Sunday, January 31, 2010

January - The Summation

Wow. January 31st already? You mean the first month of 2010 is already over? Behind me?

I think the end of the first month of the year is a good time to take a breather and sit back and review goals and New Year's Resolutions. And since a number of you have asked how I've done on a couple of my resolutions, I'll simply have to share my trials and tribulations over the past 31 days.

You might remember that at the end of my last post for 2009 I threw in some weighty New Year's Resolutions. I decided I was going to lose ten pounds. By the end of March. And then I decided that this was how I would be doing it.

How has it been going?

I am quite embarrassed to admit that I really hit the skids on this one. I felt like I was "gung ho" and ready for this, but when it came down to putting the Whole Body Action plan into reality, I fizzled. I found the restrictive diet much too difficult for me. I really, really love food and I truly enjoy cooking. I gravitate to warm, hearty comfort food when it's cold outside. I get tired, weak, and cranky as soon as I go a few hours without food, so the liquid part of the detox made me virtually useless.

And while I have not lost any weight over the past month, I have also not gained any. And I am definitely eating fewer treats and less sugar-laden junk than I was over the holidays. So I refuse to look at this as a complete failed attempt. Baby steps. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Regarding the exercise part of this regime? Well, I have no good excuses. It's winter in Ottawa, it's cold, the kids have been sick, I have a bad foot, I've been really busy . . . I could go on and on and on but the reality is simply that I haven't gotten around to doing it yet. And the truth is that I feel like a million bucks when I work out routinely, so I am continuing to push forward in hopes that regular exercise becomes a part of my daily routine very soon.

In better news, my commitment to joining Andrea from the Fishbowl's Shopping Embargo has faired far better than my new healthy body plan. Shopping this month was cut back to a bare minimum, and I didn't have that much difficulty sticking to the plan. It's really causing me to pause and reflect before giving in to the sudden urge to want to buy something.

"Do I want this?" or "Do I need this?" are questions I ask myself on a regular basis. And I have found myself becoming creative in my approach to both getting rid of stuff and seeking out new stuff. I made a significant chunk of change this month selling things we no longer needed on Kijiji, and I learned to ask friends and family for items that I need before running out to buy something. I ended up having a friend lend me a snowsuit for Thing 2, as I really didn't want to have to buy him a new one mid-season, knowing that Thing 1's current snowsuit (in excellent condition) will fit him next winter.

A couple of exceptions that arose were the fact that we needed a new lamp (ours broke, the living room was too darn dark) and the reality that I was coveting some new craft supplies. We found a very affordable lamp at a good price, and it is absolutely perfect for our living room, it matches everything beautifully and seems to pull the entire room together. And the craft supplies have been serving me well, as I have secured a few big orders for my hand-made cards this month!

I am still working on becoming a better listener. I think I am getting there. I try more frequently to stop what I am doing and listen to what the kids are telling me, no matter how mundane, ridiculous, or petty it may seem. Children love being heard, and especially love to know their parents are listening to them.

And, finally have I started living more days as if they were my last? I am definitely enjoying life a little more. I am making the most of the little things. I am delighting in the beauty and innocence of the 3 Things each day. I started a book club with some new friends and have been reading a couple books a week. I have stopped watching television. I am trying to spend more time with the people I care about and to expend less energy on those who are not worth it.

So, I say, bring on February with it's groundhogs, longer days, Valentine festivities, Winterlude activities, and a birthday celebration for yours truly. I may not be ten pounds smaller but then there would be less of me to enjoy 2010's second month, right?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Valentine Stamp Class for Kids!

I will be hosting a Children's Stamping Class on Saturday, February 6 at 1:00 pm. The kids will be trying their hand at home-made stamped Valentines!

The class is for kids ages 3-8. Kids who are between the ages of three and five will be making easier projects than the older children. I will take care of the children for the duration of the class, so feel free to drop them off and have a little time to yourself. If you are more comfortable staying for the class, you are more than welcome to!

Each child will create 20 hand-stamped Valentine cards for $20. I supply all materials. Hand-made cards are great for giving out at school, and are a huge hit with friends and family. They are perfect for teachers, too.

These are some simple Valentines Things 1 and 2 helped me make last year for their friends at school.

If you are interested in the class, please e-mail me personally at craftyshan at gmail dot com as soon as possible to reserve a spot.

