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August 2017

The more activities we share with our children the richer, fuller lives they will enjoy and the happier they will be overall. One such activity that can be shared with our children is the joy of baking and making cupcakes!

Cupcakes are a great cooking activity to share with children because the endavor consists of many choices. Choices help give children the opportunity to really feel confident about their likes, dislikes and areas that they can feel free to express their creative juices.

With cupcakes, one can purchase the boxed mixes or one can try to make them from scratch following a favorite recipe or experimenting with new recipes each time a new batch is made. If you decide to choose a new recipe with each new batch, this can be the first fun choice for your child to make! He or she can choose which new recipe sounds best to their liking. Do they want to make "Sally's Extra Fluffy Cupcakes" or "Carla's Famous Cupcake Swirls"? This choice alone will change the outcome of one of their favorite dessert tricks.

Then on to the toppings! What do they want to ornament their cupcakes with: frosting, fudge, sprinkles, and shavings? One, a combination, or how about all of the above? This gives children many choices. In addition, when baking cupcakes the majority of people tend to bake more than one at a time giving children typically eight blank dessert pallets to become the creative artist they are in their mind. The first "masterpiece" may be slathered with chocolate frosting and carefully placed chocolate chips arranged in a smiley face! The next a vanilla lover's paradise with multi-colored sprinkles enticing the onlooker to take a bit. And, if one's child is hesitant or reluctant to get started, then the parent can help by starting a few themselves!

Even cleaning up is a great part of the fun! There are mixing dishes to clean up, but if you tell your children as they help what a wonderful help they are to you, how you appreciate their help so much, and how much you enjoy doing things with them, they will for sure love helping ! They will feel good about helping, feel proud about it, and even end up volunteering to find other things that they can do, non-related to the project to help out. Children want to feel good, if they know what pleases their parent they will continue to find things to do so.

Making cupcakes with children can be more than a simple baking experience. It can be an opportunity for children to feel free exploring their creativity without any restrictions. It can be a way for them to feel as though what they have created will be accepted and enjoyed by others; an essential lesson to learn. It can also be a way for children to feel appreciated. Feel as though their help, their efforts are things to be valued, and things that can help to improve their sense of self. It can also help them realize what they like to do, what they do not like to do and so many other great possibilities! So why not make some cupcakes tonight!

Source by Brock Hamilton

CIGNA Dental Insurance is available in six different levels of coverage. Depending on what your employer offers you can choose from a plan that reimburses you a portion of your dental costs to an all inclusive plan that does not even have a deductible. These dental plans are offered in addition to CIGNA healthcare plans and are currently only available through an employer sponsored plan. To receive this benefit you must contact your human resource department to request this type of coverage.

The best plan offered by CIGNA dental insurance is the DHMO plan. With this plan you choose a dentist from their network of providers and use them exclusively for your dental work. There are no deductions and no yearly maximum for services. Most of the preventive services do not have co-pays and referrals are not necessary for orthodontic care. You will receive two yearly visits and cleanings, x-rays and pediatric dental services for no extra cost. Enrollee’s will also receive a membership into CIGNA Healthy Rewards program. This program will save members up to 65% off of other non traditional health services such as acupuncture and weight management programs.

CIGNA dental insurance also offers a dental savings plan for those who do not have full dental coverage. The CIGNA Plus Savings Plan is not insurance coverage but rather a membership in a savings plan. By providing your membership card to any of the 76,000 registered dentists on the plan you will enjoy deep discounts on all your dental work. These discounts are pre negotiated through CIGNA and can save the individual a considerable sum over a short period of time. Since this is a savings plan there are no insurance forms to fill out or deductibles to pay. You also do not have to worry about preexisting conditions, frequency of visits or a maximum amount of benefits for the year.

Source by Irene King Jones

Charm bracelets have been around for thousands of years, but the trend for wearing them has changed and developed dramatically during this time.

For instance, one of the most iconic images of a charm bracelet is that of famed jeweller Tiffany and Co, who introduced their first charm bracelet in 1889. This was a silver link bracelet with just one charm, a dangling heart. This heart charm has since gone on to become something of a trademark for Tiffany’s.

Charm bracelets and the wearing of charms dates back as far as 600 BC with materials such as clay and bone being used. It is also thought that back then charms were worn as a sort of talisman to represent good luck and fight off evil spirits.

