Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

My husband and I have taken Kalynn to the tiny (in comparison) 26 acre Fullerton Arboretum (California) in the past and she absolutely loves it. I guess in my brain when we pulled up to the OP Arboretum and Botanical Gardens parking lot today I assumed it would be somewhat like that, but I was clearly mistaken. This place is ginormous. Over 300 hundred acres of ginormous; complete with hybrid trees and shrubs, botanicals gardens, ponds, play areas, a straw maze, tunnels, statues, streams, water falls and even a shiny red train car to boot. I'm not kidding, this place is a gold mine to tucker out your littlest one. And it's completely free, so there's nothing in the world that can beat that. All of you Kansans who are starting to plan your summer activities, this is the place to be!

P.S. Good luck tonight, KU! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bachelorette / Bachelor dinner pre-party

 With my nephew Finn


"The universe gave us cousins because our moms couldn't handle us as siblings" ~ Unknown

This house is pretty insane with a couple of 2-year-olds and a 4-year-old. Squeals, giggles, laughs, shouts, roll-around-on-the-floors, and even a couple of hugs here and there. There is nothing in the world like hanging out with your family, grilling up some hot dogs, and watching the cousins explore the back yard that they've played in a million times. 
It's this kind of love that makes the world go 'round.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Flight

Yesterday was our 5th airplane trip with Kalynn in 2 years. We flew when she was 4 months old to Kansas City, 6 months old to New York (longest flight ever), 18 months to Colorado, 22 months back to Kansas City, and now at 2 years to Kansas City again. She's pretty much a well oiled machine at this point. When I tell her we're going, I have to wait until the day of or else she'll pack her bag and wait by the door until I get my shoes on and go. She's loves the airport. She loves to watch the people come and go, watch the planes come in and take off, to wander to and from the terminals with her roller suitcase and feel like she's one of the "beeg goo trabers" (big girl travelers).

Yesterday was no different. The girl is amazing. We flew two and a half hours from Orange County to Dallas/Fort Worth, had an hour layover, and then flew another hour and 15 minutes to Kansas City International. Never a peep out of her. Well, except at the end when she crapped her pants and moaned a quiet little "sad, mommy, saaaad..." over and over again because she couldn't go in a potty. She's not a big fan of having to sit in poop. Honestly, neither am I. So I get it.

Anyway, here's our trip:

Aaaaand we're off! (again)

  No idea why she rolled around on the floor for a few minutes prior to getting on the plane. Something about the "other kids do it" even though there were no other kids around. But whatever...



Watching The Muppets and playing with the barf bag (which coincidentally makes an excellent "sleeping bag" for her Cabbage Patch Baby)

Very ready to be asleep at this point.

On a side note, American Airlines is horrible. I saw at least 2 cockroaches running around at my feet and on both flights the airplane looked like it was going to fall apart. Good thing the flight attendant gave me a couple of glasses of free wine, you know, other wise I would have really cared. (She had a few left over glasses, I happened to be sitting in the very back seat looking like a drinker apparently)

Regardless, we made it safe and sound! We've got the whole house to ourselves for the day until Aunt Kari, Uncle Nick, Cousin Finn and Cousin Harper get out of work and school. Until then, we've got a billion toys laying around this giant house that are brand new (to her), a kitty cat to torture, and our very own "park" in the back yard. It's so nice to be home!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Airplane Busy Bag Ideas

“In my body, where the shame gland should be, there is a second awesome gland. True story” - Barney Stinson

Remember those baby cakes that I made for my friend's baby shower in January? She never got them because I mixed up the dates and drove down on the wrong day. Remember the Wednesday play group I joined a few months ago with a few other Orange County mommies? I missed last week because I went the whole day thinking Wednesday was Tuesday. Remember that trip to Kansas that I was going to take yesterday? Well I showed up a day early, packed and ready to go, because I never took a good look at my itinerary and I don't actually leave until today. Do you see where I'm going here? This ain't my first rodeo, cowboys. I mean, good lord, really Krista?

Well I thought today I would be posting all about how the flight went and all the fun things we have planned for today, but clearly that's not what's going to happen.

So instead, I'm posting the busy bag ideas I have for Kalynn's airplane ride. Here's what I have so far:

Airplane busy bag ideas for toddlers

An obvious staple; coloring books and crayons in a bag. She likes to color, but mostly likes to put the crayons in and then take them out of the bag over and over. 

I'm bringing my laptop and my external drive that has every one of our home movies on it. (I make pretty elaborate home movies once every month or so.) At home she'll sit and watch these things for hours and hours just because they are of her and she's pretty enamored with herself. But once those run out, I have a back up of her second favorites; a few seasons of The Muppet Show, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, and Finding Nemo. 

A blank sketch book, tons of stickers, markers, paper shapes with glue stick, and a stamp. She's really very careful with her markers, always puts the lid back on one before opening another, and concentrates very hard when using her glue stick. I'm honestly not anticipating much of a mess for those of you with concern. I mean, I could be wrong, I'll let you know in tomorrow's post if I'm a total moron for bringing these.

I'm bringing about a dozen books. Not the big board books, but the thin, flimsy paper books that don't take up much space. 

I decided to pack the lid of a Tupperware container as a sort of tray for a few activities. Kalynn loves her magnetic marbles but I'm afraid they'll roll all over everywhere while she plays. I'm hoping she'll play with them in the tray and stop that from happening. In my sewing box I also found a crap ton of old buttons, so I put those in a compartmentalized box that she can sit and organize for a while. And then at Target last week, in the $1 bin, I found this little Easter bunny with non-stick slimy putty stuff inside that she can smoosh around. I wanted to bring play-dough but that's just dumb. I guess I could have brought regular silly putty but this was cheaper. 

