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Sheila's Posts

Check out all the posts by Sheila ~ (Owner/Author)

About Sheila Thomas

Hi, My name is Sheila and I am the Living Smart Girl. My goal is to bring everyone the latest and greatest tips and advice on fitness, healthy choices, recipes, shopping, beauty, home and garden, family and parenting, daily deals, travel, and so much more. I love fitness, but life is more than just exercise and when you visit Living Smart Girl you can connect the dots and live a well rounded life ~ the Living Smart way :)

I love working online and spend most of my day blogging, and researching new topics and tips to bring my readers.

Join me on Facebook at

Sheila Thomas

Cranberry Orange Bread

With fall upon us more and more of us start baking.  Cranberry bread is always a favorite during the fall time, so why not add a zip to your normal cranberry bread.   This is such a hearty and delicious bread you will have your family and friends begging for the recipe.


Cranberry Orange Bread:
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
2.5 tsp xantham gum
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp orange zest
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg,
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
In a small bowl, combine egg, orange juice and vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest.
Add in butter and wet ingredients.
Fold in cranberries.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue to cool before slicing.
Enjoy ~

DIY Rose Body Sugar Cubes


DIY Rose Body Sugar Cubes


1 bar unscented soap

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp Vitamin E oil

Rose essential oil

Rose Petals (optional)

1 tbsp body lotion (optional)

Ice Cube Tray


Microwave Safe Bowl




To begin, grate the bar of unscented soap that you have. The size shavings doesn’t matter, as long as the soap is able to be easily melted, but keep in mind that smaller shavings will melt faster and larger ones will need slightly more time in the microwave.



In a microwave safe bowl combine 1 cup grated soap and 2 tbsp Vitamin E oil. Mix well and then microwave on medium heat for ten seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir everything together, the mixture should be combining at this point but not entirely liquid yet. Microwave for an additional 5 seconds and then mix. If you need another five seconds, use it, but you just want the soap to be reduced to a lumpy liquid state.


Add two to three drops of your rose essential oil to the soap and mix well. Now add in the sugar and make sure that it is completely coated with the melted soap. Soap will begin to harden at this point and the entire mixture will resemble wet sand.


If you want to add rose petals or your favorite body lotion for additional moisture, add it now.



Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture at a time into your ice cube tray. Press and pack the scrub into the cubes so that the soap is able to form into cubes. Do this until you have used up all the scrub and then place your ice cube tray into the fridge for an hour to harden.



Remove the tray from the fridge and pop each cube out. Store in an airtight, dry container to use and keep near the shower. Each cube is good for one whole body scrub down and the soap helps to keep the gentle scrub in your hand while showering!



DC Kids Super Hero Creator & US Giveaway

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl has been compensated to bring you this awesome info and giveaway!

Lets have some fun and create your ultimate super hero with a fun name, look, powers and more! Click here to give it a go.  You can also check out some of the amazing new videos from Warner Bros, including favorites such as Scooby Doo  & Batman Unlimited. There will be many more updates over the next year, so don’t forget to subscribe to their channels!

DCKids Channel and the WBKids Channel.

Check out this awesome video ~

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.12.57 PM

Giveaway Time ~ Enter to Win 1 of 5 Amazing Gift Sets From Warner Bros., Including Teen Titans Go Action Figures & T-Tower Set, A Batman Unlimited Action Figure, DC Super Friends Gift Set and Batmobile.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feeding my Body with Sunwarrior Organic Classic Plus Protein

Disclosure ~ Living Smart Girl received compensation to facilitate a review of Sunwarrior.
All opinions are 100% that of Living Smart Girl.


If you follow me, you know how much I love my protein shakes.  I have done many reviews for protein powders but have to say I have very few that I truly love and use daily.   There are some good ones on the market, some horrible ones, and some that are top notch!  Well, Sunwarrior happens to be in my top 5 favorite protein powders.  I tend to lean toward protein powders that are natural, and that mix well and don’t make my IBS flare up.   I was so excited when I was sent a tub of Sunwarrior Classic Plus Protein in chocolate for review because it is one I hadn’t tried yet.

