Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Servin' up some love.

(image via Flickr)

If you love your family...

I mean, if you really love your family...

and not just really love them, but really really love them...

then you will make them these cinnamon rolls.


1 bag Rhodes frozen cinnamon rolls (12-count)
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream (ya'll know me, I only use the best, and the best is Bluebell Homemade Vanilla)

Place cinnamon rolls in a pan. (I lightly sprayed my pan first with non-stick spray, just in case.) In a saucepan, combine sugars, butter, and ice cream. Stir constantly and bring to a boil for about a minute. Drizzle over frozen cinnamon rolls. Put pan of cinnamon rolls with drizzle in oven to rise overnight (at least 6-7 hours). Leave pan in oven while it is preheating to 350 degrees. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (mine is a convection oven and cooks faster, so I think I maybe only needed about 20 minutes. Watch them and if they start to brown too much on top, you can drape foil loosely over them for the last few minutes. That's what I did, at least.) Use the icing that comes with the cinnamon rolls as you wish. (Translation: slather it on, baby!)

I cannot take credit for this recipe. This past Sunday, one of our newlywed couples brought two pans full of these to our class. One bite, and I was for sure Jesus was gonna walk through that door and whisk me up to Beulah-land.

Let me tell you something else -- I am a Pillsbury snob. I was born and raised on those cans of delicious goodness, and I don't care if you waltz by with your tray full of Cinnabon whatevers, I only like Pillsbury. Blame it on my mom.

But these? Oh my heavens, I am totally in love with these.

Now to be fair to the ol' waistline, these are yer' more fancy-schmancy cinnamon rolls, for special occasions and such, you know, like snow days! And definitely only for days you've got extra time on your hands to have a date with the treadmill. Pillsbury will always be my go-to roll of choice for most days, especially regular ol' weekends and the like. But to knock the socks off my friends and family? No question about it. These are the rolls you'd be serving up if Jesus was gonna be joining you for breakfast. My little newlywed friends are geniuses, geniuses, I tell you!

You can thank me later.

Snow, snow, snow, snow -- SNOW!

Oh yes, dear readers, it's time for me to pull out one of my favorite videos again...

I could listen to that song over and over and over.

And since the view out my window today is pretty as a postcard, I'd say it's quite fitting.

Even the Ruff Life Resort is looking quite picturesque, although the crazy Italian greyhounds inside its walls don't think the snow is all that fantastic. At least they are snug as a bug in there with their climate control and Animal Planet. Sheesh.

I'm happily parked in my pajamas for the rest of the day.

The boy is happily parked in front of the TV watching one of his favorite flicks...

...which yes, happens to be a Christmas flick, but I'm not complaining. At least he has stopped asking me when Santa is coming. Apparently our white Christmas from December led him to believe that snow = Santa!

And the felines, of course, are parked on their favorite warm bed.

I've been busy crafting for Valentine's Day since I don't really own any Valentine's decorations, but I don't want to spend a lot of cash either. In the past, I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day at all. Probably stems from my unfortunate days as Napoleon Dynamite's female counterpart, and the years of never having been anyone's Valentine are to blame for my V-Day bitterness. My husband, who came with his own adolescent memories of being stuffed in lockers, picked on, and not being the ladykiller that we all know and love today until well into his college years, is on the same page as I am when it comes to celebrating V-Day. But, Valentine's Day was saved a couple of years ago -- coincidentally, it was the day before Valentine's that I flew down to Guatemala and first laid eyes on my baby boy. So now we celebrate V-Day with our own little "Meetcha Day" since that's when I first met my little man (my husband flew down later in the week). Now Valentine's Day holds a special spot in my heart since it's a great part of our history of a little family o' three.

First, I made this felt heart garland I saw over on Rae's blog.

(Please excuse the poor photo and the ugly wooden baby gate in front of the insert. A certain someone, whose name rhymes with "Gally", thinks it is great fun to climb all over the gas heater in there, and it makes her mama nervous.)

