a few of my favorite things TWENTYTEN

* hugs and kisses from my two favorite guys.

* spending time with family and friends.

* laughing.

* playing board games. My faves are Life, Monopoly, Scrabble and Bananagrams.

* puppies. Sweet little Golden Retriever puppies. Like one named Jack. The one I wish I'd dognapped when I had the chance. And like Super Dog, crazy girl that she is.

* granite. We just got a new granite countertop for our kitchen island and I am in. Love. With. It. We chose Imperial Brown granite, from Italy, as it will tie together our charcoal gray concrete countertops (made by Super Man) and our shades-of-brown tiled floor (installed by Super Man). And we scored a great deal on it, as it was a remnant. I love it when that happens!

* Wellspring FlipNotes. I came across these little beauties while on vacation in Minocqua, Wisconsin and bought this one for myself. It just might be the best $9.99 I've ever spent. I love everything about this product. Obviously the price is ideal, and the icing on the cake is that they sell replacement note pads and pens very cheaply as well. And the size makes it ideal for slipping into a pocket, any of my purses (even the tiny ones!), a backpack or even one of the little cubbies in my Odyssey's dashboard. I bought one for Super Man, too, and it fits in the inside pocket of his sportcoats and suit jackets. He's as hooked as I am. It's great for jotting down things on the fly, and as a mom, it's great to always have a pen and paper handy when Super Boy and I have to wait in doctors offices, etc. (Can you say "impromptu game of hangman?") If you don't own one, get one. You won't regret it.

* birds. I just love birds, of all kinds.

* my new favorite drink, Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale. It is fab-u-lous. Super Boy and I discovered it while grocery shopping yesterday and that was one impulse buy I absolutely won't regret! I've always loved ginger ale; the green tea just makes it that much better. Quite refreshing, indeed.

* etsy. 'Nuff said.

* 2010 Desktop Calendar by twosis on Etsy. Beautiful color and illustration, very bright and whimsical, and I love the way it looks on my desk. I treated myself to this for New Year's, but at $20, it's a great gift to give a special someone in your life. And the packaging was adorable! Trust me.

* sushi! Oh, sushi, how I love thee... Thankfully, my love of sushi has rubbed off on all the others in the family, including little Super Boy. One day a few weeks ago while grocery shopping, Super Boy and I strolled past the sushi bar in the store and Super Boy asked if we could get some. I'm usually leery about supermarket sushi, but this is literally fresh-made each day by a sushi chef, so I figured we'd give it a go. Was sublime. As such, on Monday of this week, while picking Super Boy up from school, he asked if we could get some more sushi this week. We did it yesterday. And, again, it was awesome.

* We purchased last night's sushi from our local Sentry grocery store, but our absolute FAVORITE place to eat sushi is at Nanakusa, the restaurant we love most in Milwaukee. I have always had superb dining experiences there, without fail. The food is second to none, literally - we've eaten sushi on both coasts, in the Caribbean and elsewhere, and both Super Man and I agree that we've never had better sushi or other Japanese food than we have at Nankusa. The atmosphere is chic and metropolitan, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and highly skilled, the owners have become friends of ours, and it's an experience we always look forward to with anticipation.

* Wii Fit Plus, which Santa brought me for Christmas. Good stuff, I tell you. Good stuff.

* Cooking! I never thought I'd say that. I mean, seriously, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I liked cooking I'd say, "HELL NO!" (and I'd scream it in all caps like that, too). But over the years - and especially after I left my job to become a stay-at-home mom - I've found that I really do enjoy cooking. I think it's because I have more time to look through recipes, grocery shop and prepare the food. I now find it relaxing, where it used to just be a source of stress. And I love finding recipes on some of my favorite websites, like The Pioneer Woman and her other site called Tasty Kitchen, allrecipes.com, cookinglight.com, and epicurious.com.

* this apron from Williams-Sonoma in the gorgeous yellow color, a much-loved Christmas gift from Super Man.

* my '06 Honda Odyssey. It's not brand-new and shiny anymore, but seriously, I wholeheartedly embrace that vehicle. Safe, comfortable, great gas mileage, well designed, and R-O-O-M-Y.

