Recapping 2014

2014 has been a fun year for the Paynes! The most notable things for me were traveling to Europe, starting a new job, and graduating with my masters degree. Here’s the year recap-

January brought lots of Olympic watching. A LOT. Also, my best friend got engaged!

She’s the one on the far left.

In February, we saw our first ( and only) monster truck show.


In March, we went to our first Mavericks hockey game.


We also renovated our bathroom.


In April, I accepted a job at Platte City Middle School! This was probably the biggest, scariest change of 2014 for me!

May brought mine and Travis’ Masters’ graduation! We graduated from UMKC with our Masters in curriculum and instruction.


In June, we ran the Hospital Hill Run, watched World Cup soccer, and I started coaching volleyball with the Platte County Pirates.




June and July were filled in Europe! Travis and I traveled mostly around Italy, but also Spain, Montenegro, Croatia, and France.


August brought the start of school, the official start of volleyball, and Katy Perry!



September was filled with volleyball, volleyball, and more volleyball.



Besides Halloween, in October, we ran the KC Zoo Run.


In November, we hosted our second Thanksgiving in our house.


December held the first snow day of the 2014-2015 school year. We also had a great holiday season! I saw my favorite movie of the year (Into the Woods) and finished my 30th book of the year.

2014 has been a blast! 2015 has some work to do, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one! We have a Caribbean cruise in March, a Billy Joel concert in May, and my best friend’s wedding in June to look forward to already!

Happy New Years!


Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas all! The Paynes had a wonderful Christmas, here’s our recap-

On the 23rd, we hopped in the car to head up to Maryville.




We had a yummy pot roast for dinner and I made butter cake (and Travis made pumpkin pie) for dessert. We asked for a lot of kitchen things for Christmas this year, and we received!


Travis’ parents also got us ( and Uno) a beautiful blanket. Will’s girlfriend also gave us an adorable basket with all kinds of goodies including these hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookie mixes! Such a cute gift idea!


We came home on Christmas Eve to go to the candle light service at church. Before church, I was finishing up a scarf for my grandma and completely threw my back out. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a lot of back pain! Hello heating pack.

Christmas morning, Travis and I opened gifts to each other. Travis majorly spoiled me this year! He’s the best.

First gift was a Birchbox subscription. I have wanted one for a while! It’s a service that will send 5-6 beauty product samples a month. This month, I got Not Soap, Radio body wash, Catherine Malandrino perfume, Lord & Berry sparkly eye liner, Stainiac cheek and lip tint, and my favorite Beauty Protector leave in conditioner. Hair care products are my favorite!


Travis also got me a beautiful pair of gold earrings! Jewelry is such a great go to gift! I like these because I don’t really wear dangling earrings a lot, so these are great day-to-day wear. They will get a lot of use!



I also got some meaningful and unique artwork. Even though we have been in our house for over a year, we still have a lot of wall space to fill. Travis got me a framed map of the location we were hiking when he proposed.


He also got me this unique map of Kansas City. I told him I really like using maps as decorations.


I would like to get a world map that we can pinpoint all the locations we have been next!

I also got some coffee related gifts this year. Travis’ aunt and uncle got me an awesome 10 cup coffee pot, and Travis got me a mug and a tumbler. Mugs and tumblers are my obsession, I could never have too many.




Travis also got me a cute case for my iPad.


To go along with my cooking supplies, I got 2 Ree Drummond cook books and a “small bites” cook book.


Around noon, we went over to my parents house for Christmas lunch and more presents. Travis smoked a ham (it was such a thanksgiving hit he had to do it again!) and we also made squash casserole. It was all so good! My favorite dish is always the mashed potatoes and the dessert (Platte county pie of course).

Continuing with some kitchen gifts, we got an iced tea maker from my parents and an ice cream maker from my grandma.



My iPod broke on our recent family trip to Iowa, so my parents got me a new light blue iPod nano! This will make the whole “getting back into shape New Years resolution” easier.


My mom also picked me out a sweater and some Christmas PJ pants that I will be wearing to my friends PJ pure romance party.



My grandma also got us these cute spreaders, great for the holiday entertaining.


Uno got the best present though. Check out his cute new jumper to keep him warm in the winter! My mom sewed it and it is the cutest thing!


He likes his toys and treats from the rest of the family too!


Next on our Christmas break to do list is head to the movies to see Into the Woods, The Hobbit, Annie, and Unbroken to use the AMC gift card from my brother and sister-in-law!

I am so lucky to have not only nice things during Christmas time but even nicer people! I’m beyond grateful for all my presents, friends, and family this year!

My Favorite Ornaments


Since Travis and I have a pretty high ceiling in our living room, we were able to get a very tall tree, which means room for LOTS of ornaments! Almost all of the ornaments included on this post are from Hallmark. Here are my favorites:

The Harry Potter sorting hat. This one is brand new this year. It plays the scene from Harry Potter where Harry gets stored into Gryffindor.

Michael Scott! It plays 5 of Michael’s funniest quotes.

