Friday, December 31, 2010

My Favorite Photos of 2010

I wanted to wrap up the year with some of my favorite photos from this year:
Caught in the act
Nothing says love like heart shaped pancakes
Scary, isn't she?
Nature girl collecting water samples to investigate
Ana's signature 80's glasses
Nature Matt
Handsome Matt
Yoda Melanie
Genuine laughter
Get it? Matt's the wildlife!
I'd still love to edit this picture. Love their funny set up.
Our day at the beach
And the ride home from the beach
My awesome birthday watermelon cake - thanks sis!
One day they won't be playing!
Matt fell for one of his aunt's foster dogs, a St. Bernard named Ditka
The most gorgeous eyes and freckles
A Hello Kitty birthday for Ana
Freshman year - where did the time go?
You're one of the best people I know, too
Doing homework....with sunglasses on!
Pretty eyes
Matt's birthday cake
Three little kittens abandoned by their mama under my sister's deck
Ana's fave shoes - which are currently missing - anyone?
Pretty Hello Kitty
He's got the key
Melanie's mouth
Dmitry's feet
Jack's nose
Kids with their Grandpa Bubba
Matt's birthday sundae
My pretty mom 

Hope you have a fun, safe New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A little inspiration

So, I've set my intention for 2011 - Organize! And here's a little inspiration page:

Credits: Make a Change, Laura Banasiak Designs

Have an inspired day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Little Word, 2011 edition....

So, it's time to finally share my word for 2011. Maybe I should have waited for December 31st, but I'm just too excited to wait. I've even started planning my year - you'll see why in a moment when you scroll down....

I've only told one person so far, and I have to confess, this choice was not difficult to make, but will be difficult to stick to. Just the thought of it this morning is making me a little nervous, but I think that's kind of a good thing.

This is important to me.

As I look down the road to my 40th birthday in 2011, I know I need this. This one little word will be the catalyst to peace of mind, of knowing what I have, what I can do, what I really need, and has the added benefit of helping me discover more time for the things I love.

It's become a very important word as I've recently discovered why I need it so badly.

The word is Organize. 

Simple. Concrete. Organize.

I've aspired to this word for many years, and while I'd never put myself in the category of slob, I do admit I have more than I need in my home at the moment. And I think the moment I started watching Hoarders to make sure I'm not one was a turning point in making this decision.

While I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder, I think in the past I've had a psychological need to keep things I no longer needed. It has to do with control just as much as any other weak spot in my otherwise solid life. And having enough "stuff" stems from the fears I had while in a long over relationship.

Well, that's done. I'm a strong enough person now to let go: Of the resentment that came from that relationship, of the stuff, the weight, the anger I've accumulated from that. Weight of things, of mind, of body.

I'm inviting "organize" to be my one little word - now that I know what it is I really need, it's time to cull the things I don't and organize the things I do - mind, body, home, financially, and in my soul.

So, it's funny and a little sad to me that when I went looking for all my books on organizing (of which I have many, many), I couldn't find them. But I will.


For my journey of organize this coming year, I'll be looking to my gurus: Peter Walsh, Regina Leeds, and Marcia Ramsland, not only because I know where their books are in my house (LOL), but because I really like them. And then Dave Ramsey is going to be helping me get my finances in order. I don't intend to turn this into an organization blog, though, but I'll check in with my progress. I hope to feel lighter, freer, and have more time as the year rolls on.

Out with the old..... and don't bring in too much new!  Here's to the year of the black garbage bag! (I'm going to have to get to know my garbage man/sanitation engineer by name!)

That's it for now. Thanks for letting me share my word with you. I hope you'll do the same.

Please leave a comment with your word and a link to you blog (if you have one) where you shared your word.

I wish you much success this year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reflecting on my One Little Word from 2010.....part 1

This was the first year I decided to select a word to guide my year. My word for 2010 was Focus, and I'm pleased to say, for the most part, it's been a very good year, and a very good word for me. Rather than making resolutions I'll quickly break, choosing a word for my whole year, was a great success and I'm looking forward to doing it again in 2011.

