A Little Gardener

Friday, July 29, 2016

My great grandfather Earnest Newton Tedder, was married to my great grandmother Bessie Pauline Tedder. They lived among the mountains on a farm in Southwest Virginia with their five children, the oldest being my maternal grandmother, Helen Pauline (Tedder) Fleenor. He started share cropping in 1934 and continued until he bought his first house/land in 1959. He was 56 and my great grandmother was 50. They bought the house, and 86 acres, for $6,000. It was a beautiful farm where I spent weekends and summers in my youth. 


Papaw, as I called him, was also a tobacco farmer, growing tobacco with this help of his son, well into his 90s. He had two different tobacco allotments, meaning he planted on someone else's land when they didn't want plant their own. He would share some of the money with them as well. In addition to all of that, he was also a dairy farmer for nearly 20 years and my Mamaw, as I called her, would churn and make butter to keep and sell. A hard working couple who never stopped to smell the proverbial roses, but lived a happy and healthy life among the farm they worked so hard during their early years to obtain. 

And they grew the largest vegetable garden one has ever seen. In land below the road of their home, Papaw turned up the earth with horse and plow. He had 20 or more rows of corn. He put out brown and green beans, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and beets. And he had bushels of potatoes. My parents put out their last garden, on the same land with the help of Papaw, before they moved to Kansas that Christmas. He kept all their harvest in a dairy that was built into the side of a mountain. It kept everything dry and free of moisture so they wouldn't spoil. 

You could say that farming is on our blood, but it wasn't really until after my son was born that I wanted to start planting our own garden. I never really paid attention to the food I was eating, or what was actually going into my body, as far as pesticides and other chemicals. As a mother, I changed my focus and began giving McKinley organic milk when he was ready. I started eating chicken that was free of antibiotics. I started cooking and baking with organic eggs. And I occasionally purchased organic vegetables, but they are so expensive. So, I put out a garden. We started with two raised bed gardens at the side of our house. My husband and dad dug up the evergreen growth that had been planted before we ever moved in, something I loathed looking at every year, and prepared the ground for harvest. That spring we planted various lettuces, tomato plants, carrots, and radishes. The only thing plentiful was the lettuces and tomatoes, but I was happy with the lot. I had such a since of accomplishment. I wanted to go bigger.

The next summer, my dad helped me plot out a larger garden along the fence row of our backyard. We planted green beans, corn, and cucumbers and the harvest was amazing! I was hooked. McKinley was three the first year we started gardening. He helped water that year and nothing else. The following summer, he helped pick cucumbers and green beans. He watered with us in the evening and I would point out all the new buds or vegetables that were popping up from the earth. I wanted him to know that what we put into the earth, how we take of the earth, is how we keep a healthy and clean earth. I wanted to instill in him the farmer spirit that is his ancestry. That he came from successful farmers and there is a pride in putting out a garden, tending to it, and reaping the benefits of hard work.



We put out our garden again this year, but with all the rain, it was flooded for most of the spring. We still have growth, but nothing like last year. We've benefited from arugula and salad lettuce. We had enough radishes for a summer salad. And currently, our green beans are starting to sprout. Our corn is small, so probably something more for the critters around us than for our plates, and we lost our entire cucumber crop. We replanted a couple of weeks ago, within the raised bed and larger garden, and McKinley was the first to help. He raked the gardens to rid the soil of the previous crop. He helped create the rows within the beds for planting, and then placed seeds within each row. Same for the large garden. He helped water, with the use of his own watering can, and proudly showed his dada everything we planted when he got home from work. I love watching him. I love that he's interested in helping with the garden. That he's proud of his efforts. And, that he wants to see what's coming up after several weeks of planting. And eventually, I'm hoping he will actually eat what comes out of our garden. Vegetables are way more fun to grow than eat.

Bessie Pauline Tedder passed away at the age of 89 and Earnest Newton Tedder passed away at the age of 98. I am so thankful that I was able to spend time with these amazing people well into my adult life. I'm so very proud to be the great granddaughter of Earnest and Bessie Tedder. And I want McKinley to know that being the great great grandson, of such important people in my life, is something he should be proud of as well. That you work hard for the things you want in life. That taking care of our earth, they way Mamaw and Papaw did, helps keep it plentiful for generations to come. And I hope he tells his children about planting a garden with his Mama and that he was proud to be a little gardener. 