Also easy peasy. Just time-consuming cutting out all of the hearts. I cut 3" squares, folded them in half, cut out half of a heart shape, and voila. Repeat about a bazillion times, and you've got hearts. Lots of 'em. (For your info, I think I used two sheets of light pink felt, two sheets of hot pink felt, and one sheet of red felt total. At 29 cents a sheet, it was a cheapo project.) Chain stitch them together superfast on your sewing machine by sewing down the middle of them, and you're good to go. The only bad thing about this garland is the fact that it doubles as a cat toy. Oh yeah, Harry and Sally are quite fond of it, dangling like an off-limit carrot in front of their eyes. I have to pick it up off the floor and rehang it at least once a day.

Then, I tackled this tutorial.

I pretty much followed her tutorial verbatim -- easy peasy as well.

Again, it's just time consuming to cut out circle after circle after circle. I honestly couldn't tell you how many circles I cut out -- it seemed like a bazillion at the time, but I can tell you I used about 3/4 yard total of red felt (bought off the bolt at JoAnn's). I haven't yet pinned on a ribbon at the back for hanging, but I probably will, once I determine for sure where I want it. For now, it's just going to resume it's spot on the mantel. I have plans to make some more Valentine's decorations to help fill up the space. Oh, but I really do love how it turned out. I love it so much that I would love to make some as gifts, but that's just a pipe dream, since in reality there is no way I have the time to crank more of those babies out!

Do you have any plans for Valentine crafting?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


on a Sunday afternoon...

Have you fallen in love with Pomplamoose yet?

I have.

I discovered them via Chickpea Sewing Studio. Thanks, Chickpea.

This one is a favorite already:

Oh, but then there is this one, too:

But gosh, how I love this one:

Okay, now this is just getting ridiculous, but I cannot leave this one out either:


I bet you love Pomplamoose now, too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crafters make the world go 'round.

There are some really cool ways you can help the people of Haiti.

If you haven't already heard, Craft Hope, an organization that is near and dear to my heart, opened an Etsy store.

I've participated in several of the Craft Hope projects so far. In fact, the response to their Etsy store has been crazy overwhelming -- I know they've already raised well over $10,000. Crafters from all over the world have donated the items you can buy, and 100% of the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. If you were planning on giving to the relief efforts anyway, why not pick up something unique and handmade at the same time?

I picked up this fun quilt pattern called "Charm Bracelet"...

...although I sure wish it came with the sweet donkey.

If Etsy isn't your thing, I read another great idea on Brianna's blog. Some friends of hers have two (incredible) kids that are raising money for Haiti as well.

They are making adorable necklaces and selling them with 100% of the profits going to Haiti (via an organization which the 11-year-old-necklace-making-extraordinaire-daughter hasn't quite yet picked, but I'm sure it will be a good one). The necklaces are $10 each and come in a gift bag with a tag explaining the reason for the necklaces -- so they are also perfect for gift-giving. You can order them here.

It's pretty extraordinary to see how technology and the recent craft movement has been such a big player in relief efforts for a major crisis. Every little bit helps, but when technology is able to pull all of those little bits together, it can impact the world in a gigantic way. So cool.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kermit might have gotten it wrong...

...because it CAN be easy being green!

The tutorial I chose to try this past week (cough cough TODAY cough cough PROCRASTINATOR cough cough) was a Swiffer WetJet Cleaning Pad Tutorial.

My house has hardwood floors throughout. I lurve them. But I do not lurve mopping. I'd rather watch the History Channel than mop the house. Haha, no offense to the History Channel.

Of course, this means I am the proud owner of one of those fantastical Swiffer devices, one of the most popular inventions of the last decade, I would guess. But talk about not good for the environment -- those disposable Swiffer cleaning pads are not helping out in the ol' landfill problem we've got. And it's not the cheapest option either, since those boxes of refill pads and bottles of cleaning solution can really add up.

So what's a girl who's trying to turn green to do? Make her own! That's right, ladies! Who needs China and it's plastic exports and all of the bad-for-the-environment-toxic-cleaning-solutions? Not us!!!