The meaning and functionality of charm bracelets has also changed with time. In wartime, soldiers would bring home charms as a form of trinket for their loved ones, something made by a local craftsman that could be kept and worn as a memento of the place in which the soldier saw action. The 1950s saw these bracelets popularised by children, who would collect charms to represent different events and special occasions that occurred as they were growing up.

However, the latest incarnation of charm bracelets have been largely created in Europe, particularly Denmark where the brand Trollbeads led the resurgence during the seventies. These charm bracelets were of a modular design, meaning that charms were built to fit a particular threaded system employed by that make. For example, Pandora, another Danish jeweller and currently the market leader with over 900 different types of charms, uses a patented system which means their charms will not fit on other bracelets. These systems also ensure that charms fit securely onto their intended bracelet, where they can be added and removed with ease.

In addition, many charm companies include optional spacers or clips, which are a form of smaller charm that remain in a fixed position on the bracelet as a way of sectioning off charms and stopping them from sliding around the bracelet. Other brands that use threading systems in their bracelet design include Lovelinks by Aagaard, Chamilia and Links of London.

Despite Europe leading the charge when it comes to manufacturing these charm systems, they have also proved to be hugely popular in North America. The main draw of these more modern charm systems is the versatility they offer. Bracelets are still available as chain links, and these can take a limited number of dangling charms. However, more common are the solid bracelets which charms can be twisted onto. The bracelets are typically available in polished silver, oxidised silver, gold and sometimes leather.

Likewise the charms are crafted from a number of different materials and this, along with their design can affect the price greatly. Typically charms, or beads as they are sometimes referred to, are made from sterling silver, but are also available with enamel detail, semi-precious stones and gemstones, 14k gold and even wood.

Source by Anita Hale

Ballroom dancing is an elegant art form with some styles spanning back centuries of years. Today ballroom dance is regaining it's popularity with the American people partly because of main stream network TV shows showcasing dances such as the Waltz, FoxTrot and Tango.

In this article I want to look at the six main styles of the American ballroom and give you a little bit of history about each one.

The Waltz

The oldest of all ballroom dance styles the Waltz is said to have originated in the early 1830 from a German folk dance known as the Lander. The first version of the Waltz was known as the Waltzer and is said to have been one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite dances. Today it's still an elegant dance done in very formal settings.

The Tango

A younger dance then the Waltz the tango originated from Argentina, so is often referred to as Argentine Tango. It first started gaining popularity in the early 1900's before world war I when it was introduced to Europe. It is a very exotic dance said to get it's start in the Ghetto of Buenos Aires. The American Tango is said to be a more structured version of the Argentine Tango which was more of an illustration of the dancers interpretation of music.

The Swing

There are several styles to the swing. The west coast and east coast swing are the most standard. Usually when you think swing it's a style more so then an exact dance that first became popular in the 1920's. While there are some specific styles of swing dance taught in different classes around the country, the east coast swing is the most popular in most ballrooms.

The Rhumba

Originating as a mix mash of several Cuban dances it's been danced in American ballrooms since about the second world war. The hip motion of this dance is the most noticeable point and is the main part of the dance that has stuck with the style from it's Cuban roots.

The Cha Cha

With deep origins in the West Indies and from a plant that is used to make a Cha-cha, a maraca type instrument played in Hatian bands, the Cha Cha emerged as a dance style danced along to music of typical Voodoo bands. As a close relative to the Mambo it has latin origins and was first introduced to the United States around 1954. Ever since it's been a staple style of the ballroom.

The FoxTrot

It's one of the smoothest of ballroom styles and makes use of the entire dance floor. The foxtrot is believed to have been developed from a dancing act in New York around 1914. It was one of the first dancers where partners danced closer and ragtime music was being incorporated into the ballroom. Still today the foxtrot is a favorite, often seen as the first dance at weddings.

Source by Debbie Baker

Portland Oregon, also known by other names such as “Rose Garden” and “Little Beirut” is a large city that occupies an important place in Multnomah County and has a population upwards of 500,000. The city’s location close to such notables like Seattle Washington and Vancouver makes it an attraction for students, businessmen and people looking to settle. This makes the area apartments a hot item with applications being submitted on a daily basis. To adhere to housing laws, Portland apartments conduct routine credit and rental history checks on potential tenants. This essentially means that if your credit score is low or you have a prior broken lease with a previous apartment, you may be denied an apartment in Portland Oregon.