The Sunwarrior Organic Certified Classic Plus is a rice protein with added amino acid balancing effects of peas, chia seeds, quinoa, and amaranth.  The combination of all those superfoods still relies on the gentle nature of whole-grain rice but gives you a hefty dose of what made Sunwarrior so popular.  I love that it is a raw, plant based protein with a kick of power (superfoods) to give me the little extra I want and need in my day.

Organic Certified Classic Plus builds on Sunwarrior’s original rice protein by adding in the amino acid balancing effects of peas, chia seeds, quinoa, and amaranth. This superfood combination still relies heavily on the gentle nature of whole-grain brown rice, but with a hefty dose of the strength that has made Warrior Blend so popular.


Want the rundown of how awesome Sunwarrior is and what’s in it ?

Let’s start with the Raw Rice Protein – this is a brown rice which provides protein and fiber but is gentle on a person’s digestive system.  That is one of the reasons I love it.  My IBS is very touchy, and I never worry that I will bloat, be in pain, or have potty issues.   I need the protein for my muscle building, repair and maintenance.   Raw Pea Protein is a high fiber but low calorie superfood.  Packed with FAO essential amino acid requirements.  Great stuff like Lysine, Arginine, Glutamine, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.  Confused at that?  Well let’s just say it aids in muscle tissue maintenance, increases muscle mass while reducing body fat during intense exercises, helps you feel full longer and much more.   Do you know what Quinoa is?  Well it is a great little food that you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but Sunwarrior added it to your protein shake.  Yeah!!  It’s a hard food to eat because it’s tiny, so I would rather it be in my shakes.  It is rich in protein, fiber, calcium, B vitamins and many other goodies.  It is a grain like seed that is rich in magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and other trace minerals too. And, best part, it is a prebiotic food and helps with keeping a good microflora and fauna.  (good gut stuff).  Now you have most likely hear about Chia, right ?  Love Chia, and all the good stuff it offers. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, has insoluble fiber and soluble fiber and is rich in antioxidants.  Yeah for Chia! Last but not least, they added Amaranth which is a grain that has protein, phytosterols, antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories plus has a good amount of Lysine.   All this in one protein powder you ask?  Well of course because Sunwarrior is the bomb!!

I have been doing a great new workout program and I require a lot of protein in my day, as well as many superfoods just to keep myself going.   I enjoy a yummy Sunwarrior protein shake after my workout and also about an hour before bed.  My after workout shake has Almond Milk, Peanut Butter, 1/2 frozen banana, ice cubes, coconut oil, and my Sunwarrior.  Before bed I just use Almond Milk and Sunwarrior and shake it up for a chocolate night cap.  YUM!  All my strength training requires I treat my body good, and treating it good means good nutrition, and good nutrition is what I get with Sunwarrior.

Check out this video to get the full info on Sunwarrior ~

Have you tried Sunwarrior?  If so, what one?



Non GMO Meal Plan

The awareness of GMOs, genetically modified organisms, is on the rise. Genetically modified organisms are used in a myriad of foods to produce, bigger food that grows faster. However, since GMOs have been introduced to our everyday foods, like fruits and vegetables, there has been a rise in cancer rates and more! Because of this, many families are choosing to eat organic, locally grown, and GMO free foods. It can be overwhelming when you first make the switch to GMO free, but this non-GMO meal plan is designed to make your transition feel effortless. With a range of comforting foods and classic dishes, you’ll never notice a difference in taste, but you’ll likely notice a difference in your health!


You’ll notice that a few of the meals are brand name meals. This is because they are pre-packaged and ready to cook and also GMO free certified! The nice thing about switching to GMO free food is that there are certainly convenient options just like with normal food, making healthier eating an option for busy families! There are also meals marked with (*) and those meals are linked directly here for you to find and save with ease!

Additionally, you may have to alter these recipes a bit to make sure they are meeting non-GMO standards and this includes shopping at local farmer’s markets, buying only organic foods, and checking the ingredient list on any additional items you buy to ensure that you’re not buying foods with GMOs. While following this meal plan, you’ll notice that eliminating the guessing of what to eat every day will be extremely helpful when you switch to organic GMO free food. It can be overwhelming at first, but the plan is designed to help you stay on track and make healthier choices with your food.