Give Me Five Minutes.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I feel like I utter these four words a thousand times a day. What is it about children and the need to be needed the minute you start doing something. My child, god love him, is one of those kids. He can be playing independently, and the phone rings which I answer, and then he's pulling at my shirt tail asking questions and wanting to show me something. Just last night, we finished up dinner, I called my mom, attempted to put laundry away, and he's playing hide and go seek behind my closet door and snickering while repeating "Mama" over and over and over. I leave the room, and he's following me down the stairs. I look at him, get down on his level and say "McKinley, give me five minutes." He doesn't.

Then, to make matters worse, I'm on the phone last night listening in on a team conference call. I realize I don't "work" in a conventional work environment. In fact, I work from home, so I'm not exactly invisible like my husband when he leaves for work every morning. So when I'm sitting at my desk, in my "office", it looks like I'm just hanging out in another room at home. Joel had taken McKinley on a tractor ride around the block, they then went outside to put our tags on the car, and when they come inside, Joel says "Don't bother Mama, she's on a call." Joel no sooner leaves the room and McKinley starts bouncing around my desk, sliding on the carpet like he's sliding into home plate, and flying an airplane around the room and making the sounds to go with it. With this being the handful of times I've asked to "give me five minutes", I completely lose my cool. I slam my hand down on the desk, repeat that I'm on the phone (under my breath in fear I'm not actually on mute), and then leave the room, stomping up the stairs like a 14 year old teenager. Was it effective? I think so. He was silent for the rest of the call.

So why is it, at times, we have to raise our voice or lose our cool, to get our point across to our children? Why is it that they have to be your shadow the minute you start to do something that doesn't involve them? I honestly don't have the answers to those questions, but I can try to figure out ways to get my child to give me those precious five minutes. And why do we need those five minutes? Do all moms need them or is it just me? 

When we decide to become a "stay at home mom", are we expected to never find ourselves faced with a bad day at the end of the day? Because we signed up for this job, it comes with the territory, and we need to embrace the good and the bad? Am I bad mama because I don't embrace the good and the bad day in and day out? When I see my parents physically sigh when I scold McKinley, or roll their eyes when I snap at him too quickly, I immediately feel guilty that I shouldn't be parenting this way. How would they have done things differently? Was their parenting style so much better than mine? What would you as a parent do differently? (Again, no judgment, just banter.)

Have I mentioned that McKinley, like myself, is an only child? I try not to be his only entertainment, and I encourage independent play daily, but at the same time it's hard to entertain yourself all day everyday. I know this first hand. I was raised by a mom who didn't play. She was hands on, but didn't physically get down and play daily. She too encouraged independent play, and I did, but at McKinley's age I was also in full-time daycare. Unlike me, he doesn't have that extra child(ren) to keep him distracted. So when the phone rings and I answer, there isn't that playmate to distract him. To him, my being on the phone is time taken away from him, which I guess can be an only child mentality. That we have to be the focus at all times. Maybe it's just a child's way of testing their boundaries? Are we really going to discipline while on the phone or after the call has ended? Am I going to enforce that "give me five minutes" long after my work is complete? Believe me, I do! However, it doesn't seem to sink in, even after the disciplinary actions are over. Maybe only time will tell.

In the case of last night, I finished my call, sternly explained to McKinley exactly why I was so upset, and then told him that I love him to the moon and back. We hugged and kissed it out, but dada took him to bed so that I could continue my five minutes. I painted my nails, drank some wine, watched The Men Tell All, and blogged about my feelings. And tomorrow, I'm sure I will ask for those five minutes at least five more times, and that's okay. Because I do need those five minutes and so does he!


