A New Kind of Date Night

Friday, January 17, 2020

When you have busy kids, you have busy weeknight lives. And if you're lucky, you can take your spouse with you to the evening activity and spend it on the new kind of date night we've adopted! Date nights are hard to come by. We are lucky, because McKinley loves to spend at least one night a weekend with my parents, but not everyone has that opportunity. It can be weeks or months before you get a date night, so if possible, maybe you can adopt our new trick!

McKinley has a weekly drawing class that's an hour long, so that's an hour we can spend together. And what do most parents do with free evenings these day? Binge watch their favorite shows on any streaming network they have subscribed to. We may not be binge watching, but we are taking advantage of being able to watch one hour a week of our favorites shows we can't watch on the DVR. As of late, it's Almost Family on FOX. Have you watched? We love it!

So, in addition to watching one of our recorded shows on HULU, we're dining al fresco. Okay not really. We're dining in the comfort of our front seat of the car! But hey, this is the new kind of date night and we're making the most of it. And, we're saving money. That's the big thing. Imagine eating out every Thursday night? That's roughly $20 a week. And it would be fast food. And that's more weight gain. So, made at home dinners it is! 

I also have to be mindful of the meals for Thursday. Soup, spaghetti, or tacos wouldn't really work. I need something that's not going to drip all over the places. We've done French bread pizza, sausage and potatoes, and last night it was quiche. And I've been using the plastic containers we keep from lunch meat, but I wanted something a little "classier" for date night. So, I rummaged around in my mom's cabinets and "borrowed" her Tupperware she's had since the 70s (just look at the colors), and a couple of Pampered Chef measuring bowls with lids, which make for the cutest way to transport our dinner and making it feel like an upscale picnic! Oh, and the darling Tupperware cups I found at an estate sale this summer were the perfect way to store muffins! I also use them daily for McKinley's lunch. This is also my way of changing my carbon footprint by not using nearly as much plastic!

So here's what took place. I made the quiche earlier in the morning, so I had plenty of time to pack everything up. With his class starting at 6:15, he eats in the car, so I start packing dinner for the whole family around 5:15. (And his dinner consisted of a hotdog and sides. He doesn't eat quiche!) If I had waited to make the quiche at 4:00, I would have been strapped for time. I waited to the bake the muffins in the afternoon, and while they baked, I prepped the fruit bowls. Everything was coming together. I heated up the quiche a piece at a time, added it to the Tupperware bowls, packed up all the food, and we headed out the door! 

Check it out!

What I do need is a chic way to transport the food. My J.Crew bag, though super compact, took a beating when a fork poked through on the way home! 

Two cold parents chillin' in the car! We ate, chatted a little, watched our show (which always creates a conversation), and then picked up our kiddo in the classroom at 7:15!

Other ways we're dating these days is watching The Bachelor on a sleepover night while keeping the funds in check by staying home. We made the conscience decision to keep going out for dinner to a minimum this calendar year. Maybe once a month and trying a new local place to support our KC entrepreneurs! And, we are thinking ahead to summer and a couple of out of town family weekends. 

What are you doing for fun date nights? Are you staying in as well? Going out? Let's talk about all of the ways we can date in this new age and keeping that dating spark alive!


I Knew This Day Would Come....

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Before we knew we were having a boy, I worried about dressing a boy. Boys clothes lacked a lot to be desired. Everything came with dogs and bears or cartoon characters and silly sayings. I wanted polo shirts and cute shorts. Jeans and button downs. Sweaters and cords. Basically, the same type of clothes grown men like my husband and dad wore. I mean, girls clothes came in darling tulle dresses, sequin heart tops, or ruffled skirts by the rackful. But when I finally found the right stores to shop in for McKinley, like Boden and Janie & Jack, he's been dressed in style since birth! 

I knew this day would come, I just wasn't sure when. The day that McKinley would announce that he wanted to pick out his own clothes. The horror! I've been dressing him single handedly since day one! And I think I've done a pretty decent job thus far! There have been days, weekends mostly, that he picks out something to wear, but it's generally for days he's playing outside, headed to Emerald City to play, climb, and jump, just not on a daily school day basis. And all I can say is, thank goodness his wardrobe is somewhat fool proof for this leap into styling himself. However, this is what happened when he picked out his look for last year's school carnival....

