My Tooth Decay Prevention Plan – Goal to Stay Out of the Dental Chair

My Goal to Stay Out of the Dental Chair

I hate going to the dentist.  I mean really, HATE it. Yes, I know its necessary, but I want to spend as least amount of time and money in there as possible.  Truth be told, I’m probably nearly phobic about going.  And I know I’m not alone in that.

I am diligent about going for cleanings and checkups every 6 months, with the goal being to actually stay out of the dental chair, not needing procedures.  I do want healthy teeth and gums, especially as I age, and of course I don’t want bad breath.

I’ve recently been researching and implementing some natural methods to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, in order to keep myself out that chair, at least as much as possible.  I would like to share a few things I’ve been learning along the way, in hopes that it may help you and your family as well.

My first step was reading a book about curing tooth decay (link at the bottom of this post).  I cannot recommend this book highly enough for literally everyone to read, but especially those who are prone to cavities and parents of children.   For me, this is a life changing one!  Much of it has to do with nutrition.

Homademade Toothpaste to Help Re-Mineralize Teeth

1/3 cup of Bentonite Clay
1/4 cup of boiling water
1 Tablespoon of coconut Oil
1/4 teaspoon of Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon of stevia
15 Drops of Thieves blend Essential oil
10 Drops of Peppermint Essential oil

Each ingredient provides a very real benefit to your teeth and gums (except the stevia, which is to help with the taste).  Simply mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon.  You don’t want to use metal on any of this toothpaste.  Then place in small glass jar.   This will be good to use for several months.

The clay helps pull toxins out of the body, coconut oil has wonderful anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties for oral health.  The Real Salt provides natural minerals.  The Thieves essential oil contains antibiotic qualities and is good for germ killing.  The peppermint oil helps to freshen breath.

When I use this I use a small wooden stick to scoop out a bit and place on my toothbrush, instead of putting my toothbrush directly into the whole batch.  This avoids introducing germs to the batch.

When I first found the recipe, I couldn’t imagine brushing my teeth with it, it sounded horrible.  But actually, it really doesn’t taste bad, it is very chalky in texture however.  I’m amazed how clean my teeth feel after brushing with it!

After brushing and flossing my teeth, I use Life Extension Advanced Oral Hygiene, which is an oral probiotic that aids beneficial bacteria and helps resist harmful bacteria when it first develops in the mouth.  Not only does it help with oral health, it also fights bad breath.

Lastly, I’m taking a supplement called Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend, recommended by the author of the book below.

I’ll post an update to this blog post after my next dentist visit to see what they have to say about the changes I’ve made, and how I progress in my goal to stay out of the dental chair.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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Exploring Graphic Design as A Career From Home

Exploring Graphic Design as A Career From Home

Choosing graphic design as a career can be one of the best options a person can have in their career life, especially for those with a strong artistic interest. There are many career options, but very few are as lucrative as graphic design can be. It provides wide options to students and equips them to work anywhere in the world, and in many environments, including from home in some cases.

A person could choose to launch their own business in desktop publishing. Self employment gives you the freedom to select your own projects (including getting free-lance work), set your own hours, and work on your own timetable. Some choose to have their office within their home, which can provide many excellent tax breaks.

A person could choose to launch their own business, pick up free- lance design work, and sometimes telecommute for a business as a designer.  The point is, there are options in this type of field.

To be able to train as a graphic designer, one needs to meet certain educational requirements. Most of these requirements are same, but at some point may partially vary, depending on the college of study and educational system. Some college admission require that a student have completed at least art and design courses, or that they submit their sketches and various art works for consideration.

Most colleges and universities offer graphic design courses at bachelors’ levels. At this point, students are equipped with skills necessary to enable them to work as entry level technicians, or some even in higher positions within the graphic design industry. The courses take four years to complete, and can be studied at any of the schools approved by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The course work in the curriculum include drawing, book design, typography, computer assisted design, photography, digital media and advanced graphic design.

Common Graphic Design Software Programs

Graphic design involves working on various software to enhance learning and improve quality of the work done by students. The software is very important and they must be included in the study syllabus to ensure students get the best education and experience for actual work. Some of the software programs include:

Adobe creative suite CS6 and above (otherwise known as Photoshop)
Corel Draw Graphic Suites
Xara designer pro X10
Serif PagePlus

Salary Projects for Graphic Designers

Being a graphic designer can come with some excellent salary packages, since the career is in high demand in so many business fields. Most people pay high prices to get their work done by these designers. The salary ranges are projections that could be found in some areas:

Creative directors $200,000
Production manager $80,000
Graphical user and Interface Designer $72,000
Web designer $60,000
Design director $135,000
Most of these job titles and salaries are determined by job title, level of education, parameter of job scope, where you work, and years of experience. The jobs associated with graphic design are many and in demand in the labor market.

