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FREE | November 2017 | | Since 1985


turkey day guide play more & work less

selfless child in a selfish world

5 habits

every mom should break LOCAL FACES OF ADOPTION

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dollar store buys hometown holidays november 2017


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IN EVERY ISSUE 12 Media Mix 16 Healthy Kids


17 Word from Dad 24 Teacher Talk 45 Craft Corner


SPECIAL SECTIONS 18 Party Guide 42 Thanksgiving Guide 52 Calendar of Events



five ways


Selfless Child

Big Family

Corn Favors

Tips for raising a selfless child in a selfish world

Ways to carve out one-onone time in a large family

Create cute favors for your Thanksgiving celebration

Our cover features Padraic from Belton. Cover and select interior photos by FREE | November 2017 | | Since 1985

ON THE COVER Dollar Store Buys


Five Habits Moms Should Break


Raising a Selfless Child


Local Faces of Adoption


Giving Back


Hometown Holidays



turkey day guide play more & work less

selfless child in a selfish world

5 habits

every mom should break LOCAL FACES OF ADOPTION


giving back dollar store buys hometown holidays

6 november 2017

REGIFTING HURTS THE ONES YOU LOVE. With more than 100 retail, dining and

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Located on West 1-70 at 1-435 in Kansas City, KS | |



Publisher Michael Gimotty Associate Publisher Darrell Dean Editor Margaret Sarver Art Director Kim Tappan Tappan Design Advertising Sales Darrell Dean Digital Media Manager Kristina Light Event Calendar Susan Lynn Copy Editor Susan Crainshaw Distribution To be added to our distribution list, e-mail Local Contributing Writers


Kim Antisdel (Liberty), Bill Bartlett (Belton), Melissa Bellach (Overland Park), Tisha Foley (Belton), Allison Gibeson (Lee’s Summit), Lauren Greenlee (Olathe), Jessica Heine (Olathe), Jennifer Higgins (Kearney), Christa Melnyk Hines (Olathe), Karen Johnson (Olathe), Megan Kapple (Kansas City), Kristina Light (Kansas City), Sarah Lyons (Olathe), Kerrie McLoughlin (Overland Park), Katie Newell (Shawnee), Jessica Samuel (Kansas City)

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FREE | November 2017 | | Since 1985

5 habits

every mom should break





play more & work less

selfless child in a selfish world



turkey day guide


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giving back dollar store buys


hometown holidays



elcome to November! Wasn’t it just the start of 2017?!? Crazy to think we are entering the holiday season and, before we know it, will be welcoming a new year! I always enjoy putting together the November issue as I appreciate the emphasis placed on being thankful. I asked local writer and mom Kim Antisdel to assemble an alphabetized list of thankful thoughts. And she has a great compilation on pg. 46. Funny story: A few years back, I wrote my own A-Z list of thankful thoughts in this space. For the letter “m” I wrote I was thankful for margaritas. Naturally, my mom took umbrage at my listing margaritas instead of mom. Lesson learned! And let me just say that I’m extra thankful this year, as my mom is going to be spending Thanksgiving with us in Kansas City for the first time. If you, like I, have relatives in town for the holiday weekend, check out Kristina Light’s suggestions for fun all weekend long on pg. 50. I was just thinking the other day as I pulled out my orange candle to place in the bathroom how that is the extent of my fall/Thanksgiving décor. (Oh, and I did put some mums out front—not repotted, mind you, but in the plastic, not-meantfor-display pot in which they were sold.) We seem to live under so much more pressure these days to have the house decorated for each season and the scrumptious meal served on the perfectly adorned table. We’re all busy and stressed, and this parenting thing is hard. It’s time we gave ourselves a break and let go of a few things. On pg. 14, check out Stephanie Loux’s list of things moms (and dads) need to let go. As always, I’m thankful to you, the readers, for your support and readership throughout the year. @KCParent

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Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City!

Margaret Sarver, Editor

Kansas City Parent Magazine is published 12 times a year by Family Media Group. It is distributed free of charge throughout the Kansas City area. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect KC Parent’s opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. Kansas City Parent Magazine does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. All photography and letters sent to KC Parent will be treated unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and are subject to unrestricted right to edit and comment editorially. KC Parent often includes websites that may be helpful to our readers. We verify each site prior to publication. However, content changes frequently. We encourage you to use caution and discretion when visiting a website.

Postmaster, please send changes to KC Parent, 8691 W. 96th St, Ste 1B, Overland Park, KS 66212.

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KCPARENTWEBSITE Even More Local Parenting Information, Articles, Events and Surprises

SEARCH KCPARENT.COM FOR MORE AFFORDABLE FALL FUN IDEAS: 1. Best of November 2. Fall Fun for Under $5 3. Turkey Spottings

4. Leaf Peeping in KC 5. Hometown Holidays 6. Thanksgiving Traditions


LIGHTING CEREMONIES It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! For a complete listing of lighting ceremonies all over the metro, visit Your #1 source for all things Kansas City!

7. Great Giveaways 8. Best Pie in Kansas City

KIDS EAT FREE Parents, with so much going on in November, give yourself a night off from cooking! For a guide to places all over KC where kids eat free (or really cheap), head to

9. Money-Saving Coupons 10. KC Going Places Guide


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best dollar dives

othing boosts our bliss better than a bargain. However, binge watching Extreme Couponing isn’t going to save our families any green. I have something better in mind. All ages, from toddlers to adults, can find a little frugal fun at these firms, and all you need is one dollar! That’s right! I said it: one measly dollar. And you can find the place in just about every state and city. Dollar stores have permeated most communities, but not every piece of merchandise is the same. That’s why you have me! When we’re finished here, you’ll know the best dollar store buys from this array of bargain businesses.

party packs

Here’s where you can really go crazy! Birthday parties, anniversaries, baby showers or even small gettogethers can benefit from bargain plates, forks, party favors and even decorations. You’ll spend pennies on the dollar for festive trimmings. Not only can you get terrific deals on party items, but you’ll also find holiday/ seasonal items at bargain prices. That way you can decorate your home for a holiday without breaking the bank!

for the kitchen

You’ll find great dollar store options for your kitchen too. Pot holders, towels and now kitchen gadgets like measuring cups and rubber spatulas are economical essentials. At regular department stores, these items can cost you three to four dollars or more, but you’ll score big savings here at the dollar store. The best part about shopping at the dollar store in the kitchen aisle is that they also offer so much food! Snacks for lunches, after-school snacks for the ride back home and even canned goods. Best buys ever!


From water bottles to food containers and even closet storage, the dollar store’s organization and storage items are a bargain bonanza for shoppers. They even sell name brands, like Rubbermaid, that are sure to last. My personal favorites are the colored plastic bins. If you’re a crafter, they really can stop the project supply mayhem, with different fun shapes and colors to choose from!

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of the dollar store’s best buys, let’s chat about those items to avoid.

not so fast…

While the dollar store has a number of worthwhile buys, not everything is worth the investment. From my personal experience, I’ve learned to stay away from things like headphones, car chargers and basically anything capable of causing a small fire when connected for long periods of time. My personal devices never have been set ablaze, but the tech accessories just don’t seem to last. Usually after a week or so, they break and, for me, that’s totally not worth my bucks! Another thing I recommend avoiding are the laundry cleaners. You may find them troublesome if you have sensitive skin or are washing anything near and dear to you. Well, there you have it, folks: my personal favorite finds that won’t break the bank. The best part about these dollar destinations is you can buy and try until you find your favorites! Good luck and happy bargain hunting! Jessica Samuel is a St. Louis native that now lives in Kansas City. She’s a photographer, freelance writer and graduate student.

10 november 2017

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CUTE ALERT! November books explore friends, family and being happy with yourself By McGeath Freeman

The Great Puppy Invasion

Thelma the Unicorn

Tentacle & Wing

By Aaron Blabey

By Sarah Porter

By Alastair Heim

Best for: Ages 4-7

Best for: Ages 9-12

Illustrated by Kim Smith Best for: Ages 4-7

illustrations add humor to the mass hysteria and cute-apocalypse.

We all have dreams. Some are bigger than others. For Thelma, who lives in a nice field and plays with her friend Otis, the dream is to become a famous unicorn. The dream seems forever in coming, until the day a truck carrying pink paint and glitter crashes into Thelma’s field. It just happens that is the same day Thelma ties a carrot onto her head to look like a unicorn. After the pink paint and glitter crash, Thelma looks like a pink, shiny unicorn. She shoots to stardom. She has everything: adoring fans, posh hotels and mean people who throw eggs at her. Although Thelma enjoys the travel and attention, she is lonely without Otis. This cute tale takes a dark turn that most young children won’t understand, but the message of being happy with who you are comes through nicely.

What’s bad: Older children will grow

What’s good: Good lesson on being

bored with the simple story line very quickly.

What’s bad: A dark turn with fame

Could you live in a town where cuteness of any sort is considered criminal? Strictville is just such a place. Everything seems to be okay until hundreds of adorable puppies invade the quiet town. The mayor tries to organize the townsfolk to get rid of the puppies. They try throwing sticks at them, but the puppies just bring them back. They try chasing the puppies. (Have you ever chased a puppy? They usually think it’s a great game!) Finally, the courage of one small boy who takes matters into his own hands solves the problem. In this case, he takes a paw into his hand and makes a friend. Strictville may have to change its name.

What’s good: Smith’s cartoonish

true to yourself. young children won’t likely understand.

12 november 2017

Science fiction, mystery and intrigue. If these describe what you look for in a book, then Tentacle & Wing may be right for you. A genetic experiment gone wrong is what they call 12-year-old Ada. She was born a chimera, having both human and animal DNA. This means she has special powers, but it also means she is in constant danger of being rounded up and shipped off to a quarantine facility. When Ada is outed and shipped off, she meets other “kimes” and discovers that the science facility is covering a big secret. Ada’s first-person, snarky commentary keeps the story from becoming too dark.

What’s good: Witty and intriguing look at how humans could evolve, with a little scientific intervention.

What’s bad: Like the “kimes,” this book sometimes struggles with it’s identity, never fully comitting to fantasy, mystery or simply science fiction.

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five habits


every mom should break

his list-style article begins with a bit of hypocrisy, because we should stop listening to others and abiding by others’ lists. But I do think we moms can agree that we need to stay true to ourselves in this social media- and imagedriven way of life.

1 comparing “Comparison is the thief of joy,” Theodore Roosevelt once said. Whether we’re comparing ourselves to other parents or our children to other children,

14 november 2017

that measuring simply is not a healthy habit. Every parent and family come from a different background with varying priorities. We all have unique strengths and weaknesses, so perhaps Mom #1 prefers nature walks over a clean house, whereas Mom #2 enjoys cleaning with allnatural cleaners while her children watch more TV. If you have more than one child, you can attest to all children’s being programmed differently. Maybe your older walked at 10 months, while his younger sibling was content crawling until 14 months. If we see differences

within our own family, think of all the differences in children in play groups or schools. We know there’s a reason experts give age ranges for stages of development. Knowing this, we must remember that we adults have varying interests and abilities too. That’s why people go into different professions: We aren’t supposed to be able to do it all. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if we could just drop in on someone’s house, using something like the nifty Amazon Echo, to get a real feel for what other families’ home lives are really like. We would probably discover we are more

alike than we realize but that we have distinct differences. We might even feel relieved and proud of our own families!


portraying a negative self-image Carrie Miller, Olathe mother of three, comments that moms need to break the habit of saying negative comments about their bodies or appearance in front of their kids, especially daughters. There’s wise advice. After all, more is caught than taught. Our children are paying attention constantly. They notice our behavior cues and how we talk about ourselves and others. Most parents want to teach their children kindness, especially in this day and age. Kindness needs to start with ourselves. My husband and I recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and I wanted a new swimsuit to take on our trip. I purposely took my 7-year-old daughter with me to try on swimsuits to make sure I was more body positive in front of her, as well as for my own self-image. I made every effort to say things like something didn’t fit to my liking, I needed a different size, and I liked the way one bottom fit but not the way the top did. Let’s be honest, trying on swimsuits is not any mother of three’s favorite activity, so my ending words to my daughter were, “Can you encourage Mommy to eat more fruits and vegetables?”

3 lightening your load Carrie Leibold, former Overland Park resident and mother of two, suggests moms need to break the habit of doing things for their children that they are capable of doing themselves. I am just becoming aware of how capable my children are or could be as I’m moving past the baby stages. For so long, ours has

been a mom-led ship: I get everyone up, dressed, fed, bathed, etc., but I’m realizing my kids can help without it being more work for me in the long run. So instead of being overwhelmed by dozens of quick household chores, I can have my family complete them. As John Heywood wisely stated, “Many hands make for light work.” My kids can switch over laundry and put their clothes away! My kids can unload the laundry and help with the dishwasher! My kids can feed the dog! Lightening your load in any capacity helps you get more ahead in your day and gives your children a sense of responsibility and pride in their home. Oftentimes, we moms feel as though we need to be able to do everything on our own. Maybe we essentially can, but we’re exhausted and overwhelmed. Asking for help when we need it is both beneficial and necessary. You are not just a mom, you are a woman with interests and hobbies too. If you’re feeling burned out, take a break. Other jobs take breaks, so take a break to read, exercise, call a friend or crochet. Extended family, friends and neighbors are other great resources to help make our lives run a bit more smoothly. It takes a village, after all.