The day happened to be last Thursday when he woke up in a bad mood, was getting himself dressed, and was "forced" to wear a button down shirt. A button down shirt he picked out at H&M over the summer that is covered in tiny construction equipment. I styled it with jeans and a cute navy and yellow vest. And tennis shoes, of course. But the button down shirt was the issue and he stated that he was tired of dressing up everyday for school! I asked him what exactly about the outfit made it so dressy and exclaimed that it was the button down. So we made a compromise. Instead of the casual vest I had picked to go over the shirt, we settled on a red "sweatshirt" half zip pullover that gave the appearance of being "dressed down". In all honestly, the pullover was dressier than the vest, but I went with it. And I played along when he told me he was going to pick out his clothes going forward.

As we drove to school that day, I told him that it was fine that he picked out his clothes, but I needed to have a little say, like that it matched. "It has to match?", he basically yelled from the backseat, and I'm pretty sure you could hear my eyes roll as he said it. "Yes it has to match", I said. "This is a non-negotiable"! He huffed! I explained to him that he has a certain style, a style that everyone associates with him, and I'm not willing to really budge on that. School is a place, like church, that we must show respect, and he is going to dress respectfully. It's his job for now, and he is going to dress like he's going to work! I wasn't allowed to dress down for school. I always looked cute and put together. And maybe that's expected of girls, but I also feel it should be expected of boys. Women and men. I have a very strong opinion on how I think people should dress!! Very strong! 

I went on to say that if he wanted to pick out his clothes for school, this must be done every night before bed. We don't have the luxury of spending time putting his "look" together in the mornings. We barely have time for the things we have to do to get out the door. His response, "Well, I'm not going to pick them out everyday......" Did you hear my eyes roll again? So, Thursday evening, he started the process. "Mama, what jeans should I wear? Mama, where is my Mahomes jersey? Mama, what shirt should I wear under the jersey?" Good thing he's picking out his clothes! Satisfied with the contents, he went on to the rest of the evenings bedtime routine. Here is the final look! His outfit, his pose, his most prized position. 

Sunday night, not a word was said about putting his outfit together. Guess who did it? And, when he got dressed this morning, guess who put that look together? And not a word has been said by Mr. Fashionisto himself. He's gotten dressed, eaten his breakfast, and complained about other things like not getting to eat something unhealthy for healthy morning snack. I'm surprised my eyes are still in their socket! Here's Mr. Sunshine himself this morning! 

The new Mini Boden catalog came the other day and he picked out all the items he liked best. And can you believe they are all the same types of things that exist in his wardrobe today? Cute tees with embroidered animals doing hilarious things, sweatshirts with sharks swimming in pools and half sized lobsters, sweaters with cute strips, and so on. All of the things that make him look too dressy on a daily basis. You see, the thing is, I allow him to pick out his clothes. He picks them out of the Boden catalog, off the Carter's website, from the H&M kids section in the store. It's that I layer them with button downs to keep him warm in the winter, long sleeved tees under short sleeves for the same reason, or turtlenecks under sweaters and sweatshirts for layering when he removes one during the day. He just sees them as dressy. I see them as completing a super cute look! A look that is definitely one of a kind.

I know that one day, all of this will come to an end. I know that cute Boden appliqued shirts will be replaced with something else. I'm hopeful, it's still polo style shirts, button downs with v-neck sweaters, and khaki shorts in the summer. And yes, things will still need to match. I just hope my eyes are still in their sockets!

McKinley's wardrobe in review. Stylish young man. 

At what age did your child(ren) start picking out their own daily clothes? From most of my girl mom friends, I've been told since about Kindergarten. Not sure about boy moms. But this boy mom is hopeful it will last a while!


KC Weekend Fun - Kansas City Boat & Sportshow

Monday, January 6, 2020

It's the first full Monday after the holiday/winter break, and I don't know about you, but I was ready to get back to a routine. I love being home with everyone, but it's so nice to get back to normalcy! And even though he would never admit, I'm pretty sure McKinley was ready to get back to school himself!

But now that we have all this "time on our hands", what are we going to do with it? Well, I have a list of all the things I want to accomplish this week, so that  when the weekend rolls around, I feel like I've earned a weekend of play! And when I say play, I mean it! Here's what I've got on my radar and you should to!

The Kansas City Boat and Sportshow is back and it's loaded with all the fun! This annual event is held at Bartel Hall and starts on Thursday January 9th and runs through Sunday January 12th. Check out the times below! 

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2-9 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 10, Noon-9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

And here's what they have in store!