Many graduates in these careers gain direct job placements through their schools, and receive good earnings from them. The jobs may include publishing and entertainment jobs; these include working in companies that print electronic media, magazines, books and newspapers among others. The main duties of graphic designers in this case include photo manipulation, advertising creation, typesetting and layout work.

Graduates can also work in advertising agencies; here they are always provided with brand strategy design on which they work and achieve some required target projects. If one gets a job from a large agency, they can some of the best salaries and work experience many times.

Design studios are also a good place to put skills to use. They vary in size and their employment opportunities. Their work involves creating logos, brochures and doing packaging among others business design projects. They provide clients with creative and artistic solutions for web and print media.

Corporate marketing departments can also provide fantastic job opportunities for this career. They market items such print work, brochures, training materials, promotional displays, advertising campaigns, create corporate annual reports and increase the corporate branding awareness in general.

With the above advantages, pursuing graphic design as a career choice can provide you with many opportunities to a earn living in a creative environment.

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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The Health Benefits of Quinoa & How to Make It

 The Health Benefits of Quinoa & How to Make It

 Quinoa (Chenopdium quinoa, or goosefoot) is rapidly becoming a favorite food among health conscious individuals, many vegans and vegetarians incorporating it regularly into their diets. It is becoming known as a superfood, or a supergrain. It is known to be an ancient grain originating in South America. It is pronounced “keen-wa”.

It is an annual plant with pretty red or burgundy spiked blooms before turning to seed. It can be grown quite easily in gardens in more northern regions where summers do not get too hot. Quinoa many times is used as a grain, or a grain substitute.

Іt is considered complete protein, which can be difficult to find in a plant source. This makes quinoa an amazing component to vegans and vegetarians diets, who can sometimes find it a challenge to get adequate protein intake.

It can be used in casseroles, salads, soups and stir fried meals. It’s also great as a hot breakfast cereal, and doesn’t usually leave someone feeling heavy and bloated.

The Whole Grains Counsel dedicates the month of March to Quinoa being the grain of the month.

Varieties of Quinoa

There may be literally hundreds of varieties of quinoa, but they usually fall into 3 broad range categories.

Black – The black varieties are usually harder to find due to its difficult growing conditions. therefore being less available than the other varieties. It has a slightly sweeter taste than the other varieties, and can add wonderful color, and visual interest to any dish.

Red – Red quinoa sometimes carry a tangier flavor and a bit crunchier texture. It carriers a slightly higher calorie and protein count as the gold variety. Again, with its color, adds beauty and a touch of creativity to any dish.

Gold – Gold or cream colored quinoa is the most common type you’ll find. It’s equally good in hot or cold dishes, as a breakfast cereal, or even used in baked goods. For many recipes using couscous, gold quinoa can easily be substituted.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Quinoa has the highest source of protein of any grain, packing an average of 16%. In addition to its rich source of protein, it also has Zinc, Phosphorus, Magnesium B1 (Thiamine), B6 and B2.

It is a great alternative for those needing to abide by a gluten free diet. It tends to help a person feel full longer, and can be beneficial to diabetics as well.

Taste and Texture of Quinoa

Quinoa has an outer coating of saponins which must be removed before eating. Most store bought quinoa has already been rinsed, removing the saponins (which can be quite bitter tasting), although a person can learn how to manually do this as well.

It is cooked much as you would rice, using double the amount of water to the amount of grain. Boil for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Set aside to absorb any left over liquid will give you a soft, fluffy texture (be sure to fluff with a fork). If it’s desired for a firmer texture, when removing from heat, pour into a strainer and rinse to cold water to stop further cooking.  It can also be cooked in a rice cooker appliance.

Delicious Veggie Quinoa Recipe

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1/2 ripe red bell pepper
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube or 1/2 T. of powdered version
  • 1 T. Coconut oil
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • Optional – dried cranberries or walnuts

Cook the quinoa in boiling water with the vegetable stock. While this is cooking, put coconut oil in a pan and simmer the onions and sweet bell peppers until tender. When both are finished cooking and the liquid is absorbed into the quinoa, pour into the sauteed vegetables, and add the salt, pepper and curry powder and allow to simmer about 5 minutes.

