A Fresh, New Year

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  And, Happy New Year!  Now, that we’re all caught up, I wanted to let you know, my dear blog readers that I have NOT forgotten about you.  In fact, I have been doing something very special over the past few months (drumroll, please)…

baby

…that’s right, I’ve been growing a baby!  I was VERY sick and tired in the first trimester, the sickest and most tired I believe I have ever been during a pregnancy.  But, I am doing much better now and enjoying the energy spurt of the second trimester before the cumbersome-ness of the third trimester.  And, as with all my other pregnancies, THANKFULLY, everything and everyone is well and healthy.  I’m 20 weeks along now and we’re excited to welcome our fourth child into our home in late May!

And, speaking of well and healthy, I know that lots of people are exiting the fun, excitement, and indulgences of the holidays and YEARNING to enter a higher level of health, wellness, and organization.  So, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite resources for health and wellness.

First up, EATING PLANS.  I don’t like the word diet because I (accurately or inaccurately) believe it implies a level of starvation (which I am fundamentally opposed to).  I much prefer the phrase eating plan.  My favorite has been Dr. Perricone’s anti-inflammatory eating plans.  Dr. Perricone is a physician, research scientist and healthy expert and his trademark anti-inflammatory program is based on foods, supplements, and lifestyle changes that give you the ability to accelerate fat loss by increasing metabolism and building/maintaining muscle mass.  I LOVE that on his eating plan, you are free to eat lots of healthy, nutritious food.  And, while your favorite cravings may not go away instantly, if you follow his plan, you will soon find that you look and feel so amazing that you’ll be happy to leave them behind.

Second up, EXERCISE ROUTINES.  I enjoy being active, so I’ve tried lots of exercise routines.  When I was younger, I swam, biked, ran, kick boxed, and played tennis, basketball, and racquetball.  However, in my current phase of life, I’ve learned that I’m just not going to be faithful to a gym if I’m going by myself.  Everyone is different in this respect.  But, for me, I either need a workout partner (fellow runner, tennis player or racquetball partner) to keep me accountable OR I need something that I can fit into my routine at home.  The latter is what I lean toward these days and in order to do that I rely on workout DVD’s.  My favorites so far have been:  Shellie Blanks Cimarosti’s Tae Bo Post Natal Power Workout, New York City Ballet Workout Volume 2 (please note I’m only recommending Volume 2 here, I really didn’t care as much for Volume 1),  The Tracy Anderson Method Post-Pregnancy Workout (which demonstrates lots of great strength training exercises for anyone NOT just women are in the post-pregnancy phase) and The Tracy Anderson Method Dance Cardio Workout.  I would really love to try Zumba and Insanity sometime, too, but it probably won’t be for a while since I’m bouncing the sweet baby around for a while.  😉

Third on my list is ORGANIZING YOUR THOUGHTS.  I LOVE to organize.  It’s one of my gifts and several of my upcoming blog posts are going to be on this very topic, but my favorite Christian resource for organizing your thoughts and helping you define your personal and family vision is the Mountaintop of Marriage Vision Retreat Guidebook by Jimmy Evans.  This book uses thought provoking questions to help you define your family’s vision/priorities/values and everyone’s next steps in the areas of spiritual and personal growth.  We’ve gone through this book every year for the past five or so years and it’s been a wonderful resource to help keep us unified, focused, and advancing toward our goals.  And, because of that, I believe that singles and couples without families would also benefit from this guidebook.

Last on my my New Year’s list is ORGANIZING YOUR SCHEDULE.  I created a home management binder last year after I completely forgot to show up three appointments in a row.  Talk about embarrassing and frustrating and stressful.  My house (at least the parts that are still within my control…and not that of my children) was pretty organized, but my schedule was not.  I know lots of people these days use electronic resources to keep track of their schedules and I tried that, but it just didn’t work for me.  So, I came across an article on the Passionate Homemaking blog about keeping a home management binder and it’s truly been a lifesaver for me.  The article references several “free printables” for getting you started, there are also some cute, free printables for planners here.  Personally, my binder is very basic and has the following categories:

PAGE 1 (at the forefront before all other Avery “tabbed” categories): THIS WEEK’S TO-DO LIST.  Let me make note that we don’t have a very busy schedule.  If your schedule or that of your family’s is busy, you may want a daily to-do list, but, for now, I can get away with a weekly one that I just check each morning.  My to-do list highlights my weekly project goals, what’s for dinner each night, my fitness goals, and our appointments/obligations that week.

TAB 1: VISION AND GOALS.  For quick reference, this section contains the following:  house rules, blessing chart, discipline chart, and our up-to-date family vision (which I talked about above under “organizing your thoughts”).

TAB 2:  CALENDAR AND ROUTINES.  This section contains our calendar for 2013 and 2014 as well as our flexible weekly routine.  I write long-term appointments on the calendar and then add them to the to-do list I talked about above each week.

TAB 3:  HOME MAINTENANCE, GROCERY AND CLEANING.  This section contains a running grocery list, our monthly menu, and a cleaning checklist.

TAB 4: ART, JOURNAL, AND PROJECTS.  This section contains my ideas for art/projects, my blog ideas, a quick list of items I want to journal about sometime (if I don’t have time at the moment), gift ideas, orders to make sometime, books to read.  This section is essentially my dumping ground.  Often, I will have an idea for something (an order, a gift, a project, …), but, as a mom of three small children, I will not have the time or opportunity to follow through on the idea at the same time it arrives.  So, I will quickly jot the idea down in this section of my binder.  Then, later, when I do have the time and opportunity, I can act on it.  In doing this, our daily lives have been significantly de-stressed because I am able to better organize my thoughts and time my activities.

And, that’s it for my binder.  Since the binder is pretty personal, I feel like the tabs and information under each one will vary from person to person.  But, I found it helpful to read about other people’s binders, take what I liked, leave what I didn’t like, and THEN create my own.

In closing, I hope you are having a fabulous start to 2013 and I wish you and your family the happiest, healthiest, most blessed year ever!

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