Its slightly abrasive quality is an excellent final step after sanding with #200 grit sandpaper.

#28 Hot Food Holder

There is nothing like having to cut or hold steaming hot food. If you use a dish towel, you never are sure what the towel was touching before you grabbed it. Find a coffee filter and fold it over several times to make a comfortable hot food holder when cutting or peeling. You can be assured it is clean for one-time use.


What is Your Idea For Coffee Filter Uses?

Do you have a great idea for coffee filter uses? We would like to know. Place your idea in the comments section below.

Related Reading for Coffee Filter Uses

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes, Tips from the Michigan DNR

By HOLLY VAUGHN
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

It’s time to pull your favorite stretchy pants out of the back of the closet and get the TV ready to watch the Macy’s parade and holiday football games.

Thanksgiving Day is almost here, and with it comes delicious food, time with family and friends (even if it has to be virtually) and great memories to be made.

What’s Thanksgiving dinner without a juicy turkey on the table? From the Michigan Department of Natural Resources family to yours, we’d like to offer some recipes and tips for making the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. From wild turkey appetizers to deep-fried turkey delights, we’ve got you covered for the holiday season.

“Wild turkey meat is very flavorful and can be used in almost any recipe,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “There is nothing more rewarding than to serve a wild turkey that you harvested for Thanksgiving Day dinner.”

Wild Turkey Appetizer

Joe Robison and his daughter, Sidney pose with Sidney’s spring turkey. Hunters in Michigan have opportunities to shoot turkeys in the spring and fall. – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Maybe you were lucky enough to shoot a wild turkey this fall, or perhaps you still have a bird in the freezer from the spring season that could make a tasty appetizer to serve at your Thanksgiving feast.

Joe Robison, DNR Wildlife Division southeast region supervisor, offers a great recipe for turning a wild bird into a delectable hors d’oeuvre.

“Cut your wild turkey breast into one-quarter or one-half-inch cubes and marinate them overnight in Italian dressing,” Robison said.

The next day, lightly coat the cubes in your favorite breading – Robison likes to use either Young’s or Drake’s batter mix – and lightly fry them in peanut oil. Serve them with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing or cocktail sauce.

Oven-Roasted Turkey

Wild turkeys, like these in Mackinac County, have made a highly successful comeback in Michigan and across the country. – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural ResourcesWild turkeys, like these in Mackinac County, has made a highly successful comeback in Michigan and across the country. – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The most traditional way to cook turkey, whether store-bought or wild, is to roast it in the oven. Two DNR staffers suggest their favorite ways to prepare an oven-roasted turkey.

Starkema Jackson, secretary with the Finance and Operations Division at the DNR’s Detroit Metro Customer Service Center, likes to use a boatload of butter in the preparation of her Thanksgiving turkey.

“I rub the outside of the turkey with butter and then sprinkle that butter layer with plenty of pepper, garlic powder and seasoning salt,” said Jackson. “Then I bake the turkey as directed on the packaging. With all that butter, the skin gets nice and crispy and so, so tasty!”

Jackson also places a stick of butter in the turkey’s body cavity instead of stuffing the bird with dressing. The butter melts down through the meat and adds a delicious rich flavor that her family loves.

Eric Hilliard, digital media specialist for the DNR Wildlife Division, roasts his turkey upside-down.

“We always cook our turkey upside-down so the breast soaks in the juices continually while it cooks,” Hilliard said. “This makes for a juicy, tender bird.”

Hilliard said he also stuffs the turkey with cut lemons and limes to give the turkey a zesty, citrusy flavor.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Perhaps one of the most popular trends in cooking turkey is to deep-fry the bird. Robison is a big fan of this method for his holiday fowl because the crispy skin and deep-fried flavor is a favorite in his family.

Deep-frying is best with a turkey that is fresh or has been completely thawed. While heating the oil in your deep fryer to 375 degrees, pat the turkey dry with paper towels to reduce any excess moisture. Then, season as you like.

“I sprinkle Cajun seasoning on the skin and then drop it carefully in the fryer,” Robison said. “Then I cook it for three and a half minutes per pound.”

When deep-frying, read turkey fryer instructions carefully to prevent fire or injury.

Carnitas-Style Turkey

Jeremiah Heise’s carnitas-style turkey makes a terrific, tasty turkey taco. – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

DNR Saginaw and Bay County wildlife biologist Jeremiah Heise created this recipe and has used both wild turkey and duck to prepare it, though really any meat could be used. This easy slow-cooker recipe makes a delightful turkey taco, burrito or enchilada.

“Carnitas-style turkey can be enjoyed as a replacement in dishes that would normally call for regular carnitas or taco meat – in enchiladas or burritos, on nachos, or in soft or hard taco shells,” said Heise.