The fact that there exists a standard practice of checking credit and rental history in Portland area apartments, it does not mean that there will not be apartments that will not work with problem applicants. While they may be few, they do exist nevertheless. Many applicants with bad credit or broken lease report a level of frustration when searching but if you fall into this category, here are a few areas with the city that you can look for second chance apartment:

  • Northwest including Pearl District
  • South West
  • Northeast
  • Southeast and more…

The reason it is difficult to locate second chance Portland apartments is because they do not get into the routine practice of advertising. One reason they do this is because they want to maintain their quality rating and also be able to keep their rates high. They also want to maintain a reputation of renting only to the most financially-stable tenants. This generally means that a casual search of apartments which approve applicants who are credit-challenged may yield disappointing results.

One method then that can be used to locate these types of apartments in Portland Oregon is learning to network. This means sharing with others who have been in similar situations. This is because they may have helpful ideas as to where one can locate an a leasing office manager who is understanding or lenient or apartments which are willing to overlook credit shortcomings. Another option is to utilize the power of the Internet to search and locate potential apartments and then call them ahead of time. You can also contact apartment locators and see whether they can offer any helpful insights as to which apartments would be willing to work with you.

It is also essential to bear in mind that even when you do find such an apartment, there will be basic requirements to meet. One is that you must have a job and have had it at least 6 months. Another is that your job must be paying you at least 3 times the amount of the rent and thirdly, you may have to go through a background check.

Source by Jimmy Jamm

As the pending Southern Hemisphere winter knocks on our doorstep we are faced with many minor headways through our properties; But none are more annoying than the build up of mold in bathrooms and laundries.

Last season was an exceptionally cold winter for us and the amount of heavily built up mold that I saw in bathrooms and laundries was at monumental levels. The crazy thing, it does not have to be! There are a few simple tricks to keeping mold from taking over your bathroom and potentially damaging paintwork (which could create bond issues for tenants) and and more importantly health.

Mold removal should be part of any cleaning routine and must be kept in check to reduce its likelihood for growth. After 10 years in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, one thing I have had a lot of experience with is mold; We used to get mold in everything, and I mean everything. If you are old enough to remember back to VHS video tapes, even they would get mold in them.

So, what to do about controlling mold during the coming winter? – If you have a bathroom fan, make sure you use it. Always turn on the bathroom fan while you shower and be sure to leave it run long enough after you have finished to help moisture leave the bathroom.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have the good old IXL Tastic (heat, fan, and light) make sure you have it on, the heater globes will help keep the moisture build up to a minimum while the fan will carry out the Obvious work.

If you only have a window, then be sure to make sure to open it a little. I know the thought of this is not much fun in 2 degree weather, but its paramount to keep the moisture build up from steam to a minimum – this of course goes for laundries too, especially while running dryers. Another good idea while running a dryer is to make sure the laundry door is open, it will not only allow for ventilation but assist in keeping the home warmer.

Finally, if (and when, as you will not always be able to keep mold at bay) have a spray bottle of bleach, not the expensive stuff, but the simple homebrand bleach. It costs near nothing and a few short and sharp squirts on the affected area will generally kill the mold in its tracks. No need to spray and scrub, just squirt on and leave, ideally when the area is dry, not just after a shower as it will dilute and be less effective.

These simple tricks should help you survive the mold attack that has become so prevalent during long and chilly winters.

It's also worth noting that as a tenant you may very likely become responsible for any damage caused by mold. If not controlled and left unchecked, mold can eat through paintwork and even the walls. So control any mold that is starting to appear now, and this will help keep the unsightly growth away and may just help your health, too!

Source by Guy D Besley

Everyone likes success in their life. However, Success is not a fairy tale that revolves around the element of miracle and imagination. Rather, a person has to pass through the realities of life to understand what is success. As the two eyes are essential for biological life, there exist three 'I's which are indispensable for successful life. Certainly, the possession and employment of them ensure achievement and contentment of any individual. They also help to bring discipline and efficiency in all walks of our life. The three 'I's are discussed hereunder.

Interest : A person should develop the interest in whatever he does. Else, not only the efforts and time spent will be in vain but breeds discontent among the surrounding people. In the same way, over-enthusiasm is also not preferred. Maintaining the interest in anything needs grit and tenacity of the person.