Though, at some point, focus gave way to abundance, and then overabundance, and finally overwhelm, the word focus did help guide me to setting some goals for this year, and ultimately achieving them.

I've never been one to set goals for myself, regrettably, but this year, the process has proven to me to be really good idea! One of my main areas of focus has been on to really learn digital scrapbooking, art journaling and photography - my hobbies. Though I had had versions of Photoshop Elements since it's 3rd release, I never learned how to take my paper scrapping to the computer. I shared my entry into to learning this hobby/art here.

By continuing to find more things to learn in this art form, I've opened my life to many amazing rewards.
  • I've met some great people online, 
  • shared my work in various galleries, 
  • been published in 2 books, 
  • was published in an online magazine, 
  • was interviewed on an art journal blog,
  • and, come March 2011, in a "real" paper magazine (one of my digital art journal pages is being published in the Spring 2011 Somerset Digital Studio! One more goal to check off!). 
I also quit my stable job, where I'd been for 5 (unhappy) years, and took a new job, in the same field, at a new company. I'm happier in my career than I've been in many years.

I also started teaching again after a 5 year hiatus (like I'm a TV show, right). As my friend, Peggy often reminds me, if you put it out into the universe, good things happen (I'm paraphrasing, sorry Peggy). Well, I'd applied for a teaching job at this particular college 2 years ago, when I still dreamed being a teacher, and this July, they contacted me.

And though I'm not sharing all the blessings in my life in this post, believe me when I say, others in my family have had their share of successes in 2010, for which I'm grateful.

Focusing on my goals has certainly brought me some confidence and a renewed sense of purpose.

I'm looking forward to sharing my word for 2011 with you tomorrow, and hoping it brings me a new kind of success.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where I Am, Where I've Been

If you are a dear friend who comes here to visit me, you'll have noticed that I've been absent for most of December. Having taken on too many projects, I can tell you, I've been anything but absent in my life. Get togethers, kids' holiday celebrations, family outings, ups, downs, work, hobbies - I've been present in each one of them, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally enjoying the happy holiday season, and being present to catch a loved one who was falling.

I had grand plans for my December, including 2 large creative projects, that regrettably, I abandoned quickly after I started, for fear of feeling obligated to work on them. Obligation and creativity seem to be long standing enemies. So, while I photographed my December, I didn't put them in the pretty book as planned.

Hopefully, January will be a slow month, though, as history has shown me, that's not always the case. There is no slow month in my year, and I'm grateful for that. There is no vacation from my life, thankfully, though I do get frustrated with myself for overbooking my time.

I did want to spend a little bit of time reflecting on 2010 and selecting and sharing my one little word for 2011, which I'll do this week.

Until then, here are just a few photos from December:
Matt's countdown to Christmas
My beautiful girl!
Handsome Matt getting ready for his Winter Concert

Ana's Pink Antlers

Matt's first Gingerbread cookie - Long Grove, IL

Sweet Jack's face minutes before he ate Ana's homemade blueberry orange bread

See You Soon!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ah....Cookies! or Baking, it Starts

I'm definitely no Martha, though, right after Ana was born, I fancied myself the Martha type. I even made her baby food with a food mill. Geez - now I can barely make spaghetti and meatballs! I blame it on my teeny, tiny kitchen, but that's another story.

Despite my mini-kitchen, I present to you Cool Whip cookies! My darling baker, Ana, assisted in this experiement and whipped up (get it?) several dozen of these yummy treats tonight. The recipe follows....

And the recipe....

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies 

(We used Devil's Food, obviously - more Matt friendly....we'll try Lemon too, as any flavor cake mix may be substituted)

from Allrecipes
• 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 2 eggs
• 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
• 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.
2. Beat together the whipped topping and eggs together. Add the lemon cake mix and continue to mix. Dough will be sticky.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake  for 11 minutes. Cool on racks.