4 pinterest A habit many moms think we should break is using Pinterest—or at least feeling inadequate from using Pinterest. “Pinterest is the world’s catalog of ideas. Our mission is to help people discover the things they love, and inspire them to go do those things in their daily lives,” says This site is for dreaming, not for unending absorption of unattainable pins that lead us into a devilish comparison trap. However, as with all things technology and social media, knowing Pinterest’s helpful value to you personally and setting up boundaries when necessary may be the

best approach. “Although Pinterest can be useful, in general, I think it’s just a repository for mom guilt, so I avoid it as much as possible,“ Robin Van Haste, Overland Park mother of two, says. Change your settings, notification alerts or set time limits for yourself. If you’re burdened by feeling inadequate or stepping into that comparison trap we mentioned above, take a break and refocus on why you’re looking on Pinterest in the first place.

5 being authentic Let’s make #authenticmotherhood a movement. Let’s encourage each other and ourselves—but without trying to outdo other moms. Post a real-life picture without filters or cleaning up that one spot real quick that’s “ruining” the picture. Real life is messy. Kids and families are messy. No one has it all under control; some are just better at disguising it. I love the “Mom Crush” video by Selah that shows this exact thought. We need to stop comparing our mess with someone else’s best. If you want authentic and honest friendships, you need to step up and be authentic first. It’s freeing to be able to be yourself and not feel like you must pretend to have it all together. Seek your tribe by “dating” different moms groups to find friends you can be honest with. They are out there; you just need to find them. At the end of the day, remember why you wanted to be a mom in the first place and what you envisioned and hoped for your youngster’s childhood to be like. Chase after your goals and high-five the rest of us chasing ours.

Stephanie Loux is the mother of Layla, 7, Mason, 5, and Slade, 2, and writes from her home. You can check out more of her writing at november 2017



when it burns


hinking it will “never happen to my kid” is easy, but every day more than 300 children ages 0-19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn injuries, and two of those children will die as a result. Younger children are more likely to suffer from burns caused by hot liquids or steam, and older children from flames of fire ( Minor burns often can be treated at home, but more serious burns require medical attention. Burns are categorized on three different levels, known as degrees. The degree, based on how badly the skin is damaged, determines what course of treatment should be taken (

First-degree burns are the mildest of the three, affecting only the top layer of the skin. This burn causes redness, pain and minor swelling and usually heals in three to six days. The skin that was burned may peel off after one or two days.

16 november 2017

Second-degree burns penetrate

beneath the top layer of the skin, are more serious and often require medical attention. These burns produce blisters, severe pain and redness. The blisters can break open and appear wet with a bright pink or red color. Depending on severity, the burn can take three weeks or more to heal.

Third-degree burns are the most serious. They involve all the layers of the skin and underlying tissue. The burn victim may experience little to no pain at the time of the injury because of nerve damage. The skin can appear dry and look either white, brown, leathery or charred. Healing time varies depending on the severity. These burns often require skin grafts, where healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and placed over the burn to help the area heal (

Knowing how to treat burns can be a little more difficult: It all depends on the degree of burn and the amount of skin it covers. Cool water or a cool compress can relieve the pain of a minor burn. But don’t put ice on the wound or apply any ointments, oils or sprays over the affected area. If a blister has formed, do not break it ( Keep the area clean and dry. If the burn isn’t oozing, place a dry gauze over the affected area. Seek medical attention immediately if the burns appear to be third degree, affect more than 10 percent of the body or involve the face, hands, feet, genitals or a moveable joint—or if the child is very young or difficult to treat at home. Jessica Heine is a labor and delivery nurse. She lives in Olathe with her family. As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.


grandma’s here!


ill, vacuum the living room. Grandma’s coming.” I wasn’t the only one to receive directions, and soon the house was a hotspur of activity as we cleaned, dusted and put things away. Grandma and Grandpa lived halfway across the next state, where they owned and operated a small, rural convenience store. The distance wasn’t insurmountable, but their hours were. At that time, state laws made them close on Sunday, and that was their only day off. This Thanksgiving was different, though. My grandparents had retired, sold the store, their house and relocated just a few blocks away. Older now, I didn’t share the excitement of my younger siblings. While they giggled and chatted, I felt the weight of my 13 years and maintained my dignity as I pushed the vacuum back and forth. I was almost grown up, while they were just kids. Once the house was all shipshape and the scent of the turkey and other delights wafted from the kitchen, Terri and Judy sat with baby David by the window and kept vigil. Every time a car rounded the corner, they’d perk up, then settle back down when it drove past the house without stopping. I went down the stairs to my room and the comfort of a book. For a while, passing cars caught my ear, though, and I’d peek out the window to see if it was them. The book soon drew me in, and I paid no attention to traffic sounds. I didn’t even notice when one car slowed, pulled into our driveway and stopped. A sudden burst of commotion after the front door opened took me from my book, and I raced upstairs to join the throng. Grandma gave me a warm hug, then held me out at arm’s distance. “You’re getting so big!”

William R. Bartlett lives in Belton with his family.

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party guide


hether you’re planning a princess tea party or a superhero birthday bash, the secret to organizing a party your child will treasure is to keep your little one’s interests at the forefront. If your child does well in smaller groups, keep the guest list small. Plan the menu around her favorite foods and look for little touches that celebrate the unique joy she brings to your family. Make his big day extra special with these simple tips that make childhood birthday parties manageable but magnificent:



Set a theme. Building your

celebration around a theme that reflects your child brings an added touch of fun and excitement. Popular options include a favorite color, sport, activity or character. While the Internet offers a mind-boggling array of ideas for crafting the perfect theme, there also are a variety of party-ready options for busy moms with limited time.

simple tips

for birthday bash success

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Decorate the guests. There’s no reason to stop with streamers and balloons. Integrate your guests into the decor with fun activities that bring your theme to life. Face paint, washable tattoos or stamps let little guests take an active role in the party and express a little creativity of their own.


Amp up the activity. Create

opportunities for all the little partygoers to participate in the festivities with interactive games that tie back to the theme of the party. Old-school favorites like pin-the-tail on the donkey can be updated to reflect today’s popular characters; make-your-own slime or clay is the perfect project for a group of mad scientists; or a treasure hunt can be adapted to nearly any theme.


Add some fancy to the food.

If your party menu calls for more than cake and ice cream, you can take advantage of another avenue to carry through your theme. A little creativity,

some clever monikers and a few basic modifications can quickly transform everyday snacks into festive fun. For example, a dinosaur party might feature Brontosaurus Burgers and T-Rex Trail Mix. The options are nearly endless, and if you’re at a loss, you can find ample inspiration online.


Offer a fond farewell. No

birthday party is complete without treats to send partygoers home happy. However, goodie bags need not be costly or elaborate. An inexpensive item such as bubbles or sidewalk chalk tied in theme-colored ribbon is a fun choice for many ages. When it comes to candy, favorite Hershey’s products – from Kit Kat Miniatures to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures to iconic Kisses chocolates – are now available in birthday-themed designs for a sweet ending to any celebration. Simply package items in a vessel that fits the theme, such as a purse for a princess party or a small pail for a beach blast.

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A life not lived for others is not a life. – Mother Teresa


raising a selfless

child in a selfish world

elfishness never has to be taught—something that never ceases to amaze me! Think about it. No one has to teach a toddler how to throw a tantrum. Zero outside influence is necessary for a preschooler to take a coveted toy away from another while yelling in obstinate victory, “Mine!!!” And no formal training is required for children to be experts in the skilled arts of back talking and whining. It’s as though selfishness is deeply embedded into our DNA. Add to the depravity of the human condition the fact that we live in a self-consumed culture that screams, “It’s all about ME!” and parents are up for a monumental task trying to shout more loudly, “No, it’s not!” Raising children to be selfless in a selfish world is tough but certainly not impossible. It takes time, intentionality and commitment.

Know What You’re Aiming For

Be a Window, Not a Mirror

In 2004, a man by the name of Matt Emmons took his stance as he prepared to shoot in a rifle competition. With a gold medal already to his name, his prospects looked good for qualifying once again. The results of his final shots were impressive and would have counted for seven—possibly eight—points had it not been for one thing. Matt Emmons stood in lane three and shot into lane four. Instead of qualifying for a medal, he left empty-handed as a result of shooting at the wrong target. Dave Stone, author of the book Raising Selfless Kids in a Selfish World, correlates this true story to the parenting journey. “It doesn’t matter if you hit the target if it’s the wrong target,” Dave declares. “There are lots of parents who are raising their kids to be wrapped up in themselves. As a result, their kids will hit the target, but it’s the wrong target.” Certainly no parents look into the eyes of their newborn child only to utter, “I can’t wait to raise a self-absorbed egomaniac!” And yet so often, it’s exactly what many parents do.

Ask any parent what she wants most for her child and a universal answer follows: “I want my child to be happy.” Ironically, when happiness is the highest ideal, oftentimes children are anything but. Kids need to see themselves in light of the broader world, not as the center of their own universe. When a child can’t see beyond himself, not only is he intolerable to those around him, but he hurts himself. The happiest people are giving people. Children need reminders that selfishness is seeking personal happiness at the expense of everyone else, whereas selflessness seeks the good of others and, in the process, can provide deep fulfillment. Want happy kids? Teach them to put down the mirror and focus on meeting the needs of others. One day they—and the next generation—will thank you.

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Looking for ideas on volunteering with kids? Log onto for a list of ways to give back as a family.

Character Is a Muscle It’s not enough to know what being selfless is. Kids need the opportunity to put these skills into practice. The best way to approach growing in virtue is to think of it as a muscle. Explain that just as working out strengthens muscles, so putting kindness and compassion into practice helps doing what’s right become natural and more automatic. And remember: There’s a reason for the expression “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Just as professional musicians begin their rehearsals with basic scales and star athletes never outgrow the need to work out, so selflessness needs to be put into practice often. It takes work, practice and, dare I say, ongoing training. Look for opportunities to serve the local community as a family and point out ways your kids can get involved to help “bulk” those character muscles. Serve dinner at a soup kitchen, sponsor a child through a program like Compassion International, fill Operation Christmas Child boxes around the holidays or simply offer to take the trash out or bring mail to an elderly neighbor. If character really were a muscle, insight would be the warm-up. Expose your child to needs around him and seek to find ways to meet them.

Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons Tooting your own horn about what you do for others is easy, but true character does the right thing even if no one is looking, even if no one ever finds out and even if you never get a pat on the back for your efforts. One of the best ways to put this into practice is to find ways to serve in secret. Help your child be on the lookout for ways to bless others without being discovered. Encourage him to secretly do his sister’s chores one day or leave anonymous notes of kindness. Over time, the satisfaction of doing what’s right—even if it never gets noticed—will be gift enough.



of college students used a designated driver when they socialized during the last school year.

Practice Thanksgiving Every Month In our household, like many, November is gratitude month. As a family, we prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving by taking out a specially designated journal and recording what we are thankful for each night. This tradition began years ago and there’s nothing I enjoy more than looking through past lists of thanksgiving. You would think that by the end of the month, finding new things for which to be thankful would be hard, but we’ve discovered just the opposite to be true. Gratitude begets gratitude. Don’t limit thanksgiving to a holiday. Designate a notebook for writing down blessings. And don’t underestimate the value of sending thank you cards or notes of encouragement when someone blesses you! Lauren Greenlee is a boy mom of three and a freelance writer hailing from Olathe.

Source: National College Health Assessment 2016

enjoy responsibly © 2017 Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO november 2017



putting the home in homework


omework: Kids dread it, and if the parents are honest, they do as well. From a kid’s saying at bedtime,“Oh yeah, I have homework due tomorrow,” to the crying that comes with difficult assignments, it is no wonder homework can be considered a dirty word. Parents can help children take responsibility for homework and train them to complete it on their own. Having a workspace for kids is the first step. Whether that is the kitchen table, a desk in the bedroom or a workspace in the basement, having a designated place to work every time will help with organization. Carol Taylor, Kearney mother of two, says, “I think if you have a certain place to do homework, it keeps them more apt to know that’s their place to study and do homework. If they do it anywhere, they’re more likely to misplace papers and then have to go on a hunt all over the house.”

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The kitchen table is the place for the two children of Liberty’s Melissa Jones. She says, “It has good lighting and few distractions. I keep pencils, erasers, rulers and calculator on hand.” Also recognize that as kids get older, their needs might change. Karla Schaeffer, Kansas City, has discovered that her high school daughter, Anna, likes to do her homework in her room, while her younger son, Michael, works at a desk downstairs. As children get older, responsibility can shift to allow such arrangements. Make sure distractions are at a minimum. Taylor says that TV is a no, but music is a yes. “I think music is a good way for them to calm down and it helps them think. But if I see it’s getting in the way, it’s turned off,” she says. The U.S. Department of Education recommends a set time each day to do homework, but sometimes that is not practical.



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“It’s hard to have a plan because each kid is different, and then activities throw a wrench into the schedule. I’ve had to learn to be flexible—just like almost every other aspect of parenting,” Schaeffer says. Also essential is a snack. As Schaeffer says, if the kids are hungry, they can’t concentrate. She usually serves a snack with protein, such as cheese and crackers or peanut butter. Plus, Taylor says, “They can’t use the excuse of being too hungry to do work.” Sitting down with your child, especially when he is younger, is important to help keep him on track. Reading, paying bills and balancing your checkbook are ways to set a good example for your child that can lead to good study habits.

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five ways


to carve out one-on-one time in a big family rowing up as an only child, I was not spoiled with THINGS, but instead, my parents gave me the gift of one-on-one time. I treasured that time and am learning it’s a gift that’s hard to stretch out among my own five kids when I also am homeschooling and

working part time from home. Yes, homeschooling counts as time, I guess. But it’s school time. And, yes, we do a lot of fun stuff out of the house together as a group, but I had to come up with a plan to sneak in that precious one-on-one time. Here are a few ideas that might work for you—and you don’t even need to have a big family to institute them. Whether you have one kid or 10, give these a try!

