With the end of the year quickly approaching, we're constantly reading about the year's best this-and-that. At the Star Tribune we're talking about our year-end stories, and the Christmas letters are starting to come with everyone's annual wrap-ups.

Me? I'm starting to take stock of the year in terms of home-improvement projects. And, in the spirit of the season, I'll do it holiday-letter style:

Dear friends,

It's been a wild ride at the Hvidsten house this year. Believe it or not, we had another sump pump incident this spring. I know, right? I've  sworn off carpet in the lower level, and we're still missing half of a wall on one side of the basement. Baseboards need to be restained and put up again, but at least we're getting good at disaster recovery!

For those wondering if I've decided which color to paint my accent wall in the living/dining area, the answer is a big no! Yup, there are still swatches painted on the walls, now going on about three or four years. I've lost count! We've grown to love our eclectic look, but this still remains near the top of my wish list of things to accomplish. But now the surrounding walls need to be painted, so we just upgraded the project from minor to major. It's good to have goals!!

The kids are busy with all of their activities, but thanks to Papa, we now have cubbies in the garage for all the sports equipment (which are sadly ignored most of the time). I've attempted to hang hooks alongside the shelves, but have yet to find something that can withstand the weight of a softball or hockey bag. Something to work on for 2013!

Our year was also filled with accomplishments: I finally cracked open my electric sander; the tree we planted THISCLOSE to our house when it was a seedling was finally transplanted; the clematis now have real trellises to climb; the clothesline was restrung; the piles in the office are gone and, thanks to my love of all things organizational, are neatly filed. I could go on!

I hope your 2012 was full of home-improvement successes. Looking to next year -- can you believe the year's almost over? -- we hope to do some landscaping projects, tackle that basement, experiement with beadboard and perhaps choose a paint color or two.

May your holiday season be filled with fun and fan decks,