I am also available for groups of four or larger to be booked at any time, and I do birthday parties as well (very popular with girls ages 6-12).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WW - Gettin' Crafty

I've been working on a big card order over the past week or so and am loving my new Stampin' Up Medallion stamp. Here are a few simple and easy designs - it's such a versatile stamp, I absolutely adore it!

A big thank you goes out to my girl Beach Mama for teaching me how to take better pictures of my cards!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Morning Message

Every weekday morning when Things 1 and 2 wake up and get ready to go to kindergarten, they are greeted at the breakfast table with a "morning message". If you're a teacher, or you have children in kindergarten, you are likely very familiar with this concept already.

I use my Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center to write a new message each night before I go to bed, so the kids can read it when they get up in the morning. We sit and eat breakfast and read it together (they are 4 and 5, so not the strongest readers yet).

We go over the date, the year, and then we discuss the days of the week in French - both boys are in 50/50 French school so each alternate day is in French. I then leave a brief note about something we will be doing later that day, to give them something to look forward to after they come home from school. (Ya know, since they come home BEFORE lunch!!)

They usually start by trying to read the message on their own - or at least picking out and circling all the words they recognize. Before Christmas I focused on numbers and did a count down to December 25th - they loved the anticipation and excitement and were learning about counting and numbers along the way.

I really can't say enough wonderful things about the Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center. And this is not a product review, I just absolutely love it. I bought it about a year and a half ago and we use it every day - the kids practice their printing on it, I write them messages, they draw pictures. And it all erases off with no effort with the soft eraser that comes with the board. It's amazing!!

This is a very simple and easy activity to do with your preschooler or kindergartner each morning!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Second Birthday to my Little Girl

Two years ago today, my little princess, you arrived on the scene and were instantly given membership to our little club. And, if I may be frank, we've been just tickled pink to have you. I had been drowning in a sea of testosterone before you showed up and it's been an absolute pleasure having another female on board for the past 24 months.

Although, at two years old, femininity is not exactly your niche. As I feared, Things 1 and 2 have rubbed off on you a little bit. You like to get . . . . dirty.

You enjoy playing with trucks. You prefer boys' underwear to cute and frilly little girls panties and you continually sneak into your brothers' room each morning to discard the charming feminine ensemble I've dressed you in in favour of boys' clothing. You like hockey, sports, and balls of all kinds, and you can throw a left hook like the best of the boys in the ring.

But that is not to say that you don't have your "girly" side. You do gravitate towards pink and you occasionally get out of bed in the morning and demand you wear "tights, mommy". So we sit, cross-legged, on the floor of your room together and choose from all the bright, colourful pairs of warm knit tights the ones you will wear on that particular day.

2009 was the year of the "baby" for you. You fell deeply in love with all of them - crisp, new baby dolls with soft bald little heads, fluffy and adorable tiny bunnies, puppies, and kittens, and, yes, even real actual human babies. You are gentle and cautious around baby R, who we are lucky enough to have living across the street from us. You have been deeply infatuated with him ever since he was born last summer. I have a sneaking suspicion you would be honoured to show him the ropes of our 'hood as he gets older.

You, Thing 3, are shy and quiet in front of strangers. Friends and neighbours gush with delight over the cuteness of your soft whispering voice.

"Yes. I'd like a cookie," you say.

Which, ironically, becomes "I WANT A COOKIE" when we are alone at home with no captivating audience for you to entrance. Is it, again, your two older brothers who cause you to feel the need to make yourself heard while we're at home? Because you needn't fear, little one, I'm taking it all in.

This was definitely the year you became more comfortable with your language skills. It seemed like almost overnight you went from sounding out syllables, to speaking a few words, to piecing together sentences, to the non-stop verbal diarrhea with which I am now quite familiar.

You're a clever one, too. Your patience and concentration are lending themselves well to your creative play - working on puzzles, stacking blocks, colouring, painting, and drawing. You are fairly close to putting the whole alphabet together (and because I am your mother I am not one bit concerned when you leave half a dozen letters out!). You are crazy about music, singing, and dancing and I would be lying if I didn't say I think you've got some rhythm.

As the third child, and last in the birth order, you are experiencing many of life's precious experiences far sooner than you should. You ate peanut butter before any pediatrician would ever recommend it, you've had candy on Halloween (yes, the sticky kind), your oldest brother slipped you a stick of gum - it's gotten to the point that when a friend or family member starts with "is it okay for Thing 3 to have . . . ." I cut them off before they need to finish.