NIGHTLY TIME Monday nights are for my oldest son, Joel. We go upstairs around 9:00 before I get too punch-drunk tired and we read some of his current homeschool book we are supposed to be reading. The other kids know it’s our time, and they stay downstairs. This is also a good time for talking and sharing stories and thoughts and ideas. He is 14 now, and this time is priceless to me because we only have so much more time left together with him at home. I have to make sure I keep this relationship strong.

Tuesday nights are for Michael, with the same routine of reading and bonding. Michael entertains me with his dark humor, but he is often the quietest of the kids so it’s great for me to hear him out one-on-one. That he knows I value what’s going on in his 12-year-old head is important for me. Wednesday nights are for Callie. We like to watch some Project Runway Jr. and chat. Then I have her read to me from various books. She is 10 and still likes to spend time with me, so I am jumping on this opportunity.  

Thursday nights are for 8-year-old Eva. We engage in chitchat, I read her stories and maybe we watch a cartoon together. She is my kid who needs tons of physical affection, so we snuggle up. Friday nights are for 6-year-old Samuel. He loves to hear stories, so we take our time while I read to him, then he tells a story back to me and we discuss it if he wants to. Maybe we watch a cartoon and laugh together and just talk about his day.  

A movie or game night can be a fun way for the entire family to bond. Head to for ways to create a fun movie or game night in your home.

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DATES Our family’s intention is to do one-on-one kid dates twice a year, but unfortunately we seem to get them in only once a year (I need to work on that). These 4-hour kid dates are a big deal to the kids and wouldn’t even have to cost a cent, although I do like to take them out to eat so we can sit and chat and enjoy some good food and a treat. Depending on the kid, we might go to a park, hang out at a sporting goods store, hit a fabric shop or a toy store just to look around and play.









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Lately, when a kid asks to help me with something, I say yes. Of course, sometimes my blood pressure freaks out a little when messes are made and wrong things are put into recipes, but it all works out. They are learning and having fun is my mantra.


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finding a forever family how one adoption story has impacted many lives Foster Care in KC Currently, there are about 4,000 children in foster care in the Kansas City and Eastern Kansas regions. Specifically, there are about 1,600 children in foster care in the KCK metro.

DID YOU KNOW? • When you become a foster parent, you are assigned a family support worker who provides you with round-the-clock assistance. • KVC Kansas offers training classes throughout the year to equip you to parent children from all walks of life. • There is little to no cost to become a foster parent. • You don’t have to be perfect to be a foster parent. Source KVC Kansas

28 november 2017

o, do you know what you are going to name him?” Pregnant women are constantly asked what they are going to name their child, but it’s totally different when a pregnant woman asks a couple she has just met for the first time what they are going to name the child she is carrying. “Yes, actually,” I responded, telling her the name we had been thinking about. “I love it!” It’s not every day you have such a profound discussion in a mall food court over a random assortment of Mexican, Chinese and smoothies, but that’s one of many discussions my husband and I had with our son’s biological mother the first time we met her. She also gave us copies of the sonogram images during our time talking with the social worker in her office. That evening in late July four years ago was surreal to me. I grew up knowing I would never be able to have biological children, so I didn’t spend much time imagining what motherhood or my children might be like because I didn’t know whether I would ever be a mother. Then through events only God could have orchestrated, Valerie chose us to be our son’s adoptive parents. A sense of grief and loss can impact all ends of the adoption triad (biological parents, adoptive parents and adoptee), and for me, that involved coming to terms with the fact that it was never in God’s plan for me to have biological children. Many times I cried on my husband’s shoulder about it, but I knew God still had something wonderful in store. As I worked to move past my grief and allow God to work in my situation, my husband and I looked into what type of adoption to pursue (domestic or international) and what agency to use. Once we decided on a domestic adoption using a local non-profit agency, we began our home study. A home study, or the legal paperwork that must be completed in order to be approved to adopt, is a time-consuming process often referred to as a “paper pregnancy.” It involves background checks, references, interviews with social workers, providing financial information and more. Once that was complete, I made a profile book about us for expectant parents to view. Then came the waiting. Fortunately for us, we only had to wait a summer. Our

home study was officially complete in May, we met Valerie at the very end of July, and our son was born in mid-September. Throughout the whole process, Valerie demonstrated an incredible sense of selflessness. She allowed me to be in the delivery room with her, cut the cord and be the first one to hold him. I am very grateful she allowed me—someone she had met only three times and been in touch with for less than eight weeks—to experience his birth in that way. We stayed in the hospital with our son, and I’ll never forget Valerie’s bringing him back down to our room as she was being released. To say it was emotional is an understatement. Tears flowed freely, and we agreed to stay in touch. We didn’t know exactly what an open adoption would look like because it would be completely up to us. As it turns out, we typically get together about three times a year, and I regularly text her pictures and updates. “I don’t need to be the one raising him to be able to love him,” Valerie says. “Making an adoption plan doesn’t mean I don’t love my child. It means I recognized

I wasn’t in a position to give him the best life he deserved…I want him to firmly and confidently know his parents are his parents, and I don’t regret setting him up with these people who love him dearly. I don’t want him to doubt anything, so he has to see that I stand for the decision I made and that his parents are worthy of being his parents.”

FOSTER AND ADOPTIVE PARENTS! COLONIAL PRESBYTERIAN Church is offering a Respite Night on Nov. 11. Details on pg. 55. My husband and I have been amazed at Valerie’s perspective and how she put aside her feelings for the sake of a child. We will make sure he understands what she did was an incredible act of love. At 4 years old, our son doesn’t fully grasp what being adopted means and has yet to state an opinion on the matter. Yet given the open adoption, he’s starting to understand the concept and likely will

begin asking more questions about it before long. It’ll be a part of his story he’ll need to process, but I believe he’ll be well-adjusted to do that in a healthy way. I think he’ll view his adoption as something interesting about himself but not as anything that defines him. Quite simply, we have a bond with our son that is as strong as any bond between biological parents and children, and he simply belongs in our family. Valerie has said before that we all turned out winners in the situation. I believe that is an excellent statement that sums up things well. We’ve all experienced grief and loss, but God has worked through that to do some wonderful things. “I think both he and I are living the best lives we can be at this time, because I cared so deeply about him to make sure he started down a path where he could blossom and excel,” Valerie says. “I’m eternally grateful to know that every day he is cared for and gets the attention he needs and deserves. My perspective is entirely positive.” Allison Gibeson is a freelance writer from Lee’s Summit.

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: e r failu how mistakes— both yours and theirs—boost motivation and learning

30 november 2017


ate-fall light streamed through my minivan windshield as I approached the school pickup line, eager to hear about my first-grader’s day. But when she climbed into her booster seat, clambering past her two younger siblings in their car seats, her small face trembled with accusatory rage. “I didn’t get to check out a book at the school library,” she said. Why? “Because YOU forgot to put my last book in my backpack this morning.” I sat quietly, feeling a momentary swell of parental shame. That’s right—it was Library Day. I let out a breath. “I’m sorry, honey. That must have been hard. But remembering to return a library book is your responsibility.”  Predictably, she didn’t agree. But I held my ground: With a new baby in the family, I simply couldn’t stay on top of her school library checkouts. So she had to—and, over time, she did. With the help of a designated spot for library books in her room and hand-written reminder notes, she remembered to throw last week’s book into her backpack on the day it was due, her face beaming with hardearned pride.   While I felt guilty (Shouldn’t I find time for it all??), I unwittingly gave my child a gift. It’s a gift that’s gaining ground as a highly valued learning tool, and one you can’t find in stores: the gift of failure. 

what failure fosters New research shows that childhood failures pave the way for a successful adulthood (if only I’d known this on Library Day). Simply put, failure teaches kids about perseverance, creativity, resilience and motivation in ways that nothing else can, says Jessica LaHey, New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. According to Angela Duckworth, the University of Pennsylvania researcher who coined the term “grit,” kids who aren’t allowed to fail won’t develop perseverance (a.k.a. grit). That matters because grit is more strongly linked to success than IQ, good looks or physical health, says Duckworth. Kids who are protected from failure by a parent who swoops in to the rescue to, say, hand-deliver a late homework assignment or demand that a teacher change a poor grade, wind up without the perseverance needed to succeed later on. Failure is so central to learning that the Girl Scouts of America leads its new PSA with a message about being “prepared to fall down, get back up and go for it.” That message “is central to what Girl Scouts is all about,” says Stefanie Ellis, spokesperson for Girl Scouts of Western Washington. “We want girls to discover what they’re passionate about, and that comes with challenges and pitfalls. How those challenges are handled is paramount to success.” Though I didn’t know it at the time, the library book experience provided a near-ideal platform for early learning about failure: The stakes were relatively low; a couple of late fines for early-readers wouldn’t keep my daughter out of college. Plus, she had weekly opportunities to repeat the experience, along with the lesson, because if she failed to remember her books one week, she could try again the next. Like many of life’s lessons, failure’s learning value is enhanced by repetition, so allowing children to experience small failures, like forgetting a lunchbox or flubbing an assignment due date, sends the message that failures aren’t catastrophic, notes Tacoma-based psychotherapist Kent Hoffman, co-author of Raising a Secure Child.  Kids always can try again. And for aspiring parents-turnedknights-in-shining-armor like myself, the message is even more simple. As LaHey of The Gift of Failure puts it: “Every rescue is a lesson lost.”

how failure boosts motivation When parents struggle to embrace failure as a natural part of learning, kids notice. Per Stanford researchers Kyla Haimovitz and Carol S. Dweck, it’s parents’ beliefs about failure that shape kids’ motivation to learn. Their 2016 study found that children could accurately determine whether their parents viewed failure as a setback or an opportunity, and these beliefs influenced kids’ intelligence mindsets, or their beliefs about their own potential for learning and growth. The researchers theorize that when parents focus on performance and ability—or the lack thereof—instead of learning, children will tend to believe their own potential is limited, draining motivation to learn. That’s because children who view smarts as something you grow, instead of something you’re given, tend to approach obstacles

more creatively. When one strategy doesn’t work, they’ll devise another and try again. Emphasizing results over effort neatly sidesteps the (sometimes messy) process of creatively approaching a problem from different angles, subtracting the learning value from the equation, says LaHey. That’s why dangling carrots in the form of rewards or bribes is ineffective, and even counter-productive. “Extrinsic motivators, or motivators that come from outside, undermine motivation,” says LaHey. “Kids who are rewarded for creative activities produce less creative products and are less invested in the endeavor.” Malia Jacobson is a nationally published journalist.

Raising resilient, motivated kids who bounce back from failure isn’t easy, but it’s possible with these expert strategies:

• Check yourself. In order let kids to fail, parents may first need to get over their own fear of being judged, says Susan Smith Kuczmarski, EdD, author of Becoming a Happy Family. Yes, you might be the parent who sends a coatless child to school on a cold day, but your child’s long-term emotional resilience is worth a few disapproving glances. (And he’ll likely remember that coat next time.) • Acknowledge your own failures. When parents strive for perfection themselves, children pick up on their anxiety, says Hoffman. “Establish a rule of thumb that when mistakes do happen—yours or your child’s—you’ll learn from them and move on.” • Prioritize connection. When we show kids that

mistakes are okay, they learn they don’t live on a flat world; even if they fail, there’s no way to fall off, says Hoffman. After a slip-up (yours or theirs), prioritize reconnecting and repairing the relationship. “The more our children can trust in our commitment to them, the more they can trust that mistakes are part of being loved,” Hoffman says.

• Emphasize effort. Encourage motivation and

creativity by breaking out of the habit of rewarding results. Instead of saying, “No screen time until you’ve fixed the mistakes on that worksheet,” try, “Give that homework your best effort for 45 minutes, and then we’ll take a break.”

• Focus on your long-term parenting goals.

Parenting is a long-haul job. “Stop being so stressed out and anxious about this homework assignment, this soccer game,” LaHey says. “Sometimes difficult decisions about approaching failure are easier if you think in terms of long-term goals of competence and learning.” november 2017


The more often you dedicate time to talking to your child, the more your child will exercise his or her listening skills.


alking to your children can be one of the most rewarding parts of your day as a parent. But when there are struggles with listening, it also can be frustrating. “I felt like our son would lose interest in our conversations. He would get distracted and jump from topic to topic. I know kids have shorter attention spans, but it can make it hard to connect,” says Tracy Carmichael, Kansas City, MO, mom. Strong listening skills can help your child succeed in all aspects of life. In social interaction, academics, sports, activities and beyond, learning to actively listen is an important life lesson. “It has always been important to us to raise our kids to be good listeners. To really engage with another person when they are speaking, rather than waiting for a turn to talk. And to listen fully to directions before acting,” Kacy Golden, Olathe mom, says. “These things can give kids such an advantage.” There are two types of listening: active and passive. When your child is listening passively, he or she hears your words but does not outwardly engage with what you are saying. When your child is listening actively, he or she thinks about what you have said and reacts or interacts. Here are a few tips to help your child learn the valuable skill of active listening:

32 november 2017

HUH? Tips to Improve a Child’s Model good listening. The

Actively engage. The more often you

best way for children to learn behavior is to watch the behavior. “I know that when I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ my toddler is more likely to use those words,” Monica Ross, Shawnee mom, says. “It takes more time and patience, but it works the same way with listening. I have to show him how to listen in order for him to learn.” To model active listening, demonstrate to your child that you are paying attention. Look the child in the eye while he talks and use your body language to show you are following along. Provide feedback while your child speaks, and ask questions. Keep distractions to a minimum and do not try to multitask while having an important conversation.

dedicate time to talking to your child, the more your child will exercise his or her listening skills. If making a connection is difficult, try getting on your child’s level when you talk and look the child in the eye. Pay attention to your child’s interests and allow those interests to be topics of conversation. If you want your child’s full attention, try to begin conversations when the child is not distracted. Do not begin the conversation until you have the child’s attention or you likely will struggle to gain his attention during the conversation.

