A look back at the best (and not so best) of 2013

With just two days left in 2013, I thought I would take a minute to reflect back on the year. It was a whirlwind for me. This year brought lots of new and different into my life, but as promised it was all for the best.

We rang in the New Year with samba-style with our family in Brazil. It was the second time that we had been there, the first being our wedding. There is something magical about family, even family that you have only met a couple times. We ate too much, laughed a lot, and spent the kind of quality time together that families rarely get to spend these days. I would say it was the perfect new beginning.

New Years Eve Brazil

We had barely settled our feet firmly on American soil before we were off again. This time it was a more permanent move. With the help of many friends and family members, we loaded up the moving van and set out of for a 14-hour trip to place we know call home: San Antonio. Moving across country is scary, and I have learned to appreciate what it must be like for military families that get relocated every couple of years. It’s one of those things that require planning, patience, and above all…faith. Another thing that I acquired in 2013.

Driving through Nebraska

Moving to a new city, brought lots of new experiences. It took longer than I thought it would to find a new teaching position, but I made the most of the “time off” by starting this blog!, meeting up with other amazing bloggers and their amazing kiddos, and spending quality time with my family that was long overdue. I was lucky to be able to stay home with my youngest. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that opportunity again, and I cherished creativity I was able to bring to his learning. We raced through letters, did an Alphabet Scavenger Hunt, and spent time in the pool playing word games with beach balls.

2013 Kids Collage

We enjoyed visits from many friends and family this year (and look forward to all of the friends and family that have yet to visit!) This summer my friends Kate and Jeanne-Marie came up this summer and spent several days. We were able to hit all of the landmarks: the Alamo, the Riverwalk, Enchanted Rock. We also spent some quality time by the pool.

Alamo Riverwalk

We were fortunate have my husband’s parents and sister from Brazil. The kids are lucky to have such a loving family spread out of over the world! While they were here, we enjoyed some Pho that we accidentally discovered thanks to one of our neighbors.

2013 Pho

I also found a some time to sneak in a couple crafting projects and try out some new recipes. I made a couple cute teachers gifts, like coffee cozies and lanyards. (I’m busy making more lanyards for teachers over Christmas break!) My daughter has been wearing this adorable dress ever since I revamped it. I’m lucky to have a wonderfully, crafty mother in law that shows me all of the tricks of the trade when she comes to visit. We always end up with an array of handmade goodies!

2013 Crafts

I could say that I spent more time in the kitchen in 2013 than years past. I always have the goal of learning how to really cook. T’his year I think I came closer than I ever have in the past! I found some great recipe and even created a few of my own. Blogging does wonders for your follow through. So does Pinterest. You could say that 2013 was the Year of the Quinoa and the Greek Yogurt. Looking at all of this delicious food is making me hungry! Yum!

2013 Food

A year and a half after selling our old house, we finally landed in a new one! Apartment living has its perks, like less space to keep clean and somebody else to fix things when they break, but I’m so happy to finally have a place to really call “home” (and a backyard to send the kids when they need to get rid of energy!)

backyard

In the middle of it all, I took a trip back home to celebrate my brothers wedding. It was a whirlwind trip, but I was able to meet up with several friends that I hadn’t seen since the move and spend a morning enjoying coffee at my favorite coffee place, The Mill, and spend some quality time with my dad!

Phil and Laurens Wedding

The Mill

In spite of all of the positive things that happened over the past year, there were some milestones that I wasn’t so excited to have celebrated. It has been five years since I lost my mom to cancer. It was a tough mark to gauge on the wall of life, but I try to celebrate her everyday through my children, my work and my commitment to being a good person. Also, this happened….

Car accident…but life is all about how you handle the ups AND the downs. Life takes grit, perseverance, and creativity.

I know that 2014 will bring new challenges and new adventures. I can’t wait to take them on!

Here’s to hoping that everyone had an equally eventful year, and wishing everyone the best of adventures in 2014!

Kelly

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2-minute Leg Warmers

2-Minute DIY Legwarmers

So, recently my 6-year old daughter has decided that she won’t wear pants. This usually isn’t a problem in South Texas, but lately it has been pretty chilly. While many of you may be thinking, “be a parent, and MAKE her put some pants on”, I will assure you that it isn’t that easy. She is overly sensitive to many seams and fabrics that the rest of us don’t notice. Rather than put her through the stress of MAKING her put on something that will only result in a full-blown meltdown, I have tried to come up with creative solutions. I think I’ve found a way around pants, for the most part:

Legwarmers.

Brilliant, right? Well, that depends who you ask, but for our purposes, I think legwarmers will do just fine. However, I am not going to pay crazy amounts of money for them. So, I searched around for an alternative and VOILA! here it is. The easiest, DIY legwarmers in 2 minutes…EVER.

 2-Minute DIY Legwarmers

All you need is an old sweater. Find something cute at Goodwill that looks like it is small enough to stay snug on little legs. Take a sharp pair of fabric scissors and chop the arms right off at the armpits. Fold the cut ends down a couple times. Done and Done.

Little legs stay warm. Nobody has any meltdowns. Mom doesn’t get crazy looks from complete strangers wondering why she didn’t dress her child for the weather. Everybody wins!

Adorable Applique T-shirt for Young Girl

Applique T-shirt TutorialI can’t claim this one, but I’ve always wanted to learn how to do applique so when my mother-in-law decided to make this adorable shirt for my daughter, I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures along the way! I think I captured most of the steps in pretty good detail, except for the stitches (but I included some links below).

Prepping the pattern

  1. Trace your pattern onto iron-on transfer paper. Cut out each piece, leaving about a 1/8-inch border around the entire edge. (This ensures that when you iron it onto the fabric, you will have good adhesion around each edge when you cut it out.)
  2. Cut out each piece and iron it onto your fabric.
  3. Cut out each piece of fabric along the actual pattern line.
  4. Peel the backside of the transfer paper off to revel so that it is ready to be ironed onto your shirt. Now you are ready to arrange the pieces on your shirt before ironing them down permanently!

Iron. Cut. Peel. Arrange.

Arranging the Pieces on the Shirt

There is a specific order that you need to arrange the pieces so that they end up in the right order at the end. You have to think in layers, kind of like Photoshop. I wish there was a “send to back” and “bring to front” button here, but once you iron, you are stuck so make sure you take your time with this step! Check twice. Iron once.

Little Girl Assembly

Here is  a bigger picture of the whole thing after it was ironed on to the shirt. You see that there are some raw edges, but you can cover those up when you embroidery or embellish in the next step.

Little Girl Assembled on tshirt

Finished Product

The t-shirt turned out to be so cute! A blanket stitch was used around most of the pattern, and a chain stitch was used to make the lease, collar, and umbrella handle. The sleeves and dress were embellished with a little ruffle of lace that really make the dress stand out, don’t you think?  The cherry on top was the little dog that wanders around to the back of the shirt. My daughter really loved wearing this one! Thanks grandma!

Finished Applique T-shirt