Tyler’s Lemonade Stand

If you were an adult in my world when I was a kid, you probably would have thought that I would have gone into sales. Now the thought of it kind of grosses me out. Why sales? I was a Girl Scout which means I sold Girl Scout cookies. I think the only reason I even stayed in the troop for the many years that I did was because of the competition (with myself and others) of selling Girl Scout cookies. I am not going to go into details, as I have other blog posts about that.

My elementary school also raised money by selling nuts and candy every year. I cannot even remember the prize — maybe it was just knowing I sold near if not at the top of my class. At the same time I also had my own paper route. I delivered the “The Star Press” which meant it was the evening/afternoon newspaper. (Thank goodness, as I am so not a morning person). Every few months our manager would ask us to go “canvassing” where basically he would take us to strange and sketchy neighborhoods, often at night and ask us to go door-to-door to see if we could get folks to sign up for the newspaper. That was the least glamorous of all the gigs even with the random prizes and money he would throw in each night to see who would be encouraged to try harder and come out on top. Mind you — I was nine at the time.

And, yet, I am not in sales and I do not even dream of ever being in sales as a career. (My dad would have been so bummed). I often wonder what propelled me to want to excel and do so well selling things door-to-door. I was not a crazy outgoing kid, but somehow going door-to-door, selling on college campuses, and the competition of it all was an adrenaline rush for me.

Fast forward to 2015 and I come across “Tyler’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser.” Tyler lives in Grafton, NY and decided to raise money for a police sergeant that was battling cancer and could not work. See this video of the long line of police cars that come to pay Tyler a visit and show their support. So far Tyler has raised $1500. Amazing. Now that is sales and talent put to good use. You rock, Tyler.

Bae, bae, bae…

I am getting old. I kept seeing this word show up on social media #bae and yes, I had no idea what it meant. So of course I googled it:

“Bae,” Urban Dictionary says, is an acronym that stands for “before anyone else,” or a shortened version of baby or babe, another word for sweetie, and, mostly unrelated, poop in Danish. Jul 25, 2014

Okay. I get the “before anyone else” and I also actually love that it is also “poop” in Danish. How do these urban words start? This one is also in the name of a Pharrell Williams song: “Come Get It Bae.” I guess I missed that one when it came out. I tried to listen to it as I wrote this blog post and it did nothing for me. In the last year there have been articles from Esquire and Time, and many other online magazines asking the same question I am, only I am a year too late.

I am definitely getting old. I am not one to call Chris my baby or babe anyways, so maybe that is another reason it does not strike me, and yes I am no longer in my twenties. Over time I have come to the realization that I am a: “say-what-you-mean-in-a-direct-way” kind of woman. Just say it. Just like you mean it. No fluff. No shortened social media acronym. Why should I try to guess what you mean? Am I making myself any younger?

Maybe I will just resort to using it when I tell Chris “I need to bae, bae” aka: “I need to poop, babe.” Let him figure out what I mean. Ha.

Get more time in your day…

We all want more time in our days. How often do you hear others say (almost daily) there are not enough hours in the day? It is true. I feel it and I am sure that you feel it too.

Did you know we each have 168 hours in a week? In some ways it does not sound like a lot, but if we work 50 hours, and we sleep 56 hours a week (8 hours a day), that leaves 62 hours to do everything else. Whether that be hanging out with kids, family, housework, errands, exercise, you could divide 62 hours over the rest of the week and you would have another 8-9 hours. Or 6 hours each day on weekdays, and 8 extra on the weekend. Where did all this come from? I just finished reading: “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time” by Laura Vanderkam who discusses the idea of how to utilize 168 hours in a week in the best and most efficient way.

One particular area where I know I could gain time back is during my work day. I am literally always in back to back meetings all day. What if I could change the amount of time I spend in meetings? What if they were cut short? Vanderkam says:

“You can also schedule meetings for shorter slots. Just because Outlook tells you meetings should take 30 or 60 minutes doesn’t mean these blocks have been determined by divine decree. Shorten meetings you can’t kill. Two 60-minute meetings turned into 45-minute meetings buys you 30 minutes a day. Personally, I like the idea of 22.5-minute meetings or 37.5-minute meetings. Everyone will assume you have an incredibly detailed, thought-through agenda.” Page 44

I think the idea is plausible. Not only could I benefit from it, so could those involved in the meeting(s). A ripple effect. The key though is that the freedom of shorter meetings means that you get more time to do the things you need to do, and not instead go to more meetings. (I need to listen to that advice). I am going to try this and see if it brings good results!

Random Recipe: Dark Chocolate Molten Cakes

Some people are chocolate fiends. I am not one of those people. However, I do like chocolate. I am of the variety that likes chocolate with something: berries, vanilla ice cream, that sort of thing. I especially like it when it is warm and there is vanilla ice cream on top and it melts with the warmth and congeals (I know, great visual word) to form a sort of gooey result. Mmm…so when we found this Chocolate Molten Cakes recipe I knew Chris would be game right away. He was. We’ve made it our own (using dark chocolate), and the best part is that you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you want to bake them. A wonderful idea because it means you can have them warm and right from the oven each night.

Dark Chocolate Molten Cakes [Adapted from Everyday Occasions]

This recipe makes 12 small individual cakes

2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate cocoa powder
……

3/4 cup of butter
12 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour

Prepare ramekins by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around. Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa powder, completely coating the bottom and sides.

To make the batter, put dark chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour. Pour into prepared ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to a few days).

When ready to eat them, bake them at 450 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or just until the outsides and most of the top have set, but the centers are still a little runny. Let them cool for a few minutes, then flip them over onto a plate or bowl. We topped ours with vanilla ice cream and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Yum!

Decisions, decisions…

Depending on what you do for a living, you might find that you make decisions all day. For some it might be an adrenaline rush, and for others it might drain the crap out of you. Regardless of whether decision-making is easy for you, it can be a draining part of your life. You need to be able to have a time to recharge the batteries in your brain to ensure all the wires are working properly. Without that recharge time, it might mean you begin to make decisions that are not the best for you and those impacted by your decisions.

How do you recharge though, if there never feels like an open window that will allow you to do so? Sometimes talking things through out loud is just enough to know the right answer. Other times you might just need a day off, and delegate the task of decision-making to someone else. You might also just need a long night of sleep.

Chris is used to me knowing what I want most of the time. Just because I know what I want, it does not mean that my desire is the answer. We still need to talk about it and come to a decision together. At times he might share information with me that might sway my decision and other times I feel clear from the beginning and know just what needs to happen. There are days when I come home (usually it is Friday) when I let him know I do not want to make the simplest decision — such as what I might want to eat for dinner. What throws him off is that 99% of the time I have an opinion, so that 1% of the time just feels odd and he can feel under pressure to then figure out what would make me happy or be best in the situation. The reality in this case is that my brain just cannot process another piece of information and I feel like a zombie.

Be sure to take the time to recharge your mind and body so that you can continue to make the best decisions for you and your family. It all starts with listening and it helps when you have an advocate that looks out for your best interest.