Perfect Sweet Tea and the Adult Arnold Palmer

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sweet Tea is often referred to as the House Wine of the South. And it's so true. When we head back to East Tennessee, you never have to asked for sweet tea. You have to inform the wait staff that you want un-sweetened tea. And I love that sweet tea is making it's way to the Midwest. You still have to ask for it, but it's becoming easier to find. So happy!

My mom and I make sweet tea every time we make tea, however my dad is not a fan. My husband never touches it. That just means there's more of us! So when we started our week at the river, we kicked it off with making sweet tea for the week. But, I happened to take a bottle of Citrus Vodka on the trip. I had big plans for this special bottle. I knew there would be a time during the trip that I would be in need for a Mama Drink! What's a Mama Drink you might ask? Sometime it's something from Starbucks. Other times, it's a little bit of alcohol. At home, I find that I drink beer and wine, but I've been experimenting with mixed drinks. 

I mentioned on my previous blog, Style My Way, that I am not a typical cocktail drinker. In fact, I don't drink cocktails at all. Unless they come with a ton of fruit and an umbrella. And around this time last year, I started playing around with various forms of alcohol to make, and find, the best mixed drink for me. And I will bring you those recipes as they unfold.

But let's start with the Adult Arnold Palmer. You first have to start with the perfect sweet tea. This recipe comes from my cousin Kenneth. And it's good! Place six individual tea bags, or three family size, in a kettle with a cup of sugar. Add six cups of cold water to that and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Add six cups of cold water to a pitcher, remove the steeped tea bags, and add the tea to the cold water. Add ice and stir. 

And if that wasn't easy enough, the Arnold Palmer versions is simplistic! You fill glasses with ice, how cute are these ball jar glasses, and pour in some tea, leaving room for the vodka. Add a jigger, or cap full in our case (or more to taste) and stir. I added lemon slices for garnish and prettiness. And, they add just another hint of lemon to your drink. And that's it!! Sip and repeat!

A great place to sip tea is on the porch and that's where I sipped it several times during the week. How great does it look on my rusted out bar cart?! I can't wait to get to work on this guy. He's going to be a labor of love. I will definitely share all the progress along the way.

Let me know if you decided to try both recipes and let me know your thoughts? I love sharing tips and tricks! 


A Week Away....

Monday, July 25, 2016

My parents have a house in southern Missiouri, in a tiny town called Tecumseh. They live a mile and a half off a paved road and are surrounded by 15 acres of gorgeous landscape. It's tree filled, private, and the escape we all needed for a week away. However, it's so remote for us that we don't have internet, U-Verse cable, and I used all of my roaming data within the first three days. We use bug spray as our daily perfume, watch McKinley play on the rock bed that flanks the river, run into town (a 20 minute drive) to shop Dollar General and get groceries, play scratchers when in need of a little entertainment, and are usually in bed by 9:30. I'm usually itching to head back to civilization by day three, but this week was different. I was definitely ready to head home by Sunday, but it was a nice change of pace after all the running we've done this summer. And, it was just the vacation we needed before the inevitable school year starts. 

I am what you would call a "city girl", so when we talk about heading to river, I start thinking about the things I'll miss while away. You know, things like Target, my television, the ability to get in my car and run to get the things I need. None of this is possible at the river. A week away sounded like fun, but a little daunting at the same time. I knew McKinley would love every minute, but I was a little apprehensive. Like I mentioned above, there is no internet at their house, so you can't just hop online to see what's happening in the world. And when your world is run by things like social media, it makes it a little tricky to try and stay relevant. Even for a week. I lost my roaming data on Thursday and wasn't able to check Facebook, post to Instagram, or check email. I definitely had FOMO! Or so I thought. More on that later.

 I am also a girl who likes fancy vacations. Beach houses, nice hotels in fun cities, and action packed days exploring new places are all things I love to do when on vacation. River life is not what I would call fancy. At least our version of river life. Before you even think of heading outside, you coat yourself in Family Off or Avon's Skin-So-Soft to repel the large amount of bugs that bite. You take a walking stick out in the yard to ensure you could stab a snake if you had to. (I'm not about to, but my dad will.) And you sit on the deck at the end of the day and listen to the confused rooster who crows in the evening, watch humming birds dart around the feeder, and listen to nature buzz around as they go about their business in the woods. And this time around, I found all of incredibly relaxing.

