DIY Sports Drink

My family loves Gatorade. Like seriously. My husband has been a fan ever since I can remember. I never played organized sports, so the first time I even tasted it, I was about 20. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Fast forward about 10 years, I was pregnant with my little princess and she was giving me the blues. I had the bubble guts like crazy and lived on Gatorade-Fruit Punch flavored to be exact. I freaked out if I my fridge was running low in my office and would send a willing teacher to get me some. It was that serious. Well, guess what happened? Now my littles love Gatorade too. The problem is they shouldn’t be drinking it like water and it is TOO expensive. I had to find a solution and did a little research, combined some recipes, and tried it out on the young flag football player….SCORE! He liked it. She liked it. I love anything remotely natural. All was good. Hopefully, this version will save you a few bucks too.

DIY “Gatorade”
EASY-1 Quart-15 min

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
water
1 quart Gatorade bottle or equivalent

DIRECTIONS

  • Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1/2 cup hot water
  • Stir until completely dissolved
  • Add 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the water/sugar/salt mixture
  • Add a handful of  ice cubes to the bottle
  • Pour the juice mixture into the bottle
  • Fill the remainder of the bottle with cold water
  • Shake the bottle and let the ice cubes cool the warm water

If you give it a try, come back and leave a comment letting me know how YOUR “Gatorade” turned out.

Bookworm Chronicles-Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • just might be a game changer for you as it was for me.
  • will make you stop, drop everything you are doing, and reevaluate your entire life.
  • relates to every busy, underpaid, overwhelmed mom.

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  • Just because we are spinning our wheels, rushing from one commitment to the next, doesn’t mean that we are doing anything worthwhile. (16)
  • Either you control the clutter or the clutter will control you. (143)
  • Comparison only leads to discontentment. We put ourselves down. We feel badly. Nothing good can come from it. (167)

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • You will have an easy plan to gain control of your “crazy”, unorganized life.
  • You will learn how to evaluate what matters most.
  • The suggested strategies are very clear and easy to implement.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

My Bucket List at 19

As I shared in a previous bucket list post, I have kept notebooks as long as I can remember. As I was decluttering my night stand, I found an old notebook from college. It had several written goal lists from over the years. One particular list caught my eye and I had to share because it is hilarious and even embarrassing to think of what mattered most as a teenager. I can’t believe I’m willing to share.

The year was 1998. I was 19 and completing a summer internship at Stanford University. I was surrounded by computer science geeks (Ummm…I guess I was one too now that I think about it.) and I missed my family, friends, and boyfriend (Five years later, that boyfriend became my husband.). I decided to start a list. Little did I know, it was what we now call a bucket list. It went a little something like this:

Short and Long Term Dreams and Aspirations (in no particular order):
Graduate PVAMU (Praire View A&M University) December 1999
Obtain a Master’s degree July 2005
Obtain a summer internship (on my own) June 1999
Get a new stereo with a CD changer
Get a video camera
A family and marriage (marriage first) Married 2003, Son born 2008, Daughter born 2010
Get a Krinkle dog and Rottweiler  I ended up with a pit bull, English bull dog, and French bull dog that are all now deceased. I am no longer an animal person and we have two English bull dogs.
Louie Vouiton purse I’m still obsessed with bags
Coach purse
New tennis shoes
New cds
Brand new car driven off the lot August 2000
Travel to: NYC, LA, NO, DC, Miami, Atlatnta, Paris, London, Austraila, Canada
My kids to dress the best (Baby Gap, Guess)
BMW
Nice Pjs
New Jeans
House with Ethan Allen furniture Purchased April 2003 decided to go with another furniture manufacturer
Wardrobe consisting of J. Crew and Ann Taylor
To live outside of Texas
Magazine subscription
Designer sunglasses
I want my hair to reach past my shoulders
To make a 4.0
No wire hangers My OCD begins
To get above a 630 on the GMAT I took the GRE instead
To join a gym and exercise Little did I know I would become a semi-gym rat obsessed with new workouts

Do you remember what your dreams and aspirations were as a teenager/young adult? Were they the same as today? Please share in the comments below. I would love to hear your comparisons.

Dee Dee’s Bucket List

I was cleaning my night stand and came across a notebook. Ever since I could remember, I have kept some form of a notebook/diary/journal. When I was a little girl, I always kept a diary, my mom bought them in bulk for some reason. Remember the diary notebooks with the lock and key? I had more than I should have and now I have no idea where they are. Sigh. As I looked through the journal, which was a spiral notebook from college, I realized that I have always created some form of a bucket list. Of course at the time, they weren’t called bucket lists, but we have since evolved. I decided to finally write a “current” bucket list that I can scratch off items and add items to as I live this crazy life.

