Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just call me Martha Stewart: DIY Rustic Christmas Stocking

I have been officially sewing since January, and by officially, I mean that I have sewn a Pebbles costume for Kassidy for Halloween, two taggies for two very well-deserving little babies, and finally — Kassidy's Christmas stocking!

I won't even tell you that every time I approach a new sewing project, I usually have to sew at least one, sometimes two, practice projects first. Okay, I guess I will tell you. Because it's too funny not to.

Just ask Kassidy how her first Pebbles costume fit. Because, well, it didn't.

And Brady forced it over her head anyway. Poor baby. We had to literally cut her out of it. And limit her food intake in the process.

Nevertheless, as soon as Kassidy was born last July, I knew that I wanted to make her Christmas stocking, because I am a snob when it comes to Christmas decorations. And because I can never find exactly what I am wanting. And it's stupid to spend $50 on a stocking that I am not 100% in love with.

Too bad I was too hormonal and inept last Christmas to get her stocking made in time, but this year, I had no excuses. After thinking about making it since the first of this year, I finally sat down to make it about a month ago, and after only screwing up the first weekend of work, I quickly found my groove and produced this.

Not too shabby, huh?

So that you don't give me more credit than I deserve, I bought the burlap stocking with jingle bells at a discounted price from Old Bryan Marketplace last Christmas, so I did not have to make the actual stocking. But I did sew the patches, cuff, insert and add all the bling, so for that, you can give me credit.

In case any of you are curious how this beginner actually pulled this off, here's the step-by-step process.

First, I traced, cut and sewed the stocking insert. I used a khaki-colored fabric.

Then, I traced, cut and sewed the patches for my stocking using a red and white plaid fabric.

I used a red rose-patterned fabric to make my cuff.

Which I then hand sewed onto my stocking insert.

I used green embroidery thread to attach my patches to my burlap stocking.

Once my patches were on, and my stocking insert was stuffed into my stocking, I made a bow out of green velvet ribbon and sewed it to the edge of the cuff, adding a metal K button with some hot glue.

I also added conchos because I like conchos.

And then I hung Kassidy's stocking on the mantle with her Mommy's and Daddy's stockings (that were not sewn by me).

See how well they coordinate?

Just remember. If I can do this, anyone can. Anyone.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A vintage Christmas

I know that all of you who normally receive my awesome Christmas cards in the mail are heartbroken this year, but in order to make sure I stay on budget even through the holidays, I am sharing my card electronically with all of my Internet-savvy friends and family.

Next year, things will return to normal. Promise.

Why, you ask? Because starting in January, I will be returning to what I love best — as Marketing and Communications Director with the City of Bryan.

I'm very excited about this opportunity and cannot wait to return to what I am meant to do with my life.

Teaching has been an awesome experience, and I will miss my kiddos, especially the ones that say that dardnest things, but communications and marketing is where I belong.

So until next year, you'll just have to enjoy my Christmas card via my blog.

And look forward to snail mail in 2013.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sophomores say the dardnest things

I've heard plenty of crazy comments from my kiddos over the past 12 weeks, so I've tried to remember a few of my favorites just for you.

These actual conversations with 15 year olds should make you smile. And hope that you never have a 15 year old.

Makeup leads to babies

At a home football game a few weeks back, I had the wonderful opportunity to hang out with some of my kids from class. They are all obsessed with Kassidy, and I had promised them during the day that I would make sure they got to hold her at the game. Fast forward to game time, in which one of my male students decides that Kassidy is the cutest baby he's ever seen. As I'm responding to comments about how pretty her eyes are, I happen to say that when she's a teenager, she shouldn't need to wear a lot of mascara because her eyelashes are so long.

And then my favorite male student, while holding Kassidy, looks right at me, directly in the eyes, and says:

"Makeup leads to gawking, gawking leads to kissing, and kissing leads to more babies, and we can't have any of that."

And then he adds that he wants to have a baby right then and there so his baby can date my baby.

And then I take my baby back from him and go home.

Smuggling children

Another one of my favorite Pre-AP students is begging me in class one morning to bring Kassidy to class one day so they can all play with her.

Me: "I wish I could guys, but then you would get nothing done all day."

Student: "Oh come on, Mrs. K. Bring your daughter to school one day so we can play with her. I can get her in. I'm Mexican."

Me: "What does being Mexican have to do with this conversation?"

It starts with a V

And my all-time favorite conversation took place with a student who always comes into my class and announces that he neglected to take his ADHD medication for the day. He does this a lot, so I finally ask him why he never takes his medicine.

Me: "What type of medication are you on anyway?"

Student (with a serious, thoughtful look on his face): "It starts with a V. I think it's called Vagisil?"

Me (laughing): "Sorry, son, but you're not on Vagisil."