Because the trip was mostly for McKinley, he did everything he wanted to do and more. He found a turtle in the front yard and showed it off it all of us, drove the "tractor" around the yard with the assistance of Granddaddy (the blade was always up when he was on the mower), learned to play badminton and was pretty good at hitting the birdie, drove Dodgy, my dad's Dodge Ram down to the barn, and did all the things five year old boys do when they are outside. He was a dirty, sweaty mess!



I made cold brew for a week's worth of iced coffee because Starbuck's isn't around the corner. McKinley discovered Kool-Aid and loved it. My mom and I made apple pies from scratch. I whipped up blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Sweet tea flowed all week and was made into an adult Arnold Palmer when needed. And we had a feast, as McKinley called them, every night. River life for us is all about cooking, baking, and eating around the clock. 

The heat this last week was pretty intense, so it made heading to the river a little less desirable. We spent Wednesday on the bank watching McKinley throw rocks and he helped my dad reel in three large trout. McKinley would cast when he felt like it, stood for hours in the cool water looking for crawdads and picking out the right rocks for his collection, and watched trucks cross the small bridge that runs over the river. As my dad says, he's a true "river rat". When we weren't at the river, we took a day trip to Mt. Home, AR where we lunched at Chili's, shopped two local antique malls for metal trucks and other finds, played "Punch Buggy" when we spotted vintage Volkswagen Beatles, and stopped to take in the gorgeous site of Lake Norfork, a sprawling lake that feeds into our tiny town in Missiouri. 


Back in May, my mom and I spotted an old bar cart in the window of a shop in town. I had all but forgotten about it until this week. So, on a trip into town on our first day, my mom and I stopped in to see if it was still there. It was! It's a total mess of rust and grime, and I couldn't be more excited to be the proud owner of this little treasure. We bought wire brushes at Dollar General to assist with the rust removal. And when we got home, we tackled the bar. And when I say we, I'm talking about me and McKinley! We threw on plastic gloves and went to town on that rust. And when that didn't work, I applied CLR and let it sit over night. It truly helped. We worked a little each day and I've still got my work cut out for me, but I'm excited. I love a good DIY project!


 Dada joined us on Thursday night and finished out the week with the fam. We all played at the river, took a little trip to Althea Springs which is a short walk away from the river, he played on the floor of the living room with McKinley (who took more than enough toys for his week away), watched McKinley have his second tooth "pulled" by Granddaddy, relaxed, ate, napped, and enjoyed a brief vacation of his own. River life is pretty chill.

And upon our return yesterday afternoon, I parked myself on the couch and soaked up as much TV as I could. I may have enjoyed a week unplugged, but I loved plugging back in and catching up on The Bachelorette, watching ABC's Sunday night game night, and getting back into our nightly routine at home. I would love to try and instill some of the river life aspects into our daily suburb life, but sometimes I'm unsure how to do it. I need to stay plugged in for my "job" with things like Facebook and Instagram. I need the internet to blog. I could definitely cut out the television time, but to be perfectly honest, we are gone so much during the summer that we don't really watch as much TV as I think we do. When modern conveniences are readily available, it's hard continue the river life at home. I guess that's why it's a vacation. You're taking a vacation from normal life.

We are already planning our vacation for next year. It doesn't involve river life. This time, it's the beach life. Definitely a life I can wrap my arms around! As for the river, it will be there for our next escape. We're already talking about taking a look at the school calendar and taking advantage of a long weekend to head down before true falls sets in. My personal takeaways from the trip are that I don't need a daily internet connection, I like spending time in the kitchen, my son is the best sleeping partner when you need a little snuggle from your five year old, scratchers are terribly addicting....especially when you keep winning tickets, taking time to relax is definitely something we don't do enough around here, and my family is pretty awesome!


I Have to Admit.....