Heise likes to serve this turkey dish with salsa verde, sour cream, diced cilantro, green onions and lime wedges.

Carnitas-style turkey ingredients

  • 2 wild turkey breasts and/or de-boned thigh and leg meat
  • 2 12-oz. cans lager beer (3-4 12-oz. cans if using the thigh and leg meat)
  • 1-2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large white onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4-6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1.5 teaspoon salt

*Liquid in the recipe will be reduced, so it is important to limit the amount of sodium added at the beginning of the cooking process; it is best to season to taste at the end of the cooking process.

Carnitas-style turkey directions

  • Place turkey meat in a slow cooker.
  • Add diced onion, chopped red pepper, smashed garlic and spices.
  • Add beer and enough stock to fully cover meat.
  • Place slow cooker on high to bring to boil, then reduce heat to low.
  • Cook four to six hours or until tender.
  • Remove turkey meat and shred.
  • Add all contents, including liquid, to a heavy pot.
  • Place pot on stove-top over medium-high heat to begin evaporating excess liquid.
  • When most of the liquid is evaporated, add olive or vegetable oil and sauté until oil has evenly coated meat and meat has begun to crisp.
  • Take that tender turkey meat and wrap it in a taco shell, spread it on nachos, or roll it in an enchilada or burrito and enjoy!

You can find a variety of wild turkey and other wild game recipes on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s After the Hunt webpage.

We hope we’ve given you some ideas for a great turkey meal this year. From the DNR family to yours, we hope your holiday is truly special, and that you take time to head outdoors this Thanksgiving!

Assuming all that turkey hasn’t put you to sleep, it’s a great time to head out for a day of deer hunting or a nice hike on a nearby trail.

Find out more about turkey hunting in Michigan at Michigan.gov/Hunting.


Related Reading

Top Delicious Michigan Foods – A Story – Michigan foods are blessed with such variance in culture and ingredients that you can’t pin down any specific Michigan foods as being “the” iconic favorite

Climate Change in the Great Lakes – NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reported that November 2019 was the planet’s second warmest November since record-keeping began in 1880.

Ways to Stay Connected (And Check On Seniors) While Social Distancing – Staying connected while socially and physically isolated is important for both mental and physical health. Make a plan to check on parents and friends on a regular basis.

A Summer Weekend in Detroit, Mich. – A photo essay of Detroit by writer and photographer Keith King

Climate Change in the Great Lakes

It was December 1st, 2012, and I was listening to no less than three lawnmowers running in my neighborhood in the suburbs north of Detroit. I refused to participate. I’ll admit it was tempting to neaten things up a bit but somehow the idea of running a lawnmower in the same month as Christmas at this latitude strikes me as wrong. What is going on? 

Fast forward to December 2019, here we are again. Temps in the upper 50s in late December and I hear leaf blowers in the neighborhood, not snow blowers. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reported that November 2019 was the planet’s second warmest November since record-keeping began in 1880. NASA also considered November 2019 as the second hottest November on record, a scant 0.04°C behind the record-setting November 2015.


Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Levels

Entrance to Caseville Harbor Michigan in 2012

Back in 2012, it was feared that up to 30 small harbors in Michigan would not open the following year due to low water levels on the Great Lakes. The Caseville harbor was about 18 inches away from being worthless. When we were up for Thanksgiving I noticed a large crane at the Huron Yacht Club (HYC) staged for dredging. The water was below the break wall at the HYC and some portions of the wall at Hoys Marina are in danger of being undermined because the water is no longer holding up the wall. I seriously wondered if we could be able to get Trillium (A 27’ Catalina Sailboat with a 4’ keel) out in the spring.


Climate Change Forces Action Many Will Not Like

Caseville Harbor During Low Water in 2012

Now seven years later in 2019, we have the effect in reverse. Due to high rainfall over the entire Great Lakes region, we have near-record water levels in all of the lakes.


What is the Definition of Climate Change

Simply put it’s a change in global or regional climate patterns. Particularly a change apparent from the mid to late 1900s onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human use of fossil fuels. Climate change also refers to notable changes in global temperature, rainfall, wind patterns and other measures of climate that occur over several decades.


Climate Change and Relationships

It was the 1st of December 2012 and a balmy 52F. Fast forward to December 26th, 2019 and the high was 58F. When I was 10 years old in 1974 we had almost 2 feet of snowfall in Detroit in December. That was the second-highest snowfall ever recorded. The dads in the neighborhood all piled into a Pontiac Bonneville to make a beer run and the moms made chili and toddy’s and gathered at the house at the end of the street to sled on their huge hilly driveway and otherwise goof off. Nowadays the weather would never deliver such a break and I would still be expected to log in remotely and do a day’s work via the Internet and cell phone. Have we lost some of the civility with climate change and technology?


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