And, what's really sad is that he never realized why I was laughing so hard.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The life of a first-year teacher

Yes, I'm alive. Promise. But in transitioning to the new job, I have realized that every day, I am more and more behind. And every day, I better get my butt moving so that I can mold the youth of America the following day.

So, I'm a little over two weeks into teaching, and I must admit that my experiences have been pretty dang interesting.

I never understood why teachers wore those lovely lanyards around their necks. I mean, they're not really a must-have accessory. But, on Day 2, after a certain teacher — ummm, Mrs. K — locked herself out of her own classroom, I quickly decided that lanyards were not only fashionable, but functional.

And, it only took less than two weeks for me to get my first poem from a student. Granted, he had gotten into trouble with the rest of the class, and he wanted me to know he was sorry and that he really liked my class, but it was a sweet poem nonetheless. And he made sure to close it with "Please don't hang this up." Ah, kids.

You wouldn't believe what gets a classroom of 15-year-olds going either. I mean, we can be reading a cuss word in Of Mice and Men, and then they can't stop laughing.

Or, during my awesome denotation/connotation lesson where we discussed word connotations and their more negative counterparts, you would think I gave each student a new car because they were allowed to use the word "slutty" compared to "promiscuous" or "druggie" compared to "substance abuser." Hey, whatever makes them remember a concept, right?

And yesterday my kids had a nice laugh when I came to school without a voice. And I still haven't gotten it back either. But I couldn't help but smile when one of them said, "Mrs. K, isn't that ironic that you lost your voice?"

"Why, yes. Yes, it is."

And then he told me my hair looked beautiful.

And then reality slapped me in the face again, and I got back to telling my kids to sit down and be quiet and work on their group activity.

All without a voice.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Matching lunch boxes would be so darn cute

As of today, the opportunity to walk into school together with my husband carrying matching lunch boxes increases exponentially.

What, you say? Oh, yes. It's true.

After seven years with Texas A&M, I am leaving. Leaving to teach a bunch of 16-year-olds in Franklin. I am about to become a sophomore English teacher, which means I am going to change the world one grammatical error at a time. Or at least try.

And I am going to make sure my students know that it's okay to begin a sentence with the word "and." And that you don't have to stick with the five-paragraph rule when writing. And I plan to post a lot (not alot) of English-related cartoons and funnies around my room. Who says you can't make learning fun?

Gosh. My poor future students have no idea how much I love my red ink. And I just bought a whole new box of red pens to get me through the year. I hope it lasts.

And Brady and I will get to carpool to school together. And eat lunch together (if we choose). Drop off and pick up Kassidy together. Heck, even work out together.

Let's hope this professional career change doesn't make my marriage end in divorce.

Or matching lunchboxes. Because that would just be ridiculous. Or would it?

And even though I've already posted my awesome good-bye video to Facebook, I actually still have some extra awesome friends (you know who you are) who starred in my awesome good-bye video that don't have Facebook accounts, so this is for you guys. I smile every time I watch it. And laugh. A lot (not alot).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

12 Months with Kassidy

This time last year, I went from being a very large woman without a baby to a still semi-large woman with a baby. Oh, and a tornado. Yes, the night I had Kassidy a little twister visited our ranch.

But on to more important things. My baby is one! And the blanket she is sitting on in her 12-month picture was made by my mom just for Kassidy. It is made of some of my old dresses from when I was a baby. Pause for "ahhhs" now.

And she is such a little toot. Literally, on the day of her birthday, she decided to not only say her first word, but add three more to her vocabulary. And what I count as her first word is exact repetition of what Mommy or Daddy says and being able to identify with that word, because if I counted any babbling from my child, she would have been "talking" at two months.

So, she now continues to pull bows out of her hair and say "bow," grab a book off her shelf and say "book," finally refer to Massey as "puppy," throw a ball to Massey and say "ball," point out any duck and say "duck," and say "boo" when she hides behind a blanket and tries to scare you. Tries is the key word here. And over the last few days, she's learned "cat" for our kitties.

So, we have a talker on our hands. And a dancer. And a diver.

Yes, a diver. She's still not quite walking on her own yet. She can stand by herself and has been able to take up to about eight steps to get from one piece of furniture to the next all on her own, but she still looks like a little wobbly drunk. And she's learned that if she tries to walk from Mommy to Daddy that she can dive head first and we will catch her. So, walking is apparently a game to her. A very fun game that involves lots of diving and lots of happy screaming.

In less than a week, Drew Kennedy will be at our place for BFE, and Kassidy is beyond excited to show him her moves. She loves dancing to his music, and I'm thinking she is going to try to "help" him play guitar. I think he will be impressed. As long as she doesn't try to eat his guitar.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kassidy Reese | 1 Year Photo Shoot

So I know I'm behind in posting pictures and updates on a lot of things, but here's some pictures of Miss Kassidy on her first birthday to tide you all over. I took these this past weekend in Franklin early in the morning. And my child was starving, so this was about all I could capture before we had to call it quits and head to the Burger Bar for breakfast.

