Touch a Truck Event - McKinley's Perspective

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sunday afternoon was the Touch a Truck event at the Overland Park Convention Center and the boys took advantage of this annual tradition. Over the last couple of years, this has been a boys only event. I feel a little out of place when McKinley and Joel are in their element and this past weekend wasn't any different. While I hung out with the girls at brunch, the boys loaded up and headed to McKinley's favorite event. And instead of just typing this from a girls point of view, I sat down with McKinley and asked him to tell me all about the day and what he liked most as we browsed the photos Joel took. This blog post is from McKinley's perspective, and let me tell you, it's nothing short of comical!

Me: "What is it that you love most about Touch a Truck?"
McKinley (M): "There are trucks! They are big, strong, and loud." 

Me: "What's going on here?"
M: "I have no idea. I didn't know that Dada even took that picture."

M: "This is going inside Touch a Truck."

Me: "What's this?"
M: "It's a backhoe with a grabber nabber. It's was super cool, but the most disappointing thing was that it was locked at this time and I couldn't go in."
Me: "Did you get to go in later?"
M: "No, it was too long of a line. Same with the combine and fire truck." 

Me: "How did it feel to donate a toy?"
M: "Okay."
Me: "Did they say anything when you put the toy in the box?"
M: "Yes, thank you."

M: "This was van."
Me: "What kind of van?"
M: "I don't know. Just a van."
Me: "Okay, cool."

Me: "What are you doing in the back of the van?"
M: "Playing limbo." 

M: "This was the first time they've ever had a moving van!"
Me: "This was the same company Mama used when she moved from her apartment into our house."
M: "I thought it was Atlas."
Me: "No, that was when I moved with Meme and Granddaddy."
M: "Oh."

Me: "Where is this"?
M: "Inside the moving van. They had the walls lined with moving boxes and you could draw on them. I signed my name."

With incredible enthusiasm.... M: "Mama, this was a Ram 5500!!! It's the biggest I've ever seen!"
Me: "What did it do?"
M: "I'm not sure, but it had a flat bed on the back so I'm thinking some kind of construction. And the cab was just like the Snow Sisters!" 

The Snow Sisters are on home improvement show called Texas Flip and Move. It's on the DIY Channel.

 Me: "So what was this?"
M: "It's a race car, but I couldn't really see it."

Me: "What were you saying about the tire?"
M: "This was inside the race car trailer. I told Dada he should put these wheels on his car. And add a spoiler."

Me: "Holy cow, what is that?"
M: "It's a tow truck. Last years tow truck was smaller. This one was a little bit bigger. This one has an extra wheel. You can see last years truck on the other side of this one."

M: "This is the extra tire." 

Me: "Why are you trying to get inside the tire?"
M: "To see if I can fit."


Me: "What kind of truck is this?"
M: "It's a bucket truck.  You could get inside the bucket and I got in all by myself."

M: "This is an Army ambulance, but I was pretending to be Indiana Jones because he had a truck just like this." 

M: "I don't think I was supposed to do this, but I was able to get up there all by myself."

Me: Eye roll.....

Me: "Why are you under the snow plow?"
M: "The snow is plowing me up. And, I was freezing. Can you see me freezing?" 

This is him freezing.

Me: "Is that a real cow?"
M: "Yes, it was a milking truck. They showed you how to milk a cow."
Me: "How do they milk a cow?"
M: "They hook up these machines to the udders and it milks the cow."
Joel: "Tell Mama what cows eat."
Me: "What do cows eat?"
M: "Cows eat grass. But not this cow. She eats everything. Like Oreos and chips!"

M: "I told Dada that Mama doesn't want me to ever get on a motorcycle. I don't care. I'm on one today."
Me: "Yeah, this ones okay because it's not moving. But you're right, I never want you on a motorcycle!"

Me: "Is that a street sweeper?"
M: "Yes! This is the first time they've ever had a street sweeper. This is the bigger one. They also had a small one."

M: "This is the smaller one."

In my opinion, they look exactly the same....

M: "I got to get inside the Hummer and start it up! It was cool and loud!"

M: "Same thing with the Army truck. I got to go inside, start the engine, and push on the gas pedal!"