I used this tutorial to start out with, but then I made quite a few changes. Being "green", I wanted to use materials I already had around the house, so I first grabbed an old white bath towel to cut up. (Note to self: now would be a great time to renew the ol' marriage vows and register for some new towels. Just sayin'.)

*If you're planning on making some yourself, don't follow the instructions in this first little paragraph. Skip on down to the second attempt because it worked out a lot better. I don't want you cursing my name, that's all.

I cut out two pieces, 11.5" x 5.5" and sewed them together (.5" seam allowance), leaving an opening. When I turned it inside out (don't forget to clip those corners before you turn it) and was topstitching around the entire thing, my sewing machine was having FITS. It was way too thick to sew through. And then, when I held it up to my Swiffer, it wasn't bigger than the Swiffer bottom (like the cleaning pads are), so I figured it would be best to rethink this and make it a little bit different.

So let's try this again...

This time I cut out one piece of the towel measuring 12.5" x 6", and one piece of cotton fabric the same size. I sewed them right sides together, leaving a generous opening to pull it through, clipped my corners and turned it right-side out, making sure to push all the corners out with the eraser side of a pencil to make it look nice. I then folded in the edges where the opening was, ironed them down and pinned it right there, and then topstitched around the whole thing to close it up. This time the topstitching was much easier since it wasn't two thick layers of towel like before. Plus, my version is a little bit cuter with fun fabric on one side, and we all know that cute matters when it comes to cleaning. I ran down to the basement and found my velcro stash and picked out the "soft side" (not the grippy loopy side of the velcro) and cut two 10" pieces (approximately). I stitched each of those on approximately .5" away from the edges (on the fabric side, the side that will stick to the bottom of the Swiffer WetJet).

The terry cloth side (you can see the stitching where the velcro is on the other side):

The CUTE side where the velcro goes:

And guess what? It totally works! I will be able to clean away with my beloved Swiffer, and then simply toss the pads in the wash when they get dirty to use again and again and again.

My Swiffer looked like this with the Swiffer cleaning pad...

...and now it looks LIKE THIS with the new reusable CUTE pad!

For me, these cost absolutely NADA since I had an old towel to use and plenty of fabric (yipes, I am a fabric addict) and even some velcro to use. I may have to go out and buy some more velcro if I make many more of these, but with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn's, I can't imagine it costing very much. Using my one towel and extra scraps of fabric, I will have enough to make 10 Swiffer cleaning pads total (it would have been 12 total if I hadn't made that first attempt). This should give me more than enough to work with, especially if I want to change out the pad every time I switch rooms. And judging on how dirty our floors tend to get (3 people + 4 dogs + 2 cats = DIIIIIIIIIIIIRTY), I think I'm going to need that many.

Wouldn't this be a cute housewarming gift idea? You could buy a Swiffer kit (there are always $5 off coupons to be found, it seems), make several of these up, and get your friends on the right path to keeping our Earth (and their floors) beautiful.

Next up, finding an online "recipe" to make non-toxic floor cleaner to use with my Swiffer. Then it will be a GREEN Swiffer fo' sho'! This site was the link provided on the tutorial, but I might do a little searchin' around to see what else I can come up with.

*A big thanks to all the crafters out there who post such awesome tutorials. Even though I ended up changing this one up some, it still gave me a great launching off point of how to construct them since I wouldn't have had a clue otherwise.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I just want to encourage you to give to the relief effort for Haiti. Even if it is just $1, it all helps. And if you can't do that, pray. Pray for the people of Haiti.

I can't even look at the pictures of the victims without thinking of all of the mama's there that lost a child, or have no food or water now to give to their child, or have no idea where they're going to sleep tonight. This poor country has already had such a rough time of it, and now this devastation happens. I've never been there myself, but my husband has, and from his stories of what he saw and witnessed there, I know that it is one of the roughest places in the world to live. On our adoption trip to Guatemala, I remember seeing a level of poverty that was shocking, and I can't imagine what things would be like if you added an earthquake on top of that. It could have been any of us that had been born into a different life in a country like Haiti with no choice in the matter. Hug your kids a little tighter today and give thanks for the blessings in your life, especially the ones we all take for granted on a daily basis.