COMPLETED: 0/28

PERSONAL
Learn to swim
Go on a personal shopping spree
Get my teeth professionally whitened
Live outside of Texas
Write a book
Teach my children how to swim
Treat myself to a spa day
Work to get that six pack (or three pack) abs of steel

PROFESSIONAL
Attend a blog conference
Earn ??? in one fiscal year with my business ventures
Own a successful business
Be completely debt free
Start a (virtual) marriage bible study group

FAMILY
Take a mission trip with my family
Complete a sporting event with my kids
Grow a small garden

TRAVEL
Visit all 50 states
Experience Europe
Experience South Africa
Visit Australia
Visit Canada
Visit NYC
Take an international vacation with family
Visit Washington, DC with my family
Visit Disney World with my family
Take a “real” road trip with my family
Visit Anguilla
Experience NYC with my family (again)

FUN
See a Broadway play (on Broadway)
Take my daughter to her first concert (preferably Beyonce)

Do you have a Bucket List? What’s one thing on your list? Please share in the comments below.

ONE WORD 2015…DO

I make resolutions. I set goals for myself twice a year in January and August (I’m an educator by heart). Yes, I’m one of those people and each year my goal completion rate increases by staying focused and consistent. For the past couple of years, my friends and I have participated in the One Word 365 Challenge and have chosen to live with purpose and intention (coincidence that those were actual words chosen by some of my friends) with this one word. During those same years (and even now), I have been completely lost and confused with my life. It has been like a premature mid-life crisis. I have dreamed, persevered when I wanted to throw in the towel, and now I’m ready for more. I am ready to DO the hard work. I tell my littles all the time, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” It’s time I listen to my own lecture.

I am a researcher and planner. I enjoy the information overload. I will dream about a topic, research it, study it, read about it, plan for it, and stop (drives my husband crazy). That’s it. There is no action on my part. I can come up with a ton of excuses as to why I can’t do something and ignore the fact that coming up with excuses takes just as long as actually doing something. Steve Jobs said it best, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Last year, I persevered through some tough breaks personally, but this year will be different because there will be more than pages of plans. There will be actions. I am going to actually GET UP GET OUT AND GET SOMETHING. THE DAYS OF MY LIFE WILL NOT PASS ME BY. (Excuse the Outkast song reference. I had to.)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.~Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

As a congregation, every Sunday we recited Philippians 4:13 as we exited church. Logically, I knew what the verse meant. I searched all night for a verse to complement my word. I actually chose another verse and as I started to write this post, Philippians 4:13 popped in my head from years ago. It now has meaning like it never did before. Sigh. I get it, Lord. I get it.

Are you participating in the ONE WORD Challenge? What is your word? Please share in the comments below.

Bookworm Chronicles-Uncommon Marriage

Uncommon Marriage by Tony and Lauren Dungy

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • will show you how to appreciate the personality differences of your spouse.
  • gives practical advice for any marriage.
  • provides personal stories to align with many situations ANYONE in a marriage could face.

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  • Early on, we learned to ask God for two things when praying about decisions: first, that He would give us His infinite wisdom and direction, and second, that He would put us on the same page. (pg 24)
  • He had answered our prayers in His own timing. (pg 98-99)
  • Through it all we’ve tried to build an uncommon marriage by following two basic principles: staying focused on each other and letting God lead our marriage. (pg 218)

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • You will feel encouraged in your own marriage.
  • You will want to cultivate your marriage into a true partnership.
  • You can actually read this book with your spouse as it gives personal stories from the viewpoint of BOTH Tony AND Lauren Dungy.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

5 Simplified Tips to Start the New Year with New Goals

I am a professional goal setter. I am constantly setting goals. And every year I spend the last week of December reflecting, creating goals, and writing a plan for those goals. There is an overabundance of printables, books, and tips to help you achieve your goals. I should know because I have read or tried almost all of them. This year, I am keeping it simple and focusing on small, attainable goals that I work on and review consistently. I’m sharing the five simplified tips I’m using this year to be intentional about goal planning.

1. START Something/STOP Something
My ROD (ride or die/bestie) suggested I listen to the My Story 4-part sermon series from her church. This message was right on time and applicable to the current state of my life. I highly suggest listening to this series to prepare your mind and heart for the new year year and beyond. In this series, Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church suggested that we start one discipline and stop one action. Starting a discipline to help you lead a better life, could be as simple as drinking water with every meal if you are trying to increase your water intake. Stopping an action that is not good for your health or well being could be as obvious as quitting smoking. For this upcoming year, I have prayed and asked for guidance for my “something” and I believe God is leading me to START getting at least seven hours of sleep and to STOP yelling at the people that interact with me daily-my husband and children.