Initiative forms the second step in reaching the desired target. Having interest alone does not suffice to get the result. One should take efforts to plan well and expend the resources, including the time and faith in others. Moreover, one must take new and consistent steps to overcome any foreseeable adversities. Remaining optimistic with a positive mindset tends to produce new ideas.

Involvement . This is the critical stage for guaranteeing success, and it refers to 'Staying alert and sticking to the set course of actions.' In case of any setback or deviation, there will not be any loss of interest or initiative. Rather, the determined mind keeps faith and moves ahead with confidence. Because Persistent efforts produce success extremely.

Simply having interest would not yield results unless a person takes concerted efforts to stick to that and continue in that direction without any loss of focus. The effects of the three 'I's can be understood with an example.

A gardener keeps working without bothering about who visits the garden and how much wages he gets. Because he has a deep interest and attachment to the task and takes all initiatives to grow all species of plants and trees. His involvement in the garden is immense that he never feels it as a work or duty but enjoys it. Naturally, the owner of the garden is not only bound to appreciate and reward his sincere servant but bears the responsibility to take care of the welfare of the gardener.

Success by itself Can not be the life but sweetens the latter. Anything that helps in the spread of peace and happiness in the world amounts to success.

Source by Mohan Thulasingam

A property that has a well manicured lawn has one of the best opportunities at showing pride in ownership than any other outdoor technique.

For one thing, there is a large upswing in the priority that homeowners place in their outdoor living spaces.

Therefore, the landscaping of your front yard (especially) as well as that of your back yard should look its very best when it's selling time. Your landscaping will make a huge contribution to the resale value of your home, so make sure that it's doing its best to help you out.

In fact, studies have shown that when the landscaping of a home is in excellent condition, it can sell for about 4 to 5 percent higher, while homes with landscaping in very poor condition can sell for 8 to 10 percent less. That's a huge difference in the overall selling price of your home.

You might be wondering exactly how much time you should dedicate to sprucing up the landscape of your property. How much time and money is worth it for your sale?

Even if you put a minimal amount of money, effort, and time in to your landscaping, it will help you in selling your home, and sometimes even getting a boost in the selling price. Every effort you make will help.

However, do not overdo it. Remember that it's not a selling feature; It's only something to help the overall appeal of your property, so that the other selling features will be better appreciated.

You should keep your lawn mowed so that it is even, and neatly short. Keep it well weeded, as these will only appear as blemishes to your landscaping. Make sure to use a weed eater to do the edges, as this gives your work a superior finish touch.

If there are any "bald" patches in your lawn, buy a small bag of seed and care for the spot, filling it in. This is especially important if you have a dog who digs or who leaves "pet damage" where s / he does his or her business.

After you fill in the dead spots that your dog has left, make sure to water the areas after your dog "waters," to prevent new dead patches from forming. Watering the areas will dilute the urine to stop it from burning the grass.

This effort makes an immeasurable difference in the overall malnutrition of the house, and the impression that it will leave potential buyers.

Source by Jan Nicholas

When I was asked by the Department of Health and Welfare in the state of Idaho to parent two foster children I assumed parenting them would come naturally. I had three children of my own so how difficult could parenting children really be? My foster daughters had an abusive, controlling father but their bi-polar mother loved and cared for them the best she could. Their mother had purposely placed the girls in foster care to make sure they were well cared for while she dealt with her husband's recent incarceration, her pending divorce, her recent miscarriage and long-term mental health issues.

I soon learned that because of the trama foster children go through both before coming into foster care and while in foster care, they often need more medical, dental and mental health care than children who are raised from birth by their biological parents. Foster children often have learning and social difficulties that may affect their relationships at school with teachers and peers. As a result, it takes an extreme amount of patience and love to care for foster children properly. There are five smart things you can do to ensure your foster parenting success.

Be Honest with Yourself

Be honest with yourself regarding your parenting limits. Since you have a choice about the types of foster children you will allow into your home make a list of the specific child-related criteria that you know you can handle successfully. For instance, decide whether you feel comfortable parenting infants, toddlers, grade-schoolers, or teens. Also list out the specific types of physical and mental health impairments you feel comfortable addressing. Remember to consider the various backgrounds (history of abuse, exposed to drugs, neglected, mentally ill parents, etc.) a foster child may come from, take note of the parenting issues that may arise from these situations, and write down which issues you Feel confident handling.

