Author Archives for Dawn

5 Daily Challenges That Will Lead to Positive Life Changes

Each person has the power to make positive changes in their lives that will allow them to live a happy and fulfilling life.  The only stipulation that’s required is that you are present!  It requires all of you, because you alone are the one that can paint your life’s picture. You alone can put in the hard work, the sacrifice, and the discipline that is sometimes required to get that life that you really dream of.

There are several things that give us a fulfilling life, and each one of us is different. This is just one of the reasons this blog was started. It helps hold us accountable and challenges us to be better than we were before.

The list below is just a few things that we try to practice in our home. I challenge each of you to do the same. Although it is an ongoing process, we fail, just as people do. What helps is knowing that it is ok to fail, but it’s not giving up and continually trying to be better each day with our health, finances, and spirituality.

  1. Stay healthy physically and mentally – Eat well, work out and meditate. These are key to the overall health of our mind and body.
  2.  Develop positive thinking – Start each day with a positive affirmation. Focus on the good, learn from mistakes, and find humor in the bad.
  3. Simplify your life – focus on only the things that are most important to you. Break goals into smaller steps.
  4. Get smart about your money – Reduce your debt, shop smarter, and know where your money goes by setting a budget each month. You’ll be surprised when you see your credit score soar…I know I was. I recently paid a credit card off and our score went up over 30 points.
  5. Build a stronger spiritual life – Start each day in prayer. Identify your blessings, and turn your worries over to God. Serve your church, community, and others by doing good deeds.

When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Lemon Water

Benefits of Lemon Water

I love lemon water. That’s really all I order to drink when we go out to eat, unless of course it’s a McDonald’s iced tea. For some reason I can’t seem to pass that up. My husband often picks on me and asks why I just don’t order lemonade. Well, I’m here to tell you…lemonade is not lemon water! Ha!

Lemons are used in a number of different recipes, both in food and cleaning. They are a popular choice because of their fresh scent and invigorating flavor. Additionally, it is one of the most beneficial fruits for our health. They posses a number of health benefits that include anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune boosting properties.

Squeezing Lemon
  1. Lemons help boost your immune system with their rich source of vitamin C. When we have a lack of vitamin C our immune system becomes weak. We can become sluggish, tired, and easily catch a virus.
  2. Lemons have anti-inflammatory properties to help fight off respiratory infections, as well as joint and muscle pain.
  3. Lemons help protect our bodies from the damage of free radicals.
  4. They raise the alkalinity in our bodies after they are metabolized. When our bodies are in a more alkaline state then we are less prone to disease.
  5. Lemons contain bioflavonoids which act as a natural antihistamine, helping to prevent allergies.
  6. Lemons have pectin which is essential for proper digestion and helps to reduce high cholesterol.
  7. Lemons help freshen breath. They have the antibacterial properties that fight off the bacteria that cause people’s breath to smell bad.
  8. Lemon’s help improve skin and it’s complexion. They help delay the aging process due to the nutrient called Collagen. In a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, researchers found that consuming vitamin C led to less wrinkles and younger looking skin.
  9. Lemons can help support weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate.
  10. Lemons help cleanse the liver. They have an citric acid enzyme that helps to stimulate the detoxification process.

Items I like to Use for Infusing Water

Fruit Infuser Pitcher

Fruit Infusing Pitcher

I love this pitcher! I cut the fruit up on Sunday evening, fill it up and keep it in the refrigerator. It’s great to pour a glass in the morning or at dinner time. I use it throughout the week.

Travel fruit infuser

Travel Infuser

This is my go-to infuser when I’m on the go! I use it everywhere: at the gym, watching my kids sporting events, or just driving in the car.

My Favorite Lemon Water Recipe

Lemon Water Recipe

Cleaning Essential Oil Bottles

Did you ever wonder what to do with your used essential oil bottles? If you’re like me, you hate to see them go in the recycle bin knowing you could probably use them for something else. There are times that I clean and use them and then there are times that they do indeed end up in that recycle bin. That only happens when the oils viscosity is so thick that it leaves a film in the bottle that is next to impossible to remove.

Easy Directions to Cleaning Your Used Bottles

  1. The first thing I do is remove the lids and orifice reducers in the bottles.
  2. Next, I place the bottles, lids, and orifices in a bowl of warm soapy water. When I do this, I use Dawn dish soap. That’s always my go to. The purpose of this step is to get the bottles prepared for removing the labels.
  3. I pull the bottles out of the soapy water one at a time. The labels normally come off easily, but sometimes there is some sticky residue that gives me a problem. If that’s the case, then I use some Lemon essential oil to help get the stickiness off.
  4. After removing the labels, I then place the bottles into boiling water for approximately 10 minutes. After removing them from the boiling water, I use a small brush or Q-Tip to clean the inside of the bottle.
  5. At this point, I use clear Vodka to soak the bottles, lids, and orifices. This helps to remove any residue that may be left. There are some oils that make it impossible to clean the bottles. In that case, recycle them and get yourself some new bottles.

