On our trip last month to California our family spent a wonderful day in Folsom which is located in Northern California between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on the American River. Folsom is known for it’s prison, but we spent our time hiking along the river and strolling through the city’s farmers’ market in the quaint historic downtown. My aunt bought Cecy a gorgeous handmade basket for our market trips back home.
This weekend we had family visiting us, so we planned a little adventure to our local farmers market in Overland Park, Kansas. The markets’ season just started in April, but the vendors were ready to go with gorgeous displays of fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, juices, grass-fed meats and more. Tucked back behind Metcalf between 79th and 80th streets, the market is bigger than we expected and has a great community feel.
Cecy’s basket got filled with fragrant fresh rosemary and flowers. We also purchased red potatoes, spinach and a loaf of bread for our dinner.
Yesterday Cecilia and I went on our first hike with Hike it Baby. I’m so glad my friend told me about this group. They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting young families outdoors. They have branches in nearly every state.
We met at local coffee shop called The Roasterie in Leawood, Kansas and headed down 119th Street to hop on the Tomahawk Creek Trail. There were 7-8 friendly moms all pushing strollers, so we went at an adult’s pace but stopped a couple of times when our little ones needed some extra attention.
We eventually took a break from walking to let the kids burn off energy at a nearby playground before heading back to our starting point. Cecy and I both had a lot of fun and look forward to our next hike!
We went to the Emerald Isle Parade in downtown Lee’s Summit, MO on Saturday. There are several festive St. Patrick’s Day parades in Kansas City, but this one holds a special place in my heart because I grew up in Lee’s Summit. We met up with my parents and several of our friends and their kiddos. Our group huddled under umbrellas and enjoyed the colorful floats rolling by – cheerful despite the drizzle.
The weekend’s gloomy weather was a big contrast to Friday’s when we soaked up the sunshine at beautiful Loose Park in Kansas City. We played on swings and slides at the playground before heading to the pond for bird watching. After our loop around the park, we walked a little under a mile to the Kansas City Public Library – Plaza Branch for a panda themed story time and art project. The kids section of the library is gorgeous with big windows overlooking the Plaza, rows and rows of books and fun education stations.
On Wednesday we went to a free Little Rockers Concert at School of Rock in Overland Park, KS. Cecy showed off her awesome dance moves! Besides dancing we are also working on our jumping skills. We headed to Urban Air trampoline park in Overland Park , KS. On Tuesdays and Fridays they have Jumperoo from 9am until noon. For just $5 (kids 3-5 are $10) we jumped on the trampolines with other toddlers and played in the amazing playground area with tunnels, slides and ball pit.
Last week we also took an awesome tour of a local fire station where Cecy got to climb inside a firetruck and meet firefighters. The tour was fun, but it also got me thinking about fire-safety at our house. I found some Sesame Street themed materials on the US Fire Administration’s website which I think will be a fun way to talk to Cecy about a serious safety subject as she gets bigger.
I’m having serious mountain withdraws! We haven’t made it to Colorado since the beginning of January and we might not go until mid-April. What to do in the mean time? Fill our days with fun activities here in Kansas City. A couple highlights from last week:
Lakeside Nature Center: This was our first visit to the center which is located in Swope Park (right across from the Kansas City Zoo). Admission was free. We walked around and looked at snakes, turtles, salamanders, fish, birds, squirrels, rabbits and other animals that are native to Missouri – even bald eagles!
StoneLion Puppet Theatre – we attended a free event at Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. The show was “A Jungle Out There”. We learned about endangered species.
Open Gym at Pinnacle Gymnastics in Shawnee, Kansas- This is a great way to burn toddler energy. We jumped on the trampoline, played in the foam pit, did somersaults on the floor and walked across a mini balance beam. The cost is $5 for members and $6 for nonmembers, but Cecy (15 months) attended for free.
Jazz Storytelling at the American Jazz Muesum. This free event takes place the first Friday of every month. The musicians are incredibly talented and fun. We love to go. This time Cecy didn’t make it through the whole performance, so we burned off some of her excitement on the playground across the street and enjoyed blueberry vegan pancakes for lunch at nearby Succotash – yum.
How has more than a week gone by in January and I’m still struggling to come up with a fun list of things to do this month? Possibly because I find the month of January to be a less than inspiring this year. For some reason I’m not into dieting, organizing or any other traditional New Year’s resolution that I typically tell myself I need to make.
Before I start sounding really negative, I want to share my favorite December moments and how I checked off my festive to-do list last month:
Baking holiday cookies! We headed over to my parents house and we all made cookies. I made fun, tasty gingerbread cabins which I wrote about here.
Christmas lights. My favorite were the ones we saw on evening walks around our neighborhood. The lights made the walks we take Duncan (our crazy 2 year old golden retriever) on feel like an enjoyable and festive family event instead of a chore.
Snuggling by the fireplace. We have a Cape Cod style home that doesn’t have the ‘open floor plan’ basically every couple on HGTV is looking for. We fell in love with the cozy (yes, wood paneled) living room with a traditional brick fireplace and I love (repeat love) sitting by the fire. I nearly sit inside it to get warm in the winter. Thank you to my husband for building me several fires last month.
We love outdoor adventures, but we’ve had a few windy, cold days and needed to get some energy out. Our first stop was Santa’s Gingerbread Station at Crown Center. The interactive exhibit is free but there is a charge for a picture taken with Santa. Covered garage parking is also free if you get your ticket validated by one of the shops or restaurants at Crown Center.
Next we took advantage of The Link which is a weather protected walkway connecting Crown Center to Union Station.
Union Station is my favorite building in Kansas City. I think my one-year -old shared my amazement at how magical the historic train station looks decorated for the holiday season. Entering the Sprint Festival Plaza I had a sudden urge to twirl around in circles like a Disney princess, which I resisted and instead walked around enchanted by the décor and holiday model train display. The display is free and quite impressive with over 800 feet of track and 18 trains.
There is so much more to do throughout the season at both Crown Center and Union Station! I can’t wait to take Cecy back next year.
This weekend Cecy and I met some friends at the Native Hooved Animal Enclosure in Fleming Park. We brought our apples and carrots to feed to the buffalo and elk who roam the 110 acre fenced in area. We loved getting so close to the massive animals.
Fleming Park is the largest park in Jackson County and I got lost in it for 30 minutes trying to find the buffalo. I did some research for the next time we visit. I couldn’t find an exact address, but for those who are good with maps, I found this one. For those who rely on GPS (me!), I noticed that Missouri Town is very close and I found an address for that park attraction: 8010 E. Park Road. Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64064.