I think Prep and Landing is one of the cutest Christmas specials! I’m hoping they come out with a new one next year!

We love our Bearcats! (Got this one at the Walmart in Maryville)

Our first Christmas ornament! We got married in 2011.

We got this one last year for our first home.

While Travis and I were poor college students, we made homemade ornaments to give out as Christmas presents. Great, cheap gift! Just need form balls, fabric, and pushpins. Plus, it’s nice having some homemade ornaments on the tree.

And for my favorite of all time, my Mickey Sorcerer’s Apprentice hat! It plays the Sorcerer’s Apprentice songs and lights up.

These are Travis’ favorites: Gandalf, Star Trek, Avatar, and a beer stein ( he has a few beer steins).

We have a number of other ornaments from Walmart and Target. We often will each pick out an ornament when we are at these places to help fill up our tree. Happy tree trimming!

Queso Enchildas

Travis and I made some delicious enchiladas tonight for dinner! Unfortunately, these enchiladas win no healthy award. But they are tasty. Here’s the recipe, I’ll start with the filling:

Travis grilled 2 chicken breasts with very spicy taco seasoning (from Trader Joes), salt, and pepper.


They turned out like this, great crust!


While he was doing that, I worked on the rest of the filling. We had some leftover velveta and rotel dip, probably around 1 1/2 to 2 cups worth for cheese dip. I mixed that with 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 of salsa. That alone made an excellent dip! Super creamy and cheesy.


Once the chicken was cooked, Travis diced it up and added it to the cheese mixture.


Next came the assembly process. I started with corn tortillas. I like corn tortillas much more than flour, but Travis likes flour better. Marriage problems! Corn tortillas break very easily, so you need to be careful when working with them. I heated mine up in the microwave with a paper towel between each of them.


Next came the enchilada sauce. We just used hy-vee store bought brand.


I dipped a tortilla in the enchilada sauce. Make sure it is completely coated.


Scoop a few tablespoons of filling in the coated tortilla.


Then, carefully wrap the tortilla. It’s a messy job making enchiladas!


Place enchiladas seam side down in the greased casserole dish. We fit 12 in ours.


Top with any leftover enchilada sauce and some shredded Mexican cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.


Yum! They went pretty fast.


What a great dinner!


And the best part? We both have leftovers for lunch, and we have some leftover filling that will make a great dip, heated up, with tortilla chips! Happy Monday!

Saturday of Indian Food and Playing with Puppies!

On Saturday, we decided to try a new Indian restaurant in Liberty called Seva. It was delicious! Travis and I really enjoy getting Indian food, we normally go to Swagat in Zona Rosa. Travis has been all about trying new restaurants, so he suggested trying Seva. We will definitely be going back!


We started with the coconut soup.


They also had really good chai tea.


They had a lot of good looking stuff on the buffet. I got the jasmine rice, naan, squash, aloo gobi, chicken tikka masala, and vegetable pakoras.


Chicken tikka masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes, but the pakoras and the aloo gobi were also really good. We also had a mango lassi.


All the above food is included in their buffet for $13.33 tax included.

After lunch, we went out to Independence mall for some Christmas shopping and puppy playing! You can’t go to Independence mall and not play with the puppies at Petland! First, we played with Travis’ choice, the Weimaraner. He had a lot of energy and really enjoyed chewing on everything!







Then we played my choice, of course the Italian greyhound! She was a cuddle bug! Just a little mini version of Uno, such a cutie pie.






No dog beats this guy though! He’s the best.



Only 2 more weeks until winter break!

Linear Equations Book

Yesterday and today, I had my algebra kids make linear equations books. I know, too much fun stuff this week in algebra…😄

We started by folding three pieces of colored paper in half and stapling them together to make books. Then, we cut tabs along the bottom, a total of 5 tabs (the tabs are: slope-intercept form, point-slope form, standard form, horizontal lines, and vertical lines). I let them decorate the covers. Here are a few of them:






On each page, we wrote the following information for each of the different forms of a line:
-the equation
-the different variables and what they stand for
-the graphing steps
-a graphing example (I gave them little graphs to cut out and glue into the books)
-what information we need to write the equation
-a writing equation example

Here are what a few of the pages looked like:





There is so much fun stuff to do with linear equations! What are some activities you have done?

Algebra 1 Paint Swatches


I had my algebra 1 students do a fun review today. Travis used paint swatches in his classroom and we had a lot of fun taking paint samples from home improvement stores. So I wanted to try to incorporate them in my room! Here is what we did:


We are working on writing equations with different given information, and one thing my students needed more practice on was writing equations of lines given two points. I also had them do other things, find two points that have a given slope, given an equation of a line find the x and y intercepts, write the equation between two points and trade. There was a lot of options! We are going to use them again when we work on standard form and point-slope form.




My students had a lot of fun picking out their colors and making these. It’s a great review tool for them to use at school and at home. And the best part is that they are still getting good review and practice, but they enjoyed this so much more than doing problems on a worksheet or out of a textbook.