Follow directions. Teaching children to follow directions can help your child’s listening skills improve. There are many things you can do around the house to help make following directions fun! Try cooking together and reading the recipe step-by-step. Ask your child to repeat the steps back to you and discuss what comes next. Play games where there are multiple steps to follow or set up obstacle courses with many steps.

Talk, talk, talk. The more words your child hears, the more his vocabulary will grow. A larger vocabulary helps your child understand more in conversation and communicate better with others. Experts recommend that children hear 30,000 words per day! Many of these words will come in daily communication and interaction with friends and family members. However, you can increase the word count by listening to music, reading books and telling stories. The benefits of active listening stretch way beyond childhood. People who are good listeners are more productive, lead less stressful lives, make fewer mistakes at work and build more harmonious relationships.

Listening Skills

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Call us today for your free trial class Fun Activities to Help Promote Listening Skills Reading is a wonderful way to help expand your child’s imagination, grow your child’s vocabulary and improve his or her listening skills. For maximum benefit, try these tips while you are reading: • Ask your child questions about the story as you read. • Invite your child to help you guess what will happen next in the story. • Take time to look at the pictures and ask your child to describe each scene.


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dealing with a child’s



s a child, I assumed my parents weren’t afraid of anything. I would call on their help when I felt scared or nervous, and they were always there to check under the bed for monsters and assure me that all was safe. One day I found a wasp flying around in my room and I called my dad to help. When he saw what the problem was, he ran back out of the room in terror. My dad is terrified of wasps. In that moment, I realized that adults have fears too. It’s normal for children to have fears. Kids may have bad dreams, be frightened of the dark or find certain movie scenes scary. However, kids can develop fears that interrupt their everyday lives, such as a fear of speaking in front of others, fear of being dropped off at school or fear of trying new things. Here are some tips to help kids face their fears.

give permission Parents can let kids know that being scared is perfectly normal and acceptable. When you give a child permission to feel afraid, he can begin to acknowledge what is frightening him and face it head on. Parents can give tips on how to deal with different situations and work through the situation together. Lauren Heller, Overland Park mother of twins, says, “For my preschoolers, we spend time talking about the event starting a few days before. I try to help them know what to expect and allow them to ask questions.”

be honest If there is a scary situation coming up, the best approach is being as honest as possible with your child so she knows what to expect. “I try my best to prepare my kids in advance for scary situations. If there is a medical procedure coming up, I tell them what is going to happen. I never say it won’t hurt if it really will,” says Fia Swartwood, Olathe mom of two. “My honesty has helped my kids through lots of situations.” In the short term, half-truths or sugar coating might help your child prior to a scary situation, but in reality, the trust that is built through honesty helps kids in the long term.

problem solve Try to pinpoint exactly the source of your child’s fear and discuss ways she can handle it. For example, when Jane Hammond’s 9-year-old daughter was afraid of falling during an ice skating competition, they discussed what would be the strategy if she fell: Just get back up, no big deal. “She did fall once in a competition, then got back up and finished. She was glad for the experience!” says Hammond, mom of three from Linwood, KS. Other problems have easy solutions that kids can’t always think of on their own. For instance, if your child is afraid of the dark, using a night light may help solve the problem.

34 november 2017

teach coping skills Each time your child is afraid, give a wide variety of options he can use to overcome his fears. A child may be able to calm down by singing a song, hugging a stuffed animal, telling a joke or declaring that monsters aren’t real. Giving your youngster the tools he needs to face his fears, while also reassuring him you are always there to help him, allows him to try handling his fear on his own, knowing you have his back if it doesn’t work out. Stephanie Loux, mom of three, says, “I also keep the wins in my back pocket to remind them of past successes. It encourages them to try new things because they remember how well it worked out in the past.” This technique works great for scary situations, such as trying a roller coaster, speaking in front of a crowd or trying a new extracurricular activity.

reward for bravery As you see your children overcome fears—or at least make efforts to face the things that scare them—reward them for their bravery. Giving positive feedback and acknowledging their efforts will

encourage kids to keep trying to confront the things that cause them fear and anxiety. A parent’s praise can really build children’s confidence so they are prepared to face a variety of challenges. As you work these steps with your child, continue to be patient and supportive. “When our kids are scared, we let them know Mommy and Daddy are bigger and tougher than anything scary. And we will always protect them,” says Amy Cameron, Olathe mother of three. “We have defeated monsters in the dark by reassuring them that, as parents, we make the rules and there are no monsters allowed in our house.” Having fears is normal, and explaining this to your child is appropriate. As scary situations arise, encourage your children to share their feelings with you so you can deal with them together.

Mom of six, Sarah Lyons lives in Olathe with her family.

Is your child afraid of the dark? Visit for tips on dealing with nighttime fears.


Scaredies Away! A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety (Made Simple)

Chicken Lily

Bear Feels Scared

First Day Jitters

by Lori Mortensen

by Karma Wilson

by Julie Danneburg

The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone

by Stacy Fiorile

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

T here’s an Alligator Under My Bed

by Linda D. Williams

by Mercer Mayer

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Curious George Goes to the Hospital

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

by H. A. Rey november 2017



hen babies are born, they rely on their parents and other caregivers to solve their most basic problems. When they are hungry, someone feeds them; when they are wet, someone changes them. But as babies grow up, their problems become more complicated. Parents don’t like to see their children struggling or hurting, so their inclination may be to step in to “fix” the problems their kids are facing. But what happens when parents continually solve their children’s problems? Erosion of a child’s selfconfidence and delayed development of problem solving skills can both result from an environment where adults repeatedly solve kids’ problems. A child might also blame the parent if the solution is not successful. So how can parents help children be responsible for solving their own problems, while still providing the support they need? Dr. Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School, recommends the threestep collaborative problem solving approach, in which parents empathize with the child, help him define the problem and invite him to come up with possible solutions. Because problems vary with age, a parent’s involvement also varies.

preschool to early elementary school

help kids

become great problem solvers

birth to preschool What problems could children this age possibly have? Although they may not seem like huge predicaments to us, how to build a tower that doesn’t fall over and how to put on their shoes are very real problems for little tykes. Parents can encourage the development of problem solving skills by letting young children have plenty of unstructured play time. Blocks, puzzles and shape-sorters all provide challenges and help kids use trial and error to figure out the best solution. Encourage your child and provide praise when she figures something out. Rather than simply saying “nice job,” describe what she did to solve a problem: “I like how you used the rectangle block to make a bridge.” If she becomes overly frustrated, ask open-ended questions to guide her: “What would happen if…”

36 november 2017

Problems at this age often revolve around transitioning to school life, fighting over objects and not getting their way. Martha Rodgers, kindergarten teacher at Cambridge Elementary in Belton, says that children start school with different levels of conflict resolution competency, and daily practice of the skill is necessary. “To give a child the resolution to a problem is not in the best interest of the child. The art of questioning is the best way for a child to understand the problem and the possible solutions based on their knowledge of the situation. Let the child tell you what a good idea would be to resolve the problem.” Martha adds that additional questioning will be required to have the child understand the cause and effect of their actions and reasoning.

early elementary to early teens

“Hannah told me I can’t come to the sleepover!” “I accidentally broke Josh’s pencil and he said he hates me!” Sound familiar? Problems at this age often revolve around social issues, such as fights with friends or feeling left out of a group. Overland Park mom Nancy Rhomberg says her husband, Tom, is a calm negotiator who helps their three children think of different options to problems. “He makes them think of the outcome of their choices. He’s very good at helping them figure things out,” she says. Invite your child to identify the problem and come up with a list of solutions (writing them down is a helpful way to organize). Go over each one and ask him to talk about the possible outcome of each one. Ask what he thinks is the best solution and talk about plans to put each into action. Even if it’s not the solution you would use, let him try it.

Tisha Foley and her husband raise their two problem solvers in Belton.

Marty the Martian, the Library’s mascot, will be celebrating his second Earth birthday and the Grow A Reader early literacy program throughout the month of November at a Mid-Continent Library branch near you!


Join us to celebrate, meet Marty and enjoy stories, songs, refreshments, and fun!


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Tech Gifts—for People Who Truly Need Them


hese days gift-giving holidays are all about gadgets: cell phones, educational toys and smart devices for the home. Families lucky enough to take technology for granted have a big advantage. Not only do they have the fun of giving the latest techno-gizmos, they are also more comfortable figuring out how things work, navigating virtual spaces and doing the inevitable problem-solving. Because technology plays such a big part in education as well as adulthood, easy and early access for everyone would be great. Instead, we face what’s often been called a digital divide. Families that don’t have ready access to technology often fall behind, creating a bigger gap between haves and have-nots.   During the holidays, when people who have more look for opportunities to share with people who have less, it’s worth thinking beyond warm mittens and turkey dinners.  Consider participating in one of these efforts to make the digital divide less of a chasm.   

1. Donate money. The simplest way to get technology into the hands of kids who wouldn’t otherwise have it is to donate to well-run organizations.  

38 november 2017

• One Laptop Per Child has an

ambitious goal: Get a rugged, connected, low-cost computer into the hands of every child in the world. The laptops weigh less than a lunchbox and come equipped with simple software that allows children to read, write, record, measure and make music. With partners around the world and in low-income regions of the United States, they already have distributed more than 2.5 million computers. (

• The Rural Technology Fund was

founded by a tech executive who had limited access to computers when he was growing up in rural Kentucky. His organization helps out-of-the-way schools get equipment and books that will ignite a spark for studying electronics, programming or engineering. The organization also gives scholarships to students from rural communities who hope to pursue careers in technology. (

2. Adopt a classroom. Public

schools are another way to give kids access to technology. Teachers usually know what

would make a difference in their classrooms, and playing Santa can be very rewarding.       

• Your local school district. Find

out whether teachers at your child’s school have technology on their wish lists. Or make a gift to your local school foundation. If your district is affluent, consider reaching out to a school in a community that has more challenges.

• Donors Choose is one of several

websites that give teachers a chance to explain how they would use specific pieces of equipment. The site makes it possible to search by location or curriculum. In many cases, a relatively modest donation will put current technology in the hands of teachers eager to use it with their students. (

3. Donate Equipment. If

family members receive tech gifts during the holidays, you may have used equipment to donate. Or share the joy by giving another child a game your child loves.

• The Non-Profit Locator helps donors

identify local organizations that might need equipment they aren’t using anymore.  Enter a zip code to get a list of

local agencies and detailed information about the kinds of equipment they could use. (

• Child’s Play gets video games to

children’s hospitals and shelters for kids who have experienced domestic violence. A map on their website shows the organizations in their network. Each group has an Amazon wish list, which usually features popular video games and systems. The website also includes a helpful guide to therapeutic games that help children cope with pain, boredom and anxiety.  (

4. Volunteer. The holidays are also

an excellent time to make resolutions about doing good in the new year. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a geek, you can find ways to help children learn about technology.

• hopes to make computer

science a standard part of the curriculum, just like biology or chemistry. The group

provides lesson plans for grades K-12 and organizes an annual Hour of Code campaign, which has reached 10 percent of all students in the world. They actively recruit volunteers to help with the Hour of Code and equip them with a helpful toolkit. ( 

• Community Corp identifies volunteer opportunities for people who have more technical expertise. Their search engine allows you to find virtual or in-person projects in a variety of areas (

5. Set up passive donations. Perhaps the easiest way to support these (and other) charities is registering with a site that makes a micro-donation every time you do something simple like searching or shopping online.

• Goodsearch is an ordinary search

engine powered by Yahoo that makes a tiny donation to a chosen charity each time you search. For families that do a lot

Special Beginnings

of research, the numbers add up. Their sister site, GoodShop, makes it easy to donate a fraction of every online purchase to good causes.

• Giving Assistant is a coupon

marketplace that offers discounts from big retailers like Best Buy, Kohl’s and Bed Bath and Beyond. A percentage of what you save goes to the charity you designate.

Whatever you decide to do, involve your kids as much as possible. Encouraging them to imagine life without their beloved devices may very well be the gateway to a lifelong habit of empathy and generosity.

Carolyn Jabs, MA, has been writing about families and technology for more than 20 years. She is also the author of Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart, available at Amazon and    


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Gift Guide

For those early shoppers, here are a few ideas to get you started with your holiday purchases!

Kanakuk Kamps This Christmas, give your child the gift of confidence, strong character and life-long friendships! Kanakuk is a premier summer camp outside of Branson, Missouri, for boys and girls age 6–18. More than 70 activities, sports and themed parties provide age-appropriate, fun, safe experiences to help Kampers grow spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially. Learn more about customizing your child’s experience at

American Girl 7" Tablet Powered by Nabi

Dispatch by Breakout A new monthly mystery game box subscription from the nation’s leading escape room brand, Breakout, is revolutionizing game night and bringing escape rooms to the comfort of your home. Each delivery of a Dispatch gift box gives everyone—from families, to friends, to coworkers—an opportunity to unravel a mysterious crime from anywhere, all while building community, critical thinking and creative processing and having fun!

Nabi, a Mattel brand known for creating innovative, high-tech solutions for kids and families brings the American Girl tablet, which includes 70 videos, apps and games featuring American Girl characters. The tablet has specific sound effects that will surprise and delight kids as they explore their tablet. All American Girl fans will want to add this tablet to their growing collection.

