The new site is live, so this is my last post here. I’ll be leaving this site up, but all the new and exciting stuff will be happening over at Lean Green Suburban Machine. I hope to see you there!

Okay, I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I’m just so excited about how things are looking that I wanted to share the new site with you now. Please take a few moments to check out my new online home, and maybe leave a comment there to let me know what you think:

Lean Green Suburban Machine

Your thoughts on the new site would be very greatly appreciated!

For the new year I had intended to treat my blog to a new spiffy url, it’s own domain name. turns out that someone just barely beat me to it, and The Suburban Homestead as a domain is flat out not available, nor is anything comfortably similar. Boo-hoo.

This little frustration set in motion a lot of other things…and in short this blog will be moving soon and taking a new name (complete with a unique domain) and getting a total makeover and some fun new features! It’s sort of like the witness protection program…only I’m going to be telling everyone what our new name is and where we’re moving too.

I’m still hard at work handling the move and redesign, but check back here soon for a new address announcement. In the meantime, if there’s anything specific you would like to see added to the new site, let me know in the comment section here.

It’s a new year, which means a new reality check for all of us here at the Homestead. The excesses of the holiday season did a number on my waistline, and so I am working this month to shed the extra cookies off my middle. The gym is not an option (after a long battle to quit my most recent gym, I have a pathological avoidance to giving any gym my credit card number), so we are building up a gym of sorts at home. I scavenged a 20 year old Nordic Track skier from my parents, which is providing some great cardio, and we upgraded the Wii Fit (which had been gathering dust in the living room) to Wii Fit Plus.

Now, I’m not one who normally enjoys video games, preferring real games to the digital kind, but the Wii in general has won me over with it’s sports simulation games. Mashing buttons is not fun (for me), but standing up and getting physically involved in the game is a blast. Last year we got the Wii Fit as a Chirstmas gift, and for weeks we played it silly until we grew bored of the limited games the disc provided.

This year Nintendo has upgraded the Wii Fit to Wii Fit Plus, so I sprung the $20 for the disc (since we already have the balance board, I did not need to purchase the whole bundle). I am impressed by the many upgrades to the game, and it’s got me playing it almost daily. The disc has a bunch of new training games, including my new favorites: cycling, skateboarding (who could have predicted I would love that?), rhythm kung fu, and snow ball fights. All the yoga and strength activities have been “unlocked,” so I am no longer made to think I have to earn the right to do a certain pose. The kids were able to make Mii’s for the pets, which they enjoyed. In all, the game is now a good deal more fun.

There are other improvements, too, which make the game more functional as a workout tool. For one thing, it now gives you an estimate of calories burned for your session based on your weight (did I mention is weighs you?) and duration of each activity. There’s also a feature that lets you build and save specific workout routines to select from a number of prepared routines. As with the previous version, you can record physical activity done outside of the game, but now you can also record your waist measurements.

There are some other things that weren’t changed, which I wish were. If you gain the slightest bit of weight, the silly thing admonishes you and makes you explain the increase using one of a very few offered excuses, all of which involve you admitting to overeating. This is a bit humiliating, especially if the weight gain is temporary water retention, normal weight variation, or, as happened to me, the result of trying a new sleeve on the balance board that removed 12 pounds for my weight when on (which the game celebrated as though a 12 pound loss in one day was somehow healthy) and added 12 pounds back on when removed (resulting in me getting a lecture about my eating habits). This kind of negative humiliation is not something that motivates me to return the next day, but on the flip side, learning to ignore it when it was obviously uncalled for is perhaps a good mental skill to practice.

Despite the unhappy reality check of watching my Mii get chubby after each day’s weigh in as the machine gleefully declares “That’s Overweight!” I do think the Wii Fit Plus is a lot of fun and, if used regularly, can be a useful part of an overall fitness routine. It may not be a substitute for playing real sports out in the real world with other real people, but in the cold of winter, it certainly is more fun than a treadmill!

A few years ago I stopped making resolutions at the start of the New Year. Instead, I now pick a few skills to develop and a few projects to undertake over the next year. Last year I learned to brew beer, the year before I learned the basics of knitting, and the year before that I began to learn how to play the guitar. I also pick a few areas of my life that need work, and plan on given them some extra attention and developing good habits in those areas, such as tracking my work time more efficiently or replacing our home cleaning products with greener (and cheaper) alternatives.

This year for my new skills I have decided to master making home made pasta (Thing 1 gave me a hand cranked pasta machine for Christmas!) and also to learn to shoot billiards (Hubby and I gave the whole family a pool table for Christmas). The first one will be fairly easy, I hope, and the second will require a lot of practice and patience. The pool table was installed yesterday, and I have learned that I do not play as well as I remember myself playing in college.

My big project for the year will be to transform the basement play room into a family game room featuring, of course, the new pool table. Hubby and I have decided to decorate the room using photos from our trips to Ireland, and the traditional Irish pub will be guiding our choices in furniture (new end tables, bookcases, and tv stand are part of the plan).

Another project I wish to tackle is finishing my nanowrimo novel, which I hope to do by the end of January, and then seeing about getting it published.

Lastly, then, would be choosing the areas of my life that need attention. This year, I will be focusing on my career and my health. For my career, I plan to take some courses in LEED neighborhood design and see about getting myself LEED certified. For my health, I need to ramp up the fitness and meditation routine, clean up the eating plan, and get myself a round of physicals and annual tests (and maybe, just maybe to the dentist, thought I really despise the pain they cause me).

What plans have you made for the new year?

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About me

I am on a personal and professional quest to find a happier, healthier, greener and more cost effective way to live life in the suburbs.