"Yup, she can have it, " I offer, gazing around to see if the secret you-gave-it-to-them-too-young police are around writing me a citation. You've ridden on the big rides, you've swam in the deep end, you've worn lipgloss, and I'm pretty sure you watched an entire Star Wars movie with your brothers. Oh yeah. And then there was that choking-hazard popcorn.

Your bright, blue, hypnotizing eyes are like a window to your soul. You are by far the most expressive child I have ever encountered. Looking at you in all your innocence I see the compassion you already bear, the love and joy you embody, the hurt you occasionally feel, and the awe and amazement you experience in every passing moment of each day.

I love watching the beautiful person you are becoming. To be actively involved every minute of your journey through life.

Just do me one small favour, okay?

Slow it down a little, would ya?

Happy Birthday, Thing 3!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

10 Great Websites for Young Children

I have recently found myself scouring for new and innovative indoor, quiet activities with which to occupy my children. We have barely left the house in the past nearly three weeks due to some logistics, some fairly cold winter weather, and now a stomach bug trickling through the house. Things 2 and 3 are the final victims of its wrath and have been at home this week, leaving my kids-in-house-activities creativity kind of tapped.

We've done puzzles. We've read fourteen thousand books. Twice. We've played board games. We've played endless tournaments of Gobblet (the best game EVER). We've done crafts. Built forts. Constructed tunnels. Watched movies. Played Wii. Played Leapster.

Learned how to levitate.

Okay, you got me on that one.

As the boys get older they are becoming more and more interested in the computer. Thing 1 is nearly six now and Thing 2 is four. I don't mind them spending a little bit of time online as long as what they are doing is somewhat educational.

Before letting them haphazardly schlep their way around the world wide web, I wanted to do some research on friendly, fun, and safe children's websites. I've compiled a list of sites that I have personally been to and have used with either Thing 1 or Thing 2. Here, in no particular order, are our top ten:

1.StarFall - this is a fabulous learning website for kids ages 3-6. It teaches basic reading skills through the learning of phonics and letter recognition, and Thing 2 just loves it. He spent at least an hour doing it today! It is fun, easy to navigate, colourful, bright, and has fun rhymes and music.

2. CBC Kids - needs no introduction. If you have kids and you live in Canada, then you have undoubtedly sat through an enjoyable morning with Patti and her clan, watching children's favourites like Busytown Mysteries, SuperWhy, the Doodlebops and Lunar Jim. The site is set up well and is neat and tidy - and there is an entire Preschool section with games and activities for the younger crowd. Thing 1 adores the games on the main site - they offer snowboarding, BMX biking, hockey and tobogganing. Fun for any age (literally, I sneak on there myself sometimes!).

3. PBS Kids
- another fun and educational site for children. There are loads of games to choose from, mostly in the preschool category, all based on popular children's show characters - Caillou, Clifford, Curious George, etc. There are lots of pictures and shapes to click on for pre-readers . . . this really helped Thing 2 before he started school. (And now he is starting to read - yay!)

4. Treehouse TV - very similar to the PBS kids site, and with some of the same TV characters. Thing 2 really loves this site, and so did Thing 1 for a couple years, but I have a few concerns. It is fairly jumbled on the home page and it is often really difficult to sift through the pages and pages of games to find what you want. It is almost overwhelming. The kids end up calling me in, frustrated, to find the game they want. Some of the Dora and Diego games are pretty cool, but they also hog a lot of computer resource too. They are ridiculously slow to load. I even had the laptop crash once. A simpler, more streamlined site would make Treehouse a little more appealing and user-friendly in my books.

5. Sesame Street - a great site for kids who are really into the Sesame Street characters. For some reason, mine are not. But the pages are very well set up - there is a "Muppets" section where you can click on any of your favourite SS dudes and VOILA - you're introduced to everything you've ever wanted to know about Elmo, including videos, games and a personal playlist!

6. Crayola - the makers of crayons, markers, and paint found in every kid's craft bin have put together an in depth and fabulous web site. I have always loved this site and often take ideas for crafts I do with the children from there. There is a "Fun and Games" section that is pretty neat - lots of colouring activities and some decent games for kids. I recommend the "Spouting Trout".

7. Nick Jr - this is like the twin sister of the Treehouse site - the American version. It is very similar except it is not as slow to load, and it is much easier to click on and choose games you want to play. There is even a great section that will take you right to the top five games. And you know Dora is right at the top of that list, right?