And to Pat Robertson who thought he somehow had the right as a Christian to say that Haiti is going through this because they made a pact with the devil, a big fat shame on you, Mr. Robertson. 'Cause if that's truly the case, I'd say all of America needs to get the plank out of their eye and look at all the shameful ways our own country makes daily pacts with the devil. Even Christians. Good grief.

If you need a push in the right direction, I don't think you could go wrong with donating to either World Vision or to the American Red Cross.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On our bookshelf...

I'm so excited to start reading this book tonight with my little guy:

First seen here.

I'd never heard of this book before, somewhat surprising since I have been a bookworm my whole life. After having trouble finding a copy (or at least, a cheap copy), I added it to my wishlist on PaperbackSwap (remember to mention me as your referral if you join!) well over a year ago, and today I was pleasantly surprised to find a package on my doorstep containing the hardcover version of this book in great condition. It's the version with all three stories in it.

We read books every single night to my little guy, mostly treasures we pick up at the library, but tonight will be the start of a whole new adventure for us -- chapter books -- and I, for one, can't wait! I made up a little bookmark for him out of cardstock and ribbon and let him decorate however he wanted. A bookmark is kind of exciting for him since he's never had use for one until now.

This was perfect timing as well since my little guy was talking about dragons yesterday in the car. It seemed so random at the time, but today I was happy to tell him we have a new book about dragons to read together. I hope this is the start of a true lifetime love of reading for him. He's already been in love with picture books, but as we all know, chapter books don't always hold everyone's attention the same. I am hoping and praying that he falls in love with reading the same way I did as a little girl and carries it through to adulthood. Reading is one of the greatest joys of life, if you ask me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another new Monday, another new week...

So last week I actually got off to a great start for this new year.

In the cooking department, I made several delicious offerings:

(photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

*this cauliflower soup from Pioneer Woman, which my four-year-old gobbled up no problem...

*my old favorite stand-by, French onion soup, also gobbled up no problem by the four-year-old (I have yet to tell him that he is the only four-year-old I know that would eat onion soup, especially since I could see many kids pointing out that it looks like worm soup or something like that)...

*a cherry pie...

*and another old stand-by, roast with potatoes, baby carrots, pearl onions, and gravy, all made in the CrockPot.

On that New Year's resolution #8 about wanting to be creative more often, I got a jumpstart on it as well. Nothing like pushing the mundane chores aside for an hour of free time, using up bits and bobs of craft supplies I already had and churning out a finished product. Oh, how the right side of my brain rejoiced.

Speaking of the sides of the brain, I found this little article on the web. If you click on it and look at the "test" they have posted, the one about if you see the dancer going clockwise or counterclockwise, tell me which way you saw it. I always knew I was more right-brained, but gee whiz! I can't even imagine seeing that dancer going any other direction than clockwise, and the article says that most people should be able to see it automatically going counterclockwise. I've tried my hardest and can't see it going that direction at all! I must be severely right-brained.

(Anywho, now that I've probably completely lost you with that segueway, back to the post.)

I decided to jump right in with both feet and pick a tutorial off my long bookmarked list to try.

Up first, the Mama Chic Wrist Cuff, drawn up by the super-talented mama, Jennifer. I've been a long-time blog fan of hers, and this tutorial has been bookmarked on my list ever since she posted it.

Oh my. Could these ever become addicting!

This little beauty was pretty easy to whip up. Once I wrestled a clean ponytail elastic away from Harry, the elastic-snatching-kitty-extraordinaire, I was good to go, as I already have oodles of fabric to pick from, and plenty of batting scraps left over from quilt projects. My machine wasn't too keen on sewing through the layers where the ponytail elastic was, so I ended up having to manually crank the needle up and down at those parts so it wouldn't become jammed. My ponytail elastic ended up sticking out a little farther than I would have liked, but it works nonetheless. I doubled up the buttons because I have a problem committing when it comes to buttons.