Me: "Did you have a fun time at the event?"
M: "Yes! It's cool to see big trucks that I don't get to see all the time!"

Touch a Truck was a success, as always! This is such a fun yearly event. We've been going since McKinley was five and I'm not sure the amazement will ever rub off! I mean, they're big trucks that are strong and loud! For an eight year old, what's not to love?


*This was a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed were McKinley's own. I mean, how could you ever make up those answers.... 

DIY Backyard Games - Checker Board

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I love to entertain and I love to entertain in my backyard. Summertime seems to the best time to have all of your friends over for a little food, a little beverage, and a little backyard competition. Okay, maybe not competition, but it is fun to have a few backyard games handy to help everyone mingle, especially if not everyone knows one another. 

But there are times when it's just you and your family and you want to hang out and have some family fun. That's where this DIY backyard game inspiration came from. Who remembers playing checkers as a child? Who hasn't played checkers since they were a child? I can answer me to both of those questions. And because I haven't played in years, and because we don't have a checkerboard, I decided we needed one. And I decided that I could make it! I had my next segment lined up for Better Kansas City and for our next backyard family game night.

I enlisted the help of my dad, because he's who I always call when I need help in making something! And because I was going to be using power tools, I needed a spotter. Not because I thought I would cut off my hand or anything, but because I might cut off a finger instead. Plus, I knew there would be some math involved and I needed someone to check my measurements. You know what they say, measure twice, cut once. And, I like hanging out with my dad!

I headed to Home Depot, looked at all the items I thought I might need, and took screen shots. Loaded with my information, I showed my dad just what I was thinking so when it came time to make the purchase, I was ready. Turns out, he had some amazing additional idea, which involved some pretty tricky accessories to the already power tool use, but I was game to try! (That little accessory proved to be tricky and I let him do the whole thing!)

So, what do you need in order to make your own backyard checkerboard? Check it out below! 

We used a 2X4 piece of sanded outdoor plywood for the checkerboard. You could use a 2X2, or have someone at Home Depot cut it for you, but we used the extra wood to make the discs for our checkers. You can too, just stay tuned. We divided the board in half and made the cut, or should I say, I made the cut! EEKK! I used the Ryobi handheld circular saw and let me tell you, this saw was so easy to use! And it made a smooth even cut, even on plywood. Not a single nick of any kind!

This is a hole saw that attaches to your drill like any drill bit. It's the tricky tool I was telling you about. It cuts out circular shapes from wood and that's what we used for our checker pieces. The hole in the center will allow for hand storage! Want a more solid circle? You can easily purchase wooden disks online!


All prepped and ready for paint! Make sure you use sandpaper around the edges to smooth it down. Then paint them. 

Next up, the painting process and a process it is! First, paint the entire board a solid a color. I went with cream and green, the colors of our house. I painted the base cream, applying two coats, and allowing it to dry thoroughly before adding the blue tape.

Now for the checker grid..... It looks terribly intimidating, but it's not when your dad does it! Remember that math stuff I was telling you about? Honestly, I'm terrible at math and could never have done this! Basically, you measure off 16 squares, paint them, measure off the remaining 16 squares, and paint those! Again, I applied two coats of the green, waiting for it to thoroughly dry before applying the second blue tape grid. And here's a little tip, we all know blue tape claims it doesn't bleed, but you can never be too sure. Use an eraser to press down the blue tape to secure it all around the board. When I peeled off the tape, no bleeding!

And here is the finished product! Joel and I had a little one on one time and took advantage of  our "photo shoot" for the segment by playing a little game. It all came back to us and can't wait to get McKinley involved!

So serious about his next move!

On the flip side of the board, I painted it with chalkboard paint. Now, instead of playing competitive checkers, we can play competitive Hangman, our own version of Pictionary, or McKinley can just draw while Joel and I work in the yard. I love the versatility of this DIY backyard game board!

What do you think? Is this something you would tackle or would you just go out and buy your own game? I love that I was able to work on this with my dad and I love that when I pull this out for play, I know I made it! Next up, game night party in the backyard!


*This Better Kansas City segment was sponsored by Home Depot. All products were supplied by Home Depot.
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