You Know How Quiet

She knocks on the bathroom door as I'm fixing my hair before leaving for work.  It's still dark outside, and she squints at the brightness of the overhead light.

"Can I please go downstairs and watch some TV?"

It's the question she asks every morning, groggily.  A half hour of cartoons for her is like a cup of coffee for an adult; it propels her into wakefulness.

I nod, give a morning hug, and offer the perfunctory response, "Yes, just tiptoe downstairs.  Your sisters still are sleeping."

Today she looks at me, "Mom, you know how quiet I am."

This is true.  I know exactly how quiet she is while in motion, which on a scale of one to ten, with one signifying silence and ten rivaling a plan taking off, registers around a seven.  This child can impressively thud her down a flight of stairs, knocking into walls and other large, stationery objects in a way that belies her lithe, forty-eight pound frame.

Yes, child, I know how quiet you are.  Which is why I say it again.  "I do, sweetie.  Be sure to tiptoe."

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Easy Winter Storage Solutions

By this time of year I would gladly yield to an early spring and forgo any additional sled-riding adventures with the kids, but realistically-speaking, we've still got a month (or two) of winter's chill ahead of us.

That being said, I have a tip that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside despite the inevitable cold weather outside, and I'd love to share it with you.

On the inside of our small hallways closet, I've hung an inexpensive plastic shoe organizer.  Each pouch is the perfect size to hold a pair of gloves, a rolled up scarf, or a few winter hats.  Our winter accessories get placed higher, while the lower pockets are reserved for the girls so they can find (and hopefully, stow away) their own things.

As the winter unfolds, I'll admit that the organizer can look like a disorganizer with scarves dangling from the pouches like droopy garland and mismatched and mateless gloves haphazardly jammed together.  Still, it beats the alternative, which is having these things scattered across the floor.

The best part?  It's a closet.

You always can close the door to a closet.

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When 15 Degrees Feels Warm

When 15 degrees feels warm, you know that it's been cold lately.  We've been hovering in the low teens and single digits for much of the past week, occasionally dipping down into the negatives in the "real feel" weather report.

Of course, I wonder how anyone knows what -16 degrees really feels like.  This week as I traversed campus, I never was able to pinpoint the real feel of anything, not even my toes.  I didn't overhear anyone saying, "This definitely feels like -16.  I sense that it's nine degrees colder than yesterday when it felt like -7."

After a while, cold is just cold.

At the end of the day my shoulders have been sore, which I suspect is due to rigidly hunching as I'm walking, as if folding up into myself would protect me from the elements.  The idea of exercising -- taking off my clothing to put on less clothing -- has taken a toll on my motivation.  For two days I've needed to put a check in the mail, but I've dragged my feet on actually walking to the mailbox.

Still, these cold days have brought warmth.  In the evenings, the girls and I hunker down.  There's little need or incentive to go out.  We grab piles of books, snuggle on the couch, and enjoy the closeness.  We eat cookies.  I let an extra half-hour of cartoons slide by without any guilt.

It feels right.  Negative 16 degrees may never feel right, but this certainly does.

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Why I'd Fail as an Explorer, Cassette Tapes, and Other Road Trip Observations

Over the weekend, I took a three-hour road trip by myself.  Let that "by myself" line sink in for a moment.... glorious, isn't it?  There were no little feet kicking my the back of my seat, no questions to answer, and no blind, one-armed groping to find the toy that had been dropped onto the van floor.

During this road trip, I discovered some things.  For one, I have little directional gut instinct.  I always think that I'm headed north, which reveals serious spacial deficiency at work.  My logic?  The road is straight ahead of me; clearly, straight ahead is north.

I would have made a horrible explorer.

Two, I stock up for a three-hour road trip, food-wise, more than I ever would eat in a typical three-hour span.  Sweet tea?  Check.  Box of Dots?  Check.  To my credit, I avoided the other two road-tripping standards (Snickers and Pringles) that characterize our family travels, as if we would somehow famish in the minivan if we didn't eat continuously for 150 miles.

Three, despite my failed memory in many facets of daily life, such as remembering the names of common items when I'm talking to my children ("Could you just put that thing on the thing over there?") or their names ("You know I'm talking to you."), I still have several extremely impressive mental capabilities.

