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Looking Back on an Incredible 2015

As I sit in my office staring at my posted goals for 2016, I can’t help but reflect on the past year. To say that it has been incredible is an understatement. 2015 was the most joyous, transformative and wonderful year that I can recall. So much happened, and I can’t help but take a few moments to relive some of those remarkable moments from the past year.

2015 Kinder Craze Year in Review

I started 2015 with a resolution to take better care of myself, so I joined many other teachers in doing the Whole30 for the month of January. For that month, I basically lived in the kitchen and ate only healthy things, including lots of cage free eggs because they are cheap and fast to cook. I also became an expert at cooking enough eggs to last the work week.

It Starts with Food

My Stitch Fix stylist, Layla kept me looking my best all year long. You can see all of my Stitch Fix posts here and here.

Kinder Craze Stitch Fix

In March, my beautiful nephew Max was born. I could just gobble him up every time I see him.

Maria Manore Gavin and baby

I may not be a mom, but my baby turned 3 in March. Kinder Craze celebrated its third anniversary and I celebrated with birthday cake. It was the worlds smallest birthday party. Just me and my huge pink and white cake.

Happy Birthday Kinder Craze

Around this time, I knew that I would be moving in with my new husband within a few months, and I knew my closet space would be more limited. I created MariaSellsThings, an Instagram account that serves as a platform for me to sell gently used clothes and materials from my classroom.

MariaSellsThings on Instagram

Rob sold his house house and moved into the condo we are renting. I didn’t move in until the wedding, but I spent every minute of my free time painting the condo. It was an exhausting couple of weeks.

condo painting

In April, I headed out to Lake Huron for a weekend getaway with some friends to celebrate my bachelorette party.

bachelorette weekend

In May, Debbie Clement came to visit my school. She rocked the socks off my students and it was great to finally hug the real-life kindergarten rock star.

Debbie Clement school visit

Debbie Clement and Maria Manore Gavin

My students graduated from Kindergarten at the end of May and I started pulling down many of my classroom decorations. I wasn’t going to be Miss Manore anymore!

Miss Manore class sign

The absolute best day of the year (and my entire life) happened this summer when I married my wonderful husband, Rob. Don’t let the umbrella fool you. It only sprinkled for a few minutes that day, despite the severe weather warnings and 100% chance of rain.

Maria Manore Gavin wedding

I know every bride considers her wedding one of the best days of her life, but there was something extra magical about our wedding.

After all of the wedding excitement, Rob and I took a very relaxing honeymoon in Naples, Florida. The low-key getaway was exactly what we needed.

Maria Manore Gavin travel

This summer I finally had a chance to share a tutorial for how to create those vinyl trees that were displayed in my classroom.

Kinder Craze vinyl trees Maria Manore Gavin classroom

In July, I presented at the 2015 Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Las Vegas. It was my first time ever presenting!

Maria Manore Gavin TpT Conference

During the conference, I shared about my experience transferring Kinder Craze from Blogger to WordPress and why this could be a smart move for many other bloggers that sell on TpT.

Maria Manore Gavin TpT Conference Las Vegas

I also participated in a blogging panel with Kristin, Hadar, Emily and Megan. Empowering other teachers to turn their passions into a business is such a wonderful feeling.

Maria Manore Gavin TpT Conference Las Vegas

I had a few days to recover from all of the fun in Las Vegas, then hopped on a plane again. This time I was Atlanta-bound for the first-ever Bright Minds Summit with Astrobrights Paper. My good friends Marsha and Reagan were there as well. We spent three wonderful days crafting, learning about the company and dining our way through Atlanta.

Astro Bright Minds Summit Atlanta

We also had a photo and video shoot to prepare for the 2015 launch of Colorize Your Classroom. I was in heaven!

Maria Manore Gavin photo

After all of that excitement, I lost my mind and decided to completely redecorate my kindergarten classroom.

Kinder Craze classroom

To get me started, I drove out to the Schoolgirl Style shop to meet up with my amazing friend, Melanie and stock up on supplies.

Maria Manore Gavin and Schoolgirl Style

I spent the entire month of August camped out in my classroom working on details like this.

classroom details

One of the most exciting aspects of the summer was building new routines with my husband. He helps me so much behind the scenes at Kinder Craze and both of our blogs have become a team effort.

Maria Manore Gavin and Rob Gavin

Rob and I work well as a team and our biggest accomplishment was paying off $180,000 in student loan debt this August. We studied Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program shortly after we were engaged and we committed to following Dave’s Baby steps. My new-house savings for the past seven years went toward the debt, but it was worth it to have financial freedom. We can rent for a few years while we re-build the savings.

Maria Manore Gavin debt free

This fall, I revealed my new Vintage Circus kindergarten classroom that was designed in partnership with Melanie from Schoolgirl Style. The space is completely magical and my students love coming to school each day.

Kinder Craze vintage carnival classroom

I also made the decision to teach part time this year. After such a whirlwind of a year, I knew I needed more balance in my life. By teaching part time, I get to keep doing what I love in the classroom, and I also have the energy to share my ideas with all of you.

maria manore gavin in classroom

My home office finally started coming together. Before we were married, my bedroom and office were a shared space. I finally have a proper office with plenty of space to write, craft and shoot all of my Stitch Fix photos.

Maria Manore Gavin home office

Rob and I travelled to Mackinac Island to the Grand Hotel’s first-ever Halloween Weekend. The weather was cold and rainy, but it was a perfect excuse to explore the hotel. The trip was one of the most fun experiences we have shared since we started dating.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Crazy Together

I also had a chance to celebrate my first Christmas with my husband. We shot a few holiday photos to help celebrate (because that’s what you do when you love taking pictures).

Crazy Together Christmas

Like any Instagram addict, I participated in #2015bestnine to discover my most popular Instagram posts from 2015. It’s no surprise that people that follow me on Instagram share my same love affair with classroom decor (along with a tiny bit of excitement for my wedding). It really was an incredible 2015. If you’re on Instagram, come follow Kinder Craze and join in the fun!

Kinder Craze incredible 2015 - most popular posts on Instagram

Looking Ahead to a Great 2016

With the arrival of the new year, my eyes are focused clearly on the future. I’m sure there will be changes ahead and I would love to make Kinder Craze better than every in 2016. I’ll have a little more information on that later. For now, let’s enjoy this gorgeous Saturday.

Reflections of 2015 Linky Party

I’m linking up with the Teeny, Traci and Hadar for the Reflections of 2015 linky party. Stop by and see year-end reflections from other teacher-bloggers.

15 in 15 blog

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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