New month, new year, and we’re all turning over a new page, right? No more lazy habits and living amidst the chaos. No more holiday shortbread and unused gym memberships. No more clutter. No more excuses. We have goals and we’re going to meet them! But New Year’s resolutions are only as good as the plans and tools we use to keep them on track. Here are our top picks for starting this year off right.
Go for inbox zero
Why? We probably spend half of our time at our computers or on our phones, so digital clutter makes a huge difference. Take a couple hours at the start of the calendar year to re-organize your inbox. Use labels and folders to sort emails you want to keep and then delete (or mark as read if you’re nervous) the rest. Use your search function to help. Need to keep a record of invoices or tax receipts? Search for those and then label them. Finally, unsubscribe to anything you never read while you’re at it.
To Vive les Voyageurs French-Canadian Festival at Fort Langley National Historic Site on Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22
Why? Because the kids will get a sense of French Canadian culture and history at the Fort’s annual winter festival. Learn a Métis dance, attend a French lesson, try some maple taffy and poutine, enjoy Voyageur-style music, and watch an ice sculpting demonstration. Best of all: admission is free!
Why? Department stores always have white sales in January where they offer big discounts on sheets, towels, bedding, and other linens. The term ‘white sale’ is a throwback to when sheets only came in white, but now you can find any colour or print your heart desires. This is a great way to keep to your new household budget, and what better way to start the year than with crisp new sheets and towels?
Why? This wintery twist on the classic game of tag is as simple as it is fun. When you have freshly fallen snow, gather the children and head out into the yard. The person who is ‘it’ counts to five while everyone else runs off. The ‘it’ person then has to chase them by stepping only in footprints that have already been made. Get ready for the giggles.
Healthy is the New Skinny by Katie H. Willcox
Why? It’s important to examine why we are making working out and eating right a priority at this time of year. Is it to become the healthiest version of ourselves? Or are we chasing after an unrealistic beauty ideal? International model, Katie H. Willcox, tells her story of finally achieving that ideal and still not finding happiness. Instead, she paved her own road toward confidence and body positivity and wants others to do the same. This would be a great New Year’s read both for moms and teen daughters alike.
Why? Kids bring home so much precious art and parents have no idea what to do with it all. It’s a story for the ages. Artkive is an app that finally has the perfect solution. No more closets full of boxes or pictures floating around the gallery of your phone. Instead, use Artkive to organize them by child and age, and upload them to the cloud. When you’re ready, you can easily order beautiful hardcover books of your kids’ art that ship to Canada directly from the app. They also offer prints, calendars, aprons, puzzles, and more. Free on iOS and Android.
Why? Just because you’ve resolved to cook healthy food from scratch every evening doesn’t mean your toddler got the memo. This new site has educational videos for young kids that reinforces basic preschool learning concepts and that will keep them occupied for a couple blessed minutes. (We do try to avoid screen time before the age of two, though.) It’s like bringing circle time right into your kitchen.
Turn down the thermostat (and stay moisturized)
Why? Dry skin is a fact of life during Canadian winters. Luckily, it turns out that the same things that are good for you skin are also good for mother earth. Turning down the thermostat a couple degrees will help prevent your skin from drying out, as will using less hot water by taking shorter showers, using gentle detergents, and wearing natural fibres. Your final defence is a good-quality, cruelty-free moisturizer. We recommend The Body Shop’s ever-popular Coconut Milk Body Lotion.
Fancy hot chocolate
Why? You will never be able to maintain all your resolutions without treating yourself now and again. Hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up the whole gang this month and it doesn’t take much to dress it up a couple notches. Get this slow cooker cranberry white hot chocolate started before heading out to the toboggan hills. We like to set up a whole hot chocolate bar for family movie night. Off dairy? Try this delish vegan recipe that won’t leave you wanting. There. Winter’s not so bad after all.
Donate to those working on the ground in Aleppo
Why? Of all the things that went wrong in 2016, Aleppo is perhaps the most heartbreaking. As the images and news clips coming out of the ravaged city get harder and harder to watch, many of us are looking for something, anything, to do. Knowing which charities are working on the ground in Syria and getting aid to those who need it most is a good place to start.