2. One Word
I love the focus of One Word for 365 days. I actually posted my word, reflected on my word, and used my word the entire year. I decided to take it a step further and match my one word with a bible verse that I recited daily. My one word for 2015 is, DO. I plan to write a post all about this word and how I plan to focus on it for 2015. For example, my plan for our home this year is to declutter and instead of planning, pinning, and preparing, I am actually going to DO the dirty work and declutter. My previous “one words” have been shared in previous posts.

Grow into who you want to be one day at a time.~Holley Gerth

3. Fifteen Minutes
According to Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom, any project or goal you want to accomplish can be completed by working on it for 15 minutes a day. Consistency is key and by investing a small amount of time on a consistent basis, you can start to add noticeable progress to your goal or project. You can be intentional by setting a timer and get working before the “official” start of your day. I am devoting 15 minutes a day to two different projects. I am decluttering for 15 minutes and I am writing a memoir for my children and I spend 15 minutes a day on that project. Right now, the decluttering happens at random times throughout the day and the writing is scheduled for 10:30 pm which is helping me with my 10:45 bedtime. My mornings are reserved for prayer and reflection, but I may add more time later.

4. Set SMART Goals
I am a former public school teacher and administrator and in that world, we LIVED by setting SMART goals. It wasn’t until I left the world of education that I learned the value of SMART goals. It all makes sense to me now! If my goals aren’t “SMART” (No pun intended. Well, maybe a pun was intended.) what’s the point in setting them? SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting SMART goals gives you the power to break large goals into smaller attainable goals and have a realistic plan of action. I will share some of my own SMART goals as an example:

  • I will have a living will and advanced directives drafted and completed by November 2015 (my birthday)
  • I will publish at least one blog post a week
  • I will complete a business plan by June 2015

5. Review Your Goals
We write goals at the beginning of the year and then we forget about them. Work happens. School happens. Life happens. The key to keeping your goals relevant is to consistently review them. This has always been my issue. Looking at the big picture we should review our goals yearly, monthly, weekly, and most importantly daily. Kat Lee of Inspired to Action has a podcast series where she suggests writing goals each day, reviewing your weekly progress, and improving based on your progress.

I am taking my goal setting to a new level this year with these five tips. If you want to try something different with your goal setting and be intentional this time around, then join me. What goal setting tips can you share? Please leave a comment, I’m all eyes!

The planner pictured above is available for purchase in my online boutique, Printed Sugar.

Easy Daily Detox Water

I am not a fan of water. I never have been. Yet, I work out. Hard. I recently took up running and I know better. I need to drink water. If my water has lemon, I’m good to go. I will drink water all day. So, I decided to infuse lemon in my water and add some extra nutrients. And would you believe it worked? I have been drinking water NON STOP! This water is SO good and to think it’s detoxing my body. We all know the benefits of drinking water. No need to list them. I will say, the benefits of drinking water are very true. Soon enough, the frequent bathroom breaks will no longer be a nuisance.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 sliced cucumber
2 sliced lemons
10-12 mint leaves
1 Gallon of water

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Slice the lemons, cucumbers and mint leaves place in a gallon pitcher. I love the lemon flavor so, I squeeze the juice from the lemon slices for extra flavor.
  • Fill the pitcher with water
  • Let the mixture steep overnight in the refrigerator for ultimate flavor
  • Drink as MUCH or as little as you want

Here are a few health benefits:

  • Cucumbers rehydrate the body, aid in digestion, and act as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Lemons boost your immune system, aid in digestion, and reduce aging.
  • Mint aids in digestion, settles the stomach, and naturally provides sweetness.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a medical professional, so please verify any information with your health professional.

If you decide to make the Detox water, come back and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

The Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far…

Today is my 36th birthday. I was going to piggy back off of last year’s post and make a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year and I got stumped. My ultimate bucket list is growing, as it should, but my yearly list of goals is growing shorter. So, I decided to post about 36 life lessons I’ve learned in 36 years. The plan is to add one life lesson to the list every birthday. I am not proclaiming to be a wise woman. But, I am proclaiming to be a woman full of imperfections and testimonies to share.

 1. Rest

Your body needs to refuel. We refuel our electronics, why not our bodies? Don’t ever feel guilty about resting your body. It is a part of healthy living and benefits your heart, weight, mind, and more.