Easy Non-GMO Pancakes
Feta Pasta Salad
Pan Fried Buttery Carrots
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Should you find yourself wanting to know more about GMO food and how to make healthier choices, there is some great literature on Amazon like:
Whatever it is that drives you to make healthier choices is worth it, absolutely. GMOs can be extremely dangerous and the time to take control of what you put in your body is now!

To learn more about GMOs ~

What are GMOs ?

Are There Hidden GMOs in your food?

7 Easy Ways to Avoid GMOs

7 Easy Ways to Help Reduce GMOs

Daily Dose of Funny From #Mutts


Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl has received compensation for sharing great info about Mutts.

One of my fondest childhood memories was Sunday mornings sitting around the kitchen table and the whole family reading the Sunday paper.  The one section of the paper that got passed around to all in the family (all 4 of us) was the comics.  That comics section was read from to back, and laughs were always had.   I used to love reading some of my fav’s, and remember even cutting them out from time to time to put on the fridge.

If you are a lover of laughs, and get a chuckle out of animal related comics then you will fall in love with Mutts Comic.  Mutts has been making people laugh since 1994, and continues to put smiles on faces all over the place.  Shelter stories are the staple for Mutts Comic strip.   And, Mutts is coming to the big screen soon.  That is one I am excited for!

Join Mooch, Earl, Ozzie, Millie, Frank, Jules, Guard Dog, and the rest of the cast as they get into all sorts of situations and find ways to make us all laugh daily.   You can learn all about the characters, the comic strip, the artist, and also shop right on their website

Check them out at Mutts Comics, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To coincide with the release of the new book, The Mutts Winter Diaries, Richard Leeds International has designed a cozy nightshirt to give you the sweetest of dreams.

I got a fun Sleep Shirt and Mutts Winter Diary book for myself, but they also want you to win one.   Enter here ~
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Cleaning Your Home with Essential Oils

Switching to an all natural, green cleaning system in your home requires that you learn about all the essential oils that work for different purposes and how to use them. Many oils have the ability to disinfect, kill bacteria, deodorize and break through scum that even some industrial cleaners have a hard time cutting through. With just a few different oils you can get started with a basic cleaning system to keep your house clean and then build from there based on your personal home cleaning needs.



These are some of the essential oils that you can add to your natural cleaning ingredients to care for your entire home.


Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is best for use on floors, tile and countertops because it is a great disinfectant, brightens surfaces and leaves behind a great scent. In the bathroom, this oil is the best help for scum on walls and glass doors, removing the hard to move residue.


Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is a great oil to use with water as a glass cleanser, and can be used on any other clear surfaces. The oil does not leave any streaks or residue behind and is the best oil for removing the type of scum that collects on glass.


Tea Tree Essential Oil

For stains on porcelain or countertops, tea tree essential oil is your best choice because it is able to get into the tiny pores found on these surfaces and clean out or kill the bacteria that resides there. Tea tree oil is best blended with lavender and lemongrass for wiping down generally dirty surfaces, but best applied directly to porcelain stains that need cleaning.


Orange Essential Oil

For any areas of the home that have tough grease or sticky residue, orange essential oil applied directly to the area is a great way to remove and break down the substance. Orange also kills bacteria and viruses, so not only will it remove tough grease, but it will help keep the family healthy by reducing winter bugs that we bring into our homes.


Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is known as a germ buster, mildew deterrent and odor eliminator, which is why its great for use in the bathroom or in carpets. Added to your carpet cleaner, or sprayed onto the carpet, before allowing it to dry out fully, peppermint does a great job at keeping these carpets clean and fresh smelling. In the bathroom, peppermint oil works to keep everything smelling fresh and bacteria free.


Using Essential Oils

In most cases, essential oils can be added to your other natural cleaners, or combined to create basic cleaners with household products that you already have on hand. If scent is important to you, it is okay to blend the different essential oils together to create a fragrance that you are happy with, but will also work to keep your home clean.

Having Fun With Flavor Thanks to #DASANIDrops

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl has been compensated for a review of Dasani Drops.
All opinions are 100% that of Living Smart Girl. 