Lakeshore Lakeshore, a leader in creating innovative learning materials nationwide for over 60 years, rolls out a brand new line of products for the 2017 holiday season. The Gifts for Growing Minds product line gets kids excited about learning, sparks their imaginations and helps them reach important developmental milestones or educational goals. Available at the store in Merriam or at See pg. 11 for a money saving coupon!

40 november 2017

Hatchimals Surprise Just when you thought you’d seen the last of the Hatchimal craze…they are back for this holiday season with Hatchimals Surprise and they have an unEGG-spected treat in store for you: twins! The twins are hidden inside a magical speckled egg. Use your love and care to help them hatch. Each twin has a unique personality! Available at Target, Walmart and other select retailers.

Operation Christmas Child Kids Helping Kids

National Collection Week is Nov. 13-20 1. Choose a Box Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

2. Boy or Girl? Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork at Mark the correct age category on the label and tape the label to the top of your box.

3. Fill with Gifts Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with a pump or

a stuffed animal. Then fill the box with a variety of other gifts that will bring delight to a child. Ideas include small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, ball caps, hair clips, etc. You can even include a personal note and photo to the child receiving the box.

4. Include Your Donation Please donate $9 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using the “Follow Your Box” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box.

5. Drop Off Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the collection center nearest you during our collection week, Nov. 13-20. Lenexa Baptist Church and Colonial Presbyterian Church are local drop off locations. For a list of more, visit and enter your zip code to find the nearest drop off location. No time to build a box? No worries! You can build a box online at

New this year: No toothpaste or candy. These items are no longer allowed in shoeboxes due to customs regulations. november 2017


table of contents

42 november 2017

43 thanksgiving hacks

44 pumpkin cheesecake recipe

45 indian corn favors

46 thankful thoughts, a-z

48 dinner’s done, now what?

50 making memories

thanksgiving hacks:

simple ways to prep and celebrate


kay, I’ll admit I’ve never cooked a complete Thanksgiving dinner by myself. I have, however, hosted on many occasions and am not ashamed to admit it was a joint effort among me, my husband and any guests who attended! So I asked some Thanksgiving experts (mostly moms and grandmas) for their best Thanksgiving tips. Here are some tricks to help your day run smoothly.


Ask everyone to bring something. I know, sounds like common sense right? But when people offer to bring something, actually take them up on it. When we’ve hosted, we provided the turkey but someone else brought the bean casserole. Another person brought the mashed potatoes. Or an appetizer. You don’t need to do it all to pull off a successful day.


You’ll need room in your refrigerator, so pull your coolers out of the basement or garage and fill them with food from the fridge. You won’t need those hotdogs or that jar of mayo for a few days until the leftovers are gone!


Use your kitchen cabinet as a recipe holder. Rather than risking your phone or computer in the midst of all the cooking, or monopolizing precious space with a cookbook stand, simply copy your needed recipes and tack them up high with tape. Food can splatter them with no consequence, and you will have more counter space.


Prep as much as possible the day before. Chop everything you can chop, including veggies for stuffing, apples for pies, etc. (Trick to keeping apples from browning: Keep them in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to make the pies.) Lay out your pie crusts and freeze them so they keep their shape. You even can slow roast your turkey overnight to free up oven space the following day. Lastly, freeze your sticks of butter. On Thanksgiving morning, you can grate the frozen butter into recipes like pies for easy mixing!


Forget a roasting rack? Don’t have a rolling pin? Improvise! Wine or beer bottles make great makeshift rolling pins. And you can create your own roasting rack by rolling up tin foil and coiling it at the bottom of the roasting pan, or lay down large chunks of carrots, onions and potatoes and position the turkey on top. The drippings make the veggies taste delicious with this method!


Again, this one might be obvious, but use what you have in the cabinet and fridge! Stale bread makes stuffing delicious and soaks up some extra moisture. And the day after Thanksgiving, throw all the leftover turkey and veggies into a giant pot of stew. Dinner is made for the week!


Set the table the night before. Dig out the fancy china and gravy boat, as well as Grandma’s silver, if that’s what you’re using. This way you’re not scrambling to find everything the next day when food is simmering on the stove.


Create a schedule—either for the week or just the day. Writing out every step and allotting a time for each will help you stay on track and not forget something like defrosting the turkey or cooking the biscuits. (Someone in our family always forgets the biscuits!) And don’t wait until the last minute—buy as much as you can the week before and then perishable items on Tuesday or Wednesday.

9 10

Buy to-go containers or tell your guests to bring theirs from home. This way everyone gets to go home with lots of leftovers. And finally and most importantly: Don’t talk politics!

Happy Turkey Day!

Olathe mom Karen Johnson has three kids, ages 8, 6 and 4. She writes at november 2017


Bake your crust: Cut an 8 x 16-inch piece of wax paper. Center the wax paper in an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish, allowing the extra to hang over the edges. (These will be your handles when you remove your chilled cheesecake for cutting.) Pour contents of food processor bowl over wax paper. Using clean hands, press down tightly to make as compact and even a crust as possible. Place in preheated oven and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.



cheescake bars

ake yourself a promise. Every year, as the autumn breeze blows through the trees and pumpkin arrives on store shelves, make these pumpkin cheesecake bars. These bars have all the flavors of Thanksgiving in a creamy, perfectly sized portion. Traditional cheesecake mingles with warming spices and pureed pumpkin. Underneath every bite of cheesecake is a homemade ginger-pecan graham-style crust. I challenge you to decide which part you prefer best! Making these in an 8 x 8-inch pan allows you to cut them into small bars, perfect for picnics, school lunches or even entertaining! For instructions on how to roast your own pumpkin, visit If you are in need of a shortcut, feel free to use ½ cup of pure canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix). The results will be fabulous either way! Makes 20 bars.

Start to finish: 2 hours 20 minutes, 20 minutes active

For the ginger-pecan crust: 1 c. pecans 3/4 c. rolled oats 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour 1/2 c. organic brown sugar 1 T. ground cinnamon 1/2 t. sea salt 1/4 t. ground ginger 1/4 t. ground nutmeg 2 T. butter, room temperature 1 egg yolk, room temperature

For the pumpkin cheesecake: 16 oz. real cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 c. organic cane sugar 2 eggs, room temperature 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin 2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour

44 november 2017

1 T. ground cinnamon 2 t. pure vanilla 1/2 t. sea salt 1/4 t. ground ginger 3/4 t. ground nutmeg

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your ginger-pecan crust: Except for the butter and egg yolk, place all ingredients listed under “for the ginger-pecan crust” in the bowl of a food processor. Using the blade attachment, pulse ingredients for about a minute, until pecans and oats are crumbly and all other ingredients well combined. Add the butter and egg yolk to the bowl. Pulse for another minute, until egg and butter are dispersed and all dry ingredients are damp.

While crust bakes, prepare the custard for your cheesecake: Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or your handheld mixer), beat room temperature cream cheese and ½ cup cane sugar over medium-high to high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy. Turn off mixer and use a spatula to scrape down bowl. Add two eggs and beat over medium-high speed for an additional 30-45 seconds, until custard-y. Add all remaining ingredients listed under “for the pumpkin cheesecake,” starting with the pumpkin. Using a low speed, blend all ingredients just until well combined. Set aside until ready to use. When crust has baked for 10 minutes, remove from oven, place on a wire rack to cool slightly, and turn down oven to 350 degrees. When oven has reached 350 degrees, bake your cheesecake: Pour cheesecake custard over ginger-pecan crust. Return pan to oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes have lapsed, turn off oven. LEAVE CHEESECAKE IN OVEN and allow it to set for 90 minutes, IN THE OVEN! When additional 90 minutes have lapsed, remove cheesecake from oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. When it’s thoroughly cooled, store in fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, use wax paper handles to remove cheesecake from pan and cut into 20 squares. Arrange bars on a beautiful platter, serve and enjoy! (If not serving all in one sitting, cut just as many bars as you need. This will keep the edges of the individual pieces from drying out.) Shawnee mom Katie Newel is a former junk food junkie turned certified nutrition coach. She is also a culinary instructor, cookbook author and mama to two sweet girls, ages 7 and 9.


Materials Needed:

• Reese’s Pieces • Pretzel bags • Twine • Kraft paper

candy indian corn favors


or a great Thanksgiving craft that can also be a small gift to give away, make some candy Indian corn favors. These little bags of autumn-colored candies look just like Indian corn and will make the Thanksgiving table welcoming to the little ones this year! Kids of all ages will enjoy making these festive favors, and they come together very quickly and easily. You will love them so much that making these favors may even become your new Thanksgiving tradition! Megan Kapple is a blogger from Kansas City, MO, where she lives with her husband and four children. She loves anything DIY and crafty and blogs about her adventures at

Tin Can Thankful Trees

Indian Corn Napkin Holders

Step One: Fill the pretzel bags about three-quarters full with the candy. You can find these bags at any craft store. Step Two: Tie off the top of the bag with a twisty tie or a piece of twine.

Step Three: Cut a piece of kraft paper into a square and crumple it up and then smooth it out.

Step Four: Make cuts into the paper to create a fringe.

Painted Twig Bouquet

Step Five: Wrap the fringe

For TONS more great craft projects, log onto!

around the top of the Indian corn and tie a piece of twine around it to hold it in place. november 2017


thankfulness: as easy as abc Jokes: Did you hear the one about…?

Laughter is one of the many keys to a happy life. So tell a good knee-slapper tonight and fill your home with giggles.

Kindness: This world can seem

downright hopeless sometimes. With tragedy and hate filling the news cycle, we’re especially thankful for the kindness others show to us, and we know others are grateful for the kindness we show them.

Love: It’s easy to forget about this in our


is the season to be grateful. Check out our list of 26 things to be thankful for as we kick off the holidays with warmth and love.

Automatic withdrawal: Did we forget

to pay the electricity bill today? Why yes we did, but good ol’ automatic withdrawal never forgets. Bless you for saving our credit score.

Babysitters: And back-up babysitters.

And in-law babysitters. And strangers we meet on the street who look like trustworthy babysitters. (Okay, maybe not quite that far…but then again.)


oupon codes: Let’s face it, the only way we’re going to buy a new t-shirt to replace the one with the spaghetti sauce stains from Meatball Monday is to find it online. So finding a coupon code for 5 percent off is that added fist pump we need to make it through the week.

Delivery: Without it, we are sunk.

The end.

46 november 2017

busy day-to-day lives, but love is what keeps us moving and striving to be our best selves. And you can’t truly love anyone until you love yourself first.

Early Release: Days when the kids are

let out early from school keep us on our toes and make sure we are reading the school newsletters!


riends: Never underestimate the power of a friendship. Whether we’ve been friends for 20 years or only six months, friends are the backbone of our lives. They listen, never judge, and are always willing to go to a terrible ’80s band concert for a night away from the kids. Cheers to you, sisters!


randparents: They are living proof that we will get through our children’s teen years—eventually. A grandparent’s gentle smiles and never ending patience are like scotch tape for our soul.

Hugs: Who doesn’t live for the big

unexpected bear hugs that come from a child who is just super into us in this moment. For comfort. For love. Forever.

Ice cream: It tastes amazing and never

talks back. Pair it with a delicious glass of whatever’s in the wine cabinet and Tuesday night just went from meh to MADE.


oments: A fit of laughter that just can’t be contained. An unexpected burp at the dinner table. A high math grade that was truly earned. These are the things we can never get enough of, so let’s stop and appreciate them when they happen.

Nights out: Do these even still exist?

The answer is “yes”, but chances are we’re going to have to take the initiative and plan them ourselves. Either way, they are necessary, they are important, and they are WORTH IT.

Opportunity: Every day is a new chance

to try something new. We couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing opportunities each day brings us…if only we’d jump on them when they show up!


ets: They love us, protect us and drive us crazy. But they are our family. Go find your dog or kitty and give an extra snuggle tonight. Let him know you’d be much less happy without him.

Quiet: Those few fleeting moments in the morning when the kids are still dreaming

and our morning joe is bubbling….awww, serenity. We know the storm will break in 10 minutes, but we relish the peaceful moments in between the madness.

Uncles: And aunts and cousins and all

Yoga: It may sound cliché, but nothing

those other crazy family members that come together during the holidays.

calms and centers a worn out, stressed body and mind like a great yoga session. And has anyone ever wished to be less flexible? Hardly. Quiet your mind and soul with a class and see where it takes you. Ohhhhhmmmm.

Recipes: Grandma’s homemade biscuits. Village: Parents, teachers, friends and

Mom’s four cheese lasagna. We all grew up with recipes that were made with love and warmed our hearts. Break out the classics (and probably break your diet) this season. Bonus points if you can make the dish for the person who created it!

Singing: Toe tapping, voice-stretching,

family gathering songs are on our list of favorite things to be thankful for every year. Nothing unites a family like music. So put on the ol’ 45—or the Alexa app—and get moving to the beat with your little rascals.


echnology: For all its disadvantages, technology is what keeps the train of our life running on time. And let’s not forget, it allows us to watch Game of Thrones four seasons after it started.

neighbors. It truly takes a village to keep a family and its members functioning, and we are grateful for all the people who make up our village. Cheers to you!

Z zzzzz: Thank you sleep. We love you.

Weekends: Have you met our good

We miss you. We know someday we’ll get to hang out with you more...

friends Cab, Sauvignon and Malbec? They’re super fun and never turn us down for a great gossip sesh.