This little quilted bracelet is super comfortable to wear, especially right now during the coldest months. (And I do say coldest, as this past week was one of the coldest on record here in Wonderland, resembling Minnesota rather than good ol' Oklahoma.) But I can see how these would be super cute to put on in the spring and the summer when they would show up better on bare arms.

After I made that, I got a wild hair to modify the pattern and try something else. Some close girlfriends and I have (finally) started meeting once a month for Starbucks, and I thought it would be fun (and green, good for the environment, peeps) to make us all coffee cup sleeves. I tried picking out fabrics that would match each girl's tastes, and I put initials on them just to make them a little bit more personalized. I had a ton of leftover heat-resistant batting (like you put in potholders), so I used some of that on the inside.

So last week was a muy productive week. I also started tackling my basement. Once it is clean, it is going to get a fresh coat of paint, some new pillow covers for the daybed down there, and be turned into my "studio" for sewing and crafting. I'm sure my husband is looking forward to getting the dining room back to normal. :)

And last night we made another batch of marshmallows, and wouldn't you know, the last batch turned out the most perfect?! Never fails.

We tried a new "spatula technique" for keeping the fluff from climbing up the beaters and ruining the motor, and it worked really well because the marshmallows were able to get more air in them and rise up higher. This batch is for the new neighbors that moved in next door. We haven't met them yet, but I'm hoping that the gesture of homemade marshmallows will be a guarantee for a great relationship. ;)

Here's hoping this week will be just as productive. I've already planned out my menu for the week (which helps since that is one of the steps I hate the most), and I've already picked out my next online tutorial to try. I'm hoping to keep up the momentum!

See, Mondays aren't so bad...

Things that make you go hmmmm...

I'm all for fashion trends and what have you, really I am, but J. Crew? This is not exactly surprising behavior from you, but in such lean economic times, it seems a bit frivolous to release these...

Here is the description for these pants taken straight from the horse's mouth (J.Crew website):

"To achieve the timeworn charm of those pants you simply can't part with, we garment-dyed and destroyed these chinos for 400 minutes, then carefully repatched and washed them to look like you've worn them for years (and lovingly doctored yourself)."

All for the low-low price of 75 bucks. Pants that have been ripped and pulled and worn and repatched.

I know, I know, we all lusted over jeans that were ripped and torn back in the day, but considering that J. Crew markets their items to the thirtysomething crowd (at least, I'm pretty sure our age bracket is included in their target consumer group), you'd think they'd take into consideration that we are now growing up, having families, actually thinking more about saving and planning ahead and such. Hopefully not thinking about spending 75 bucks on pants that look like they came from the bottom of the pile of clothes that's been sitting on the closet floor.

They must take me for a fool.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope...

Beautiful, snowy cold day (perfect for wearing favorite cozy outfit):

Zero dollars.

Cute and comfy belt from favorite teeny-bopper chain:

Twelve dollars.

Long-lusted-after boots from Anthropologie:

More than enough dollars.

Realizing (at the end of the day, of course) that favorite outfit is eerily reminiscent of a certain Star Wars character:


Sunday, January 3, 2010



I've never been one for space exploration, but I'd gladly climb aboard a spaceship if it would whisk me off to those unbelievably gorgeous glowing gardens.

Finally getting to see this movie was quite the challenge, however.

My mom offered to babysit so the husband and I could go to see it this past week. We went on a weekday, planning on going to the 11am showing at our local IMAX (IMAX 3-D is the only way to go, baby). Me, being the nerdy nerd nerd that I am, made my husband agree to showing up at least 30 minutes early. He is the one to show up 10 minutes after a show starts and walk in, no problem. Me, the nerdy nerd nerd, always wants to get there early, get the perfect seat, and relax knowing I don't have to fight the masses. (And if I knew it wouldn't have been a fight, I would have pushed him to get there more like an hour early.)