I know this because I dusted off some old mixed cassette tapes that I haven't listened to in fifteen years -- and, get this, I still know the words.  All of the words.  Not only did I know the words, but as I reached the end of a song I also recalled what song would come next.  Of course, being that this was the first time I played cassettes after a decade-and-a-half-long hiatus, I grossly misjudged the length of time that it takes to fast-forward a song, but within a few attempts I nailed it.

I credit this to exceptional long-term, fast-twitch, fine-motor muscle memory.

But back to the road trip: Since I was singing along -- and slightly intoxicated from the combined experience of traveling solo, being hyped-up on sweet tea and Dots, and overly proud of my thriving memory -- I missed my exit, which clearly was oriented in some other direction than north.

And that takes me back to an earlier thought: I would have made a horrible explorer.

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Short and Sweet: Come Together

An observation on seizing the moment in 100 or fewer words:

Sometimes, the absolute best thing to do is to drop everything, pile into the bottom bunk with your kids, and be close -- so close that someone's knee connects with your head, so close that the ticklish child is in hysterics from being nudged, so close that the blanket is tugged back and forth and pillows are shared.

It's good to come so close together that our lives and conversation and time can't help but to be entwined.

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Making the Most of Your Time

This is the final post in the Making the Most series.  So far we've made the most of our stuff, our space, our wardrobe, and our health.  Follow the links to catch up on any area you've missed!

Time is tricky.  You can't slow it down or hurry it along, and I often feel as if I have either too much or too little of it -- sometimes even within the same day.  Lets face it: we're all busy.  Nobody is immune to time crunches.

Given this, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make the most of my time.  Here are some tips that have worked for me.

1) Make lists.  Whether it's entered into your phone, written in a notebook, or scribbled on the back of a napkin, I'm a firm believer in lists.  I keep multiple to-do lists going at once, in fact: one for work, one for my home life, and one for writing and blogging ideas.

Lists keep me on task, remind me of deadlines, and help me to prioritize.  Plus, there's a great sense of satisfaction when you can cross off an item.

2) Set the timer.  At the end of most days, my kitchen and family room look like they've exploded.  Those rooms are where we spend most of our time, and it shows.  My husband works most evenings, and I've gotten in the habit of enlisting my kids (ages 7, 4, and 2) to help clean up our end-of-the-day mess.  We set the microwave timer for a reasonable amount of time (5-10 minutes) and race the clock.

Before you think, "Her kids must not be typical kids," know this: they are.  They're kids who find a Sharpie maker and paint their toenails with it.  They're kids who balk at chores.  They're kids who have thrown themselves prostrate on the floor because it's "too much work" to pick up a fallen crayon.  They're typical.

Still, I've discovered that even typical kids can learn to contribute and work as a team.  I delegate small tasks -- you take care of books, you pick up the puzzles, you clean up all the animals.  Inevitably, I find myself singing the Wonder Pets theme song, "And when we work together, we get the job done."

And, interestingly enough, we mostly do.

This timer technique works for me, too.  When I'm procrastinating on a chore, I'll give myself ten minutes.  Within that amount of time, I often either knock it out or gain enough momentum that it no longer seems hard to finish.

3) Be a "night before" person.  If you've ever found yourself scrambling to wrap a birthday present five minutes before you leave the house for a party you've known about for two weeks, this tip is for you.  (Which means it's for me.)  Before you go to sleep each night, consider if there's anything that you can do to give yourself a jump-start on the next day.

Do you need to take meat out of the freezer?  Sign a permission slip?  Transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer?  Get your work bag in order?  Charge your cell phone?  If so, complete these tasks the night before.  The next day your current self will be patting your past self on the back, and you'll be so pleased that you'll make a mental note for your future self to keep it up.

(Yes, I divide myself according to tense.  Tell me I'm not the only one who's ever thought this way.)

4) Assess time realistically.  Does it take you 20 minutes to get your kids in their shoes and jackets and get out the door?  Accept that.  Don't leave yourself 10 minutes for the job if 20 minutes are required.

5) Schedule rest.  I remember reading an article by Geneen Roth about how she once watched Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth rendition) while working.  With her attention split, she attuned fully to neither.  Her work took longer.  Perhaps even worse, when Mr. Darcy announced that his "affections and wishes" were unchanged during THE proposal she realized that she hadn't relished the movie, either.

Multitasking can come at a cost.  Work hard when it's time to work, but let yourself rest fully when it's time to rest.