Friday, July 15, 2016

This summer has been one for the books and it's only mid July! I'm normally a pretty regimented kind of girl. I don't have set schedules, but I like to try and adhere to some sort of schedule within the house. Especially during the school year. We have dinner by 6:30, McKinley gets a bath every other day, we read a book a piece before McKinley goes to bed, and he's in bed (not necessarily asleep) by 9:00. 

As for myself, I'm up and dressed by 7:30 or so, again during the school year, and generally showered every day. But this summer has me the most laxed and without any form of routine whatsoever! And I fear that I might be liking it! August is going to be a rude awakening around here and it will be here all too soon.

Let me give you an example of this past week. I'm finding that dinner is on the table sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 and no one is really complaining. McKinley is maybe getting a bath every couple of days, I figure that the chlorine is giving him sort of sanitary rinse off on a daily basis, and he's not really getting in bed until closer to 9:30. He's sleeping through the night (I might have just jinxed myself) and getting up around 8:00 or so. Breakfast hasn't been super healthy, powered donuts or pop-tarts at times, but it's summer! Who needs brain food first thing in the morning, right? And we might be getting dressed and heading out of the house around 10:00. The last two weeks were admittedly rough because swimming lessons started at 10:00. Thank god all he needed was a swimming suit and brushed teeth for that. If I had to think about outfits, which I normally lay out the night before during the school year, I think I would have put him in a swimsuit anyway.

As for myself, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that my personal hygiene has been in question as well. I might shower every other day, I might wash my hair less frequently than that (thankful for cute summer hats), and I couldn't tell you the last time I actually applied makeup. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not questioning it either. I'm not unhappy. If my legs are shaved, and I've brushed my teeth, I consider the day to be an amazing success!

 I used to see photos of friends and their kids on Facebook and think horrible thoughts about myself as a mother. They were up, dressed, makeup applied for the mom, and at their destination of the day before 9:00. McKinley would have at least been fed, but as for what we were going to actually do for the day, was a complete mystery. And being dressed wasn't anywhere in the cards for at least an hour. I thought getting out of the house before 10:00 was a major! Today, as I write this, it's 9:15, my son is playing in his playroom, I'm drinking coffee while he has apple juice, and we've discussed going to the Farmstead at some point this morning. And guess what? I'm totally okay with this plan. 

Is it that I'm getting older and simply don't care anymore? That I'm me, and not my friends, and I don't have time to try and be someone I'm not? I'm much more relaxed because of it too. I'm not stressed that my day isn't planned to the minute. McKinley is content to stay in his pajamas all day, playing in his playroom, and I'm perfectly happy that he's happy. Isn't this what summer is all about? Lazy days with little structure? Playing hard and hardly working? If that's the case, we are killing it this summer!

But I do have plans for the first of August. We will begin to reform our former school routine. Dinner will have to be at 6:30, with a bath every other night for now, and bed time will have to come earlier. I'm thinking closer to 8:00/8:30, with an earlier wake up call to come. We will have to be up, fed, dressed, and out the door long before the summer wake up call of 8:00. And structure will be a must! But until then, I'm going to milk this dog days of summer attitude. I'm going to embrace the fact that I'm a little crusty at times, a little moldy from chlorine baths, and that my son is the happiest little boy on the planet! 

I have to admit it.....I kind of like this way of life! Too bad we have to go back to normal soon!

We will be on "vacation" next week and blog posts will be very limited. But just know, we are making memories to share, and some stories to tell in the weeks to come, and that summer is all about taking it easy. I hope you're taking it easy as well!


Lazy Hair Days or The Mom Cut

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Have you ever looked in the bathroom mirror, or any mirror for that matter, and thought you needed to do something to your appearance. A little something to smooth out the fine lines around the eyes. Maybe a little Botox in the forehead area. A little tuck of that skin right under the chin. You've never had those thoughts? I must be really vain! I would never do any of those things, I think, but what I do see sometimes is the tired hair I've been growing.

I've had a love and hate affair with my hair for years. I'm a naturally curly haired girl, that fights my curls more then I ever embrace them, and always want the smooth locks of those straight haired curls in my midst. But instead, I rely on my trusty flatiron, something I'm truly thankful for since the 80s left me with unruly hair that could never be straightened. And my fabulous hairstylist Lisa who is always listening to me drone on about the new cut I want and if it would really work on my hair texture and face. She's so patient!