Important Tip! Never use old bottles for the use of therapeutic or topical purposes. I specifically use recycled bottles for diffuser blends, or cleaning purposes only.

Make Your Own Citrus Air Freshener

Nobody likes a stinky home, but the problem is that many of the air fresheners sold in stores are full of chemicals that are bad for your health and the environment. Making your own citrus air freshener is a great alternative to the store bought ones and offer a fresh, clean smell.

Supplies Needed

Whenever using essential oils, you should always use a glass or stainless metal bottles or containers. Never use plastic to store your essential oils because the oils breakdown the plastic and it can destroy the oil properties. Additionally, the plastic can begin to leak.

Additional items you may want to make your homemade cleaners. The following items can also be used for a number of other homemade items:

Lemon Essential Oil
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Lime Essential Oil
Citrus Blend

What I am Learning from Working Out On a Regular Basis

I have a confession…I really don’t like to work out, but it’s starting to grow on me. They say 21 days makes a habit, right? Well, I’ve passed the 21 day mark and I’m still going. Want to know why? It’s because I feel so much better mentally and physically, therefore, I’m not giving up on myself and I will love it one way or another! This is our family’s “New Kind of Normal.”

Big Wins Don’t Always Mean Weight Loss

First off, I have learned to throw that scale out the window and you should too! Not really, but just tuck it away in a closet somewhere, because all that it does is make you obsess.

So many people get discouraged when the scale only moves a few pounds, but it needs to be stopped! There are many other changes that need to be gauged besides pounds. For instance, I have only lost 15 pounds, but my inches are beginning to melt away. I have lost over 10 inches since January 7th when I began this journey. You definitely don’t want to let your weight guide you, because as you increase muscle, you are losing fat. Muscle is more dense and compact therefore, you will lose inches and feel a heck of a lot better in the mean time. Additionally, muscle is going to help you burn more calories so it’s a win – win situation!

Your success is not about the number! When you are eating healthy and moving, it reduces your risk of chronic disease and puts your cholesterol, insulin, and blood pressure in check.

It’s a Life Altering Change in Your Mindset…At Least Mine

With my monthly PMDD struggles, I had to figure out something different than medication. When I began exercising on a daily basis, I began to notice positive changes.

I am beginning to look at myself differently. I am walking with more confidence. I am more positive about life, and I am much happier during my monthly PMDD struggles. Eating right and exercising is becoming a way of life for my family. It has affected me in such a positive way that no matter how bad I dislike exercising, I will never quit! I will always make that time for me!

What We Do To Work Out

Exercising doesn’t have to be an expensive monthly fee that you pay. It can be something as simple as walking, sit-ups, or push-ups in your living room. Ultimately, it’s up to you! Ask yourself some simple questions:

What do you enjoy?
Do you like going to a gym?
Do you like mall walking?
Do you like having accountability?

You are the only one that can push yourself to eat right, and exercise, but it starts today and it starts with one minute at a time, one inch at a time, one pound at a time!

For my family, we started with a friend at his home gym. He pushes us, he holds us accountable. They are hard workouts, but he taught us to do what we could do and then do a little more. We also began working out at home with Beach Body. There are hundreds of exercising options for all fitness levels, from dancing, yoga, Pilates, hit, and more. There are also so many accountability Facebook groups to help keep you motivated and on track. So, if you are one that likes to be on your own, then that’s a great option!

In addition to their live streaming, they offer great meal plans and Shakeology drinks, which are by far my absolute favorite….especially with some fruit and PB2 in it!

Become More Powerful Than You Think

Your muscles will hurt! You will be tired! You will breathe like you are having a medical emergency! You may even think…someone please call 911! Trust me when I say this, it’s a normal feeling! You are stronger than you think you are. Don’t let your body control you, you control your body. It’s all you, so NEVER give up on yourself! Each time you will get better. You will become stronger! It will become second nature without thinking about it. Feel free to reach out to us. We can all hold each other accountable.

The Reality of PMDD

This video is a true reality of what it is like to live with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. As she stated in the video, each month the individual becomes a prisoner of their own mind. Everything she says is so true and I can relate! More often than not, it’s like I’m a stranger standing outside of my body looking in. The only problem is, it’s like there are chains holding me down and not allowing me to pull away from the evil that lurks inside. I want nothing more than to be the happy person I know I can be, but it feels impossible. Remember, it is temporary and will go away in a few days.

Know that if you struggle with PMDD, you are not alone. Seek help from doctors, family, friends, and support groups. Don’t let it take control! You are stronger than it is.