Line Creek Trail

Lately, Travis and I have been obsessed withy walking on the Line Creek Trail. It’s only a few miles from our house and it is absolutely gorgeous! Since Travis is still in school, I have had a few days of summer single. Today, I took a 90 minute walk on the trail. Travis makes fun of me when I stop to take pictures, so I took this opportunity to snap a few.

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So beautiful! Here’s my life update. I finished my last days at Benton High School and officially drove away for my last time as a St. Joseph School District employee. I will miss the wonderful staff and students I have had the pleasure of working with the past three years.

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Travis and I graduated with our Masters! UMKC has a wonderfully short ceremony.

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I have also accepted a job coaching the C Team volleyball at Platte City High School. I had my first practice with the girls yesterday. I’m very excited to get involved more within my new district and the girls have been really fantastic so far. I can tell it is going to be a fun season!

We also dog sat for my parents this past week. Brazil is a sweet, but old greyhound, who is afraid of lawn mowers and thunderstorms. We had A LOT of both last weekend. The weather was either perfect ( lawn mowers) or downpour (thunderstorms). She also wears doggie diapers and one night managed to take her diaper off downstairs and pee upstairs. She also woke us up every two-three hours by panting right in our ears. Even Uno was feeling sleep deprived. Needless to say, I like my sleep and am NOT ready for children yet!

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Time to cuddle up and start working on my summer reading list. I’m currently working on What Alice Forget and have Reconstructing Amelia, I Was Told There’d be Cake, Winter’s Tale, and The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure waiting for me! Of course, it’s done best with my favorite snuggle bug!

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Maze Craze

So I went to Maze Craze tonight. With 7 other adults. It was awesome.

At first I was hesitant. The last time I went laser tagging, I was in 7th grade. I was by far the worst player. I only hit one person and was hit 45 times. I sucked. I was not too excited about trying tonight.

We started out with a yummy dinner at Stone Canyon for our friend Sean’s birthday. It’s always great to get together with college friends. Travis and I split a fuzzy’s favorite (pepperoni, green and red peppers, and mozzarella cheese).

Once we got to Maze Craze, we started in the mirror maze. I’d never been through one before, only seen them on TV. Then, we did the ninja laser beams. Definitely NOT Travis’ forte. He gave up and just walked through the laser beams.

Then we made our way to the laser tag room. Nobody wanted to be on my team. Blue team = me, Travis, Sean, and Rachel. Green team = Ashley, Sam, Jess, and Michael. One of the rules was no running. I broke that rule. A lot. Guess what? BLUE TEAM WINS! Guess what else? I WAS THE NUMBER ONE PLAYER! That’s right, worst to first.

Then we played boys vs girls. Stuff got real. All the couples that were in our group are married, so there was an extra need to win. I got a floor burn on my arm, my shoes fell off, and I landed on my knee funny. Guess what? GIRLS WON! I was forth this time. Top half! Plus, I got my work out in for the night. We bought 45 minutes of time, and it seemed to be the perfect amount.

Unfortunately, mine and Travis’ evening was cut short due to the fact that I thought I lost my phone. Luckily, I left it on the charger at home. It was probably a good time for us to leave anyway because I needed to steam my graduation gown for tomorrow. That’s right, tomorrow I become a master teacher! Yeah, right.

Happy birthday Sean! Hope you had a great one!

My Great Day

I had an awesome day today! I thought I would share with you all.

1. I interviewed this morning for the c-team volleyball coach at Platte County High School and got it! Pretty excited about being coach Payne again.

2. I got to judge the chopped competition at school today. I normally stay away from student-made food, but they asked me to fill in last minute. It was the dessert round. Their secret ingredients were rice crispies, powdered sugar, and coconut. All of the teams did really good. I ended up picking a peanut butter ball coated in coconut. It was really neat to see the kids in a different classroom.

3. It was the seniors’ last day. I’m going to miss them a bunch, but I’m so proud of them for finishing high school! They have accomplished so much and I know they are very excited and ready to get out.

4. I had a student say some of the sweetest things today. This particular student has had a rough life and my heart goes out to him. He told me he appreciated how much I care and believe in him, even when he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. It almost brought me to tears. It’s the reason I do what I do!

5. I got to catch up with some old friends! I got together for a happy hour with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while! It’s always great seeing friends.

6. Travis made pancakes for dinner. Even though he forgot the chocolate chips, it was still spot on.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom out there! I’m so lucky to have such a caring mother who, even in my adulthood, would bend over backwards to help me. She has showed me what unconditional love looks like. I hope that I can be as great of a mother one day.