8. Learning Planet - this site is definitely for the older crowd (5+). It is a wonderful place to access interactive learning tools, activities and games - there is a lot of free stuff but for more detailed pages you need to become a member. And pay. There is an area for students, and one for teachers. The Alphabet Action and Monster Crossing games are two my boys enjoy - Monster Crossing takes a bit of addition and some reading skills, so I always sit and do it with them.

9. Fun With Spot - a fun and exciting experience if your children are Spot lovers like mine are! There are clean and easy to read tabs and labels all over this site. My kids particularly love to "Create a Spot Story" where they can build their own adventure and follow through their own story. The games are easy point and click activities with bright colours and music - and I'd say this is for younger kids but literally all three of mine enjoy this one!

10. Lego Club - Thing 1 has been a Lego Club member for some time now and also subscribes to the FREE magazine. He truly adores this site and would spend hours on it . . . if I let him. Thing 2 has more difficulty navigating the site and getting to the games - icons and labels are much smaller and more detailed, so this is probably a site for the 5 and over crowd. The boys love watching video clips of their favourite Lego adventures and even seeing some mega Lego constructions taking place. Just be careful your wee one doesn't click on the "Shop" icon if you step away from the computer for a moment!

If you are familiar with any other children's websites that you would like to recommend, I'd love to hear from you!

* I am not associated with or paid by any of these web sites. This is simply a list I composed on my own, based on my own opinions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Baby No More


Definitely a big girl now. And turning two years old in two days.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Eastern Grandparents Hit Ottawa

The 3 Things were so lucky this past weekend to have had a lovely visit from their Nana and Grandad in Nova Scotia. They arrived on Friday night and we all made the trek out to the airport to watch planes take off and land for a little while before welcoming the grandparents to the nation's capital.

If you've ever been to the Ottawa International Airport, you know that it is just perfect for children. The inside is mammoth, offering sufficient space for little legs and feet to run at full speed to their heart's content. And, there is water. A huge fountain trickling down a colossal wall, to be exact. And to seal the deal? They sell SNACKS.

Yup, any kid's dream come true.

So we proved that seven people do fit quite comfortably in our mini-van and headed home for a relaxing weekend of visiting, playing games, eating delicious food, and just generally enjoying each others' company.

Nana and I took the boys to see Alvin and the Chipmunks (The Squeakquel). I found it down right hilarious and truly enjoyed myself, although my mother - who has seen the first movie - informs me that the original one is a bit better. But who can beat an afternoon staying seated for 90 consecutive minutes while enjoying hot, buttered popcorn? Yeah, that's right. No one!!

And so we were a bit sad to send Nana and Grandad back to the airport this afternoon so they could hit the skies and be on their way home to the East Coast.

But we'll keep this precious visit in our hearts until we can see them again!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tips on Getting Rid of Your Stuff

My post yesterday on how I gutted my basement and rid our home of unwanted possessions got me thinking about how I might be able to help others who are going through or considering this very process.

So, here you have it, A Crafty Mom's guide to purging your nonessential gear.

1. Sort through absolutely everything - leave no corner untouched. Try and get all the "stuff" together in one area. Get a friend or family member to help you because this is often the biggest part of the job.

2. Organize your clutter in groups - an ideal way is to make piles such as "to donate", "to sell", "to give away". Place each item in its respective group - and be realistic. Don't allow yourself to keep crap you don't need, don't use, and haven't touched for 10 years. Unless you REALLY might have another baby, keeping around cribs, exersaucers, high chairs, and car seats just wastes space in your storage area.

3. Set out a plan of attack for dealing with each pile - because I'm so busy I really can't get anything done unless I write it down. I make lists. I planned to do a little bit each day and slowly hack away at each pile over the course of two weeks until it was gone. Set a firm deadline and stick to it.

4. Take photos of the items you are listing - items in good condition I sold on Kijiji and things I wanted to give away I posted on Freecycle. Dusting/washing/wiping your item before you take a picture will help it look desirable in your ad. Kijiji and Freecycle are free sites so it costs you nothing to list your ad and place a photo with it.

5. List your items online - most importantly, be honest in your ad. If it has a scratch, say that. If it is like new, never used, say that. The more details you provide the less time you'll waste answering questions via e-mail. Posting a picture (or two) also is invaluable because potential buyers can view the item for themselves. Search for similar items to see what categories people are using and to give you a realistic idea of what price to charge.

6. Keep personal details to a minimum - If selling items from your home (like I did), think twice about adding your house address and phone number in the public ad. I only gave my name and home address out in the very final e-mail when I had a confirmed time that the buyer was coming to pick up. Unless the buyer was a woman (usually I felt comfortable trusting other moms of small children) I only allowed pick ups when my husband was home, so I didn't have strangers coming to the house when I was alone. (To murder and kill me.)

