Christmas Decorating 2014

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Payne household! First, I’ll start with a quick recap on our thanksgiving. We had both families over for Thanksgiving this year, in total 12 people. It was my parents, Travis’ parents, Travis’ aunt and uncle, Travis’ brother and girlfriend, my grandma, my aunt Betty, Travis, and myself.

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It’s fun to host family gatherings! Luckily, we didn’t have to do all the cooking. We made mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and Travis’ smoked ham. Travis’ aunt and uncle stayed with us over thanksgiving week and Susan made the turkey, stuffing, green beans, and squash casserole. My mom made desserts, Platte county pie and pumpkin cheesecake. My grandma made THE BEST cranberry sauce and assorted snacks. Travis’ mom brought fruit and chex mix. Betty brought some veggies. We had tons of food! And it all was so good!

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I went on a really beautiful run this morning, and while I was out, Travis got out the Christmas stuff!

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Here is what we have so far:

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Mantel decorations

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DIY banner, very easy to make!

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Salt and pepper shakers

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Charlie Brown band that plays Christmas carols

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Jazzy Santa!

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Lights! Travis is going to put up more in the near future.

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And of course, the tree!

I’ll keep you all updated on decorations we put up! I would also like to do a post on my favorite tree ornaments.

Uno has been such a big help… His bed normally sits where the tree goes, so he’s not happy about it moving.

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Happy tree trimming!

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Three Bean Pasta Salad

I wanted to make something a little different for lunch this week since we only have two days of school, so I decided to try three bean pasta salad. I think it’s super tasty!

It starts with 6 oz of pasta. I used wheels that I had leftover, but shells or penne would also be good.

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Good the pasta according to the directions. About halfway through the pasta being cooked, add 1/2 pound (or 1/2 the bag) of frozen green beans.

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While that’s going on, rinse off one can of pinto beans and one can of garbanzo beans.

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Next, mix together 2 tablespoons Italian dressing, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil in a medium to large mixing bowl.

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Add the rinsed beans to the dressing mixture. Once the pasta and green beans are cooked, rinse them with cold water and add them to the beans and dressing. Mix all together.

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This is a very pretty salad if I do say so myself! The green really pops. And it’s tasty. It will most likely only keep in the frig for a few days since it is a dressed salad. Travis is not a fan of cold beans, so I get to eat the whole thing!

I try to get as much prepped for the week on Sunday nights including lunch making and outfit picking out. Having this salad made is going to make Monday and Tuesday morning so much easier.

Enjoy your short Thanksgiving week!

Arm Knitting

So, my new craft of choice would have to be arm knitting. I get on knitting or crocheting kicks every once and a while, so I was excited to see arm knitting on Pinterest. The best part about it is you don’t need hooks or needles, just your arms!

Here’s the tutorial I watched to learn how to arm knit

The lady in this tutorial doubles the yarn and uses two skeins at once. I just used one. If you are only going to use one like me, the yarn needs to be really thick. Also, I have only ever needed 1 skein for a whole scarf, but some skeins are smaller than others, so you might need two.

Here are my creations thus far:

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I think the gray one is my favorite so far.

This yellow one was the first one I made. Since I was still experimenting with it, I made it really long. So, it can be double or triple looped.

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I bought some blue yarn like the yellow above and am going to try doubling it like the video does. They only take 30-45 minutes to make, much quicker than a traditionally knitted scarf!

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—–UPDATE—–

I knitted a scarf using two colors and it turned out really well!

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I like that it’s a little thicker, but not as wide. I decided to make this one long enough to double up too. I going to have too many scarfs before too long. I need to start giving some way… Christmas presents for everyone!

Friendsgiving

Since one of my best friends is in town this weekend, we decided to have a friendsgiving! We went to Stroud’s for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cinnamon rolls. Yum!

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I have the best date!

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I started watching the show Scandal this morning and I’m hooked! I’ll finish season one today and I’ll probably get through seasons two and three over Thanksgiving break. Travis and I just got Netflix. I’m glad we waited to get it because we have been spending all our time in front of the tv!

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Our basement is so cold, so I’m not sure Uno loves spending time down here.

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Happy weekend before Thanksgiving!