Also some clothes pins and a strip of material. She's very proud of herself when she can open and close them. I figure maybe we can even draw little faces on them, using the clip part as the mouth, and put on a little show (lucky for the person next to us!)

Lastly, her phone (my old iphone) with every app that she loves, and her Elmo wallet with a bunch of old gift cards and business cards that she takes out and puts pack in. Are you seeing a pattern here with her entertainment? She's an organizer. The nut don't fall to far from the tree.

Lastly, CHAPSTICK! It's clear so she can't make a mess and she's obsessed with the stuff. I can pretty much bribe her to do anything with the promise of Chapstick.

If you have any last minute ideas, PLEASE add them in the comments. I'm going to need all the help I can get. (4 and a half hour flight here, folks)

Oh, and did you vote today? Because you can if you want but, you know, no pressure...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! See You Tonight!

Well, I'm sure you've noticed by now that I have a very strange spontaneous streak in me. It's weird because I hate change. I cried when I was little and came home to find the furniture rearranged, but then I could beg and plead for my mom to take me on a road trip right now within the same evening. It makes no sense. I'm a walking contradiction.

Anyway, with my husband having to work all week, and constant news and Facebook posts about KU throwing down in March Madness, I'm getting a little homesick here.


Kalynn and I are heading back to Kansas today to see my sister and family. I decided yesterday afternoon and so off we go! (I'm way too antsy pants to plan a vacation and then, you know, wait for it.)

My favorite thing about packing for Kansas is digging out all my KU Jayhawk stuff.

My second favorite thing about packing for Kansas is that as soon as I pull out my daughter's suitcase, she throws in her shoes first. Every time. A girl after my own heart.

Ok, see you soon Lawrence, we're off to the aeropuerto!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

When Life Hands You Grapefruits...

I have the sweetest grandma ever. She sends bag loads of grapefruits from her backyard with me spring after spring, year after year.

I hate grapefruit.

I've always hated grapefruit.

But I take them, and I love them because I love her,  and I always find something to do with them. Because that's what we do as grandchildren, right? We take the stuff, and we love it.

So anyway, I'm a bartender by trade. I know, deep down to my soul, almost everything has the ability to find its alcohol soulmate counterpart. Turns out, when life hands you grapefruit, you make margaritas.

Behold, my L' Equip Stainless Steel Fruit and Vegetable Juicer:

grapefruit margaritas

I juiced the 12 grapefruit along with a handful of strawberries that were left in the fridge from breakfast, added some sugar, and made myself some pink grapefruit juice. If you don't have the homemade juice, Ruby Red Grapefruit juice from the store works just as well. 

The actual recipe is really simple. 1 quart juice, 8 shots tequila (or 9 or 10), 2 shots triple sec. Stir. 

grapefruit margaritas

Yes, I have an original Strawberry Shortcake pitcher (I have the matching glasses as well however they were too small for my purposes today). Also, yes there were way more margaritas at the beginning of the day, but I forgot to take the picture until half way through the fiesta. What fiesta? Well, my mom and I decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. It's close enough. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Best French Toast Ever.

Have you ever made french toast with this?

I'm not a fan of raisins. I never have been. So even though this french toast is pretty intensely wowzers, I still have to pick out the raisins in the long run. But the rest of the toast? Dime.  

Ok, so you got your egg, milk, and cinnamon. The all american traditional recipe. But if you add brown sugar and some vanilla to the mix, it's even better. It's my secret recipe. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Woodpecker (In retrograde)

 Last week, I was looking though an old box and I stumbled on an amazing thing.

Tom Robbins / Still Life With Woodpecker playlist. The perfect mix of love, outlaws, redheads, and cigarettes. And the moon. You can't forget about the moon of course.

Yep. A mix tape.

Just like that, all these memories came flooding back to me of all the time I spent on these things. It's not like you could just throw one together. You had your options of 60 minutes, 90 minutes or 120 minutes and you had to make sure you chose the right length. Then you had to put the song you wanted in one side of the dual tape player and press play on A while simultaneously pressing record on B. Either that or press play on the CD player on top while pressing record on the tape at the bottom. Either way, before you could even do that you had to add up the minutes of all your songs to make sure they fit. Then you had to get them in the right order so they were sure to flow well together. Then you had to spend another million years decorating the case and the paper insert that had all the songs written on it. It was basically a full time job making one of these. And making a mix CD just wasn't the same either. I'm all for technology advancement and everything, but I do miss the days when you kind of had to work at least a little bit to get something good. Especially if you were making it as a gift for someone. It made it even that more special.

Well anyway, this one I found happens to be the very last mixed tape I ever made. Even at the time I made it, these things had been instinct for years already. I remember I found my boombox that day tucked away in my grandparent's attic and I broke it out to give it one last hurrah. I made a mix tape in ode to my favorite book: Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. My poor boombox pretty much shit the bed the second it was finished. Kind of like an old person that holds on just long enough to say their last goodbye before somehow knowing it's ok to pass.

I guess the songs on it don't even matter all that much in terms of a good memory jogging blog post, but I'm posting them anyway. It's a mix of love, outlaws, redheads, and cigarettes. And the moon. You can't forget about the moon of course. Yummmm.

Tom Robbins / Still Life With Woodpecker playlist. The perfect mix of love, outlaws, redheads, and cigarettes. And the moon. You can't forget about the moon of course.

Tom Robbins / Still Life With Woodpecker playlist. The perfect mix of love, outlaws, redheads, and cigarettes. And the moon. You can't forget about the moon of course.

It's nice to go back and visit the past every once in a while. Especially if it involves the Woodpecker. 

You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans ~ Tom Robbins

Speaking of visiting things, have you visited the blog voting page lately? Because you can HERE