  • New! Paddle Sports Pool, where attendees can get their feet wet checking out demos and testing a new Hobie or Jackson Kayak. Seminars and open paddle times will be posted on-site.
  • New! Career Day, where students and job seekers can get career advice and hear about job openings from marine business professionals on Friday, Jan. 10.
  • New! The Show Me Stage, where attendees can hear from fishing experts and watch fishing and casting demonstrations.
  • Back by Popular Demand! Fred’s Shed, offering do-it-yourself enthusiasts and boat owners the chance to hear professional, practical advice on maintaining, repairing and upgrading your boat or motor.
  • Boats & Brews, featuring live music, craft beer tastings and more on Friday, Jan. 10 from 5-9 p.m. Tickets will be available online.
  • The Hawg Trough, a 5,000-gallon, fully stocked fishing demo tank with seminars from pro anglers – a chance to see firsthand how fish react to various rods and bait.
  • KC Food Truck Mafia, serving up tasty, unique fare inside of Bartle Hall during the show from a variety of local food trucks.
  • Willow Creek Trout Pond, where little ones can practice their angling skills for free, reeling in live trout.

I know that I am personally interested in the Paddle Sports Pool and watching McKinley at the Willow Creek Trout Pond! He's really taken to fishing when we vacation at my parents river house, so this will give him some practice before he head back down this spring. And he loves a good food truck, as do I!

To plan ahead, tickets are $12 for adults, and children under 12 are free. However, because you are followers of This Kansas City Mama, I've got a deal for you! Use this discount code to get a buy one get one ticket discount. Use code "BOATGO6" at checkout! And, if you really want to take advantage of a deal, head over to my This Kansas City Mama Facebook page to enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets!!

For additional information, head here! This page will give you all the details you need to plan your weekend and day of fun at the Kansas City Boat and Sportshow!


Holiday Bucket List Update

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

We are a little over a week away from Christmas and we have been doing all the things!! Baking cookies, shopping, counting down, and playing in this winter wonderland snow, although I'm not a huge fan of the white stuff! I guess it makes it a picturesque Christmas, right?

And we've been busy tackling the bucket list! Since we last chatted, we have checked another four items off the list! And each one was just as fun at the last! Here's what we've been up to this week.

We baked gingerbread cookies last week and boxed a few up for our next door neighbor. Sadly, it appears she's out of town and we weren't able to leave them. We will attempt again after the holidays. But, don't you worry, we boxed up sugar cookie cutouts that we made yesterday to give to his tennis coaches tonight. Still giving the baked homemade goods, even if it isn't to our favorite neighbor!

Speaking of gingerbread, McKinley decorated his gingerbread house last week. I've been trying to make after school fun, since it's been pretty stressful trying to wrap up testing and all the comes with the end of second quarter. He came up with all the ideas, but needed a little help in the icing department. Those piping bags can be tricky!

Over the weekend, the three of us headed to the Johnson County Museum to check out the vintage Christmas trees inside the Mid-Century Modern home they have on display. I've never gone through the museum and enjoyed it so much! It's a history of how Johnson County was established and lots of landmarks that used to be a part of our small city. So many memories too! If you are a child of Overland Park, then you definitely need to check it out! And if you love anything MCM like myself, you definitely need to check out the trees before they're gone!

Yesterday was a snow day which meant boredom and the need to play in the snow. But before all of that took place, McKinley and I settled in for a bit and watched the original Miracle on 34th Street. He was antsy at times, but he really did watch, and at the end was chatting up a storm about how real Santa Claus is! So glad he understood and was able to answer some of the questions I threw at him at the end. We also watched the old Frosty the Snowman cartoon while making cookies. Two classics in one day! 

This weekend is packed with all the other things we love to do and I can't wait to share them with you!

Here is a look at our vintage aluminum tree! I love it so much!

Hope you're enjoying the season!


DIY Felt Ornaments

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Since McKinley is going to work on these after school today, I felt it was the perfect time to post this fun holiday DIY! I am a big fan of giving homemade gifts to family and friends and I make sure that McKinley gives one every year. This year, it's felt ornaments. But they don't have to be just an ornament. They make super cute gift tags on wrapped presents, a tag on your hostess gift bottle of wine, or a darling name tag at your holiday table. And they are so easy to make!

Here's what you'll need:

Felt, fabric glue, cookie cutters, a black Sharpie, fabric scissors, string, and any small craft adornments. I decided against the glue gun, but if you use on, make sure your little ones fingers are out of the way! It's hot!!

First, pick the perfect cookie cutter for your stencil. I chose a tree, snowman, sweater, bell, mitten, and stocking. 