And just for the record, I tried my hardest to keep some dang shoes on this child's feet, but she's a country girl, and she prefers to go barefoot.

Now in addition to Baby Walking Boot Camp, we are having Baby Shoe-Wearing Boot Camp.

I have learned a very important lesson for my next kid. Put shoes on them when they don't have the motor skills or attitude to take them off.

I can only blame myself on this one.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

11 Months with Kassidy

The first birthday countdown has already begun. Oh my. Kassidy plans to eat a lot of sweets, play in water, play in sand, play with tissue paper, bags and boxes, and hang out with her buddies. Then she plans to pass out from all the excitement. It should be a good day.

Over the last month, Kassidy has really become the little talker. She always talked a lot to me, but now she really talks a lot. This is where I give the tube surgery credit. Less than 24 hours after the surgery she was babbling and repeating almost every sound we made. And following directions so well. And this has now been the longest we have gone without an ear infection since January.

We taught her to "bawk" like a chicken, "moo" like a cow, and I'm pretty sure she will ask for her "baba" when I tell her I'm going to make it. She says "mama" and "dada" like crazy and definitely knows who we are. We're working on getting her to say "Massey" instead of just letting out an excited shriek when Massey walks into the room. But she likes to shriek so this may be harder than it sounds. A few times she's called her bananas "nana." And then I put in the short Minion movies and let her watch the one about bananas. It's pretty funny.

Brady started Baby Walking Boot Camp once he was out for the summer, and I have to admit, it's actually working. Kassidy likes to walk behind her walker and crash it into Daddy's walker. Destructive, I know. She can actually keep pace now and doesn't just want to fall on her butt first thing to crawl around.

She eats everything! As in, this girl is going to be an expensive date one day. Why? Because she loves her Daddy's steak. Even though the little stinker eats supper before us most nights, she will beg for whatever is on my plate. Usually I have a cute little baby and a cute little puppy staring at me with little sad eyes wanting my supper. So I have to feed them. All while Brady is eating his supper in peace. When I asked him how that happened, he explained to me that my first mistake was actually feeding them. I need to put a sign on both of them that specifically states, "Do not feed the baby and the puppy." I have also been bitten on occasion.

She is obsessed with The Wiggles. O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. Being the awesome parents that we are, Brady and I will break out into random song throughout the day, and Kassidy gets so excited, she bounces up and down, clinches her fist and raises her arms into the air. We think she's thinking, "Oh my goodness. The Wiggles are in my living room!"

We have all watched the tape so much that Brady and I find ourselves humming Wiggle songs while we are getting ready for work, hanging out on the back porch, or cooking supper. You get the idea. We are always embarrassed when we realize this and try to put on some Reckless or Radney to get those dang songs out of our head.

Oh, and I cannot forget to mention that Kassidy has officially gone swimming in her muddy pond. And she loves it. Bring on BFE. My little girl is ready. And she actually leaves her sunglasses on outside too.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to build an awesome sandbox for your kid

It's been on the Kujawskis to-do list for a few months now, but Brady and I have finally gotten around to building Kassidy's sandbox. And I have to admit that it is pretty awesome.

We built it under a large shade tree in what will eventually become our backyard. The entire project took just a few weekends, and we were able to reuse a lot of materials we already had, so it made for a fairly inexpensive project. Total cost was around $65, and the majority of that was the two yards of sand Brady picked up in Franklin. We made it 8' X 8', so Kassidy can share it with plenty of her friends.

She has already shared it with Massey and the kitties. Apparently this is now the coolest place to hang out at the Lazy K. Followed closely by our pond.

Step 1: Pick a spot for your sandbox and till up the ground

Step 2: Use rebar to secure your landscape timbers in the ground

Step 3: Leave about four inches of rebar to secure the top landscape timbers

Step 4: Remove timbers and stain (I used Minwax red mahogany)

Step 5: Cut ends so corners align and place back on rebar

Step 6: Repeat until all eight timbers have been cut, stained and placed on the rebar

Step 7: Consult with the project manager to make sure she approves of the progress

Step 8: Make sure the project manager inspects the sandbox before the final steps

Step 9: Lay down and secure landscape fabric to help control weeds (Brady and I finished staining all the timbers and applied a thick coat of polyurethane in between steps 8 and 9 to add a glossy finish)

Step 10: Make sure the project manager is on sight to oversee operations

Step 11: Add the two yards of sand and spread evenly (Brady and I also caulked in between the two timbers so sand wouldn't escape)

Step 12: All done! Now go find some toys and a baby

The project manager enjoying her cool new sandbox

When she gets excited, she does this. Don't ask

Kassidy's new sandbox with the pond behind her. A very spoiled little girl