This recipe can easily be customized to include any vegetable, and many different spices and herbs. Other quinoa products are now available too, like quinoa flour, chips, and pasta to name a few. There are also some amazing cookbooks out there dedicated entirely to quinoa.  It might just become a staple in your family’s food.

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Care and Cleaning of Your Makeup Brushes


Care and Cleaning of Your Makeup Brushes

Time to clean the makeup brushes. It’s recommended to do so once a week or so, but even if you can’t do that frequency, do what you can. Using a daily brush cleaning spray will help.

It will take your brushes several hours to dry, so do this either morning or evening after they’ve been used, to give ample drying time.

So, why do we need to clean makeup brushes?
1. Clean brushes helps keep your cosmetics from getting contaminated with dirt, bacteria, skin oils and cells.
2. Protects the investment you made in your brushes.
3.  Helps to protect your face from breakouts and clogged pores associated with skin oil and cells, debris and bacteria.

All of these reasons are good ones to step up to  regular cleaning routine, that will save you money, time and your complexion. While you are at it, be sure to clean your beauty sponges as well.

To clean your beauty sponges, rinse with warm running water, add a drop of Dawn dish soap, squeeze and work into the sponge, then rinse with running warm water until the water runs clear.  Place on a clean towel to dry.

Supplies needed

  • Dawn dishwashing soap
  • Hair conditioner (optional)
  • Brand new kitchen sponge
  • Olive oil
  • Paper towels
  • Clean towel
  • Clear nail polish (optional)
  • Rubbing alcohol

Lay out a clean dry towel on the counter. Wet a new, clean kitchen sponge and squeeze the excess water out. Add a couple drops of Dawn dish soap to the sponge.

Take the brush you want to wash and gently wet it with warm water, taking care not to get the metal part of the brush wet. If it gets wet, it may shorten the life of your brush, as water could rust the inside of the brush and loosen the glue holding the bristles.

Gently squeeze out the excess water and start rubbing the brush on the sponge with Dawn. Brush and swirl, then rinse under running warm (not hot) top water, again taking care not to get the metal portion wet. Rinse until the water runs clear. You may need to swirl it around your hand some to help spread out the bristle to get thoroughly rinsed. If you want to, add a drop or two of hair conditioner and massage into the bristles, then rinse thoroughly again. Gently squeeze out excess water and lay flat to dry. Do not set them upright to dry, as this draws water into the metal holder of the brush.

For any brushes that have thick, sticky makeup on them, like one used for gel eyeliners, lipsticks or foundation types, pour a little olive oil onto a paper towel. Swirl these brushes in the olive oil first and rub on the paper towel to break up the product. Now wash using the same method above.

Take a paper towel and put some rubbing alcohol on it, and wipe down your brush handles. Often times, these get overlooked.

Here’s an optional care item for your makeup brushes too. After they are completely dry, take clear nail polish and paint on the brush’s manufacturer info and brush number to preserve that data from wearing off. It will help you if you ever need to find another identical brush.

This is also a good time to throw out old, falling apart brushes and brushes you simply don’t like,  and replace them.  I also got this cute makeup brush organizer to hold my nice and clean brushes in.

There you have it, and it feels so great to have those nice, clean makeup brushes staring back at you, next time you need to put on your cosmetics.

By Valerie Garner

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Seriously Good Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Seriously Good Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Hi again everyone,  Yesterday I made THE BEST, seriously best chocolate chip cookies ever.   You’ve got to try this recipe!



  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour 
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 ¼ cups  light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.  granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 packages bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks,  such as Ghirardelli
  • Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Although you can bake these cookies right away at 350° F. for 15 – 20 minutes (for a 3 oz large cookie, or an ice cream scoop size), they are best if allowed to set in the refrigerator 24-36 hours before cooking.  Alternatively, you could bake a sheet of them right away, then chill the remaining dough to bake more a day or two later.  This recipe also freezes well.

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients together and stir.  Using a heavy duty mixer, blend the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3- 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well in between additions. Add the vanilla and blend.  Next add the dry ingredients, blending until just mixed.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  The dough will be very thick.

For best results, make large cookies, 6 to a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on top of the individual cookies before baking.

When baking use parchment paper or a baking liner on your cookie sheet.  When done, place the baking liner with the cookies, on top of wire cooling racks and allow to cool about 15 minutes.  Then, remove them from the baking liner to cool completely on the wire racks.

If you haven’t tried or heard of yet, the Amazon pantry, you’ve got to check it out.  Great prices, low shipping groceries you commonly use, shipped directly to your door.  I love this service personally.