Through the years, I've scoured fashion magazines and tried the latest celeb hairstyles, captured screen shots of my favorite bloggers and their cute cuts, and pinned Pinterest images in a board I call Hairstyle Ideas. And it's full let me tell ya! But I'm not super adventurous with my hair. Because of the natural curl, I have to be careful of how short I can really go. If I went pixie, what a mess that would be. If I took it to the chin line, the curls would be up to my temples. Really, anything shorter than the nape of my neck would be disastrous! 

I've rocked the long(ish) hair (and when I look back on this pic, I wish it were still this long), but I found that it didn't always look like this. It takes a long time to get it to look like this. Time I simply no longer have. I wore it curly, more often than not, or pulled it up as an easy out for the day. My lazy hair day, if you will.

Now, when I did have the long locks, even three years ago, I loved rocking this look! And there are times I would love to be able to still do it. It's easy. It's familiar. But I always saw it as an easy way out of doing my hair. Being lazy, like I mentioned above, and I was mad at myself for constantly relying on this look. But look how chic it is!

And then there was that whole personal style blogging thing. I constantly felt like I needed to keep up with the Jones'. Had to have the long flowing locks you would see while scrolling through their daily outfit pics. The hair that had to take hours to achieve. Hours I didn't have. I worked an 8-5 job. I was chasing a two year old. I was trying to look stylish every day and was exhausted while doing so. Then I got laid off and thought, the time has finally come to be that stylish blogger with great hair, but I found I was throwing on a hat to get to the zoo or farmstead on time. Hair just wasn't ever a priority. Why? Because apparently, mom mode took over my life and my hair took a backseat.

Then I got this cut!! 


I was finally in hair heaven! And it appeared that all my friends loved it too. But it was a lot of work. That curling technique, that I still can't manage, takes a lot longer than I truly have time for. I find I only did it for nights out, not days to the park. I would just straighten it and go, which is fine as well, but I felt like a hair failure. (That's when I'm a little thankful for the curls. Just don't tell my hair!)

So then I decided to start growing it out to a longer bob a la Carrie Underwood. And as she mentioned in this article, she cut her hair as total mom move. The ultimate, uber chic, mom hair cut! What is it about becoming a mom and cutting the hair? Because we need ease!

So now I'm in the growing out phase, and all I'm longing for is the hair from the chic haircut above. I find that I'm pulling my hair back in a ponytail, because I'm lazing. I'm putting on a hat, because I'm lazy. Or just throwing it up in a short messy bun, because I'm lazy. I need the short do back to force me to try and do something with my hair!

So I'm relying on these images that inspired the decision to go with a cute mom cut. I'm going back to the shorter(ish) locks from a year ago. It's easy, but not lazy. It's cute. It's sassy. It's perfect for a mom! This Kansas City Mama, really! 

Sure, short hair is a sign of being a mom, at times. I know so many women who have taken to the short do for this very reason. It's easy. It helps when you feel lazy and don't have time to do the hair. You can wash and go. Or in my case, throw in some product and go. But it's still sassy. Edgy. And makes you feel put together when instead you're sporting stains on your white tee from ice cream, or jelly, or dirt from their shoes. Those fine lines are there for reason!

How many of you have the mom cut? Embrace it? Or decided to keep the long locks because you didn't want to be that mom? I want to hear from you! 


KC Date Night - Kansas City Power & Light

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Over the weekend, Joel and I had a long overdue date night. We don't get out very often. I think our last date night was the night we went to Applebee's a couple of weeks ago, and that was because McKinley had an impromptu sleep over at my parents house. Before that, I'm not sure when it was! How sad is that. 

I used to make fun of my parents on Friday nights when I found them in their comfy clothes around 6:00 and ready for bed around 9:00. I used to tell them that they were the most boring people ever, and now at 42, I've found that I've become my parents! Seriously, I'm usually in my comfy clothes around 5:30, eating dinner an hour later, and praying that McKinley is ready for bed before 9:00 so that I can lay down too. Boring!!