Sure enough, we got there and it was SOLD OUT. Say what?!

My husband was furious -- it's not too often we get free babysitting (especially for how long this movie is), and he didn't want to drive back home without seeing a movie. So we bought tickets to the next showing of Sherlock Holmes and saw it instead. It was our other must-see-movie for the holiday break, so it worked out. Good flick, too.

Two days later we tried it all again, thanks in part to my mom for offering to keep the boy again! This time I my husband drove out there the night before and purchased the tickets, just to be on the safe side. We got up early, whisked the boy off to the grandma yet again, and drove out to the theater, this time arriving 45 minutes early.

You can imagine our horror when we pulled up (at 10:15 in the morning, mind you, on a weekday) to see a line of people out the door and around the building. "Run!!!!" I screamed, as my husband leapt out of our moving car and left me to park the car. Seriously, there were probably between 50 and 100 people in the line already. I mean, here we missed out the first time, bought our tickets the night before, arrived crazy early just to be on the safe side, and what??!! I had visions flashing before my eyes of getting in there with our pre-purchased tickets to be seated in the last two spots on the front row, horror of horrors.

Relief washed over our faces when we got inside and saw the line had now reformed in front of the ticket kiosk. Those people hadn't learned the lesson we had learned a few days before. We waltzed in with our tickets already in hand, grabbed the perfect seats, and chatted for a good 45 minutes before the almost 3-hour-long movie started.

But seriously, it was awesome. And this time my husband didn't complain about my nerdy-nerd-nerd-ness one bit.

With my own two hands

Speaking of the long list of tutorials I mentioned in my resolution post, I did tackle one very cool tutorial in December -- raw edged scarves! My girlfriends and I wanted to exchange gifts for Christmas, and I was so excited when I ran across this tutorial.

The scarves are based off of this one from the Gap that was selling for $20 (and currently isn't discounted very much, in my opinion).

20 buckaroos x 4 cute girlfriends (and 1 for myself) = a whole lotta moolah. Since we were shooting for low or no cost on the gifts, this tutorial was the way to go, and honestly, picking out the fabric was more fun than being limited to what the Gap had to offer (sorry, Gap). The homespun fabric is from JoAnn's and was on sale, anywhere between $2 and $5 a yard depending on the print.

I followed the instructions on the tutorial, but I made one small modification. Instead of using 1 yard of fabric, I purchased 1.5 yards for each scarf so that the finished measurements were closer to the Gap version, but it probably wouldn't matter either way. Also, when I washed them and threw them in the dryer (to get the edges nice and fringed), the homespun cotton turned a lot softer and felt more like flannel in the end. A huge thanks goes out to my quilting bee buddy Allison for such a great tutorial! Seriously, all these clever bloggers out there in InternetLand -- how do they come up with such great ideas?!

Here are my girlies modeling their scarves. On two of them you can also see the quirky little flower brooches I sewed up and pinned on each one. I think it's kind of fun to have a little fabric flower to pin on a cardigan or a bag or a coat or whatever, you know, when you need a little extra zest to your outfit!

You'll shoot yer eye out, kid.

So, it's already January, but I absolutely must post a few pics of my "Christmas Story" themed decorating since I almost forgot...

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of my mantel this year. I know, boo on me.

Just picture all the stockings hung with care, a table-top sized leg lamp, the original Red Ryder BB gun (from my dad's childhood, circa 1945 or so) propped up against the mirror, 12 screenshots of pictures from the movie all stuck up on the mirror, and then these lovelies in the built-in bookshelf to the left of the mantel...

The new "Christmas Story" houses from Department 56! Woot! Oh, and it looks like you can barely catch a glimpse of my mantel in that picture. (Click on it to try and see a part of the leg lamp and the movie stillshots stuck up to the mirror.)

Higbee's Department Store with Ralphie peering in the window...