X: Yes, we’re cheating on this one because nothing noteworthy begins with “x”. So, X marks the spot. Wherever that may be. For some of us, X is our spot at the local library with a new thriller and a cup of coffee. For others, it’s our toes in the sand at our favorite beach. Wherever the spot is, we’re so grateful for it and can’t wait to see it soon.

HAVING A BABY SOON? Check out KC Parent’s Interactive Virtual Labor & Delivery Guide at

Kim Antisdel is a freelance writer and interior design sales rep for KC. She lives in Liberty with her husband, stepdaughters and toddler son.

For ways to have an attitude of gratitude every day, visit

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13 ideas for post-thanksgiving dinner fun


fter all the hours of prep work that goes into Thanksgiving dinner, the meal seems as though it’s gobbled up in no time flat. Now what? Here’s a bounty of activity ideas, big and small, for the entire family to enjoy after the big feast.

sign a pumpkin According to positive psychology research, simply expressing gratitude can actually enhance our overall happiness. Invite your family to consider their individual blessings. Purchase a large artificial pumpkin you can bring out each year for your family to sign. Ask each person to write a note on it about what he’s most grateful for this year. Perhaps a new baby arrived into the family, wedding bells soon will be ringing, your child got an A in a difficult class or a loved one overcame a health issue. Be sure to have everyone sign and date it.

create a thanksgiving tablecloth Similar to the pumpkin idea, lay the Thanksgiving table with a memory tablecloth. After the table is cleared, each person can write a note to the host or a note of gratitude using fabric markers. Protect your table by placing a mat like cardboard under the tablecloth in case ink bleeds through it.

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go for a nature walk According to the Calorie Control Council, the traditional Thanksgiving meal serves up 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat for the average American. Start burning some of those calories by taking a stroll after the big meal. Angela Holmes, Overland Park, and her sons Ezekiel, Xavier and Drake, traditionally make the outing extra fun by searching for fossils and bones.

get out the board games Get your kids off their phones and video games and engaged in lighthearted family fun and conversation with a board game. In a world where more and more people say they have zero confidants, playing games together can

build camaraderie and provide a low-key, entertaining opportunity for face-to-face togetherness. Some family favorites include Catan, Pandemic, Telestrations and Clue.

play touch football Football is as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and pumpkin pie. Angie Worth and her family play one-touch football. They select team captains based on the strongest players in the family, and the captains pick their teammates. “The rules are very loosey-goosey. The captain explains the route for offense or assigns coverage for defense. Then, it’s all about the touchdowns and points,” Worth explains. “It’s very casual, but fun—a good way to burn off some Thanksgiving dinner calories before pie!”

share family stories While your kids are anticipating the mouthwatering dinner that’s about to grace the table, have them write questions to ask the family. They can slip a question under the glass or plate of each table setting. After dinner is over, go around the table and each person can pull his question and share. Questions like “What was Thanksgiving like when you were growing up?” and “What was your best Thanksgiving ever and why?” are sure to rekindle fond memories.

plan a scavenger hunt If the weather is agreeable, send everyone outside for a scavenger hunt. Give each team a small bag to collect their items or have them use their cameras to take photos of the items on the list. Keep the hunt simple for youngsters and a little more complicated for older kids. Items on your list might include something red, a heart-shaped leaf, a stick shaped like a Y, a black rock, a feather, etc. Team adults with kids and turn the hunt into a fun race to the finish. The winning team receives the first slice of pie or a silly prize like Pilgrim hats to wear on their heads.

puzzle fun Lauri Duncan, an Olathe mom of two boys, ages 8 and 11, says she and her family traditionally put a puzzle together after the big dinner. “We do one big puzzle every year that every age can work on. The kids, parents, cousins, grandparents all chip in and work on it in rotations throughout the afternoon between naps and football and snacking on leftovers,” she says.

pumpkin tic-tac-toe Choose five small white gourds and five small orange gourds. Make a grid on a card table using craft or painter’s tape. Or use larger gourds and set up the game in your yard using sticks to make nine squares.

ready, aim.… If you have a Nerf gun-loving crew, turn 10 plastic drinking cups into turkeys they can stack and try to shoot down. Paste google eyes on the cup. Underneath the eyes, place an upside down triangle to form the beak. Pick up a bag of colored feathers from a craft store and hot glue a few red, orange or yellow feathers on the back of each cup. Not into Nerf guns? Use a tennis ball and play turkey bowling with the cups instead.

get into the holiday spirit If you have a large extended family together for Thanksgiving dinner, this is a good time to pull names for holiday gift exchanges like secret Santa, a Pollyanna gift exchange (popular in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey) or white elephant exchange. Everyone draws names, keeps the name secret and purchases a light-hearted or wacky gift to exchange around the holidays.

in memoriam The holidays can be especially difficult for those grieving loved ones. Look through family photographs together, watch old home videos or take time to tell stories about your special someone. Once Thanksgiving dinner is packed away, Mindy Foral, mom of two, says one of her favorite traditions each year on Thanksgiving night is for her and her children to listen to a recording her mother made of The Night Before Christmas in a Hallmark recordable book before she died. “It’s such an incredible treasure. There is something about hearing the voice of your loved one...especially someone who loved spending the holidays with her grandkids,” Foral says.

remember those on deployment If your spouse is deployed for military duty over the Thanksgiving holiday, he or she will definitely be top-of-mind for you and your family. After dinner, invite your family and friends to circle around the table to make cards and write letters to your absent loved one. Mail everything in a package. Even though your honey will receive it after the holiday, your soldier will feel loved and remembered knowing you made him or her an important part of your day.

Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines and her husband, Jason, live in Olathe and are the parents of two sons, ages 12 and 10. Every year after the big feast, they take their two dogs and anyone else who wants to tag along for a walk through the crunchy autumn leaves. november 2017



y grandparents grew up in Kansas City and raised their children in the suburbs, but they moved a few hours south to the lake for their retirement years. When my grandmother moved back to Kansas City, my daughters and I relished many great opportunities to take her along with us on outings around town. Grandma and I were very close, and I’d heard many of her favorite stories of her childhood and youth for years, but something marvelous happened when I took her to Kansas City landmarks: She was reminded of new stories we’d never heard! On an outing to the zoo, I learned that when my grandparents were dating (in the 1950s), they snuck into the Kansas City Zoo after hours and even dipped their feet in the water of the sea lion pool. When we spent a day downtown, we recreated pictures with Grandma at The Scout statue, and she pointed out that now it stands on a tall rock pedestal, but in the ’50s when she and Grandpa were newlyweds, it was lower to the ground and they were right by the horse. When we attended Phantom of the Opera at the Music Hall, she told me about watching Yul Brenner in The King and I years ago. Something special happens when you’re out and about making memories together.

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Making Memories out & about with the family this holiday season Over the holidays this year, as you’re hosting out-of-town company or getting together with local loved ones, consider taking them to one of these favorite local attractions to make new memories or remember old ones.

The Kansas City Zoo 6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, MO 816.595.1234 When my husband’s family came to visit from Iowa a few years ago, we took them to many local attractions. After a full weekend of fun, the highlight of the holiday weekend for his octogenarian grandmother was receiving a kiss from Santa Claus during holidays at the zoo. The zoo is a special place for the entire family year-round and, typically, is less crowded in the winter months. When you

visit the zoo, ask the group about their favorite animals, why they love them and whether they have any special zoo memories. Mark your calendar for these special events at the zoo:

• Great Pumpkin Smash, Nov. 4-5. • Zootastik Learning Fest: Red Panda,

Nov. 11-12. • Santa Dives with Penguins, Nov. 24-26. • Holiday Wild, Penguin March and Santa Dives, Dec. 2-3. • Zootastik Learning Fest: Reindeer & Caribou, Santa Dives and Penguin March, Dec. 9-10. • Winter Wonderland, Penguin March and Santa Dives, Dec. 16-17. • King and Gentoo Penguin March, Dec. 23-24 and 30-31. • Zoo Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures 5235 Oak St., Kansas City, MO 816.235.8000 Something is so special about our childhood memories of playing with beloved toys, whether a favorite electric train set, a special dollhouse, a keepsake

tea set or the greatest pinball game ever. Toys connect generations. The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is the ideal place to reminisce and create family connections over fond childhood memories. One of our girls’ favorite memories was a visit to the museum with four generations from my husband’s family, exploring the largest collection of nostalgic toys, fine-scale miniatures and marbles in the Midwest. As we culled through room upon room, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and children shared their favorite memories playing with marbles, a favorite Barbie doll or Raggedy Ann, rideon pedal toys, paper dolls, teddy bears and dollhouses. The children loved discovering surprises in every dollhouse and each room of the museum, and the adults loved watching their reactions and remembering their own childhoods. After a visit to the museum, we enjoyed a visit to Winstead’s on the Plaza, sharing an old-fashioned lunch of burgers and shakes (and where Grandpa selected some of his favorite Elvis tunes on the jukebox). Mark your calendar for these special events at the museum during the holidays:

• Meet the Experts: VFW Marble

Tournaments, Nov. 12, 2:00-3:00. • Day After Thanksgiving Program: Magic Marbles, Nov. 24, 10:00-4:00. • Coleman Dollhouse Opening, Dec. 2, 10:00-4:00.

• Meet the Experts: Christmas Crèches at

T/M, Dec. 10, 2:00-3:00. • C hristmas Stories at T/M, Dec. 16, 1:00-3:00. •Father Christmas Comes to T/M, Dec. 17, 1:00-2:30. •Christmas Stories at T/M, Dec. 23, 1:00-3:00. • Music in the Museum, Dec. 30, 1:00-3:30.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO 816.751.1278 The largest art gallery west of the Mississippi, the Nelson-Atkins truly is one of our city’s greatest treasures and truly a must-see for any out-of-town guest to experience. With an extensive Chinese and Japanese gallery, European and American art, Modern art, African and Indian art there is much to explore. The Nelson offers family guides for all ages with maps, tour suggestions and headphones to listen to audio tours throughout the galleries. For added fun, print out our Scavenger Hunt on before you go.

Mark your calendar for these special events at Union Station during the holidays:

• Holiday Classic Movies: National

Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Nov. 17-22 • Holidays Come Alive Kickoff Ceremony, Nov. 18 • Mini Holiday Train Rides, Nov. 18-Jan.5 • Holiday Classic Movies: Elf, Nov. 24-30 • Holiday Classic Movies: Home Alone, Dec. 1-7 • Holiday Dance Showcase, Dec. 3 • Holiday Classic Movies: Polar Express, Dec. 8-14 • Merry Science Day in Science City, Dec. 9 • NEW! Holiday laser shows in Planetarium, Dec. 15-Jan. 5.

Union Station 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO 816.460.2000 For over one hundred years, Union Station has been a Kansas City landmark. Science City, the Gottlieb Planetarium, the Extreme Screen theater, Theatre for Young America and the shops and restaurants make it a favorite attraction for all ages. Over the holidays, families enjoy a bit of nostalgia as children enjoy rides on the miniature train, formerly housed in Kansas City’s downtown Jones Store. The Extreme Screen shows a variety of classic holiday films. Then, spend time taking family photos with the giant Christmas tree and holiday decorations.

Kristina Light is forever grateful for the opportunities her daughters had to share memories with their great-grandmothers and loved ones at many of Kansas City’s greatest places and she hopes you make great memories with your loved ones this holiday season.

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Visit and click Going Places for even more ideas! november 2017




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Legendary Tree Lighting Ceremony at Legends Outlets

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Check out all the wonderful gift and decorating ideas and get a jump on gift buying on Nov. 3-5 at the Holiday Open House in Downtown Lee’s Summit.

Nov. 13-20 is collection week for Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoe box full of gifts to help spread the Gospel.

Get in the holiday spirit with the Legendary Tree Lighting Ceremony Nov. 18 at Legends Outlets. Live music, giveaways and a jolly guest of honor!

Nov. 24 is the first annual Black Friday Bash at Summit Fair. Shop store sales, visit with Santa, DJ, balloon artist, kids crafts and more! SummitFair

See the Holiday Classic Movie: Elf Nov. 24 through Nov. 30 at Union Station. Watch the classic story of Buddy the Elf on the big screen.

1 Wednesday

2 Thursday

Playgroup at FBC 9:00, First Baptist Church of Shawnee. A safe place for kids to run and play and for parents to enjoy coffee and conversation. Free. 913.226.9438

Arrival of Mayor’s Christmas Tree 9:00, Crown Center. The first sign of the holiday season arrives from Oregon in the morning, around 9:00.

My Father’s Dragon 10:00 & 1:00, Carlsen Center. Based on the book, this production portrays the story of a young boy and his unlikely friendship with a dragon. $5-$6.

Nature Story Time 10:00 & 11:00, George Owens Nature Park. A nature-focused story time and craft for children. 816.325.7115

Toddler Story Time 10:00, Johnson County Library (Antioch). Story time includes short stories, finger plays and movement activities. Ages 2-3. Open Gym Noon, Integrity Gymnastics. A great time to practice, get familiar with the gym and for kids to release energy. $6. What’s for Dinner? 3:00, Burr Oak Woods. Watch on Wednesdays and Saturdays as the captive amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast. 816.228.3766 Breastfeeding Basics 7:00, Olathe Medical Center. This two-hour class will prepare you for what to expect when breastfeeding your baby. Pre-reg at

Toddler Tumbling 10:00, Kansas City North Community Center. Bring toddlers for fun exercise while allowing them to build motor skills. $4. 816.784.6100 The Legend of Pocahontas Thru Sunday, Bell Cultural Arts Center. CYT original musical that explores historical facts about Pocahontas. $9-$13. The Sound of Music Thru Sunday, St Thomas Aquinas. See the tuneful and heart-warming story of the Von Trapp family.