6) Enjoy these days.  Time is a commodity.  We're given an allotment each day, and we need to spend it all.  Let's enjoy these days, even the mundane ones.  We only get to live them once.

Thank you for joining me during the Making the Most series!  Go get 'em this year, tiger.

Enjoy these posts as well:
Making the Most of Your Stuff
Making the Most of Your Space
Making the Most of Your Wardrobe
Making the Most of Your Health

Please also check out Then I Became a Mother: humor, hope, and encouragement for moms!  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Enjoy!

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Making the Most of Your Health

Thanks for joining me with the Making the Most series.  So far we've covered our stuff, our space, and our wardrobe.  Today we'll look how to make the most of our health.

I have a confession: last semester I took a bit of a downward spiral.  With an overly-full work and personal schedule, I skimped on two things that are essential: sleep and exercise.

I don't do well when I'm not getting adequate sleep.  Most people don't(Those who say they do might not yet have had the compounded effects catch up with them.)  I also don't do well when I'm not exercising -- emotionally, that is.  Although I'm typically a joyful person -- one who draws strength from my faith and loves to encourage others -- I found myself feeling down.  Anxious.  Depressed.

I knew that I needed to change.  I couldn't sustain my busy pace, nor could I continue in my inactivity.  Blissfully, we reached the semester break, during which I made rest and exercise a priority.

I can't even begin to tell you how much better I'm feeling.

God gave us our bodies, and I'm speaking from experience that it's unwise to run ourselves ragged.  Let's make the most of our health.

1) Get adequate sleep.  I struggle with this one.  The night hours after my children are in bed often are designated for grading, planning, or writing.  Still, I'm learning to follow my body's cues.  It seems obvious that we should go to sleep when we're tired, yet how often do we find ourselves pushing through exhaustion -- sometimes to do even the most trivial things (like watching one more episode of House Hunters.)

When we're tired, let's be smart and go to sleep.

2) Wash your hands.  Seriously.  Do it often.

3) Stay hydrated.  I began carrying a reusable water bottle with me, and it makes a significant difference.  Staying hydrated increases my energy, staves off mid-day sleepiness, and prevents me from mindlessly eating to fulfill what's actually thirst.

4) Exercise.  This isn't about weight.  Exercise is about feeling strong, caring for your heart, and releasing mood-boosting endorphins.  Take a walk.  Chase the kids.  Suck it up and do a Jillian Michaels' DVD.  Join a gym.  Phone a friend and get her to join you.

Yes, it's hard to overcome inertia.  Yes, it's uncomfortable and sometimes inconvenient.  But I promise that regular exercise will make you feel better than extended lethargy will.  For me, it's equally important in terms of my mental and emotional health as it is for my physical health.

If you're a mom of young children like me, you'll know that there are precious little "free" moments in any given day, but you're worth the investment of good health.  You're worth the time it takes to care for yourself.  (Click here for tips on how to exercise with kids, in spite of kids.)

When we're feeling well, we have more to give.  Lets make the most of our health.

Enjoy these posts as well:
Making the Most of Your Stuff
Making the Most of Your Space
Making the Most of Your Wardrobe
Making the Most of Your Time

Check out Then I Became a Mother: humor, hope, and encouragement for moms!  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Enjoy!


Making the Most of Your Wardrobe

This is the third post in the Making the Most series.  Just joining me?  Catch up with making the most of your stuff and making the most of your space.

I've mentioned before that I like clothes, and this is true.  Yet, on typical days when I'm not teaching on campus, I find myself gravitating to the lowest common denominator in my closet: my favorite seven-year-old jeans and a tried-and-true gray tee shirt.

Some people consider black as their go-to easy choice, but for me, it's gray all the way.  If I didn't watch, I could spiral into 50 days of gray.

So, I force myself to step out of that comfort zone by stepping into other clothes (ones that will be equally as comfortable) and adding at least one piece of interest to an outfit. Take this textured sweater, for example, coupled with a eye-catching belt and locket.

Or this thrift-store steal -- a cozy striped sweater that I pair with a chunky necklace.

Still comfortable, still casual, but more pulled-together than my standard gray tee.

Want to make the most of your wardrobe?

1) Play in your closet.  My daughters play dress up on a regular basis and rarely adhere to any rules about patterns or color combinations.  Anything goes for little kids, fashion-wise, and we could learn by following this lead.  Try on random combinations to discover what works and doesn't.  There are probably great outfits lurking in your closet that just haven't been paired together yet.