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I am also lucky to have two wonderful grandmas! My grandma Wylie lives in Iowa and it was always a highlight of my summer to go up to grandmas for the week and play baseball in the front yard and make/decorate sugar cookies.

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And of course, my grandma Sandy is a grandma as spunky as they come! I spent every Saturday night at her house, doing everything from making forts out of boxes and blankets to jumping from couch to couch not touching the floor to eating the tastiest foods! I’m so grateful to have a grandma that has been so active in my life!

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In honor of Mother’s Day, my parents and grandma came over to our house for a BBQ. I made mac and cheese, Travis made hamburgers and hotdogs, and we also had grapes, potato chips, and iced tea. My mom made baked beans and dessert (brownies and fried ice cream) and my grandma made potato salad. Yum!! Here’s the easiest mac and cheese recipe ever:

Pour 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of noodles into a pan. Bring milk to a simmer (not a boil). Cook until noodles are done, it took mine about 10 minutes. Also, you must stir frequently! Milks burns, water doesn’t.

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Do not drain the milk! That’s the beauty of this recipe, cook the pasta in the same liquid used to make the sauce.

Optional: I stirred in 2 tablespoons of butter at this time. Since I used skim milk to cook the noodles, I wanted to add a little fat for taste. If you used 2% or whole milk, I probably wouldn’t do this.

Then, stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.

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Next, pour into a greased baking dish and top with more cheddar cheese and bread crumbs.

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I made this in the afternoon and refrigerated it until dinner time. I baked it at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. My mom likes the crispy edges on casseroles, so I waited until it was nice and golden before taking out.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

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Teacher Appreciation Day at the Kansas City Zoo

Travis and I had a great day at the zoo for Teacher Appreciation Day! With ID, teachers got in free (allowed to bring up to 3 people with you). The last time we were at the zoo was after the Zoo Run I did in October. Flash back:

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We had a great time, but my legs were so tired that I couldn’t walk around as much as I would have liked. So, when one of my co-workers told me about Teacher Appreciation Day, we decided if the weather was nice, we would go! And the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a day at the zoo! We also ran into a friend from grad school classes, some of my co-workers, and one of our friends who works at the zoo. We got there just after the zoo opened at 9:30 and headed for the brand new penguin enclosure. Penguins might be my favorite zoo animal and the Kansas City Zoo has a really nice enclosure for viewing penguins, lots of different perspectives. We watched them for quite sometime.

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Then we saw the elephants, Travis’ favorite.

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We decided to head to the back of the zoo to avoid the morning crowds, so we walked back to Africa. The cheetah was right up next to the glass, stalking all the little children…Seriously, it had no interest in adults only kids.

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Next was the warthog. I started singing The Loin King, and Travis pretended to not know me.

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Any place with water had turtles out sunning. So many turtles!

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Next we walked across the suspension bridge to monkey island.

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Monkeys!

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I enjoyed these birds hairdos.

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Vultures! Such big, scary birds

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Big turtles, my brother’s favorite

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Giraffes! Unfortunately they are seen best from the sky ride and we didn’t want to pay to do that, so we just admired from afar.

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Behind the giraffes, you can see the Zebras. They were even farther away.

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Crocodiles. This one looked ready for lunch.

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Hippo. They looked and sounded pretty funny when they would come out of the water and shake their ears (much like Uno).

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Peacocks. Right before I took this picture, the peacock had its tail up and fluffed.

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They have places were you can overlook some of the old enclosures. Its sorta creepy.

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After we got through Africa, we decided to have lunch. I got my usual concession stand favorite, nachos!

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Polar Bears! It was around noon, so many of the animals were starting their afternoon naps in the shade, much like my hubby is right now…

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Orangutan

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More monkeys

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Tiger!

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Its hard to see, but the kangaroos don’t have a fence around their area. There was a kangaroo right behind the trees only a few steps away from us.

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Guess what day it is?! Travis started to call me a middle schooler. Just practicing for my future job!

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Llama

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Sea Lions

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More good hairdos! These two monkeys started to fight right after I took the picture.

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More monkeys! These monkeys started to do some very adult things about 3 minutes after I took this picture. Decided not to take a picture of that…

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Thanks KC Zoo! We had a great day! Looking forward to coming back soon. Now on to an weekend of writing our LAST graduate paper! Almost done!

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Sorry your eyes are closed Travis! Maybe you will start taking my selfies more seriously.