Joel took us to see Ron White at the Midland last Friday night and was he hilarious. And speaking of boring, prior to purchasing our tickets, he asked me if I wanted to see the 6:30 or 9:00 show. I laughed out loud at the option and said we should probably opt for the 6:30. I mean, seeing a show at 9:30, that was so late! Joel looked at it like this. Because Ron likes to part-take in an adult beverage, or two, during his show (and possibly more between shows) he thought he might be a little over-served come 9:30. Smart Joel, and far less boring than my decision to see the 6:30 show. 

With a 6:30 show, dinner was going to be hard to come by, so we thought we might swing through a drive-thru on on our way. That didn't happen. So when we did get downtown, we weren't really sure what we would find. As we made our way to the Midland, we found a hotdog vendor right outside. Nothing sounds better than a hotdog vendor on Friday night! And I'm being honest! I love hotdogs and I love a vendor dog even better. A little chard around the edges, smoke billowing out of the cart, grabbing for the same condiments as others around.....perfection. We shared a bottle of water, and while we stood on the sidewalk chowing down on the dogs, I was in heaven. Pretty great start to the night.

We don't get downtown very often. The random concert at Sprint Center, the occasional traveling comic show (we saw Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy last year), or a Saturday matinee for our Broadway tour season tickets. But when we do, I always feel a little more sophisticated, grown up, special. There is just something about that downtown vibe, and ours is growing and thriving! I love that there are not only restaurants and clubs, but lofts and gyms. People are working, living, eating, and shopping in our once desolate downtown and it's so exciting to witness. I wish we were able to get down there more often. 

Okay, back to our date. Ron White was hysterical. He had all new material, which I appreciated. I love his old stuff, but it's always nice to get some new things to laugh about and he totally delivered. At one point I laughed so hard I couldn't breath. The best kind of laughter. The kind of laughter that is a good for the soul. When the show was over, my mood was totally lifted. But the date didn't stop there.

We decided to take advantage of our night out, and the sleepover that McKinley was having with my parents, and hit the town. Okay, hit KCP&L District which was where were to begin with. I like trying new restaurants when we're out. Places we don't have in the burbs. We walked around a bit, trying to decide what sounded good, and found out that Third Eye Blind was playing. Fun that a 90s band was hanging out in the heart of downtown on a summer night, but that meant the place was packed. Finding a table was going to be a challenge. Or so we thought. We ended up finding a "communal" table Leinenkugel's KC. I loved it!! A super bright and airy place that was bustling. I loved their floor to ceiling subway tiles behind the bar, butcher block table tops with metal chairs and bar stools, and white washed "Shiplap" on the walls. A great spot for a couple of beverages and appetizers. Right now, my summer beer has been the Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, which I ordered, but I also tried their Wheat which was just as tasty. Joel sipped on Jack Daniel's and water and we shared Truffle Fries and Homemade Chicken Wings. I loved the Truffle Fries, and their homemade dipping sauce, but I didn't really love the chicken wings. They were made with a dark meat, which I'm not a fan, and appeared a little greasy. And not the grease of the deep fryer. However, Joel devoured them, so I think he liked them. Some things I would like to try the next time are the Pretzel Knots, Beer Battered Onion Rings, and the Beer Cheese Sliders....I think I see a pattern.

From there, we walked around a little, and decided to head home. I had the idea to grab dessert on our way home, but decided to just eat the sugar cookie bars I had baked earlier in the week. We were home by 11:00, in our pj's a little after that, and I was asleep on the couch before 11:30! Hey, I made it past 9:00!! That's a huge date night. Not so boring either.

Here are a few photos I captured on our little night out!


 It really was nice to get out and about and do something than our typical weekend routine. I love routines, but it is nice to change things up. I look forward to our next outing and I hope to be able to bring it to you. I want to try and explore a little more like we used to ten years ago. With the growth, and exciting things taking place around KC, this is the time to go, do, and share findings. And that's just what This Kansas City Mama has plans to do!

What are some of your favorite things to do when on a fun date night? Any great places we have to try? Share them now!


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