Here we go… a non exclusive list of 13 things I discovered, enjoyed, or reunited with in 2013.
1. Kid President
“I think we all need a pep talk…” I’m convinced YouTube was created to watch that video, over & over. At a time when, as a first year teacher, I DID need a pep talk, KP came through. Also worth watching: teachers, moms & “20 things we should all say more often.” My kids at school love him. But not as much as me. The other morning David and I marathoned almost all of these videos on the Chromecast. It was a great way to bring in the new year.
2. The color yellow
Your 20s are kind of when you grow into yourself, I think. Or maybe that takes your whole life–I wouldn’t know, cause I’m still in my 20s. I used to think my favorite color was purple. Then for a brief minute I thought red, then that deep purple/pink color. Nope. It’s yellow–the color of sunshine and summer (which is my favorite season). More mustard, less neon. I don’t like to wear it, but it’s all over our house and my desk and it makes me very happy.
In high school I read YA fiction and historical fiction. In college I read almost solely for information–textbooks for school and Christian non fiction in my free time. I am pretty sure the memoir will always be my favorite but this year was the year of the real, grown up novel. My favorites have been: Run (Ann Patchett), The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd), Where’d You Go Bernadette? (Maria Semple), and Me Before You (JoJo Meyers). My favorite kid novels I read this year were Mysterious Benedict Society, Wonder, and When You Reach Me.
4. Pants that aren’t jeans
I thought, “Oh, I’ll be one of those cute skirts and dresses kind of teachers. I love skirts and dresses!” And I do love skirts and dresses. But I had no idea how much floor-sitting and shoe-tying this elementary school teacher gig entailed. Dress pants (the cropped type with a little stretch, not the kind with a crease) are my friend. I just ordered some of these in red (they were on sale, not sure what happened).
5. Roasted vegetables
I didn’t think I liked cooked vegetables, only raw. But that’s cause the only kind of cooked vegetables I’d ever had were the steamed-until-mushy variety. Oven on 450, vegetables tossed with olive oil and sea salt, roast until starting to brown (tossing once or twice)… y-u-m. David and I will stand around a pan and eat all the roasted okra before it even hits our plates. Broccoli and brussel sprouts are excellent this way too.
6. My iPhone calendar
I know I’m late to this party. I hung onto the paper planner for a very long time. And I finally gave it up–not out of desire but out of desperation. I didn’t ever know if it was at school or home and it was just stressful. My phone was always with me so I decided I’d put things in my phone and wait out a real solution. Turned out the phone was the solution. Thanks, Mr. Jobs.
7. My mother the wedding planner
In 2013 we got married. I’d heard planning a wedding was stressful. And it was. But it was far, far less so thanks to my mom, who had everything organized to a T while remaining incredibly flexible and laid back. I’m so thankful for how hard she worked to make our lives simpler in that season.
8. Kroger Co.
Thanks to our Kroger card and digital coupons we saved over $650 there this year. Let’s not talk about how much we spent. :) But seriously… good produce, fair prices, and the happy birthday song over the intercom? Cheap gas? 50 fuel points for prescriptions? We’re believers.
I didn’t understand the attraction. Until my roommate last year bought this candle (seasonal so it’s sold out, booo). And it took away any kitchen smells (bacon, anyone?) in a matter of minutes. While looking pretty. Now we burn scented candles pretty often and eat by (unscented) candlelight most nights. Even when the table is junky and the food is simple it makes things feel a little fancy.
10. Making bread
Bread machine bread is good. Dutch oven bread (although more time consuming) is fantastic. And you get this feeling of having accomplished something just short of monumental.
11. Real cheese
I used to make homemade pizza with the shredded bagged mozzarella and Pillsbury pizza dough. Then… then… we bought real mozzarella. And real Parmesan cheese for risottos/breads/soups/etc. It’s more expensive but so worth it. So now we buy almost exclusively “real” cheese, we just buy it a bit less often and shop sales.
I’m not a huge TV person, but I love this show. I cry in almost every episode. And no wonder–when I looked it up the other day, I found out the same guy did it who did Friday Night Lights. For me TV/movies/books/life is all about the character development… and this show nails it. The first four seasons are on Netflix, the last one on Hulu. I wouldn’t recommend it for/with kids though.
13. Dry shampoo
It works–oh, how it works. I wash my hair once a week (sorry, Internet) and then around Day Three I spray a little dry shampoo on the roots and brush it through. I continue that routine every day until I wash it again. Saves my time and my hair from all the blow drying I used to do. (I’ve tried probably seven brands; Suave & Not Your Mothers are the two best, in my opinion. In case you can’t tell, I could probably write an entire post on this topic alone.)
Honorable mentions: Chess, homemade pizza, The West Wing, Blink mascara (it peels off your eyelashes), our Dutch oven, washi tape, and printing out photos to actually hold in our hands.