2) Donate clothes that you don't like and ones that don't fit.  Take an honest inventory.  It's better to have a partially-filled closet of clothes that make you feel attractive and fit properly than to have a closet crammed with poorly-sized, undesired clothes.  I've heard this rule: if you haven't worn it in the past year (unless it's designed for a very special occasion), it's time to let it go.

3) Mend.  I have a pair of gray dress pants (I've told you I like gray, right?) that fit perfectly -- except for the fact that they need to be hemmed.  They've needed to be hemmed since I bought them six months ago.  Do you have any items in your closet that are out of commission because they're missing a button or need tailored?  If so, let's pledge to take care of it.

I'll be hemming my pants this week.  I've already got the gray thread.

4) Add an accessory.  Last year I mounted small hooks in my closet to hang my jewelry.  I'm much more apt to wear jewelry now that it's in plain sight.  This is simple and cheap -- a package of cup hooks (screw or adhesive) can cost as little as two dollars.

5) Buy only what you love.  I used to buy clothes based on the attractiveness of the price tag instead of the attractiveness of the item itself.  A shirt on clearance for $3.99 sounds great, but that's only if you'll wear it.  If you try on a piece of clothing, shrug at your reflection, and think, "I guess that'll do," then don't purchase it.

Sure, clothes are clothes, but when you look good you feel good.  After all, you're all the loveliest readers anyone could ask for, so I'd love for you to feel great about yourselves.

Enjoy these posts as well:
Making the Most of Your Stuff
Making the Most of Your Space
Making the Most of Your Health
Making the Most of Your Time

Please also check out Then I Became a Mother: humor, hope, and encouragement for moms!  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Enjoy!

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Making the Most of Your Space

This is the second post in the Making the Most series.  Missed the first entry?  Click here to read how to make the most of your stuff.

I spend a lot of time at the computer.  (An overly-obvious statement, perhaps, coming from a person who writes, teaches college courses, and blogs.)  I've logged considerable hours at our little office space -- which, until last week, was a small, boxy computer desk with very little surface area.

It's functional, I recently told somebody, dismissing the drawbacks of the desk with a shrug.  She corrected me by noting that I can't even spread out my papers.

She was right.  I couldn't spread out my papers, and when you regularly deal with a lot of paperwork and books, this poses a problem.  It's not functional.

Of course, I didn't want to sink a significant sum of money into a new desk, so that led me to think like an HGTV designer: how could I maximize this space on a minimal budget?

And that question, my friends, was answered with a pre-cut piece of wood from Lowes and two inexpensive filing cabinets.  Set up is simple: paint the board, align it as a desk-top on the filing cabinets, and then bask in eight gloriously interrupted feet of work space.

See that organized and streamlined layout?  Are you grasping the sprawling expanse of that work space?  Is that chair inviting you to sit down and work?  (Or, to procrastinate on Facebook for fifteen minutes before working?)

The fix was simple and cost-effective, and it's created a work area that fully meets our needs.  In fact, my daughters can pull up a chair beside me to do homework, color, or simply ask incessant questions while I'm checking email.  Perfect!

Want to make the most of your space? 

1) Pay attention to your needs.  I easily spent a year cramming towels into the shelves in our laundry room (a space that also serves as our linen closet) until I had the notion to add a shelf directly above the dryer.  As soon as that thing was mounted, I looked at it wistfully, "Shelf, where have you been my whole life?"

Sometimes even the easiest fix makes a significant difference.

2) Examine dead space.  The room where we keep our computer was capable of accommodating an eight foot board, and we were using a three foot desktop.  Sometimes there's more area to be claimed than we think.

3) Play around with your layout.  I'm not naturally open to change, but thanks to my husband, we occasionally move furniture around.  (And sometimes we move it right back where it started, like an epic chess match with bookshelves, end tables, and couches.  Okay, most often it ends up right back where it started.  Did I mention that I'm not naturally open to change?)

Still, until you see your space arranged in a new fashion, you might not know what the most functional layout will be.  Go ahead.  Try that chair at an angle in the corner of the room.  What's the worst that can happen?  You move it back.

4) Think like a visitor.  You know when you go to a friend's house, head to the kitchen to help yourself to a drink, and open the wrong cabinet?  You thought that the cabinet would hold glasses, but your friend has it filled with plates and bowls.