Common Law Liability

Before becoming a foster parent make sure you research the laws of your state regarding common law liability. In many states, under common law foster parents can be held accountable for the violent or malicious actions of the foster children in their care just, as their biological parents would be. You have the right to know the background of the children or teenagers you will be bringing into your home. Make sure to find out if the child or teen has a history of violence, sexual abuse, or criminal activity. For specific statistics about how this law affects current foster parents in your state seek legal counsel.

Avoid Sexual Abuse Accusations

If you choose to take a foster child or teen into your home who has been sexually abused, you must have several rules in place that will keep the foster child safe, your own children safe and will also prevent the abused foster child from accusing you or Other relatives living in your home of abusing them. First, all men and boys in your home must never be left unaccompanied with a girl who has been sexually abused. Secondly, foster children with a history of sexual abuse must have their own bedroom for dressing and sleeping. Third, set clear standards about sexual-related topics such as modesty, privacy, and physical contact. Set up consequences for all the children living in your home if the rules regarding modesty, privacy, and physical contact are not kept.

Make sure any discrepences you set up for children in your care are legal and ethical. Finally, avoid joking, tickling, pranking, wrestling, and the use of sarcastic or suggestive language. What may seem like harmless humor to you and your family members can be taken the wrong way by a child that has been the victim of abuse. As a result, the abused child may accuse you of abuse when your intentions were to be funny and get the child laughing.

Spare the Rod Spare the Law Suit

In all 50 states foster parents are prohibited by law in state-managed family foster care systems to use physical punishment on a foster child. However this does not always stop some foster parents from spanking or using other means of physical punishment to discipline a foster child. The reason that physical punishment is so devastating to a foster child is because they have likely experienced physical, sexual, emotional, or a combination of abuse in their biological family. Not only does physical punishment cause the foster child to lose trust in you as a caregiver but physical punishment can also be misinterpreted as physical abuse and accusations against a foster parent by the foster child are kindly.

Document! Document! Document!

If you've ever rented anything from a tool to a home you know that it is important to meticulously document the initial condition of the item you're renting. This protects you from paying for scrapes and dents (you did not cause) that the owner finds on the rental item when you return it. Regarding foster children, what should you document? Document in writing any changes in the child's actions and words. Many times a visit with a biological parent will trigger emotions in the foster child that may cause them to act out either during the parent visit or after the foster child is back in your care. This acting out may manifest itself in many ways. For example: temper tantrums, difficulty sleeping, rude words or actions towards bio or future parents. Also document in writing any sexual behaviors (masturbating, acting out sexual behavior with dolls, etc. or a teen claiming to have intercourse with another teen or adult). Give this documentation to the foster child's therapist and caseworker as soon as possible.

Document in writing and with pictures if possible the cause of any physical injury the foster child incurs. This includes but is not limited to scrapes, bruises, scratches, diaper rash, sprains, or strains. Now that you know what to document, how should you document? You can record accidents on a blank calendar, in a notebook, or online. Just make sure to include the date, time, place the incident occurred, all people involved in the incident, and what caused the incident to occur.

My intention was to arm you with information so you can be the best foster parent in the world. I hope you feel empowered as a foster parent now ready to conquer whatever may come your way. Because being a foster parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world but also one of the most important. A loving foster home can change an abused or neglected child's life forever.

Source by Jennifer L Cullen

Many of us love to have a hobby that will allow us to break loose from our boring and tedious lives. Numerous of us might go fishing and others of us might collect something. One of the best things to collect are antique plates. There are some of us that will have started your collection by acquiring something from your mom or nanna.

What I love the most about these is the history behind them and the hard work that was placed into producing every one. If you have a true antique than you will have something that was probably made a hundred years ago or even longer. The producer put their hearts into making it with their own hands and than painting a stunning design that they came up with.

Each one must be taken care of and dealt with care. It is also critical to recognize how much each of them cost. That way you know just how noteworthy they are and what you will be passing down to your kids.

The easiest way that you can do this is to take each one that you have to an authenticator. They will be able to study the plates and be able to tell you who produced it and any blemishes that it has that might take away from the value of it. In the end they will be able to give you an estimated price of it.

At times you will not have an appraiser in your city or it is much too costly to take every piece. Why not do the research on your own? You can find a good book on distinct antiques plate values and endeavor to know for yourself the history behind it. When you recognize who made it and during what time period you will know the price for it.

Worth-Of-Your-Antiques&id=5274331″>Source by Naomi West

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