Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Who Needs New Year's Resolutions?

Tired of never quite fulfilling that list of New Year's resolutions you made a year ago today? Me
too. I can safely say that I very rarely achieve any of my New Year's resolutions. I am the queen of partial achievement. Last year I resolved to not be late, ever. That did not work out so well given that I am always running at least 5 minutes late.

However, I did manage to consistently not be late for my staff and team meetings at work for an entire year. For me that is a major accomplishment and a baby step on the way to running 5 minutes early.

This year resolutions are passe. It's all about goals. Goals are more realistic and much more achievable. Plus with goals, if you don't quite reach the full goal you have at least made great progress toward your final goal. Resolutions can be an endless list. Goals, however, have limits and can be quite broad. I'm limiting myself to three goals this year:
  1. Running the annual Brian Kraft 5K race in under 30 minutes.
  2. Cutting back on my sugar intake.
  3. Expanding my vegetable garden to grow a few more herbs and vegetables this summer (if summer ever arrives).
See how easy that is?! Three spacious, achievable, and good-for-you goals for 2013. 

If I did have a resolution this year it would be to escape the 30 below zero cold and move to Puerto Rico. Again proving that my resolutions are unattainable. Just think goals, not resolutions this year and perhaps you will have obtainable goals instead of unrealistic resolutions. 

I wish you a few doable goals and a very happy night ringing in 2014. 
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 2013 Chic Mom Blog Posts

Despite having statistical data devices on this blog, I remain incredibly bad at using statistics. I've given up trying to figure out the top "most viewed" blog posts for 2013. Instead, you get a quick rundown of my favorite 2013 blog posts.

Although some of these posts may not have received a bunch of comments, I did receive lots of feedback from you my readers on these posts via email and Facebook. Enjoy!

  1. At last, the final chapter of my year-long washing machine saga. Naive Washing Machine Owner or Lazy Repairman? 
  2. I still do not understand why teenage boys in Minnesota will not wear a coat during the winter months. Too Cool for Sub-Zero
  3. The recipe that I will never again attempt. My (Disgusting) Sunday Diversion
  4. A tribute to three legends: The Legacy of Three Iconic Ladies
  5. Nothing like adding a little controversy into the mix. Egg Freezing: Not Really Stopping the Clock
  6. What did I do with all of that time?  Or What I Miss About My Former Life as a Housewife
  7. Minnesota Target stores now have swimsuits on the racks in late December. Rushing yet another season? Back to School in July?
  8. This controversy continues in Saudi Arabia. Look for more posts on this subject in 2014. Saudi Women Defy Driving Ban
  9. Boys and their footballs, Beats headphones, gaming stations, and looms. Coming to a Kitchen Table Near You
  10. Creativity is always good thing. Why Art Matters

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Carols: The Classics and the Duds

As ubiquitous as twinkle lights and candy canes, Christmas carols permeate the subconscious. I feel like I've listened to different variations of the same dozen Christmas songs over and over again. Last night, while driving around in yet another snow squall on slippery streets, and listening to yet another vocal rendition of Sleigh Ride, the kids asked why no one has come out with a fresh, new and lasting Christmas carol in decades, and why the old "stand-by" Christmas tunes have become classics? Good questions. 

Does anybody have an answer?

Here's my short list of some popular, favorite Christmas songs that have been played for as long as I can remember:
  • Bing Crosby. White Christmas (1954)
  • Brenda Lee. Rockn' Around the Christmas Tree (1958)
  • Andy Williams. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (1963)
  • Gene Autry. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949)
  • Bobby Helms. Jingle Bell Rock (1957)
  • Nat King Cole. The Christmas Song or Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (1946)
  • Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Sleigh Ride (1946) Written during a heat wave!
  • Eartha Kitt. Santa Baby (1953)
  • All the Christmas tunes from Charles Schultz. Peanuts Christmas Special (1965)
What do all of these Christmas songs have in common? All I can come up with is that they are older than me (1946-1965), and they were sung by people with really interesting first names. How many Eartha's, Nat's or Bing's do you know? Maybe it's just that they have that old finesse.

Post 1965 Christmas music has only brought us Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad, Wham's Last Christmas, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the electronic compositions of Mannheim Steamroller, many popular artists (and not-so-popular artists like Aaron Neville) singing their own versions of these Christmas classics, oddly the "Sound of Music" show tune A Few of My Favorite Things, and a particularly horrible and sad song titled The Christmas Shoes by a Christian rock group NewSong. (Do not listen to this song unless you want to become immediately and incredibly depressed.) At least The Christmas Shoes hasn't been heard on the Minneapolis-St. Paul airwaves yet this year.

Whether you listen to Christmas tunes or not this holiday season, I Wish You a Merry Christmas (and not the soulful rendition sung by Aaron Neville).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Stress-Free Plan for the Holidays

Now that my entire family and extended family has survived a nasty bout of the Thanksgiving Day stomach flu, I feel it is safe to move onto the next holiday on the docket—Christmas. This year Christmas has snuck up on me and has a completely different feel. Perhaps because this is the first Christmas in many years that I cannot devote entire days to baking or decorating or Christmas shopping. Instead my days are consumed by the best gift I received last year, my job!

Working during the day, commuting to and from work in the snow on icy streets, and shuttling kids around in the evenings does not leave much time in the day for Decking the Halls. Since I'm so limited on time and would rather not be completely stressed out, this year I've devised a new plan of attack on the Christmas rush. I've asked my family to help me. And they are now happily assisting with the holiday chores. In addition to selecting a fresh tree and bringing it the house for decorating this evening, the kids and my husband are actively helping decorate the house. The kids and I have plans to bake the Christmas cookies after work and school activities have subsided each evening this week. What an idea! Why didn't I think of this years ago?

Our family has decided to give more meaningful (less expensive and fewer) gifts this season, including taking a ski trip to Minnesota's North Shore instead of buying the usual haul of presents. Creating memories, not credit card debt. The remaining presents will be purchased online instead of joining the masses as the mall. I feel my holiday stress level dropping as I write these words.

Just don't be surprised if you receive a New Years card from my family instead of the traditional Christmas card. It's all part of the plan. Sixteen days and counting . . . despite my helper elves I still have my work cut out for me.