Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

I know, I know…it is shameful to think of Christmas right after Halloween with still 2 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving…but today markes 50 days to Christmas and I have still not gotten one Christmas gift!

Some of you may think that I am over-reacting but if you knew me you would know that usually I begin my Christmas shopping in July and by Halloween the only task I have left is the wrapping.

In years past starting early and having everything taken care of way before the blessed day has helped me reduce the holiday stress and spread out any expenses over several months–which of course further helps reduce the holiday stress.

I have always done very deliberate planning for the holidays so that I do not fall into the consumer trap of over buying or feeling obligated to gift people that are normally not on my list.

I also have made it a point, in the last 10 years now, to purchase a few toys and clothing items to donate for kids that have less than we do. It’s what I believe the season is for.

I don’t know how this year has gotten away with me…but it did.  I love Christmas, but I do not love the added rush around craziness that comes with it.  Here are a few tips to help you have a stress free Merry Christmas.

  1. Make a list of the people you would like to get gifts for–and check it twice.
  2. Understand what your budget is for the season and stay true to your limits.
  3. Think of unique ways to “gift” the people on the list.
  4. Shop as early in the day as you can when you go out to shop.
  5. Consider online shopping to avoid traffic, long lines, product shortages and frustrations.

Ultimately, Christmas should not be about the presents under the tree but the people around it.  Spending time with those you love–family and friends–is much more important than finding the perfect coffee maker, 45 tools in one, trendy toy of this year.

50 days to go folks!  Make them count and enjoy the season.

Drink More Water

Drink More Water

Water is the basis of all life. Most experts will agree that our bodies are at least 60% water.  For those trying to live healthier and watch our weight–water consumption becomes a big deal.

Among other things water helps maintain balance in our body fluids and organs. It helps energize muscle and even the brain. Water serves to keep our body clean of toxins. And water can help us look pretty or handsome.

Yet many of us–myself included until I realized what I was doing to myself–don’t drink enough water!

In my search to discover what was the “right” amount of water to drink…I found many different opinions. Here are some of the most popular guidelines I found–

  1. Drink 64 oz of water a day. The old tried and true 8-8oz glasses of water per person.
  2. Each person should drink their body weight in ounces divided by 2.

Yeah, I thought the same thing–math!  Why does everything need math? Ok so I looked for an example so I could understand it. If a woman weighs 130 lbs, divided by two means she should drink 65 oz of water per day. If a man weighs 210 lbs, then he would need to drink 105 oz of water a day.  

Makes sense that a larger container (a bigger person) would need more water to maintain a healthy ratio in the body.

I then thought–is that even possible? I already drink a lot of water throughout the day–I am sure I am getting more than enough.  

I set off to experiment.  I counted the number of ounces of water I drink a day, and was surprised to find that I was only drinking 30 to 34 oz of water a day! By medical standards I was dehydrated!

This was serious! So I started measuring and counting my ounces each day and setting my goal at 64 oz,  and it took me 3 weeks to get used to drinking that much water!

Now it is coming as second nature.  And I got an added bonus! I love added bonuses!!!!

I lost 4 pounds! I wasn’t even trying–I was just concentrating on drinking water! Seems like just drinking the right amount of water was balancing out my system a little bit–most likely washing out the salt that makes us retain water that should be helping the body eliminate toxins!

I am so excited about this discovery!  And I want to share with you some tips on how to increase your water intake!

Tip#1  Drink one to two glasses of water when you get up in the morning! Your body has been resting for 6-8 hours and is thirsty.

Tip#2 Use a pitcher to measure and keep track of the water you are drinking for the day. When the pitcher is empty–you have reached your goal.

Tip#3 Drink water before each meal and sip water throughout the day, especially if you are doing anything physical like exercising, gardening, cleaning the house, etc.

Tip#4 Try a water tracker app on your phone! They are fun!

Tip#5 Add a slice of lemon or lime to the water for a citrusy flavor.

Now I know, like I know that you are going to have some reservations. So let me put your mind at ease.

Does coffee, juice, and soda pop count as water, after all they are liquid?  No they don’t–because they contain caffeine, sugar and other chemicals that dehydrate the body.