7. Do not delete your ad until after pick
up occurs - I cannot stress this enough. Some people will not show up! Be prepared and be patient. I never deleted an ad until the item was on its way out my front door. In cases where I had multiple requests, I usually replied "item is pending pick up - if it falls through I will contact you". And in a couple cases, I actually made the sale by contacting the "next in line".

8. Monitor your e-mail carefully and reply
promptly - I found replying immediately and watching my e-mail closely helped me stay on top of all the items. If you get behind things can spiral out of control. Even only with 10 items listed I had 100 e-mails a day just for my listings. Serious buyers respect someone who is kind, courteous, and prompt in their replies.

Follow these simple steps and pretty soon your basement will look like this!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We Purged . . . And it Felt Great!!

Over the Christmas holidays, I actually managed to secure a few minutes to sort through our basement and start organizing the masses of endless boxes and "stuff" that have formed a barrier along one side of our house. We live in a small home, so an overabundance of stuff is not really conducive to our long time goal of one day achieving some sort of order in our lives (and, yes, of course that starts in one's basement).

The Crafty Dad and I decided it was time to purge. To get down and dirty and roll up our sleeves and get rid of some of the things we no longer needed, used or wanted. So we started out with a really simple organizing system. We put everything in one pile and began sorting - one pile for things we would give away, one pile for things in good condition that we would sell, and another pile for garbage.

The good news was - we didn't have any garbage!! We had a big pile to sell and a good sized pile to give away. I sifted through the give-away pile and picked out things I wanted to give to friends and neighbours (much of it was kid stuff - clothes, snowsuits, toys, etc.) and then made another heap for Freecycle. I then took photos of all the items I wanted to sell online through Used Ottawa or Kijiji or to give away on Freecycle.

Over the course of a few days, I listed the items for which I sought new homes and began the onerous task of managing the plethora of e-mail that would be coming to me on a daily basis. I soon learned that "I'll come by to pick them up between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m." does not in any way, shape, or form equate to the supposed buyer actually showing up at that time.

This is REALLY annoying! I'm a prompt, on time person. I don't waste others' time and I would never just not show up somewhere and not call or e-mail to explain what happened. And, for the record, this never once happened with a Freecycle ad. The people showing up to pick up items I had listed on Freecycle were prompt, polite, intelligent, and thoughtful. And tremendously grateful. Several times I received thank you e-mails after the item had been collected and taken home. But a number of people I dealt with through Kijiji were just rude and . . . well, kinda selfish.

Not all of them, of course. I had a number of good encounters and some lovely and very grateful buyers. And the bottom line is that although it took a lot of grunt work, we have thoroughly purged our basement and have lots of extra space now! I guess I'd have to say that in the end it was all worth it.

And I'd probably do it again!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Kids in the Digital Era

Although I am not a huge advocate of video games, and have never been a big fan of them, it does seem that they have somehow slithered into our home.

We have never been big "gamers" or video game players and never got caught up in the XBox/Playstation phenomenon. I never understood the appeal of video games, and I had certainly witnessed relationships upon which gaming had taken a toll.

Cue forward a few years and we now have a Nintendo Wii set up in our basement. I most definitely fell victim to claims that it was "fun for the entire family", was something my husband and I "could do together", and was an excellent way for a family to keep "fit and active" all at once. I walked into Future Shop with my "I'm a sucker" name tag prominently attached to my coat and later left the store with $300 worth of video game equipment.

That being said, the Wii has been a pretty fantastic game for our family. It is something we like to do together and for the most part, is fun and relaxing. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are old enough now to really enjoy the game and in the past month or so they have really gotten the hang of playing it together.

Which is also exceptionally exciting for me, because this now becomes an activity that my first two Things can do on their own.

Add to this the fact that Thing 1 has a Nintendo DS and Thing 2 is now the proud owner of a new Leapster 2, and I guess you could call us a family of "gamers".

And I don't feel like a particularly horrible mother for any of these facts, because I think the key to anything good in life is moderation. The Wii is basically shut down and not used for six months when the weather is nice . . . we spend all our time outside and not inside playing games. It wasn't until December when the snow hit - and then at Christmas when the kids received a few new games as gifts - that the consoles were plugged in and away we went.