3 Friday Opening Day 6:00-9:00, Crown Center Ice Terrace. KC’s only public outdoor rink opens for its 44th season. Enjoy free skating, coffee and hot chocolate. 816.247.8411

Indoor Playground 9:30, Sylvester Powell Community Center. A safe, clean indoor play area for kids 6 and under. $2. 913.722.8200 Open Play 10:00, Jump City. Bring the kids to Jump City—where excitement and laughs are found daily! $8/child; parents are free. Food Truck Friday 11:00, Alexander Majors House Museum. Enjoy delicious food trucks in the event space. Holiday Open House Today & tomorrow, Downtown Lee’s Summit. Check out all the wonderful gift and decorating ideas. Preschool Dance Party 1:00, Olathe Library. Come shake, shimmy and dance up a storm to favorite songs from the children’s collection. 913.971.6874 First Fridays 5:00, Crossroads Art District. Galleries and shops remain open the first Friday of each month. Night at the Arboretum 7:00, Overland Park Arboretum. Walk the trails and search for snake habitats. Stop by the visitors center to learn more. november 2017


Day of the Dead Family Festival Nov. 5, Nelson-Atkins. This lively festival celebrates Mexican art and culture. Fun for the entire family!

4 Saturday Girls on the Run 5K 7:45, Children’s Mercy Park. Pre-race festivities include face painting and a DJ! Race starts at 9:00. Pre-reg at

British Faire & Tea Shawnee Civic Centre. Join the Daughters of the British Empire for the British Faire & Tea. Tea served at 11:00, 12:15, 1:30 and 2:45.

Fall Fling 8:00, Line Creek Community Center. Watch KC’s synchronized skating team, Illusion, compete against teams from across the state. Free.

Free Crafts for Kids 11:00, Lakeshore Learning. Every Saturday Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts for kids. Materials supplied.

Be My Neighbor Day 9:00, Anita B Gorman Center. A daylong celebration for families featuring activities that focus on being a caring neighbor.

Open Gym 12:30, Elite Gymnastics & Aquatics. Run, jump and play in the foam pit, rope swings and more.

Wilderness Run 9:00, Shoal Creek Living History Museum. A challenging cross country run through the village, around the fields and more. $25-$50. 816.513.7624 Great Pumpkin Smash Today & tomorrow, Kansas City Zoo. Watch as the zoo’s animals crush, play, kick and bounce those big orange pumpkins!


Saturday Night Feeder Saturdays, 2:00, Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary. Watch the cats being fed, weather permitting. $6-$8. 816.739.0363 Chili Supper 4:00, Grinter Place. Enjoy dinner for $8, along with music and a tour of Grinter Place State Historic Site.

Festival of South African Dance 8:00, Yardley Hall. Showcase of South African dance featuring the Gumboots and Pantsula. $27-$42.

ant to lighten your load this holiday season? Try one of these fantastic bakeries for delicious breads and desserts for your family table. Strawberry Hill Povitica is one of the best-known and most-loved made-inKansas products. This European swirled bread is as delicious as it is beautiful, making the delicacy a perfect addition to your holiday table. At the store, you can try a sample, enjoy free coffee and watch through the windows into the kitchen as the bread is made. Groups of 10 or more may even schedule free tours.

Heirloom Bakery & Hearth

Strawberry Hill Povitica

Fervere This Westside artisanal bakery is a local favorite with their offering of organic, handcrafted breads. The bakery is popular, so preorders are accepted in early November to prepare in advance for holiday meals. Enjoy seasonal breads for the holidays inspired by cranberries, nuts, honey and favorite seasonal flavors.

Le Monde Bakery

816.474.0055 This bakery is known as the city’s oldest French-influenced bakery. They bake delicious desserts, croissants for your holiday brunch and French breads. november 2017

Major League Improv 7:30, Comedy City. A comedy sporting event where everything is based on suggestions from the audience. $9-$13. 816.842.2744

favorite kc bakeries

Strawberry Hill Povitica


Superhero Party 5:30, Irene B French Community Center. A fun night for moms and sons. Relay games, Lego build, mask design and more. $25/couple. 913.322.5550 This Brookside bakery is one of the newer shops on our list, but they’ve won our hearts. The bread is made with organic, stone-ground flour from Heartland Mills in Kansas. The small batch bakery produces fresh bread daily with delicious flavors like sunflower flax bread, rosemary wheat and cinnamon swirl brioche.

Mama Resch’s: A Gluten-Free Bakery This local bakery specializes in delicious, made-from-scratch, gluten-free baked goods. From delicious breads, to items like hamburger buns and sandwich bread, Mama Resch’s keeps their gluten-free customers in mind with baked goods that are beautiful, delicious and healthy.

Ibis Bakery Artisanal local bakery that serves breads, pastries, cookies and more (editor’s note: the coconut macaroon dipped in chocolate is heavenly!). Found inside Blackdog Coffee House (12815 W. 87th St. Pkwy., Lenexa, KS) and expanding to a second location at Messenger Coffee (1624 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO).

5 Sunday Day of the Dead Family Festival 10:00, Nelson-Atkins. This lively festival celebrates Mexican art and culture. Fun for the entire family! Kids Cooking Class 2:00, Lenexa Public Market. Kids ages 7-11 learn to make spaghetti with meatballs, a veggie and garlic bread. $35. Pre-reg at 913.477.7516. Hayrides 2:30, Oak Ridge at Shawnee Mission Park. Enjoy the crisp autumn air from a tractordrawn hay wagon. Pre-reg at 913.831.3355. $7/person.

Toddle Time 10:00, Bonner Springs Community Center. Bring little ones 9 months through 5 years to play on the large assortment of toys. $2.

Family Feast Day Pizza Shoppe. Get a single topping king pizza, two Shoppe house salads and an order of garlic cheese bread for only $19.99.

Open Jump 4:00, Urban Air. A hypedup, healthy dose of jumping, climbing, swinging, crawling, flying and dunking.

Hope for the Traumatized Child 6:00, KVC Wichita. Learn to identify meaning behind the behaviors and answer “Where do we go from here?” Pre-reg at 620.947.3960.

Chocolate Tasting Party 6:30, MCPL (Grandview). Learn where chocolate comes from and enjoy samples of America’s favorite treat! Ages 6+. Pre-reg at

8 Wednesday

7 Tuesday

A Charlie Brown Christmas 10:00, the Coterie. Join Charlie Brown on a memorable journey as he tries to direct the school Christmas pageant.

Owl Prowl 7:00, Ernie Miller. Enjoy an informative talk featuring live owls and an evening hike through the park. $8-$9. Pre-reg at

Toddle Time 9:00, Matt Ross Community Center. Open playtime with an array of toys, including blocks, balls and puzzles. $1-$2. 913.895.6350

What’s for Dinner? 3:00, Burr Oak Woods. Watch on Wednesdays and Saturdays as the captive amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast. 816.228.3766

6 Monday

Click Clack Boo: A Tricky Treat 10:00, H & R Block City Stage. The clever, well-read cows, poultry and pigs create a fun party for Farmer Brown. $11.

Coding Club 4:00, Johnson County Library (Gardner). Learn about the instructions behind the computer technologies. Ages 8-16.

Creative Story Time 10:30, Ceramic Café. Hear a story, create a pottery piece and enjoy a simple snack. $12.

9 Thursday

Moms Free Monday 9:30, Paradise Park. Moms are free at the Children’s EduTainment Center with a paid child’s admission. 816.246.5224 Mummies of the World 10:00, Union Station. Embark on a journey into the extraordinary world of mummies and mummification.

Gym for Me 9:00, Lenexa Rec Center. Kids ages 5 and under play with push toys, riding toys, balls, inflatables and more. $2. november 2017



Toddler Tumbling 10:00, Kansas City North Community Center. Bring toddlers for fun exercise while allowing them to build motor skills. $4. 816.784.6100 Caffeine Crawl Thru Sunday, various locations. Explore some new shops you’ve heard about and enjoy a sample at each stop. $25-$35. PJ Masks Live! 6:00, the Midland. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages.

Santa Train

Saturday, December 2 and December 9 Departs at 9:00, 10:30, Noon, 1:30 & 3:00 Check website for price. Reservation required for this event.

Charters, Field Trips or Birthday Parties, plan by appointment Tickets go on sale one hour before train departure time

Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad Company 502 Walnut • Belton, Missouri • 816-331-0630 •

Elf, Jr Thru Nov 12, Bell Events Center. CYT presents the story of Buddy, a young orphan mistakenly transported to the North Pole. $9$13.

10 Friday Paint Me a Story 10:30, Paint, Glaze & Fire. Paint a pottery piece that goes along with a favorite story. Snack included. $13-$15. Pre-reg at 913.661.2529. Fine Art Friday 1:00, Kemper Museum. Interactive experiences in the galleries encourage students to examine art. Includes tour with docent. Free. Picasso Faces 6:30, Nelson-Atkins. Explore Picasso exhibit and create a Picasso-inspired portrait platter in clay. $50 per adult/child pair. Pre-reg at 816.751.1278. Middle School Teen Night 7:00, Paradise Park. Bumper cars are a part of the featured fun tonight. In addition, receive a $10 fun card and personal pizza. Harlem Quartet 8:00, Carlsen Center. Performance by Harlem Quartet includes Cuban piano prodigy Aldo Lopez Gavilan. $24-$39.

11 Saturday VETERANS DAY Thank a veteran for his or her service to our nation.

Holiday Craft & Vendor Fair 9:00, Franklin Smith Elementary (Blue Springs). Support local businesses and get holiday shopping done early. 816.224.1375

November 18th & 19th

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December 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Veterans Day 10:00, Kansas City Zoo. All military personnel (retired, active, veterans, etc.) with a valid ID receive complimentary admission.

Art Connects with Science 10:00, Nerman Museum. Students ages 8-11 learn about artists who explore science, then they create a mobile. Pre-reg at

Family in town?

Lego Star Wars Days Today & tomorrow, Legoland Discovery Center. Participate in Star Wars themed activities throughout the weekend. 816.471.386 Playing for Keeps 10:00, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. In 1947, the VFW created a national marble tournament. Learn stories and play a game. 816.235.8000 Holiday Craft Bazaar Today & tomorrow, Colonial Church. Stop by for holiday shopping! Toys, jewelry, cards and more. Veterans Celebration 10:00, National World War I Museum and Memorial. Dignitaries, musical performances and a keynote address. Veterans Day Parade 10:30, Leavenworth. Veterans and active duty military are honored at the parade through historic downtown Leavenworth. Free Crafts for Kids 11:00, Lakeshore Learning. Every Saturday Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts for kids. Materials supplied.

45th & Oak | | FREE NelsonAtkins_KCParent_FamilyInTown_Nov2017.indd 1

10/2/17 11:43 AM

Marty’s Party 2:00, MCPL (Claycomo). It’s Marty’s birthday! Come meet Marty, enjoy stories, songs refreshments and fun. Free. Prereg at Turkey Bowling on Ice 2:00, Line Creek Community Center. Knock down as many pins as possible with a frozen turkey. 816.513.0760 Respite Night 4:00, Colonial Presbyterian Church. An evening of fun for kids and a night off for foster and adoptive parents. Second Saturdays 4:00, Downtown Weston. Stroll into unique gift shops and galleries for late night shopping and in-store specials. Holiday Open House 5:30, Downtown Weston. Holiday parade with Father Christmas, followed by tree lighting. Shops open late. The King’s Singers 7:30, Folly Theater. Performance includes everything from Renaissance madrigals to Gilbert and Sullivan to the Beatles. Mariachi Sol de México 8:00, Carlsen Center. Experience Sol de México’s dynamic energy and rich cultural expression. november 2017


Peppa Pig Live! Nov. 17, the Midland. To win tickets to Peppa Pig and other great shows at the Midland, head to!

12 Sunday

13 Monday

Farmers Market 8:00, City Market. The market features a mix of dining, shopping and entertainment in an open air setting. 816.842.1271

Operation Christmas Child Collection Week Thru Nov 20, various locations. Pack your shoeboxes and drop off during the week to spread the Gospel.

Veterans Day Salute Noon, Truman Library and Museum. Make a card in the museum lobby, then listen to a guest speaker, experience the wreath laying and more.

Pioneer Trails Adventure 9:00, Independence Square. Receive $5 off adult price of a covered wagon Full City History Tour when you mention KC Parent. 816.254.2466

The Firebird 2:00, Kauffman Center. A captivating tale for the ages is re-imagined through creative storytelling and striking theatrical effects.

Open Play 10:00, Jump City. Bring the kids to Jump City—where excitement and laughs are found daily! $8/child; parents are free.

Illusionist Rick Thomas 7:00, Carlsen Center. Prepare to be amazed as Thomas takes his mastery of special effects and magic to the next level.

Hoffman Prep Class Thru Jan 29, Hoffman. Course meets for 10 weeks and covers visual poise, skin care, wardrobe planning and more. Pre-reg at 913.642.1060.

14 Tuesday Preschool Indoor Playground 9:30, Irene B French Community Center. Inflatable bouncers, Little Tikes riding toys and more. $2. 913.322.5550 Mummies of the World 10:00, Union Station. Embark on a journey into the extraordinary world of mummies and mummification.

MAGIC MARBLES / Friday, November 24 / 10AM - 4PM It’s a day of marble magic with fun for the entire family. Explore the museum’s special exhibit, Playing for Keeps: The VFW Marble Tournaments, 1947-1962, and try your hand at “knuckling down” during a marble lesson. Then, pick out your own marble and turn it into a piece of wearable art. Included with museum admission.

