Monday, January 2, 2012

Greatest Year Ever: January

This is the first of 12 posts on how to have the best year ever. So, I start with January. Everything listed here is from research that I have done. The sources are listed at the bottom.

Facts:
  • Number of Days: 31
  • Birthstone: Garnet
  • Flower: Dianthus caryophyllus
  • Season: 2nd month of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, 2nd month of summer in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Name: derived from Janus, name of the Roman god of the doorway

New Year's Resolution:
It is traditional to choose a New Year's Resolution. The most commonly chosen resolution is to lose weight. However, most people who make a resolution don't keep it into February. Here is the Nutrition Diva's fantastic post on New Year's Resolutions and how to keep them.


Housecleaning:
  • Put away Christmas and all seasonal decorations. Reuse old egg cartons for small ornaments, add twist ties for groups of lights and such to keep it all organized for next year.
  • It's a good time to vacuum and shampoo the carpets after all of the holiday mess. 
  • Unpack from any trips that you made and clean the luggage and travel cases before putting them away.
  • Dry-clean the lighter coats (if necessary).
  • Check the summer shoes for stains, dirt, or any rips, tears and such. Take the leather shoes to the cobbler for fixing or toss the worn-out flip flops.

Fruits and Vegetables in Season:
  • Oranges and clementines (from warmer climates)
  • Beets*
  • Turnip*
  • Potatoes*
  • Cabbage*
  • Apples*
  • Sweet Potatoes*
  • Squash*
  • Parsnips*
  • Onions*
  • Mushrooms*
  • Lettuce*
  • Leeks*
  • Garlic*
  • Cucumber*
  • Carrots*
* (from harvest or hot house)

January recipes:
  • Stews like chicken fricot, beef stew or a pork stew
  • Any roasted vegetables like roasted beets, carrots or cauliflower
  • Any roasted meats: beef, pork, chicken, etc.
  • Light salads using lettuce, field greens or spinach to accompany those roasts
  • Vegetable soups like borscht, pasta e fagioli, chicken noodle soup, or pureed vegetable soups like squash, potato or carrot
  • Any recipe that uses a slow cooker.

Holidays:
  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • Third Monday - Martin Luther King Day (US)

Sports and activities to enjoy:
  • Hockey
  • Skiing
  • Skating
  • Tobogganing / sledding / coasting
  • Snowball fights - with caution
  • Making snow angels
  • Making snowmen (snow women, children and animals too)
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowboarding

January is a great month to:
  • Throw a New Year's Bash. Welcome in the New Year with a large dinner party or cocktail party and lots of friends.
  • Have a re-gifting party: after the holidays are over, invite people over with the presents that they received that they cannot use or do not want and do a Chinese Auction for them. Whatever doesn't get re-gifted goes to charity. 
  • Curl up with a new knitting or sewing project for yourself (that is not a gift for someone else).
  • Go shopping. Everything is at clearance prices through late January to March.
  • Get your Christmas cards - for next year. Everything is on clearance prices after December 27th and you can get big boxes of cards on sale for at least 50-75% off. It's also a good time to stock up on bows, ornaments, wrapping paper and other Christmas gear.
  • Find a gym or gym routine that you like so that you can start a weight loss strategy in February.
  • Try something new. Take up a new language class, exercise class or hobby.
  • Plan a vacation to the South for February -- if you want to do that.
  • Visit the elderly. After the holiday rush, it becomes very quiet and lonely so it's a great time to take one Saturday afternoon per month and visit the elderly.
  • Contact friends and family. Talk about how their holidays went, how yours went and such. It's a great opportunity to have a post-holiday dinner party. You can get ahold of everyone that you didn't see over the holidays. 
  • Detox. Get back on track with a healthy month of vegetables and lots of water. Do a facial, hair mask and try a scrub for your body. Clean everything, inside and out and start new.

Things we all hate about January:
  • Shoveling snow.
  • Scraping the car windshield off every morning before leaving
  • Winter (in general). It's cold, especially if you live in nippy areas like southern Qu├ębec, Winnipeg, the Prairies or the North.
  • Christmas is over and won't come again for 11 more months.
  • Salt stains on our boots and pant legs.
  • Driving on slippery roads.

Sources:

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