We all probably have quirky organizational choices.  In one kitchen cabinet I have my cookbooks, some vases, our phone book, a Burts Bees chapstick, Duct tape, and a jar filled with pens.  Believe it or not, this makes sense to me.  But occasionally it's good to examine a space with fresh eyes and ask: do these objects belong together?  Is there a better place to store this?  Is this the most convenient and sensible layout possible?  If not, what might be better?

Answer those questions, and make the most of your space!  (Feel free to share your own space-saving ideas, too!)

Enjoy these posts as well:
Making the Most of Your Stuff
Making the Most of Your Wardrobe
Making the Most of Your Health
Making the Most of Your Time

Don't want to miss a Pink Dryer Lint post?  Subscribe by email and have posts delivered to your inbox.  Or, stalk the website hourly waiting for the next post.  Either will do the trick.

Check out Then I Became a Mother: humor, hope, and encouragement for moms!  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Enjoy!

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Making the Most of Your Stuff

This is the first part in the Making the Most series.  Start the new year right!

Over winter break my load lightened -- no speeches or essays to grade, no student emails to answer, no lectures to plan.  I used some of this extra time to focus on my house.

Poor, poor, long-neglected house.

It's not that I hadn't cleaned during the sixteen-week semester; I had.  It's just that I also had let things accumulate -- like a large pile of the girls' summer clothes that I had weeded out of their closets as the temperature dropped throughout the fall -- without properly sorting and putting them away.

I focused on one room at a time, and I discovered something: We have a lot of stuff.

Take this collection of travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, and lotions, for example.  They were picked up at hotels over the years and tucked into a corner of our bathroom cabinet, standing attentive like a small sentry waiting for orders.

But I never used them, which made me question: Why do I need to have over a dozen of them?

The answer is simple.  I don't.

So, over the past two weeks, I've been squeezing my daily shampoo and lotion out of miniature bottles.  Odd as it might sound, it feels productive and resourceful.

I've always warred against clutter.  My OCD tendencies run high enough that five minutes of Hoarders leaves me twitching, and I've never been one to enjoy nick-knacks, cling to junk, or leave piles unexamined for long, this past semester notwithstanding

Still, it's easy to accumulate good stuff.  It's easy to keep candles without burning them, or hold onto stationery without sending it, or own jewelry without wearing it.

But this year?  This year I plan to make the most of my stuff by doing the simplest thing: using what I have.  I'm not suggesting extravagant over-consumption, but rather to enjoy and use what's right at my disposal -- whether our craft supplies, our nice dishes, my favorite perfume, yesterday's leftovers, or a small army of travel-sized toiletries.

Would you join me?  Make the most of your stuff with these three steps:

1) Take an honest inventory.  Do you need it?  Do you like it?  Can you use it?  Or, is this item just taking up space?

2) Use it up.  My mini-shampoos are finally fulfilling their purpose.  I mean, if I were a travel-sized shampoo, I would be much happier sudsing someone's hair than languishing next to a bottle of Advil in a cabinet.  They're living the dream!

3) Toss, sell, or donate.  You know that peaceful sensation when all of the toys are cleaned up and you see an expanse of freshly-vacuumed carpet (until your kids re-enter the room)?  In those moments it's clear that less is more -- that the absence of clutter is calming and pleasurable.

Take the plunge.  Don't cling to stuff you're not using.  Part ways with those clothes you no longer wear, the books you've already read, the toys your children have outgrown, or that piece of furniture that's no longer functional for your space.  Sell or donate these items to someone who will benefit from them, or toss them if they're unusable.

One trip to Goodwill with a trunk full of donations can open a lot of space in your home (a benefit for you) and allow these neglected items to find use in a new home where they'll be appreciated (a benefit to others.)  Win-win.

Enjoy these posts as well:
Making the Most of Your Space
Making the Most of Your Wardrobe
Making the Most of Your Health
Making the Most of Your Time

Check out Then I Became a Mother: humor, hope, and encouragement for moms!  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Enjoy!

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

Teach Medicine Safety: Up, Away, and Out of Sight

When they were babies, my children had the uncanny ability to judge even the most minor altitude shifts.  If I had been standing with them cradled in my arms, they'd protest when I sat down even if nothing else had changed about their position.