 2. God loves me

Regardless of my mistakes. Regardless of my choices in life.  Regardless of my behaviors. I know one thing to be true, God loves me. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.~John 3:16

 3. Build a relationship with Christ

You have been wired with a need for Jesus. Building a personal relationship with Him will give your life a sense of purpose and need to live life to the fullest. If you have ever felt like your life is missing something, try building a relationship with Christ, that just may be what you are missing. What will it hurt?

 4. Find your person

Just like Christina Yang and Meredith Grey were to each other on Grey’s Anatomy, you need that same relationship in your life. I have my person and have had my person since freshmen year of college when she talked my ear off. Little did I know, that endless chatter would be one of the most consistent voices I need in my life. I have my husband, I have my mother, and I have my sister…but none of them compare to my person. I can say and be me without worrying about judgement or intentionally hurting feelings. She is my prayer partner and bible study warrior. You need that one person to “tell you like it is”, have your best interest at heart, allow you to follow your own path, love you anyway if (and/or when) the pieces fall apart, and not say, “But, I told you so.”

 5. Journal

Go to Half Price Books, get you a journal and start journal writing. Journaling helps you put your life in perspective. You can process where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.

6. Stop worrying

Worrying is a form of pride. When we worry, we think we can fix it or that we have all the answers and clearly we don’t.  Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.~Philippians 4:6

 7. Live life with no regrets

Life is a journey. We are all on that journey and our purpose is to experience life to the fullest. Follow the light you have, the truth you know, and don’t look back. For what?

 8. Learn from your mistakes

You will not stop making mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger and wiser. Learn from them and share them with others for their own good.

 9. Exercise

Get up. Get out. Do something. You know why. We all know why.

10. Eat better

You are what you eat and that is the truth. Stop eating crap. All it takes is little changes and eventually your entire body will thank you. Plus, you KNOW you need to eat better.

11. Talk

I have opened my mouth more than ever before in this last year. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am better for it. My relationships are stronger and I have been released from the unnecessary weight of silence.

12. Stop trying to be perfect

There is only one Jesus and he ain’t you. We will never be perfect so now I say, “I’m not a perfectionist. I’m anal.” Seriously, all we can do is be the best version of ourselves.

13. Let it go

From the classic movie that every parent has seen entirely too many times, Frozen, LET IT GO! Whatever it is, whenever it happened, let it go. It is doing nothing more than adding negativity and bitterness to your life and it’s not worth it.

14. Get off the comparison train

William Jones, Mary Jones, the entire Jones family has issues too. So, I had to stop one day and ask myself, “Why are you comparing yourself to them?”

15. You will fail

I have failed and succeeded more than once. In every failure there is a lesson that leads to another success. So, I keep failing! God will take our greatest failure and turn it into our greatest strength time and time again.

16. Live debt free

Debt is evil. It makes no sense to me. I have learned that you can live a life without credit cards and loans. If I can’t pay for it, I don’t need it. I have failed and succeeded at this so many times in my lifetime and I am determined to continue in success one step at a time.

17. Start your day with quiet time

For a little over 3 years now, I have been intentionally waking 30 minutes earlier to have my quiet time with God. I complete my bible study, prayer, and meditation. This has allowed me to give to God and receive from God. I am being obedient to him, yet I am receiving several blessings in the process.

18. Forgive

True forgiveness is choosing not to think about it anymore. Consider the debt PAID IN FULLAnyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.~2 Corinthians 5:17

19. Listen

Becoming a listener takes practice. Listening is a true art form that requires patience and even restraint. When listening to others or even that voice in your head, you must restrain yourself from “talking back”. Just let the words flow through your mind. Only respond if there is a request for one. Otherwise, shut your mouth and LISTEN!

20. Take the first right step

It may be a small step, but take it. It is your step to take. You will never know unless you take that first step.

21. Everybody’s got their something

It may seem like that other person is perfect. They appear to have it ALL together. The truth is, they don’t. Everyone is struggling with something, self-worth, depression, debt, illness, body image, the list could go on. We are all flawed. It’s how we manage our flaws that makes the difference.

22. Find your something

Discovering and following your passion for work or hobby allows you to feel that you life has a purpose and meaning. It gives you a release from the hardships of daily life.

23. Challenge yourself

The real stuff happens when we step out of our comfort zone. I have done my fair share of putting my self out there-yoga, crossfit, running, kickboxing, swimming, presentations to corporate leaders, teaching teenagers, writing a blog, starting an online business, becoming a work at home mom-the list could go on. I’m so over it that now I just jump right in. Either I will sink or swim, but I’m going to learn something and the end result is usually life changing.

