How's that for drama? Now that I have your attention, what I really want to talk about are the things that impacted my life the most from last year.
Stuff that was hard.
Stuff that was wonderful.
And one thing that was both hard and wonderful.
But first I must say I'm blessed that the hard things weren't too hard this last year- especially when all around us we hear of friends and family dealing with medical difficulties (3 people with cancer and one with MS in just the two months before Christmas!) and financial problems.
So here it is- the big stuff and the little stuff that made a difference for me and my family in 2010:
1. My bittersweet moment. This is when it's hard and wonderful at the same time. I'm changing from seeing myself as "mommy" for the past 18 years to...mom, friend, counselor, guide- oh, I don't know.
2. Family Cleaning Night. Yes, I'm saying cleaning changed my life, but when we started this (actually years ago, but you only got to hear about it in 2010), I could not believe the difference it made for me.
Do you want to stay sane when kids are living in your house? Start a cleaning night.
3. Family Traditions. With your help, I compiled a huge list with all kinds of traditions you can do with your family. We do many of them and the memories they create are everlasting.
4. Realizing that healthy food can be frugal, though not as frugal as Fiber One Bars on sale with a coupon and double coupon. In 2009, I was gung-ho to see how low my food bill could go- $400? $300? Even $200 like some bloggers I read? While it was a bit hard not getting every great deal, I've let go of the desire to get my food budget ridiculously low as I realize I'm willing to pay a little more for whole foods. But just a little.
5. I can easily substitute real food for processed and make many things I used to buy. I've always done this to some degree, but last year brought even more Pantry Basics I didn't realize were so easy to make at home. And to think I always thought you had to buy them...
6. Family Work Day. Why did we wait so long? We were able to paint houses and revamp yards with my extended family that we could've never done so quickly alone. And this is the reason we might finally be able to convert an open shed into a chicken coop this spring!
7. Lessons from the Savvy Blogging Summit. Some of this was hard, I have to admit. I had to really move away from my comfort zone and force myself into social situations with strangers- aack! I'm happy to say it was OK, and many are not strangers any more. I'm also happy to say my blogging life changed forever.
Though the meet-and-greet cocktail hour was excruciating. I hope to never have to do that again.
8. Sharing my organizing strategies with you all. Believe it or not, this pushed me to refine and clarify my strategies and use them more efficiently- especially my everyday paperwork files, the freezer, and my recipes.
And then there was that video.
9. Using fabric napkins we identify with a unique ring (aka "family napkins"). Small, but significant. Cost savings? A little. Satisfaction that one less thing is constantly being thrown out? A lot.
10. Saying goodbye to plastic silverware. Same as number 9, but with a bigger cost savings, for sure. Plus the joy of knowing you can eat the food without the fork breaking in half, which is always good.