How about alcohol?  While a Margarita sounds absolutely delicious–it also dehydrates.

Can I drink too much water and hurt my body?  No. Most of us have a hard time drinking enough water throughout the day without having to worry about drowning by water bottle.

What if I am in the bathroom all day?  That does happen–for the first 2 or 3 days, after that the body seemed to just feel good in its new wet floaty environment.

So drink more water folks–it’s good for you, it makes you feel good, it makes you look good and you might find a few free bonuses along the way!

What have been your challenges in staying hydrated?  Comment below and have a great hydrated day!

 

Creating the Home You Want

Creating the Home You Want

I am learning that decluttering is an ongoing process.  Although I have decluttered my house A LOT…I still have a long way to go.

In the process of going through things and keeping what we really love, we are also creating spaces in which we are comfortable.  After all, our home is our haven. While we enjoy having friends and family over for visits our primary goal is not to have a showplace but a comfortable space where anyone that comes will feel at home.

Of course, getting everything to look and feel this way is a work in progress and a very large organizational goal.

Each room should be decluttered and should focus on the function of the room.  For example, we should not have dishes in the bedroom or a hair brush in the kitchen.  

Here are my tips to organizing your home:

Kitchen:  The kitchen should be light, airy and clean.  There should be a place for all the pots, pans, dishes, cups, utensils, and pantry items.  Clearing off the counters of unused appliances, jars and other miscellaneous items will help your kitchen seem cleaner and larger.   If all your kitchen accessories don’t have a specific home or a place, then you have too much stuff in your kitchen.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home.  This is where most people gather and where memories are made.  Give yourself the space to make them.

Your kitchen is also where we prepare food and eat our meals.  It should be a place that is clean, bright and comforting. When we eat in a relaxed atmosphere we digest better and we feel better!  

Living Areas:  Our family room is where we entertain ourselves and others.   It is not a formal space, but strives to be one of comfort. Comfortable chairs and tables within arms reach make it easy to sit back with a cold drink or a snack and give attention to the people there and not the things.   

The living room is where we live in our down time, where we can relax, laugh, watch T.V. and play games.  When you are organizing your living room or family room, think about the activities that take place there and make sure there is designated furniture or items that enhance that not that just fill up the space.

The Home Office:  Not all homes have a home office–some have an office space but either way this is the home command center.  And while this is where I “work” at home, it is possible to make it a comfortable and functional area. A desk is essential as is your computer and a printer/scanner if you need one.  

Organizing a home office is imperative because this is the space that can get out of control–at least for me–very fast!  This is where the paper lives or better said–where it lives for a short time until you decide what to do with it. (See my tips for organizing paper here.)

So for my purposes–and I highly recommend one–your office should also include a shredder.  It is one of my favorite machines in the house!

Our office is a reflection of what we do there–pay bills, write, be creative and read.  Other than your desk, you may want to have a small sofa or comfy chair, a bookshelf and a place to keep important papers–in an organized system of course!

Bathrooms:  I have found that one of the smallest spaces in our home can contain the most “stuff”–read junk!  Not junk that is just to be thrown away but that should be addressed.

When I decluttered the bathrooms, I found bottles and bottles and bottles of shampoo, creams, moisturizer, hair products, vitamins, etc.  What helped me tremendously was to stop buying more of these items and using all that I have to 1) stop adding to the madness and 2) create space.

To organize the bathroom–treat it like a bathroom in a nice hotel. Keep it spotless and free of bottles and bathroom items on the sink top.  Use the things you need to use and put them away immediately. Wipe everything down each day (takes me about 20 seconds) and it will always look ready for its functions.

I’ve left the best for last—

Bedrooms: Again, like in a nice hotel–think sleek, clean, and functional. Keep your area free of extra paper, clothes, and shoes.  Our bedrooms is where our body, mind and spirit come to relax and rest after a day of our hurried run around lives. It is our quiet place. Create a space that is organized and can fulfill a restful experience for yourself.  After all we are worth it.

Organizing your home is a huge task–but one that is satisfying and will ultimately reflect who you are, what you find important, and how you want to live your life.

Enjoy the journey and have fun with it!