Now it is January and that biting, icy Ottawa cold has arrived with a vengeance. Our outdoor time is limited, as frostbite is not something I am interested in inflicting upon the Things. We play games, we do homework, we engage in crafts, we dance, we sing, we play, but inevitably there is still some time leftover. Things 1 and 2 arrive home from kindergarten every day at 11:10 a.m. - that still leaves a lengthy chunk of time that I have to fill with activities. So I have started allowing them to play video games during their afternoon "quiet time", when Thing 3 is napping.

So here is my question to all of you moms out there who can relate. Do you allow your children to play video games? (I know in our circle of friends, and in our neighbourhood, the majority of the kids have a DS or a Leapster, and most families own a Wii or other type of game console - although I realize that not everyone has them.)

And more importantly, what restrictions do you place on playing these devices? Do you remove the privileges if they misbehave? Do you set time limits? I am pretty firm now and I set a timer so that the boys never play more than 60 minutes - but I still wonder sometimes if this is too long.

Thoughts? Experiences??

Monday, January 04, 2010

Little Miss Independence

Thing 3 has embraced a few rather peculiar habits lately.

For the past couple of months, she has staunchly insisted upon dressing herself. Not bad, you may be saying to yourself, for a child not quite two-years-old yet. Yes, independence is grand. However, arriving late everywhere you are required to be over the course of a week eventually wreaks havoc in your life.

Our little sprite soon decided she had graduated from wearing her own apparel and was indeed in desperate need of her older brothers' ensembles. So every morning we dress her in a cute size 2T outfit that - before I have finished drinking my morning coffee - is discarded on the floor in her room. She makes her way into the boys' room and shuffles through their drawers until she finds something awkwardly too big for her. And then she puts it on.

And on any given day she will layer four or five t-shirts on top of one another. Pants are optional, of course.

She has also learned to forsake her diaper. She rips it off whenever and wherever she feels like it. I have feverishly tried to potty train her but my efforts are not yet being rewarded. I am cleaning up a lot of "child waste" from the floors. Earlier last month I purchased some little girl panties for her, assuming she was indeed ready to be among the other toilet users in our home.

But, really, who would put on pink Dora undies with white bows when you could wear your oldest brother's HULK underwear????

Saturday, January 02, 2010

My Whole Body Action Plan

Last spring I worked particularly hard to get in shape. I did the 30-Day Shred twice and ended up having some pretty great results. I was toned, fit, strong, and I felt incredible. I spent the summer and fall running and was more than pleased with how things were going. Right after Thanksgiving weekend I pulled something in my leg - and the weather became colder - so I stopped running.

And started snacking. On absolutely nothing healthy.

Suddenly it was November and I could hardly see straight as I became busy with holiday preparations and craft sales and baking and Christmas card-making. Under the misconception that I "deserved" it because I was a hard-working busy mom of three Things, I allowed myself treat after treat and high-caloric-and-fat-filled-gingerbread latte after another.

I paid no attention to what was going on until I noticed my jeans were all getting tight and becoming difficult to button. And then, yesterday, in the spirit of New Year's, I weighed myself.

Yowza. I have gained ten pounds!

My approach is that there is "no use crying over spilled milk", so I am going to forge ahead and make some changes. Starting Monday, of course.

By chance, I found this Whole Body Action Plan from Whole Living in my e-mail inbox a few days ago and have decided it looks like a plan I can follow.

The program claims, "Every day, beginning January 4, we'll learn new strategies for living a healthier lifestyle. We'll revamp our eating habits with a four-day detox program, clear our minds with stress-relief exercises, and energize our bodies with a workout that builds week after week to incorporate cardio, strength training, and flexibility".

After reading through it carefully, I think it suits me perfectly!

Days 1-3 are for preparing to cleanse and then days 4-7 are for a mild cleanse. I was skeptical, until I saw that the plan is fairly reasonable and that you can still eat some real food while doing it. (I tried a cleanse a few months ago that was quite harsh and made me feel pretty sick, so I didn't last more than a couple days.) The actual cleansing is only four days - I figure I should be able to handle that, right??

Along with following the Whole Body Action Plan I'll be starting the 30-Day Shred yet again. I don't have a treadmill or any other way of doing cardio inside, and working out 20 minutes a day to an exercise DVD was always something I was able to fit in my day. So until the weather eases up a bit I don't think I'll be hitting the snow-covered streets in my runners.

If you're joining me in a quest to get fit or be healthier in 2010, tell me about it! What are you doing? What are your goals? I wish you all the best of luck and invite you to join me as I will be updating at least once a week on my progress.

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