Can you believe there are only a few weeks left of 2014? As I reflect back on the year, only one word comes to mind: BLESSED. My 2014 has been filled with so many blessings and so much joy, I am joining the fun with Hadar from Miss Kindergarten, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, and Tracie from Dragonflies in First to share my top 14 moments of 2014.
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ONE – I Got Engaged
This list is not in chronological order. The absolute biggest moment of my year happened on April 25th when Rob (aka the love of my life) asked me to marry him! I have been so blessed to have him in my life and now we are busy planning our upcoming wedding in June of 2015!
TWO – Telling my Students about My Engagement
Once Rob and I were engaged, I immediately began brainstorming ways to share the good news with my kindergarten students. That conversation was easily one of my top-10 classroom moments of all time.
THREE – Stitch Fix Obsession
I became completely obsessed with Stitch Fix – the online styling service for women. I never have time to shop and Stitch Fix has been such a lifesaver for me. Thanks to my personal stylist, I am always well-dressed and I still have plenty of time to blog and share ideas with you! You can see all of my Stitch Fix styles here.
FOUR – Going Debt Free with Dave Ramsey
As soon as Rob and I began to plan our future together, we began to discuss much more than our upcoming wedding. Instead, our financial future became our first priority and figuring out a plan to rid ourselves of $180k in student loan debt. Needless to say, it has been quite an adventure. Rob and I began Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University home study program over the summer and completed nine weeks of lessons in about a month's time. We are so thankful for the program because it helped us devise a plan and paved the road for our financial future. You can read more about our journey out of debt here. During the time of our home study, our date nights became a bit more subdued. This scene became a regular occurrence as we learned and worked together.
Not your typical date night… #daveramsey #babysteps #marriageprep #soexcited A photo posted by Maria Manore (@kindercraze) on
FIVE – Sherlock Holmes Exhibit
Last winter, Rob and I hit the road and went to check out the traveling Sherlock Holmes exhibit at COSI in Columbus, Ohio. We are both huge fans of the Masterpiece Classic Sherlock series that runs on PBS and we couldn't let the opportunity to experience Sherlock Holmes in an interactive way pass us by. The trip was a total blast and we loved putting clues together to solve the mystery
SIX – Trip to Boston
I actually took several trips this past year. My second big trip of the year was a road trip to Boston with my new fiancé, Rob. We headed out east to visit a friend of Rob's from college. It was great to be in such an amazing city, but the highlight of my trip was definitely meeting Kristen from A Day in First Grade. Kristen and I have been internet friends for some time and it was great to finally meet her in real life!
SEVEN – I realized I was a #Girlboss
After seeing all of my favorite IG friends (outside of the teacher world) sharing photos of their new favorite read, #GIRLBOSS, I knew I had to check it out. I listened to the audiobook in my car over the summer and I was immediately entranced. Listening to Sophia Amoruso's store unfold while I drove through town was such a revelation. The book was such an inspiring read and so motivating for any female entrepreneur. I highly recommend it!
EIGHT – Viva Las Vegas
I went to Vegas this summer for SDE's national I Teach K conference and the first-ever Teachers Pay Teachers seller conference. I learned so much while I was in Vegas, but the best part was having an opportunity to meet so many amazing blogging friends at one time. The trip was an absolute whirlwind but oh-so-amazing. While I was in Vegas, I also had a chance to meet Paul Edelman, the founder of TpT. I was so happy to grab a quick photo with him in between all the big events of the trip.
NINE – BlogHer Conference
Right after the big TpT Vegas extravaganza, I headed back out west with Rob to attend BlogHer in San Jose. I'm sure you have already figured out how much I love Kinder Craze. Blogging has brought so much joy into my life and I am always looking for ways to help Kinder Craze work better for YOU. BlogHer was the perfect mix of business and pleasure and it was wonderful to have my future hubby as my sidekick for the trip. He has officially been brought on board behind the scenes of Kinder Craze and he spent his days in San Jose attending conference sessions too. We made new friends, heard some really wonderful keynote presentations, and had a blast at the closing party!
Day 2 at BlogHer with my love. Learning so much! #blogher14 #bloggergirl #selfiebration #kindercraze #crazytogether A photo posted by Maria Manore (@kindercraze) on
TEN – Launching Crazy Together
Right after I began my summer vacation in June, I decided to take a giant leap forward and start a personal blog. The enthusiastic response of my fans to learning the details about my engagement and upcoming wedding was bewildering to me. Rob and I had spoken extensively about what we were comfortable sharing about our journey and we decided to start Crazy Together, a lifestyle blog about our experiences through wedding preparation and everyday life. It took several months to lay the groundwork and complete my vision of how I wanted the new blog to look and feel, but it has been an amazing ride in the few short months since Crazy Together first launched. It has also been wonderful to work side-by-side with Rob and share my blogging passion with someone I love so much.
ELEVEN – Kinder Craze Makeover
Crazy Together wasn't my only blog endeavor this year. Kinder Craze also got a HUGE upgrade. I migrated from Blogger to WordPress, purchased a new blog domain (kindercraze.com instead of the former kindercrazeblog.com), and dropped the hyphen from Kinder Craze. I also worked extensively with a designer to create a new look for Kinder Craze that would coordinate with my sister site, Crazy Together. It has been quite a journey for my beloved teaching blog, but I couldn't possibly be more thrilled or proud of where the blog stands today. Just in case you forgot the old look of Kinder Craze, here's a little flashback…
TWELVE – Michigan Catholic Feature
I was so blessed to be featured on the front page of The Michigan Catholic magazine during their back to school issue this fall. I teach kindergarten at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the magazine wrote a HUGE feature article about my the success of Kinder Craze and my role as a classroom teacher. It was one of those amazing moments that serves as a reminder for how truly blessed I am.
THIRTEEN – Meeting Ben Folds
True story: Rob and I ventured out to see the symphony twice in one week. Both experiences were amazing, but the second concert was extra special because Ben Folds performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The concert itself left me in awe (Ben is so talented), but the very best part happened after the concert when Rob and I actually met Ben Folds.
A photo posted by Maria Manore (@kindercraze) on
FOURTEEN – Family
Number fourteen isn't exactly an event, it's more of a general sentiment. FAMILY. Rob and I have so much to look forward to and share with our family. With weddings and babies on the way, there is SO much to be thankful for. I love each and every one of these people so much and cannot wait to share the joys of 2015 with all of them!