Ralphie's house, complete with leg lamp in the window...

the Chinese restaurant with the "Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra" guys...

and Cleveland Elementary School with the infamous frozen tongue incident...

The only other items I want to add to my Dept. 56 Christmas Story collection are the little figures of the bullies (Scott Farkus, the yellow-eyed bully, and his little sidekick) and Ralphie in the bunny suit, and then the bigger figurine of Ralphie going down the Santa slide. Hopefully I can pick these up on eBay or somewhere for not too much between now and next Christmas. The good thing about this collection is the fact that it can't really grow as there won't be new pieces to add each year, etc., so it is a nice, small, manageable Christmas house collection.

Told you I was quirky...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking ahead...

Here is my list of resolutions, which may or may not actually come to fruition. That's my disclaimer.

1. Say yes to less. -- I made that up myself, thankyouverymuch, and I think it needs to be on a t-shirt or tattooed to my forehead, either one. I have the tendency to put way too much on my plate in terms of projects, groups, volunteering, etc, etc., and I've said this before in the past that I would like to stop, but this year, it will stop. It will. If I have to tell you no on something, please know that it goes against every fiber of my being to actually tell someone no and {gasp} risk disappointing them and risk them not liking me (horrible thoughts for a people-pleaser like myself). However, if I end up getting my house and clutter completely under control, get rid of all of the distractions, then I reserve the right to decide whether or not to take on something. So don't hold me to it, I guess. Regardless, I will try to live a more balanced life.

2. Focus on my husband and my son. This is the year of the little family unit. We may be a small family of three, but we are a crazy tight-knit little bunch, and I intend to put even more of my focus this year on those two lovable guys.

3. Finish up unfinished projects. Oh, Lordy, if I am not the queen of unfinished projects. I do not want to be the queen any more. Please take the crown away from me. Please.

4. Throw away, give away, purge, purge, purge! -- By year's end, I am going to be organized and less cluttered. Believe it, sister.

5. Keep up the cooking. 2009 was a great year for me in terms of finally embracing my inner Rachel Ray (who am I kidding, I am not quite to that level), but I hope to try even more new recipes and techniques this coming year.

6. Improve my photography skills. I took the class. I've got the camera (albeit an older version of this one). The new lens should arrive on my doorstep any day now. All of these factors should add up to better photos if I would just stop and practice, practice, practice!

7. No more deadlines, but quilt for fun. Although I have immensely enjoyed the swaps and online quilting bee I've participated in, it's time to finish up projects, and start new ones with no looming deadlines. Quilting is supposed to be fun, but sometimes those deadlines tend to steal my joy, especially since I am well-versed in the art of procrastination.

8. Be CREATIVE more often. Take the time to make something at least once a week, whether it be a tiny project or a big one. I have umpteen bookmarks on my laptop of cool tutorials I have seen, but there are only one or two that I actually attempted last year.

9. No more comparisons. I like you. You like me. I don't wish to care or worry about what anyone thinks of me anymore, or play the comparison game, or keep up with the Joneses or whatever. This year, no comparisons. Period.

10. Buy more handmade, less from the big box money-suckers. Less plastic. More natural. Less toxic. More healthy. Less quantity. More quality. This one encompasses it all -- from food to gifts.

There is a reason there are ten resolutions. Aim high, my friends, and surely I can accomplish at least one of those goals. See? By writing up ten and only looking to accomplish one, I am still keeping things simple, and thus will be even more thrilled if I accomplish more than one. Oh yes, that's how my quirky little mind works.

And since I've done this in the past as well, I am picking a word to represent what I would like to see in 2010. Last year's word was "content" -- and looking back, I do feel like I am moving more and more in that direction. I've thought about this long and hard, and I think my word for 2010 is going to be possibilities (plural since I'd rather have lots of possibilities than just one). I think 2010 is full of possibilities in many different facets of my life, and I'm going to keep my eyes open so when they appear, I will recognize them and take advantage of the opportunities before me.

Happy New Year, my friends!