* fish. Betta fish, specifically. Talk about the perfect pets: they require a bowl, some gravel, some water, a little water conditioner, teensy-tiny pellets of food, and you just have to clean the bowl every few weeks. They are also very affordable pets, and don't require annual vet visits and a half dozen vaccines and medications a year. They don't poop all over your yard, burn your grass with their urine, or wake you up whining to go out at 6:30am or barking just when you've nodded off for a nap. They don't rip your curtains or furniture to shreds, track litter all over your floors, hawk up hairballs on your carpet, or hiss at small children for no good reason. And they're very pretty, coming in varied colors. Our two bettas, Lola and Bluie, have been with our family for almost a year now and we love them. To sum up: Bettas are awesome.

* Sorel Caribou Winter Boots have made existing in Wisconsin during the long, long winter a little bit more tolerable. They keep my feet warm and dry and will probably last my entire life. Best part? While they typically retail for about $110, I picked mine up BRAND-NEW on eBay with free shipping for $50 back in the fall. Again, I love it when I get a great deal!

* Disaronno. I'm not one to drink much or often, but a small glass of this delicious, silky amaretto Italian liqueur on the rocks really hits the spot, especially on a cold winter's night. And a bottle lasts a long time (at least in our house!), so it's got a very palatable price tag, too, around $20.

* reusable bags like these from Chico Bag. A friend turned me on to them a few years ago, and I ended up buying 5. At $4.99 each, it's silly NOT to get a few. The ingenious design allows you to tuck the bag into its own built-in pocket for tiny storage, making them great to toss in a purse or your car's glovebox, and they also have a built-in clip so those who don't carry purses can clip them on a belt loop or whatever. A great way to help save the environment and save some money yourself, as many grocery stores now give you a small rebate for bringing in your own bags. They also carry other product lines that look seriously cool, like the MESSENGER rePETe. Might have to get me one of those...

* HAND SANITIZER!!! H1N1, colds, seasonal flu, pink eye, strep throat, stomach viruses... Yeah. I'm a HUGE fan of hand sanitizer. I even keep a pump-sized bottle in the door of my van. I'm hard-core.

* chewable Vitamin D from Rainbow Light. Living in Wisconsin where we have about six months of winter weather and little sun, Vitamin D supplements ought to be required. This is my first year taking them, and they've definitely helped boost my immune system.

* Women's Health Magazine. I discovered this last year, can't remember where, but it's now one of my faves. It's a great magazine to keep in your car or purse for when you have those unexpected waits as it's full of short but info-packed articles and blurbs.

* Real Simple magazine. I'm not a subscriber (yet), but I always check the covers for interesting and relevant articles, and I'm almost never disappointed. At about $24 per year, it's probably a worthwhile investment. Great tips for paring down, paring back and keeping life, well... simple. That's something this girl needs, stat!

* The Fragrance Collection by Glade's Lotus Bamboo soy-based candles. Wow... the scent is wonderfully fresh and light, perfect for any room in the house, and they have a clean, minimalist look. I loaded up on them a few months ago. My house smells great!

* and speaking of scents, here's my new favorite perfume, Kenzo Amour, another Christmas gift I received this season. It smells divine - unlike any other scent I've ever worn. Sensual, soft, woody Asian florals. Mama likes!

* my favorite planner, the Her Point of View classic wire-bound weekly calendar from FranklinCovey. While I know many people have ditched paper planning systems, I really can't ever see myself parting with mine. There's just something about writing things down in a calendar that makes them... stick a little better, I guess.

and last but not least...

* Burt's Bees products. Dear Lord, they are wonderful. I've used the lip balms for years (Beeswax Lip Balm, Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil, Honey Lip Balm, Lip Shimmer), but only discovered their fabulous skin care products in the past year. And I adore them. My faves are the Garden Tomato Complexion Soap and Garden Tomato Toner, along with the Beeswax Moisturizing Day Creme. My skin is ridiculously sensitive, and was scarily problem-prone prior to using these products. Since I started my Burt's Bees kick, my skin has looked a million times better, fresher and healthier. And the kickers are that the products are almost all-natural and they cost just a fraction of the price of other skincare regimens. They have a customer for life with me. Seriously.

I hope you can find a few new things to try from this list, and I'd love to hear some of YOUR favorite things, so please post 'em if you got 'em!

Happy New Year!

Average Everyday Super Woman


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