Even now, based on the amount of climbing, scaling, and jumping that they do, it's evident that my children enjoy heights.  Increased elevation beckons them, it would seem, and it's not uncommon for me to find a chair pushed over to the counter and a child (or two) straining to reach something just beyond their grasp.

(We're working on it.)

The other week, in fact, I discovered my four-year-old attempting to open a high cabinet.  Her rationale?  She had a tummy ache, and she wanted some medicine.

The cabinet where we keep our medicine is high -- plus, it has a child safety lock, an added security measure that might look like overkill, but in this instance, it prevented my daughter from succeeding in her aerial quest to self-medicate.

With this episode fresh in my mind, I wanted to share about Up and Away, a program that provides simple tips for parents and children about medicine safety.  From their website, I learned that 60,000 children end up in the ER each year from ingesting medicine while their parent or caregivers weren't looking -- a number that the initiative certainly hopes to reduce.

If you'd like to share medicine safety tips with your kids in a fun and easy way, download these free coloring pages for your children, and please also visit the website to refresh yourself on safe practices.

After all, we want our children to reach great heights in life, just not high medicine cabinets.

Up and Away is an educational program from the PROTECT initiative, in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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The Swan Family

There once was a family of swans who was happy and loved to swim in a tiny pond on top of my kitchen table.  The dainty baby swan was flanked on either side by the daddy and mommy swan, always kept close and safe.

The mommy swan, especially, was a lovely sight to behold.  I know this to be true because my daughter, the hands behind the molding, told me so.  "She looks just like you, Mommy."

You don't say.

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Preparing for a New Semester

Late last week I drove onto campus, still quiet before the rush of returning students, and walked to each of my assigned classrooms.  I turned on the lights and sat down at the front desk in each room, scanning the empty seats in front of me.  Then, I read my rosters aloud, calling out the name of each student one at a time, praying a blessing over each.

We'll be sharing the next sixteen weeks together, and this is the finest way to prepare for our shared semester ahead.

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100 Pound Loser

I lose things on a daily basis: my car keys, my cell phone, my train of thought, you name it.  But, I'd like to introduce you to someone who's lost something vastly more significant.  Meet Jessica Heights, the author of the newly-released 100 Pound Loser.

Yes, this woman -- a mother of four little ones -- has lost and kept off 100 pounds.  Impressive, no?

A bite-sized missive for busy women, this pithy e-Book recounts Jessica's personal journey of coming to grips with her weight and her emotional attachment to food.  With humor and candor, 100 Pound Loser provides practical tips and a necessary perspective that women are more than what we weigh.  Best of all, it provides a story of how an ordinary person -- one who succumbs to ice-cream cravings like the rest of us -- took small daily steps to achieve such a large goal.

I love success stories, and 100 Pound Loser is a great example of one.

Jessica's words cheer on her readers, encouraging us that we can reach our goals.  Whether you're looking to lose 10 or 100 pounds, check out 100 Pound Loser: How I Ate What I Wanted, Had Four Babies, and Finally Took Control of My Weight on Amazon or as a PDF.

Please also feel free to visit Jessica at her lovely blog, Muthering Heights.

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If You Have Fresh Snow (a story through pictures)

If you have fresh snow, your children will want to play outside.  If your children want to play outside, you will spend 20 minutes stuffing them into snow suits, hats and mittens.  If they are snugly bundled in snow suits, hats, and mittens, at least one of them will announce that she needs to go to the bathroom.

When your children venture outside -- waddling like overstuffed penguins -- you will pause to take a photo of them.  If they must pause to take a photo, they will be all the more eager to actually get into the snow.  They'll lose coordination.

If they loose coordination, they'll stumble through the snow.  If they stumble through the snow, they'll begin to resemble an epic adventurer bravely facing the elements on the Iditarod, minus the racing sled.  And the dogs.  

If they're on an epic adventure, it eventually must come to an end.  The children will come inside.  When they come inside, they will cast off more clothing than you swear you put on them.

Puddles of slush will melt on your kitchen floor.  If the puddles are invisible to the naked eye (and they will be), you still will step in them.  If you step in them, you only will be wearing socks.

If you mop the floor and stow away your children's discarded clothes, hats, gloves, and boots, all things indoors eventually will dry out and warm up, including your socks.

As for the snow outside, it still will look inviting and fresh the next day.

And if you have fresh snow, your children will want to go outside and play.

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