My Wonderland Birthday

My Wonderland Birthday

Happy birthday to me! I've enjoyed yet another trip around the sun, this time with two beautiful little girls alongside my handsome hubby and three doggos. My two-year-old has taught me the art of patience and I mustered up the energy to clean my craft room. It's a work in progress but now I have a dedicated product photography space to share my beautiful art, gemstones and treasures with you. This was a big step toward achieving my goal to become self-employed. Patience and an organized space are probably the best gifts I've ever given myself. I'm lucky enough to share my birthday with some extraordinary people. Most notably, Spencer's grandmother. We spent our special day together at their house in Des Moines and had dinner at Chuck's Restaurant which has been serving Italian food since 1956. Try it once and you'll see why! The portions were HUGE, the prices...Read More
Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog

Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog

Kansas City, family city. Throughout the year, kid-friendly exhibits are featured at the Crown Center Showplace, located on the first level next to the Coterie Theater, The best news? THEY'RE FREE! If you aren't local to the Kansas City area, Hallmark's Crown Center is a three-story boutique wonderland connects via skywalk to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE Aquarium, Union Station, Science City, the Westin Conference Center and more. Right now, Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog is there until September 22. Put together by the Minnesota Children's Museum with the help of Scholastic, visitors get an opportunity to explore Birdwell Island (by ferry, if you so choose) and meet its community. Help the Elizabeth family water their flower bed and fill Clifford's dog bowl. When you're doing, you can play bongos at Emily Elizabeth's backyard theater and even dress up in a costume. Explore tunnels with Cleo or make...Read More
Reila Turns Two

Reila Turns Two

I'm not one for memorizing poems, but Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote one I'll never forget: There was a little girl, Who had a little curl,Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, She was very good indeed.But when she was bad she was horrid. My Nana recited it to me when I was a little girl and now, it's my turn to share it with Reila as she enters her "terrible twos." Turn your back and she'll overcome any obstacle course you've put between her and the Paw Patrol fruit snacks, chew through hot dog packaging in the grocery cart or bellyflop on the ground. Despite her incredible vocabulary, her favorite word is "No," which she says over and over again. But all those typical two-year-old behaviors aside, watching Rei explore and navigate the world around her has been so much fun. Not to mention enjoying her...Read More
Celebrating Red Dead Redemption in Blackwater

Celebrating Red Dead Redemption in Blackwater

Welcome to Blackwater. Population: 162. Traveling across Missouri, you see signs for this historic town driving I-70. But if you ain't from around these parts, you might only recognize it as the town where the Red Dead Redemption saga currently begins and ends. Having only visited Blackwater vicariously through the outlaw John Marston, Spence and I added it to our to-do list immediately after finishing our Red Dead Redemption 2 playthrough. Since it's less than an hour and a half east of Kansas City, we decided to make a weekend trip out there. The Friends of Blackwater host a May Festival while nearby Arrow Rock has a Birds & Bees Festival on Mother's Day weekend, making it the perfect opportunity to visit. We booked an Airbnb in the historic town of Arrow Rock, which I will write about in a separate post. As you can imagine, there aren't many lodging...Read More
Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center

Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center

As we drive toward the Plaza on 71 North, Spence points out a sign for the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center. I see nothing resembling a conservation center as I look out the passenger side window, just the concrete jungle of Kansas City which makes me wonder what the discovery center is and how it can survive here. A red-eared slider turtle enjoys the Anita B. Gorman marsh Although I've tried to remember the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center on our shared days off, it's always slipped my mind. But finally, I thought of it on a Friday afternoon before making an impromptu grocery run to get oranges for our new oriole feeder. Although there were no scheduled activities for the day, Spence, the girls and I had a blast checking out the living and taxidermied animals, replicated skulls and wandering through the gardens filled with native Missouri plants. Reila...Read More
Why We Installed an Alkaline Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Why We Installed an Alkaline Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

