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
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
Glow: The Magic of Nature 2018

Glow: The Magic of Nature 2018

Looking for a fun, family-friendly Halloween event to get you out, into that crisp, autumn air – sans jump scares and screaming? Take a trip to Powell Gardens for Glow: The Magic of Nature.  For two nights every fall, the gardens turn into a one-mile walk lit by jack o' lanterns and other artfully carved pumpkins – all thanks to local volunteers. Admission is $12 per adult (unless you're a member), $10 for seniors and $5 for children between the ages of 5 and 12. This includes access to activities like decorating your own bag for trick-or-treating and crafting a magic wand hosted inside a giant, centrally located tent complete with a DJ, bar and surrounding food trucks. Hayrides were also available for an additional $5 fee. Upon entering the gardens, you'll find yourself in the Grand Hall – a Harry Potter inspired hangout for warlocks, witches, and wizards alike complete with owls...Read More
Dinosaurs Revealed at Union Station

Dinosaurs Revealed at Union Station

It's been eight years since Union Station hosted a dinosaur exhibit, so when a tyrannosaurus rex showed up on Main Street announcing the arrival of Dinosaurs Revealed, I was not going to miss it. We love dinosaurs. They roamed the Earth millions of years ago when the landscape was totally different than what we see today. Some were way bigger than elephants. The carnivorous ones would've really enjoyed eating us but since they're extinct now, they're not very scary. Dinosaurs force us to use our imagination and hypothesize about the past, which I think creates fun mental exercises for people of all ages. This exhibit also gave us a chance to marvel at the wonders of modern technology thanks to its sophisticated, interactive animatronics. Growing up with movies like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins and Alien while enjoying scares from award-winning haunted houses like Kansas City's own The Beast and The Edge of Hell, I've witnessed firsthand the absolute...Read More
National Aquarium – Baltimore

National Aquarium – Baltimore

Patience is one of the many gifts of parenting. Although Spence and I have overnighted the 21-hour drive from Massachusetts to Missouri several times before, only making pit stops when we needed gas, we knew it wasn't an option with a six-month-old in tow. So we brainstormed activities to break up the drive and when Spence suggested going to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, I knew it was going to be a blast. Reila was only a month old when she made her first trip to the Kansas City Zoo. Since then, we've taken her quite a few times because she loves watching the animals and with our Friends of the Zoo membership we get in for free. The penguins were a fast favorite for Rei. Specifically, she loves the back section of their exhibit at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza where the lights dim and you're transported into the depths of...Read More
Two Days on a Train

Two Days on a Train

I've only visited Massachusetts a handful of times since moving to Missouri, either by plane or car. But I wanted Rei to meet everyone, especially my Nana (her great, great grandmother), so we decided to visit once she turned six months old. Of course, that meant March, a month notorious for Nor'easters.   [caption id="attachment_558" align="alignleft" width="248"] Reila loved riding the train with Monkah![/caption] For around $300, Spence and I could get from Kansas City to Providence, Rhode Island with three layovers, which I looked at as opportunities to stretch our legs. We are incredibly fortunate to live only a few minutes away from Union Station and have family nearby who are willing to dog/house sit. I only bought the tickets a month in advance, so I'm sure some extra planning could lead to more savings. But it surprised me the cost of two train tickets was so much cheaper...Read More