I am all about water.  I drink water all day long, just plain ol’ water.  I grew up in a household where we only drank water, because it was not in the food budget to have pop or other beverages in the house.  This was of course way before awesome products like DASANI Drops.   Now, hubby on the other hand does not like water.  AT ALL!!  It is seriously like trying to get a kid to eat brussels sprouts or something.  He gags, turns his nose up, and just hates it!!

Well thank goodness for products like DASANI Drops.  Now, he drinks water all the time. He keeps a huge jug in the fridge with his favorite flavor for the day, and drinks the whole jug daily.  Because I am a believer in getting your water daily, this has helped him with his allotted water intake.  And, because we are on the go a lot on his days off, I keep a bottle in my purse so when we are eating out, he orders water and squirts his flavor in the water.  Yeah, for awesome things like this that help us live a healthier life!

But, just because DASANI Drops are made for water, our use of them doesn’t stop there.   Hubby loves yogurt, but we only buy the vanilla for him as he just buys in big tubs.  He will squirt a flavor into his yogurt and enjoy something new every day.   He really liked the Pineapple Coconut in his yogurt.

There are many ways you can use DASANI Drops.  Here are a few that I came up with ~
Add drops to your coffee, hot or cold.   Add drops to your favorite protein smoothies.  Add drops to oatmeal, yogurt, vanilla ice cream, mix with cream cheese for a fun spread, add to your iced tea, mix with vodka for your favorite fun drink, add drops to milk to make a new fun flavor for the kids (and so much healthier than syrup flavors), add drops to your vanilla pudding, or mix into your vanilla frosting to add a twist to your cake.  I am sure you can come up with others?

I can see now how the holiday’s can be more fun if you host a party and offer DASANI Drops for your guests to use to come up with their own favorite beverage flavor.  It would be fun to do a contest and see who could come up with the most unique and best tasting beverage using DASANI Drops.  Do you have ideas?  Leave a comment and tell me how you can use your DASANI Drops.

A few fun facts about DASANI DROPS:
• Are flavorful, fashionable accessories for busy moms and calorie-conscious people alike
• Are zero-calorie liquid beverage enhancers that allow people to add a burst of flavor to their water
• Are packaged in a squeezable 1.9 fluid ounce bottle with a flip-top cap—perfect for those on the go
• Are a great value with each bottle providing 32 servings per container

Find DASANI Drops on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.


4 Unusual Ways to Use Your Life Insurance

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Life insurance can feel overly complicated to many people. To compensate for that feeling, it’s often viewed as little more than a grownup expense procured with the hope that a significant length of time will pass before it’s used, since common wisdom assumes a life insurance policy’s sole purpose is a practical, pre-determined payout after death.

It’s something the one whose name it is in will personally never see, and really, the whole prospect of your loved ones dealing with it after you’re gone is such a bummer, most of us would rather not to consider it at all. While this somewhat morbid and overly basic understanding of life insurance bears some relationship to the truth, it certainly isn’t the only way in which a life insurance policy can be used. If you’re curious about the ways in which you might be able to utilize your life insurance policy other than as a strict payout upon death, here are four options you should know about.

1. Fund Bequests

Because a life insurance policy can also function as a cash stand-in for an asset, a fund bequest is a great way to use your policy. It can help you solve problems of liquidity when you’re concerned about issues of fairness as they relate to property and cash among your heirs after your death. For example, say you have a property that is valued more highly than the savings you have, and only one of your children is interested in keeping it in his family. By getting a life insurance policy that’s equal to the value of the property, upon the settlement of the will, the child who wants the property and the one who does not can both be given the same amount of inheritance. A life insurance policy used in this way is all about investing for the future, and Alliance Financial Life Insurance can help you.

2. Maximize Your Pension

For people who find themselves in a position where they are using a pension or savings in a way that differs from the ways in which they had originally anticipated, a life insurance policy can provide something of a buffer. Say medical bills or other unexpected expenses force you to take out a reverse mortgage or second mortgage in order to make ends meet. By paying into a life insurance policy every month in addition to the mortgage, you can maintain your home’s value for your children while still ensuring you have a place to live. Also, if a pension ceases upon death and leaves a surviving spouse without an adequate income, a life insurance policy can be a buffer against that end. Of course, the earlier you start paying into it, the more money the surviving spouse will get.

