March -Festive Family To-do List

Yuck, did anyone else feel they were in a constantly revolving cycle of colds last month? I swear we just took turns feeling sick. Despite not feeling our best, we still had a lot of fun.

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Gatsby Party

I enjoyed a cute family Valentine’s Day dinner at home and going to a fancy Gatsby themed event with my husband, but my favorite experience was taking Cecy to the beach in Florida. She loved kicking waves and chasing birds. This month I’m excited to:

  • Enjoy rising temperatures and play outside as much as possible

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    Time to Swing!
  • We had a Mardi Gras themed dinner last month with Creole black beans ‘n’ sausage (recipe) and wearing lots of bead necklaces! This month I want to celebrate our Irish heritage with a themed dinner or brunch.

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    Happy Mardi Gras
  • Visit family in California. We will be in Morro Bay which is where we took Cecy on her first hike (Valencia Peak). I’m hoping we can do some hiking again.
  • March Madness! For the last few years I’ve assigned restaurants to every team in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament and that’s how we determine where to go to dinner on our anniversary in April. I’m not a big basketball fan (college basketball is huge in Kansas City) so this makes it more fun. The key is to throw some fast food restaurants in the mix so you’re excited when they lose.
  • Cecy’s first Easter Egg hunt.

Happy March!

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Good, Better, Best… at the Grocery Store

My Grandpa taught me the sang, “Good, better, best – never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best!”

This popped in my head when I was grocery shopping today and I thought I’d share it because I don’t think I’m the only one overwhelmed with all the good aspirations to go green, shop local, eat healthy and save money.  I do not have time to research every product and go to multiple stores – I’m literally bribing my one year old with graham cracker cookies I pull off the shelf so she stops trying to jump out of the cart!

‘Ok, just breathe’ I told myself. I may never cook all organic, plan gourmet meals under $5 or find a way to leave a zero carbon footprint on our beautiful planet. I can be mindful, make a few slightly better choices and build from there. So, here is what I found:

Shatto Milk – My husband is not a picky person, but he is very picky when it comes to milk and this tastes great! It’s from a local Kansas City dairy, so it’s very fresh. They use glass bottles to keep it cold and to help the environment. I even got a $2 rebate when I brought my clean container back to the store so they can reuse the glass.

San Francisco Bay Single Serve Coffee – I love coffee and I love how convenient and easy my Keurig makes brewing a cup. I don’t love the plastic containers that accumulate in my trash, so I’m really excited about this brand that uses a mesh coffee filter instead of plastic.

Oscar Meyer Natural lunch meat and Coffee mate natural bliss –    I’m trying to buy meat that is nitrate/nitrite free and coffee creamer that doesn’t have carrageenan listed in the ingredients.

Finally, I remembered to bring my own reusable bags today – woohoo!  Let me know if you have any great products or practices that you and your family enjoy!

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A weekend trip to Hollywood, Florida

Last weekend we took a quick trip to Hollywood, Florida to soak in some sunshine.

IMG_3996The weather was a little colder and windier than we expected, but we still had fun walking up and down the broadwalk which has great views of the ocean. We didn’t need to rent a car, we had all of the restaurants and entertainment we needed within walking distance of our hotel. The broadwalk is lined with restaurants where you can sit outside, listen to live music and watch people walking, biking and rollerblading by.

IMG_4005Our favorite part of the trip was splashing in the waves and chasing birds up and down the  beautiful beach.

The Anne Kolb Nature Center was close to our hotel, so we walked over a couple  times to enjoy the trails and observation tower views. We spotted unique birds and tree crabs along the trails.

February! What I’m Reading and my Festive Family To-do List

Happy groundhog day! I’m really happy we made it through long, cold, dark January – it actually wasn’t a bad month at all. I especially loved my snowshoeing date with my husband and my zoo day with Cecy.

I want to tell you about a book I’m currently reading “Stuff-ocation“. Warning, it might make you want to sell all your stuff and move to a tiny cabin in the mountains. Or, maybe that’s just me!? I’m not all the way through the book yet, but I have started going through all my stuff and donating things to local charities or recycling.

I’m thinking how I can incorporate the less stuff – more experience message with Lent this year, which starts next week.

A couple of fun things I’m looking forward to this month:

  • making homemade Valentine’s Day cards with Cecy
  • dressing up for a black-tie Gatsby themed event for my husband’s work
  • celebrating Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday with a New Orleans themed dinner
  • a trip to Florida, we are ready for some sun!
  • cracking out our underused fondue set and melting some chocolate goodness

 

Discovering Nature Indoors – Museum at Prairiefire

It is pretty darn cold here in Kansas City! I can’t handle staying inside our house for too long, so I’ve been pushing myself to come up with fun activities that incorporate outdoors/nature even when we can’t spend a lot of time outside.

Last week we headed up to the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, KS. The museum is stunning from the outside with colorful glass and a unique architectural design. I’ve never seen anything like it! The museum has a partnership with the Museum of Natural History, so we get to experience amazing exhibitions without leaving our neighborhood.

We started out in the Great Hall and admired the gigantic T-rex! IMG_3819

Next we made our own digital dinosaur (or dragon) in an interactive kiosk where we learned about where it lived and what it ate. We personalized our mythical creature with horns, scales, a white color and named it BB.  Then he came to life on a gigantic screen in the great hall flying over our heads.

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There are several other interesting exhibits in the Great Hall and it’s all free. We also checked out the Discovery Room (ticket pricing) which is designed for kids ages 3-12. Cecy loved it! Her favorite part was brushing off the dinosaur bones and opening up discovery drawers to find fossils, feathers and other fun ‘treasures’.

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Winter Day at the Kansas City Zoo

Who is out at the zoo on a freezing cold rainy weekday in Kansas City? Basically just us and a polar bear!

We parked our car in a nearly empty lot and headed inside. (Both parking and admission for children under 2 are free, so we spent less than $10 on our fun excursion.) First stop, we saw the polar bear passage. Earlier this month Nikita, our male polar bear, relocated to a zoo in North Carolina but you can still see Berlin, who is an older female bear. (local news story)

Next we went to Helzburg Penguin Plaza which is mostly indoors. My one-year-old, Cecilia loved watching the penguins swim and waddle around. I think they liked her too!IMG_3769IMG_3774

We headed to the Tropics which was nice and warm. Then we stopped by the Sea Lions to watch them practice their tricks. Finally we headed to the Discovery Barn for more indoor fun. IMG_3777

January Festive Family To-do List

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.
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Duncan ‘helping’ my husband with the dishes at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Oh, Duncan!
  • 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.

January to-do list:

  • Take Cecy to see penguins at the Kansas City Zoo
  • Cheer on the Chiefs in the playoffs, woohoo
  • Participate in KC Restaurant week
  • Brave the cold – play outside
  • Make something with blueberries in it