This post contains affiliate links rewarding us a small commission with each purchase. Water is an essential part of our daily lives. We often hear we need to drink more water. Keep hydrated! Eight glasses a day! Take a water break! But how do we get the most out of the water we drink? And what if the water from the tap just isn't tasty at all? [caption id="attachment_2058" align="alignleft" width="300"] 26.5 pounds of water, 24 pieces of recyclable garbage when you're done![/caption] For years, Laurien and I used to load up on packs of water from the grocery store with each grocery run including two enormous 24-packs of bottled water jammed under the cart. We paid around four bucks for them and lugged them home (they typically weigh more than 25 pounds). The taste was decent and the convenience of having cold water ready to grab and go was...Read More
How to Use the Taurus New Moon to Your Advantage

How to Use the Taurus New Moon to Your Advantage

As the Moon begins a new cycle transitioning through Taurus, the cosmos reminds us to cut the Bull and do whatever it takes to fulfill our dreams, which is an indubitably tall order requiring us to: Quit bad habits and replace them with positive onesCut ties with negative influencesClean upGet rid of anything that no longer serves usBe straight with ourselves about where we currently stand Accept how much work lies ahead Create a clear and concise plan to accomplish it all Luckily, the Taurus New Moon is here to help. Paying attention to lunar cycles is important. In astrology, the Moon rules emotions. Its phase along paired with the zodiac sign it's transiting through shape the day for everyone. Taurus' influence on the Moon is strong, steadfast and stubborn. The Great Bull earned this reputation by knowing exactly what it wants and never settling for less. A universal lesson...Read More
April 12, 2019 Moony Musing

April 12, 2019 Moony Musing

CANCER MOON TRINE NEPTUNE Think big as the Cancer Moon trines Neptune in rulership Pisces at 5:15 AM CST. A trine is a major astrological aspect occurring when celestial bodies form a 120˚ angle from four zodiac signs apart. Thought of as a positive aspect, the trine balances the energies involved. When a planet is in its rulership, it is currently transiting through the zodiac sign it governs. All 12 signs are paired with a planet sharing similar characteristics. The planets are like actors on a cosmic stage while the zodiac signs are their life essence. In this case, dream-ruling Neptune is right at home in intuitive Pisces. Our thoughts may be out of this world thanks to the imaginative influence of Neptune in Pisces and entrepreneurs may experience a surge of innovation. Under the influence of introspective Cancer (and Jupiter Retrograde), the emotion-ruling Moon has us paying careful attention...Read More
April 11, 2019 Moony Musing

April 11, 2019 Moony Musing

MOON SEXTILE NEPTUNE Pay attention to your dreams and jot them down first thing in the morning. Dreams are the language of Neptune, the planet ruling the spiritual realm, whose energy is bolstered thanks through its current position transiting through its rulership, Pisces, as it forms a sextile with the Cancer Moon at 1:50 AM. When a planet is in its rulership, it is currently orbiting through the zodiac sign it governs. Each of the 12 zodiac signs is paired with a ruling planet with shared characteristics. Think of the planets as actors in a play while the zodiac signs represent the spirit influencing each of them. In this case, mystical Neptune rules the artistic genius Fish. A sextile is a major astrological aspect occurring when celestial bodies form a 60˚ angle, transiting two zodiac signs apart. During this aspect, the energies of Neptune and the Moon will work together...Read More
April 10, 2019 Moony Musing

April 10, 2019 Moony Musing

VENUS CONJUNCT NEPTUNE Keep a notebook handy today 'cause it's time to get inspired under the 1:14 AM CST Venus conjunct Neptune in rulership Pisces. A conjunction is a major astrological aspect occurring when celestial bodies appear side by side in the sky with 0˚ of separation. This is generally thought to be a positive aspect because the energies cooperate and meld. When a planet is in its rulership, it is transiting through the zodiac sign it governs. Each of the 12 signs is paired with a ruling planet with shared characteristics. In this case, boundary-busting Neptune is paired with the ingenious Pisces, influencing intuition and the subconscious. Working on creative projects today will be incredibly pleasurable and rewarding, thanks to Venus' influence at this time so make sure you set aside some time to make. Harness inspiration from everything that you see and let your imagination run wild. Break...Read More