New year's resolutions thread

Clem Guttata at West Virginia Blue is pledging to reduce his carbon footprint by 10 percent and gives you 10 ways to reduce your own carbon emissions in 2010.

Jill Richardson at La Vida Locavore resolves to read “everything by Daryll Ray that I could get my hands on,” and she’s provided a bunch of links for anyone who wants to do the same.

Mamacita at Mother Talkers plans to get rid of 10 percent of the stuff in her house, start keeping a dream journal, make one new friend and get out of some ruts.

I feel so boring by comparison: get more sleep, do 20-30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week and lose 10 pounds. Also, be more patient with my kids when they are pushing my buttons, start holding regular family meetings, light candles every Friday night and read more by Marshall Rosenberg. Finally (and most unlikely to happen), de-clutter my house, little by little.

I like my chances of keeping my food resolutions, though: buy only locally produced meat from sustainable farmers, try to avoid fruits and vegetables out of season (except for frozen ones), make soup once a week during the cooler months and once a month during the summer.

What resolutions are you making for the new year?

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New Year's open thread

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe New Year’s Eve.

Share any thoughts, hopes or resolutions for the new year in this thread.

My boring resolutions are to exercise more, lose 10-15 pounds and make soup once a week (at least through the winter months).

If you want to quit smoking this year, try the Quitline Iowa website:

There’s a toll-free number (1-800-QUIT NOW, 1-800-784-8669), and if you call during the month of January you can get four weeks of free nicotine patches or gum.

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Parents, get your kids outside to play

After an unusually long and cold winter, we are finally getting some nice spring weather.

But according to the Des Moines Register on Monday,

officials with the Polk County Health Department and Polk County Conservation are concerned that many kids will stay in front of the TV.

The two agencies have teamed up to combat what they say is the increasing threat of “nature-deficit disorder.”

Author Richard Louv identified the term in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.” Louv describes it as the consequences of children being alienated from nature.

Health risks from avoiding the outdoors include obesity and a lack of creativity, said Rick Kozin, spokesman for the Polk County Health Department.

The solution is in our own backyards and neighborhoods, Kozin said. “It’s a health issue with a conservation treatment.”

The role of parents in getting kids outdoors is key, Kozin said. “Children will follow the lead from their parents.”

The Register’s article includes 15 ideas for getting kids in touch with nature, so click the link if you are interested.

It’s tempting to try to keep your kids occupied indoors so that you can get chores done around the house (or spend too much time on your computer). But it’s so important for kids to get exercise outdoors, especially if they are not in school, where recess and P.E. class may be outdoors in good weather.

Any teacher can tell you how much easier it is for kids to learn, and how much better they behave, after they’ve been able to run around outdoors.

According to Dr. Paul Fleiss, a pediatrician, getting exercise with exposure to natural light in the morning helps children sleep better at night (the sunlight triggers brain chemicals that help establish circadian rhythms).

You can learn more about that in Dr. Fleiss’s book, “Sweet Dreams,” which is a good and easy read. Or, just read this article, which is a condensed version of the advice in his book.

Parents, get your kids outside to play this week, even if it’s just for a walk around your neighborhood.

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