Christmas on the River 2014

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Tonight, we went to Parkville’s annual Christmas on the River. I know, it was a little too early for me, but it’s tradition! They normally have Christmas on the River the fist weekend on December.

We went out to Stone Canyon pizza for dinner first.

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After dinner, we walked around some of the antique stores in Parkville. I’m not a fan of antique stores, but Travis and my mom enjoy them.

After that we went to the main stage and listened to the “1000 voice choir”. All the schools in the Park Hill School District send their choir to sing Christmas carols at Christmas on the River to create a 1000 voice choir.

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It’s hard to sing over the trains…

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We had a great time hanging out and listening to the choir!

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I arm knitted my scarf! I’ll be posting soon about my new favorite craft of arm knitting.

Since it was a bit warmer than normal (probably the reason they had it in November), it was packed!

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The line to see Santa.

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The best part of Christmas on the River is the fireworks!

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Parkville really is the best town!

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On the way out, my mom wanted a picture with her old house.

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Such a great tradition. I have been going to Christmas on the River since I can remember. I even sang in that 1000 voice choir a few times!

Travis and I also found Christmas music on the radio on the way home! 94.9, thank you!

Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever

I can never eat the canned cinnamon rolls the same way. I saw a recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try. Seriously, this turned canned cinnamon rolls into the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had (it rivals corner cafe’s cinnamon roll). Here’s the recipe:

1 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 can of cinnamon rolls (I used the Pillsbury Cinnabon rolls with cream cheese icing, 8 rolls).

Mix together melted butter and brown sugar. Spread in bottom of baking dish. I used a circle cake pan because I like when the cinnamon rolls cook together and need to be pulled apart, but you could use a square or rectangle baking dish too. Sprinkle pecans over that. Then place the cinnamon rolls face down in the butter mixture.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Once they are brown on top, take out of oven and flip onto a serving plate. (Another advantage of using a circle cake pan – a normal plate is big enough) Next, I took the icing that come with the cinnamon rolls (mine was cream cheese flavored) and drizzle it over the top! I needed to put my icing in the microwave for 10 seconds to be able to drizzle. No need to let the rolls cool! Dive in!

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Gooey and perfect! Yum! Kansas City is expecting our first snow fall today, so these are perfect for a snowy day in. Travis has already requested these for Thanksgiving morning.

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Today is definitely going to be a great day to read and watch football.

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After breakfast, I decided to go on a walk before the snow came. For some reason, I really like walking in cold weather (shhh, don’t tell my mom). It’s so peaceful. I decided to take some pictures on my morning walk. My neighborhood really is beautiful. Uno didn’t get to come on this one, it’s a little too cold for a dog win only 3% body fat. He got to stay cuddled up by his space heater.

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My perfect house!

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This is the prettiest road during the fall. Lots of trees lining the road.

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The first snow pellets!

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Happy late Veterans Day! We really should celebrate our veterans more than just one day a year.

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Happy first snow Kansas City!

Week Night Date Night

Now that volleyball season, cross country season, and fall parent teacher conferences are over, Travis and I have decided to have more week night date nights. There are a few reasons for this. First, things are normally cheaper during the week (movies, food specials, etc.) Second, it breaks the routine and keeps us more spontaneous and exciting. And third, places are just so packed on the weekends.

Last night, we saw Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey. Travis has been very excited about this movie and it lived up to the expectation. It was a fantastic thriller! Really made you think about a lot of different things. My only complaint – it’s long, really long, three hours long. DON’T get the large Icee like me.

I let Travis pick the dinner location and he picked Culver’s. Week night date nights don’t have to be a fancy and/or expensive place.

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He’s the best! It might sound small, but a few things that helps us distinguish between a “date night” and a “I don’t want to cook so let’s go to Culver’s night” are 1) date nights are planned and 2) you dress up for date night. Since Travis and I had planned a date night, it gave us both something to look forward to during the day. Also, the first thing I do when I get home is change into my sweatpants, so putting on my nicer clothes makes the occasion feel more special. Regardless of how long a couple has been together, it’s important to try to look nice for each other.

I’m hoping to make week night date night a weekly occurrence! Any good ideas for fun things do to during the week?