See you soon and enjoy your cookies!

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Ideas for Planning Fabulous Family Reunions

family reunion

family reunion

A family reunion can be the most passionate, emotionally charged, and memorable event for the members but it’s not ideal to plan at the last minute, or give an impression that the reunion got relegated to the bottom of your priority list. Sometimes, things slip out of mind, and you may not be able to work on the planned reunion during the year. The good news is that a fabulous family reunion is still possible. A little creativity and flexibility will reflect your commitment and care of planning the event for a very long time. Irrespective of what you do, don’t try to make things too complicated. Keeping things simple can hold the key to a memorable event. If you have to plan a family reunion at the last minute, the following  ideas can go a long way in making it a memorable event:

A Scavenger Hunt: this is one of the most memorable events that can be easily managed to foster the bonds between the family members. In fact, dining together can be very sentimental for a family and scavenger hunts will provide a delightful twist to those priceless moments. You can easily manage the event because you don’t need special arrangements. Irrespective of your family size, it will bring jots of joy and laughs to every member of the family.

Family Photo Sharing: family reunions are all about creating memories. You can include family photo sharing as the official event of proposed reunion. Mobile devices can be useful to share common selfies, but special photo booth with unique backgrounds, ideal characters, and funny props will make the event more exciting. Ask the members to come with their family photos so that they can share memories. Obviously, a portable scanner and laptop will be very useful in sharing photos.

Tell stories: even if you don’t make it an official event, the reunion won’t be complete without sharing stories. You can bring more fun by making it compulsory for everybody to share stories related to emotional, funny, silly or crazy events about themselves or other family members. These stories will definitely inspire the younger generations and reveal the pleasantly nostalgic activities of older members.

Hold a tournament: organize a game or tournament among the family members. The event will provide a chance to cooperate and work together. It will also revive playful rivalries among the siblings. The family members, who haven’t seen each other for some time, may resume conversations. Make sure that no one is left alone and there is something for every member, irrespective of his or her age. Some of the exciting game options include bag race, pool-noodle jousting, horseshoes, and bean bag toss.

Make it BYOF: when you are organizing a family reunion at the last moment, it may not be possible to hire a good caterer. If this is the case, you have only two options. Either a few family members are willing to take care of catering, or it’s a potluck where each family member is supposed to bring his or her favorite recipes to share with others. If you are in favor of a potluck, even picnic style, plan your family reunion at a park, lakeside, or other natural surroundings, which is free for public use without any rental obligations.

The Commonality Game: this is another interesting game for family members, and the winning prize can make it more interesting. Make a list of certain characteristics or personal traits specifically observed in children who are born in one family or have a specific hair color. The participating family members will be required to check off these characteristics when they find that other family members may also share the same characteristics. The one who checks the maximum number of characteristics within stipulated time wins the game and associated prize. Make sure to keep things simple and interesting so that every family member can find at least something in common. For example, eye color, number of appendages, or number of siblings can be interesting characteristics of such a list.

Head Out to an Amusement Park:  children love amusement park, and it can be quite fun for every member in the family. You can plan to spend a few hours or the whole day at a nearby amusement park. The interesting part is that you enjoy more fun at an affordable price because amusement parks offer discounts when you buy tickets as a group. You don’t have to plan anything except driving to the park, beeches or other desired locations to enjoy your family reunion!

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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How to Host a Fantastically Low-Stress Dinner Party

Host Low Stress Dinner Party

There are many occasions for which a dinner party is a perfect celebration: a new home, a new job, a big promotion—or just a Friday night when you’d like to get together with your favorite friends and acquaintances. Hosting a dinner party yourself also has many benefits that attending someone else’s dinner party does not have: you pick the food, you pick the music, and, most importantly, you pick the guests. At a dinner party that you host yourself, there is no chance of an awkward encounter with someone you meant to never see again.
However, even though this type of stress is eliminated when you host your own dinner party, there are myriad other factors that can make hosting a very stressful endeavor. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to host both a memorable and low-stress dinner party.

Don’t Try To Do Too Much
The most important thing to remember when hosting a dinner party is to keep it as simple as possible, while still offering the high style and entertainment that your guests will appreciate. Choose to either make an extraordinary, stand-out cocktail, or an hors d’oeuvres that will keep everyone talking for the week to come. Don’t try to do both. It is OK to pick up appetizers at a local restaurant.

Additionally, don’t go overboard on the cocktails that you serve at the party. It is much better to choose a super simple, delicious cocktail that is a breeze to make.