24. Be faithful

It took about 34 years for me to full grasp the concept of faithfulness. For me, being faithful gives me the energy and determination to put one foot in front of the other. We are a microwave nation. We want our results now. We have everything else available in an instant through the use of our tablets, computers, and phones. So, when being faithful takes longer than desired, I instantly want to jump ship. But, being faithful means staying the course. By being faithful, I am always rewarded on a larger scale than I could have ever imagined.

25. You can’t do it all

My husband has been telling me since college that I overdue it. I let my plate get full and then I end up trying to juggle several plates. And we all know the ending of this story. EPIC FAIL. I have tried to set priorities, discover my boundaries, and learn to say no. The power of the word, “NO”, is unbelievable. The world will go on with or without me. So, I’ve learned that if someone else can do it better, LET THEM!

26. Trust your gut

If you feel it, go with it. By trusting your instincts, you are trusting yourself first. And who better to trust than yourself? Or do you not trust yourself? If that’s the case, that is another lesson learned.

27. Being healthy is more than eating right and working out

I have learned the hard way that for me being healthy means getting sleep, taking time for myself, communicating, drinking water, making and keeping doctor’s appointments, AND eating right, AND working out. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is more than a vanity complex.

28. Sometimes that deadline will come and go

Now, I know that some deadlines are not meant to be missed. I’m not naive. But, rest easy. Those other deadlines can be reset to ensure your best work is on display. I had a deadline for this post and it already thirteen days late. All I can do is keep writing and move on. I can’t lose sleep or waste energy. That is really not helping my situation. I can only acknowledge my mistake and move on.

29. Declutter

Live on less. Get rid of excess. If you don’t need it, rid your life of it. Clutter is an indication of the status of your life. By removing clutter, you will minimize your life which will help you focus on what really matters. I automatically feel 10 pounds lighter when I declutter.

30. Travel

I absolutely love to travel. My husband and I love to immerse ourselves in other cultures. Traveling allows you to temporarily step out of your box, try new things (and food), and relax. In many travel situations you will be forced to release control and go with the flow.

31. Give your kids the attention they deserve

Kids are only kids for a short number of years. This time will pass so quickly. I have never heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time at work.” But, I have heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time with my kids.” I  will NOT have that regret on my conscious. I have learned to slow down and be present with my littles. I listen, respond, and show interest. Even if I don’t want to talk about, see, or hear another video game strategy or Frozen revelation!

32. Give to others

When I think about giving, I automatically think of monetary giving. But, giving to others does not necessarily mean a cash donation. I can give my time or even skills to help someone. It can be as simple as babysitting for another mom, volunteering my time at the kids’ school, or even visiting a sick friend. “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your had to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.~Deuteronomy 15:11

33. Being a parent is the most difficult career on Earth

God gave me these children because He knew I was adequate. So, I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time and when it gets hard it is HARD. But, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability as my service to Him.

34. Fight for it

Whatever it is, whoever it is, fight for it. You may not think so, but you have a little bit of fight left in you. Life is worth living if you have a fight to win.

35. Be grateful

I have so much to be grateful for. When I truly examine my life, my gratitude list is overflowing. I am grateful for every experience, every failure, every success, every mistake, every friend, even the gym membership I love to hate. I am grateful and blessed beyond measure.

36. Love hard

I have learned to love hard even the situation or other person makes it difficult. God loves me regardless of my many mess-ups, so, who am I not to love others? We love because God loved us first.~1 John 4:19

photo credit: Erwin Winkelman via photopin cc

What are some life lessons you’ve learned thus far? Have you mastered any of lessons I’ve shared? Please share below because I have a LONG way to go!

Neiman Marcus Brownies

 I have found this dessert to also be called names such as Neiman Marcus Brownies or Chess Squares. I am in love with the name, Neiman Marcus Brownies, so that’s the name I’m sticking to. It sounds so…so…REGAL. This dessert is a rich, delicious treat and the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare is the icing on the cake.

This dessert is entirely too easy to make and only requires 5 ingredients. I made these for my daughter’s Thanksgiving Feast in a disposable pan. No fuss, no pan to hunt for, and the guests loved them. There was not ONE morsel left. I made an additional pan and sent some to work with husband and ended up sending more. I posted a pic on Instagram and a few asked for the recipe, so I decided to post. I love a good share!

I did not plan to post this recipe, so please excuse the lack of pictures I have to share!

NEIMAN MARCUS BROWNIES

EASY-24 SERVINGS-1 HR
INGREDIENTS
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray
  • Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg until it forms a soft dough. Press dough into the bottom of the dish.
  • Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Pour and spread evenly on top of the crust.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown

If you give it a try, come back and leave a comment letting me know how YOUR Neiman Marcus Brownies turned out.