Fold your felt in half so you only make one cut. You will want to double up your ornament to keep it from being see-through and to make it a little more sturdy. 

Next up, glue. You will want fabric glue for this project. You could use school glue, but the fabric glue is a little stronger. And it dries clear. Put a thin outline of glue around the edge of the ornament and make sure to glue the Sharpie side to the inside of your ornament. Once together, you can trim an excess you have.

 Originally, I punched a hole at the top of the ornament to string the hanger, but after the first one, I ditched this method and went with simply gluing the string inside the ornament before sealing it closed. It worked much better. The hole punch is still an option.

Now you are ready to start decorating! Use anything and everything small and cute that you can get your hands on! I shopped my mom's craft room and found tons of little mini things to use. Check out the craft stores miniature sections. That's where we got a lot of these things last year.

Here is the loot! I am in love with the sweater, but they are all so darling! 

And here's how they look on the tree, gift, and wine bottle!

The options for creating are endless AND, you don't have to use this idea for just Christmas! Think about Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween! So cute, right? 

Happy Crafting!

Holiday Bucket List 2019

Monday, December 9, 2019

So, here we are on December 9th, with roughly two and half weeks until Christmas, and I'm just now sharing my Holiday Bucket List for this season. Guess what people, life is crazy right now, and I am just glad I got the list created!

I love this one! I tried to come up with some new things to do this year, but as always, there's the same fun traditions we do every year! That's why they're traditions, right? Check out this years Holiday Bucket List!!

We have been able to check two items off the list so far. We've already hit up Crown Center and McKinley got his first dose of play under the Mayor's Christmas Tree. He loves this tradition! We took him on his second Christmas, at night to look at the lights, but it wasn't until he was two that he got to play! Now in addition to playing, we take in a little ice skating at the Ice Terrace, but on this day, we ran out of time. I'm sure we will be back!

This year we had a first. We took McKinley to see The Kansas City Ballet's The Nutcracker at Kauffman Center and it was a gorgeous production!! I was a dancer growing up, and The Nutcracker was my first ballet production at age five. It is such a magical show and McKinley loved watching the larger than live tree grow! Definitely something everyone should see once in their lives. We are planning to see his sweet friend in "Clara's Dream", the Miller Marley production, later in the month. And as always, we are taking in the Coterie's production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in a couple of weeks. I am a huge supporter of theater arts!!

We have our reservations for the Holiday Train at Union Station in a couple of weeks as well. This is such a fun, free, family event!! Tickets, which again are free, go on "sale" to the public starting December 13th. It helps reserve your time to visit the train and you can get a pic with Santa too! The trains rolls into town on December 18th and will be on display until December 21st. Get all the info, and more about the Holidays at Union Station, here.

One of my favorite things to do is bake sweet treats for our sweet neighbors! Our next door neighbor does that same thing! She bakes up cookies and brings McKinley an ornament every year. It's so kind! And he remembers every year when placing them on the tree! I also bake breads for hostesses so they have something to wake up to the next day and not feel like they have to make breakfast after entertaining the night before. I shop for darling trays and cookie tins to make the gifts extra special! And while your baking, you should add sugar cookies to the list! We love to add frosting and gobs of sprinkles to ours!

After school today, McKinley is planning to decorate the Gingerbread house I assembled yesterday. I'm not even going to pretend that he helped! But he loves to decorate it and I've been collecting sprinkles, cookie gel for "glue", holiday candies and more, to make it as festive as he desires!

Have you ever been to the light display at Deanna Rose? It's so spectacular that we could see some of the lights from my parents house! (They happen to live less than five minutes from the farmstead!) Take a blanket to wrap up in, a Thermos of hot cocoa, and tune that radio dial for a festive display! Also, if you haven't seen the one at the research lab on 103rd and Metcalf, you need to go! Just park in the church parking lot across the street, and take in the dazzling display! These are staples during our light night!!

New to the list this year is the Johnson County Museum's Vintage Tree display! I saw a friend post about it last week and immediately added it to the list! If you haven't been to this museum, it's a must! It's all about the history if Overland Park and there's a fun Kidscape play area! Get a yearly membership while your there. You'll definitely go back! Check it out here

Lastly, I plan to introduce McKinley to some old fashioned Christmas movies and I plan to start with White Christmas!! Find a classic that everyone will love and put it in your rotation this year. I have tons that he needs to see! What is your  favorite?

That about covers it for this year! Are you going to play along? And if so, what is the first thing you plan to tackle? Let's check in next week on our progress!

I love the holidays!

electric toothbrush