Spend Time on the Guest List
Carefully selecting the guests who will attend the party is essential for the party to go off without a hitch. It is important to take your time to think about how the particular guests interact with each other—what they have in common and what they may conflict on. Try to choose guests who will have many topics to discuss with each other so there is a wealth of conversation opportunities and little to no chance of dreaded awkward silences over drinks and dinner.

Avoid choosing many people who are strangers, and if you do invite people who have never met, make sure that they have a mutual friend or other means of connecting one-to-one at the party. It is also a good idea to begin building your guest list by choosing one person who is your “anchor guest.” This is a person who is specifically chosen as the life of the party, and preferably someone who has a great sense of humor and can make everyone laugh. Every party needs this person.

Recruit Lots of Help
Don’t try to do it all on your own! Find friends or family members that are great cooks, amateur mixologists, or who can simply lend a hand when you need one. If you try to do everything yourself at your dinner party, not only will you be extremely stressed, but there will come a time when you simply cannot meet all of the needs of your guests and the party will suffer. While you are making drinks, someone else should be handling the music, while someone else makes sure the house stays tidy. These helpers can be close friends who are guests of the party, who simply aid you in running things more smoothly and with less stress. Plus, when you’re holding a dinner party, it is important to have time to relax and enjoy yourself (as impossible as it may seem). You should enjoy your guests’ company and, when necessary, be able to take a couple of minutes to yourself. That is where party helpers come in very handy.

Make the Entrée Ahead of Time
Carefully select an entrée that tastes even better if it is left to sit overnight. Examples include a braise or a stew. Just having this huge portion of the dinner set aside and ready to go the night before the party will take an enormous weight off your shoulders and allow you to rest easy. This type of meal tastes better when it has been sitting for a while, so your guests won’t feel cheated. Then all you have to do is heat the meal for about thirty minutes during cocktails.

Make Dessert Ahead of Time
Another portion of the meal that you can make ahead of time is the dessert. Choose something that will not melt, like a cake or pudding, that you can make the day before the party. This is essential because the dessert course is when the party will be beginning to wind down, and it is important that you are present to thank guests for coming and not off in the kitchen.
With all of these simple tips for hosting your next dinner party, it is sure to be both beautiful and stress-free!

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Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

Are dishwashers eco-friendly? The latest studies indicate that dishwashers manufactured in the last ten years are very energy-efficient. If you only run the dishwasher when it is full and do not pre-wash the dishes before you place them in the dishwasher, the machine uses about 50 percent less electrical energy and about 80 percent less water. Therefore, using a dishwasher is often eco-friendly. If you only have a few dishes, however, wash them by hand in the sink.

Unlike sink dish detergent, many dishwasher detergents contain chemicals.  For that reason, there are many folks who opt to make their own dishwasher detergent, from milder ingredients.

Whether you choose to make your own homemade dishwasher detergent or use a commercial product, you need to clean out the machine at least once a month so that it continues to work properly. If your dishes are not getting totally clean, it may be because the dishwasher needs to be cleaned.

Over time, bits of food particles and grease can build up in the appliance.  Additionally, given the warm, moist environment, mold and mildew and bacteria can form around the seal.

This scenario led me to a beautiful accident of creating my own version of a dishwashing detergent. I would like to share this experience of my recipe.


Makes approximately 2-3 dozen pucks


1 ½ cups citric acid

1 cup washing soda

1 cup coarse salt


  1. Mix all the ingredients together, then allow to set an hour until bubbling starts to appear in the mixture.
  1. When the bubbling begins, start stirring it well, then begin spooning it into ice cube trays evenly.  Pack down the mixture lightly. Every now and then, dampen it with your hands and then proceed tamping each puck down.  If the shape doesn’t quite fit in your machine, they can also be simply tossed into the bottom of the machine.
  1. In about an hour, fizzing of the pucks will start to happen, it will then turn into hard pucks. Start popping them out of the trays, and break the hard edges off so it will fit into the container in the dishwasher.
  1. Store in a container that is tightly sealed. Remember to just use one puck for each load.

Whether you are concerned about the health of our waterways or are merely trying to keep your septic system working properly, it is a good idea to choose a dishwasher detergent that does not contain toxic ingredients.

Using too much dishwasher detergent, whether it is commercial or homemade, will make your dishes dull and dingy. My very efficient dishwasher requires only one tablespoon of detergent. If your dishwasher has a detergent dispenser and a rinse dispenser, fill the rinse dispenser with vinegar to help prevent mineral buildup on your dishes and glassware, and give a nice shine to glassware.