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3. Pay for College

If you’ve chosen to fund a whole life policy well enough, you can put it toward a relative’s college expenses. While a college fund or 529 is a better choice — whole life insurance policies, if used early, will be pricey in terms of fees and administrative expenses — the skyrocketing expenses of college may leave you with little choice. One advantage of using the policy in this way is that financial aid programs won’t take a life insurance policy into consideration when calculating grants and other benefits. Of course, you can also give the maximum annual tax-free gift to children or grandchildren in anticipation of college as well. If you’re nervous you won’t provide enough for their full education in the time you have left, simply insure yourself for the total amount, and on your death, you can provide what’s still needed.

4. Transfer It

While there are some tricky rules in relation to the CRA, one great way to avoid estate taxes that may be levied against your life insurance is to transfer the policy to someone else. That way, upon your death, you can pass the payout on to your heirs income, tax-free and estate tax-free. In a nutshell, so long as you aren’t listed as the policy owner upon your death, the policy won’t be viewed by as part of your estate. You can also accomplish the same end by placing the policy in an irrevocable trust.

It’s true that life insurance can feel like a tricky business — matters of death and taxes often are. However, by getting creative, you can actually enjoy a wealth of benefits that go far beyond the straightforward payout of just cash upon death.

Why You Need Magnesium


I have been pretty good the last 10 years or so with learning my vitamins and supplements and what each one is for and why I need them.  But, there is one that kinda slipped my radar until recently.  Magnesium (Mg).    I knew about it, but not what it was or what it really did and why we need it.  The older I get, the more I am learning and WOW.. I love this supplement!!  Magnesium is one of those minerals that is not spoken about much, so let’s talk about it.  Here is why you need Magnesium!

Magnesium is a mineral, and it helps with many processes throughout the body.  But, sadly most people just don’t get enough Magnesium on a daily basis.  For some people with very poor diets who don’t take a multi vitamin, they might be getting little to none.  If you don’t take any supplements, you really should at least be taking this one.

Magnesium can be found in many foods, but due to the foods being grown in soil that is nutritionally depleted most foods just don’t have adequate amounts meaning our bodies are not getting what they need on the foods alone.  Most people should take at least 600 mg per day for optimal wellness.  In some circumstances 1000 mg or more might be beneficial.   Do you know how much you get a day?  I know I have been getting non by supplement for a while now, and very little in the foods I eat.

Reasons other than what I mentioned above, why you need Magnesium ~

If you lead an active lifestyle and exercise regularly, Magnesium is important for your muscle function.  Active people use up the Magnesium in their bodies quickly, so you want to make sure you are getting enough.

Do you love your coffee?  If you are a caffeine junkie (soda, coffee, tea, etc.) your kidneys are excreting large amounts of Magnesium into your urine.  So, you are passing what your body has in it.  Time to add more 😉

Pain sufferers ~ like back pain, tension headaches or migraines.  Magnesium can relieve muscle spasms including those in your back and head.

Can’t sleep ?   Well this is the reason I started to research this wonderful mineral.  I had heard it helps with sleep, and let me tell you ~ It Did for me!  I actually got a bottle of Magnesium oil for a product review from Amazon and started using it that night on my feet.  I don’t sleep well at night and neither does my husband. Well, the first night, I slept amazing.   I have used it every night for a couple weeks and have been sleeping great! Some nights I fall asleep and don’t move all night long.

IBS -C (Constipation). This is another reason I wanted to try Magnesium.  The mineral helps constipation by pulling additional water into the colon and improving muscle function.  If you suffer with IBS-C or Crohn’s you can look for Magnesium Glycinate which is easiest on the stomach.

While I am using the oil on my feet every night right now, I ordered one that I can mix with my daily protein shakes after my workouts.  Only because the spray isn’t giving me a full amount as I only use it on my feet at night and am only doing the 6 sprays which is about 25% of my RDA for Magnesium.  So I ordered a product called Natural Calm, for a bit extra to add to my daily intake.

It is also suggested to add 50 – 100 mg of Vitamin B6 daily because the two work great together.   Wanna try to eat more foods with Magnesium in them?  Check out all the foods that are higher in Magnesium for a great list.

Regardless of how you choose to get your daily Magnesium RDA, I just encourage you to get it period.   You will thank me later 😉



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