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Help Kids Make Hand Painted Mugs as Gifts for Any Occasion

Hand painted mug

Ask any grandparent, teacher, or close family friend and she’ll tell you that the gifts that mean the most are the ones that come from the heart, and hands, of a child. These one-of-a-kind presents,  will be cherished for years.

For kids, giving a present that no one else can give and they made themselves, is enough to make them swell with pride. And it’s the perfect holiday solution: although their buying power may be limited, their imaginations are not. With a simple idea and a few supplies, any child will experience the thrill that comes from giving.

This is also a great lesson about gift giving, being generous, and that the holidays are not just about what they receive.

Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, we’re sure they’ll be inspired by the easy and endearing gifts on the ideas below.

Helpful tips for painting mugs

· I recommend china paint such as the Porcelain 150 which are specifically designed for metal, glass or ceramic.

· Kits for painting mug which can be bought from craft stores be careful about.  Sometimes the fine print says the mugs can only be used for display only.

When you’re starting to paint, let one color dry first before putting the second color on. For older kids, this could be a fun activity to do even without the help of adults. But if smaller children are going to do this activity, be sure there is adult help available when they need it.

· In making or creating your designs, keep in mind to keep it simple.  Encourage creativity.  Perhaps have some pictures nearby of various designs for inspiration and ideas.

· When you want add words or draw pictures, consider using small stencils.  Have a pouncer or stencil brush on hand.

Let’s get started!

Materials needed

  • Paper in covering the work surface
  • Paint markers and/or china paint
  • Plain mugs (white ones are recommended)
  • Jar containing water
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil, stencil tape, stencil brushes/foam pouncers
  • Prepare an oven on the side (after 24 hours, depending on the type of paint you use, read manufacturer’s directions).  Pebeo Porcelaine 150 china paints at baked at 150 degrees for 35 minutes.


1. Using a paper, start covering the work area or surface then set the mugs out. Make sure that the mugs are clean and dry and free from dirt or any other substance on it.

2. Think of a design or an image that you want to put then start painting the mug. Let the first color dry first before proceeding to the next one. If you make a mistake, do not panic. Wipe it immediately but carefully off with water on a paper towel.

3. If it’s a child who is doing the artwork, be of assistance by doing small sections at a time in order to avoid smudges.

4. When you are happy with what you have painted on the mug, let it dry for 24 hours.  You may need to bake it in an oven, depending on the paint brand used.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

6. Remove the mug carefully until it cools. Enjoy your newly designed mug!

Let the child wrap their special gift and top with a bow.

This would also be a fun project to do every year around the holidays for a child, highlighting life events that occurred that year.  It would show also a progression of skill and maturity with each passing year.


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Frosted Orange Sweet Rolls Recipe

Frosted Orange Sweet Rolls

Here’s a scrumptious recipe for Frosted Orange Sweet Rolls with rich cream cheese icing, that would be perfect for a weekend brunch or simply as a special treat for any occasion or alone.

This one will be cooked in a 10 inch cast iron skillet, which is amazing cookware and goes far beyond just frying bacon and eggs. Check out these tips on how to properly care for your cast iron cookware.


Frosted Orange Sweet Rolls Recipe


  • 4 T. softened butter
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  • 1 cup warm water – close to 120 degrees
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 package yeast (1/4 oz)
  • 6 T. melted butter
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 T. orange zest
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • vegetable oil small amount

In a bowl mix the warm water, melted butter, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, powdered milk, yeast, and orange zest.  With a mixer, beat at a low speed until it is dough.  Put this dough in another large bowl, lightly brush the top of the dough with vegetable oil and cover with a clean cloth.  Allow this to sit for the yeast to rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour.  It should double in size.

Take the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead dough about 6 minutes.  Roll with a rolling pin into a 12X20 inch rectangle.

In a small bowl combine the orange marmalade and ginger.  Spread this evenly, all the way to the edges of the rolled dough.  On the long side, roll tightly into a log shape, then place it seam down on a safe-to-cut surface.  Cut into 2 inch rolls.

Spray a 10 inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray or olive oil and place rolls in the pan.  Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rest another hour in a warm, draft-free place.   About 45 minutes in, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put the skillet in the oven and bake about 35 minutes until lightly brown.

Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm.  In a bowl with your mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  On low speed add the powdered sugar, then beat on high until fluffy.  Spread over warm rolls and serve.  Yummy!


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