A collection that speaks for itself.


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Toddler Time 10:00, Legoland and Sea Life. On Tuesdays thru Dec 5, one toddler (4 and under) and one adult enjoy entry for only $14. 816.471.4386 Health & Beauty: 1860s Style 7:00, Mahaffie. Explore the cosmetics and creams women used in the 1860s. $5. Pre-reg at

15 Wednesday Baby Bounce Story Time 9:30 & 10:30, Plaza Library. Stories and activities for the youngest set, ages newborn through 18 months. 816.701.3481

A festive tea ...a magical ballet ... an amazing time!

Open Gym Noon, Integrity Gymnastics. A great time to practice, get familiar with the gym and for kids to release energy. $6.

Dec. 2& 3,2017

For information and tickets, visit

Family Skate Night 6:30, Landmark2 Skate Center (Lee’s Summit). A family of four skates for only $15; skate rental free.

16 Thursday Nature Story Time 10:00 & 11:00, George Owens Nature Park. A nature-focused story time and craft for children. 816.325.7115 Toddler Tumbling 10:00, Kansas City North Community Center. Bring toddlers for fun exercise while allowing them to build motor skills. $4. 816.784.6100

KCP-Print_r1.indd 1

The King & I Thru Sunday, Dramatic Impact Theater & Events Center. The Culture House presents the tale of Anna and the King.

8/24/17 9:14 AM

Nov. 24 - 25, Dec. 1 - 2 & 8 - 9 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Last entry at 8:00)

Ararat Shrine Circus Thru Sunday, Silverstein Arena. Enjoy high-flying acrobats, mesmerizing aerialists, daredevils and those hilarious clowns! 816.442.6100

17 Friday Jumperoo 9:00, Urban Air Trampoline Park. A special time for those 5 and under to enjoy access to the playground and trampoline attractions. $5-$10. 913.298.0626 Creative Story Time 10:30, Ceramic CafĂŠ. Hear a story, create a pottery piece and enjoy a simple snack. $12.

The Arboretum by Candlelight Tickets $10 at the gate, ages 5 and under free ($9 in advance at No pets please

Presenting Sponsors

Vintage Santa Photos Bondurant Studios. We capture the magic while your child shares his list with Santa. Holiday Bazaar 1:00, Lake Quivira Clubhouse. Local vendors offering a variety of boutique home decor, jewelry, clothing accessories and more. 913.248.8458

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens 1/2 mile West of Hwy. 69 & 179th Street 913-685-3604 KCP-LW_Ad.indd 1

Produced by friends of the

ARBORETUM part of the arts & recreation foundation of overland park

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november by the numbers


Average price in dollars per person for a classic Thanksgiving dinner last year, based on 10 servings for $49.87, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

1914 In this year, just after midnight on the morning of Nov. 1, the Missouri-KansasTexas Flyer was the first train to arrive at Union Station.


The Leonids meteor shower peaks during this night and the early morning of Nov. 18. Catch sight of the shooting stars.


Number of seasons the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has brought A Christmas Carol to stage. This year enjoy a new adaptation by artistic director Eric Rosen.


Height in feet of the KCMO mayor’s Christmas tree, which arrives at Crown Center Square on Nov. 2 and lights up the Friday after Thanksgiving.


Years the Country Club Plaza Lighting Ceremony has thrilled Kansas City on Thanksgiving evening.


Date in 1926 the Liberty Memorial, home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, was dedicated by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in front of more than 150,000 people.

146+ Millions of children in more than 100 countries who have received shoeboxes through Operation Christmas Child since 1993. Nov. 13-20 is collection week (

Peppa Pig Live! 6:00, the Midland. Join Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and more in an all-singing, all-dancing adventure.

Free Crafts for Kids 11:00, Lakeshore Learning. Every Saturday Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts for kids. Materials supplied.

Mayors Tree Lighting 6:00, Corner of Armour & Gentry (North KC). Snack on treats while enjoying festive entertainment.

Open Gym 12:30, Elite Gymnastics & Aquatics. Run, jump and play in the foam pit, rope swings and more.

Third Friday Art Walk 5:30, Englewood Station Arts District. Tour the art galleries, view live performances and meet artists in front of shops.

Saturday Night Feeder Saturdays, 2:00, Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary. Watch the cats being fed, weather permitting. $6-$8. 816.739.0363

Holiday Lighting 6:00, Independence Square. Enjoy an evening of holiday performances with the lighting of the holiday decorations. 39th Street Art Walk 6:00, 39th Street District. Every third Friday the merchants of 39th Street open their doors to local painters, musicians and more! Mayor’s Tree Lighting 6:30, Downtown Lee’s Summit. Free hot drinks and cookies, choir performances, a visit from Santa and much more!

18 Saturday MOPS Fall Shopping Boutique 9:00, Indian Creek Community Church. Unique shopping experience with local vendors and cosigners! 314.960.9036 Holidays Come Alive 10:00, Union Station. Activities throughout the day include face painters, balloon artists, mini-train and more. Tree lighting at 6:00. Scavenger Saturdays 10:00, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Follow the clues on this “ART-tastic” adventure! 816.753.5784 Teacher Appreciation Weekend Today & tomorrow, Sea Life and Lego. Teachers, check out what’s offered. Free admission for teachers and $10 admission for up to 4 guests. 816. 471.4386 Nature Nuts Story Time 10:00, 11:00 or 1:00, Anita Gorman Discovery Center. Join naturalists for a journey through magical places. 816.759.7300 Tellebration 10:30, Ernie Miller Nature Center. Hear nature stories with live animals that will delight audiences of all ages. Pre-reg at 913.764.7759. Where the Poppies Now Grow 11:00, National World War I Museum and Memorial. Familyfriendly craft and reading of the uplifting story.

Mahaffie Dinners 4:00, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm. Enjoy a hearty meal in the dining room then enjoy games and visit the animals after dinner. Pre-reg at Journey to Judea Today & tomorrow, Countryside Baptist Church. Experience the sights and sounds of God’s story. Free, but must have tickets. Legendary Tree Lighting Ceremony 6:00, Legends Outlets. Live music, prizes, giveaways and a jolly guest of honor! The King & I Thru Sunday, Dramatic Impact Theater & Events Center. The Culture House presents the tale of Anna and the King. Major League Improv 7:30, Comedy City. A comedy sporting event where everything is based on suggestions from the audience. $9-$13. 816.842.2744

19 Sunday art + family = FUN 1:00, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Join us every Saturday and Sunday for free activities for all ages! 816.751.1278 A Charlie Brown Christmas 2:00 & 4:00, the Coterie. Join Charlie Brown on a memorable journey as he tries to direct the school Christmas pageant. Happy 90th Birthday, Mickey Mouse! 4:00, Shawnee Town 1929. Birthday cake, handson fun activity and Mickey Mouse ears. Free. 913.248.2360

20 Monday Open Play 10:00, Jump City. Bring the kids to Jump City—where excitement and laughs are found daily! $8/child; parents are free. Toddle Time 10:00, Bonner Springs Community Center. Bring little ones 9 months through 5 years to play on the large assortment of toys. $2.

No School Hangout 7:30, SoPro Gaming. School’s out! Spend the day (7:30-3:30) playing games with your friends! $40. Pre-reg at

21 Tuesday Jumperoo 9:00, Urban Air Trampoline Park. A special time for those 5 and under to enjoy access to the playground and trampoline attractions. $5-$10. 913.298.0626 Gym for Me 9:00, Lenexa Rec Center. Kids ages 5 and under play with push toys, riding toys, balls, inflatables and more. $2. Toddle Time 9:00, Matt Ross Community Center. Open playtime with an array of toys, including blocks, balls and puzzles. $1-$2. 913.895.6350 A Christmas Carol with Gerald Dickens 10:00, MCPL (Blue Springs South). The great-greatgrandson of Charles Dickens brings the classic to life. Pre-reg at Family Feast Day Pizza Shoppe. Get a single topping king pizza, two Shoppe house salads and an order of garlic cheese bread for only $19.99.

22 Wednesday Family Fun Day 9:00, Johnson County Museum. Visit the Johnson County Museum for free today! KidScape and All-Electric House included. 913.826.2787 Playgroup at FBC 9:00, First Baptist Church of Shawnee. A safe place for kids to run and play and for parents to enjoy coffee and conversation. Free. 913.226.9438 Toddler Story Time 10:00, Johnson County Library (Antioch). Story time includes short stories, finger plays and movement activities. Ages 2-3. Christmas in the Sky 5:00, Longview Lake Park. Fireworks set to music kick off the season and are the opening to Christmas in the Park. Free. 816.503.4860

23 Thursday THANKSGIVING DAY HAPPY THANKSGIVING, KC Parent readers! We are thankful for your 32 years of readership and support! november 2017


Holiday Luminary Walk Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9, Overland Park Arboretum. The arboretum transforms into a wonderland of candles, music and holiday fun. $8.

Kansas City Turkey Trot 9:00, Arrowhead Stadium. Come out on Thanksgiving Day for an 8K/5K run and walk! 88th Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony 5:00, Country Club Plaza. Enjoy a holiday tradition like no other.

24 Friday

Paint Me a Story 10:30, Paint, Glaze & Fire. Paint a pottery piece that goes along with a favorite story. Snack included. $13-$15. Pre-reg at 913.661.2529. Food Truck Friday 11:00, Alexander Majors House Museum. Each Friday enjoy two to four delicious food trucks in the event space.

Black Friday 6:00, Legends Outlets. Legends Outlets is closed on Thanksgiving Day and opens at 6:00 on Friday for Black Friday deals.

The Wizard of Oz 11:00 & 2:00, Today & tomorrow, Puppetry Arts Institute. Puppet show of the family favorite show. $6. 816.833.9777

Santa Dives with Penguins Thru Sunday, Kansas City Zoo. What’s red and swimming with the penguins? Santa! Get a photo as penguins torpedo around him.

Christmas Candlelight Tour Today & tomorrow, Harris-Kearney House. Experience Christmas 1850s style. $8-$10. 816.561.1821

Magic Marbles 10:00, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Try your hand at a marble lesson and make a piece of wearable marble art. 816.235.8000

Winterfest 5:00, Worlds of Fun. Sparkling lights transform the park that features live shows, holiday characters and activities, cookie decorating and more!

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 5:30, Crown Center. The 100-foot mayor’s Christmas tree is lit up to kick off the holiday season. Black Friday Bash 6:00, Summit Fair. Shop store sales, register to win prizes, visit with Santa, DJ, balloon artist, kids crafts and more! Holiday Luminary Walk Today & tomorrow, Overland Park Arboretum. The arboretum transforms into a wonderland of candles, music and holiday fun. $8.

KCBALLET.ORG | 816.931.8993 BUY NOW FOR BEST SEATS! DECEMBER 7-24, 2017 Dancer: Kevin Wilson. Photography: Kenny Johnson.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

See your children’s wonder ignite and feel the glimmer once more as your childhood dreams return and inspire you to


Hotel Phillips is the host hotel of KC Ballet

62 november 2017

25 Saturday Small Business Saturday 10:00, Downtown Lee’s Summit. Find holiday gifts, enjoy lunch or dinner and enter to win a shopping spree. Shopkins Live 1:00, the Midland. The beloved Shoppies make their theatrical debut in an original new live show. Lanesfield School Country Christmas 1:00, Lanesfield Historic Site. Write a letter to Santa with pen and ink and create your very own ornament.


Saturday Night Feeder Saturdays, 2:00, Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary. Watch the cats being fed, weather permitting. $6-$8. 816.739.0363

Rockhurst University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Drew Diener

Holiday Classic Movie: Elf Thru Nov 30, Union Station. See the classic story of Buddy the Elf on the big screen. Major League Improv 7:30, Comedy City. A comedy sporting event where everything is based on suggestions from the audience. $9$13. 816.842.2744 A Christmas Carol Thru Dec 24, Spencer Theatre. The KC Rep’s performance returns for its 37th season. A favorite holiday tradition!

Presented by


December 19th 1-3pm and December 20-22 9am-11am $25 Per Session (2 hours) or $75 for All 4 Sessions Located at Mason-Halpin Fieldhouse on Rockhurst University Campus

BOYS AND GIRLS AGED 3RD-6TH GRADE Register Online at COACH DIENER’S WINTER CLINIC is designed to help campers build skill, encourage teamwork, and have fun. Campers will also get to know the coaching staff and build relationships that go beyond just basketball. For Daily Camp Updates, Follow Us on TWITTER – @DrewDienerCamps

26 Sunday Farmers Market 8:00, the City Market. The market offers a variety of fresh produce, meat, specialty groceries, flowers and gift items from nearby farms. art + family = FUN 1:00, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Join us every Saturday and Sunday for free activities for all ages! 816.751.1278 A Charlie Brown Christmas 2:00 & 4:00, the Coterie. Join Charlie Brown on a memorable journey as he tries to direct the school Christmas pageant.

27 Monday Moms Free Monday 9:30, Paradise Park. Moms are free at the Children’s EduTainment Center with a paid child’s admission. 816.246.5224 Toddle Time 10:00, Bonner Springs Community Center. Bring little ones 9 months through 5 years to play on the large assortment of toys. $2. Christmas in the Park 7:00, Cornerstone Park (Gardner). A Christmas message from the mayor, seasonal music and the arrival of Santa! november 2017


28 Tuesday

29 Wednesday

30 Thursday

Gym for Me 9:00, Lenexa Rec Center. Kids ages 5 and under play with push toys, riding toys, balls, inflatables and more. $2.

Playgroup at FBC 9:00, First Baptist Church of Shawnee. A safe place for kids to run and play and for parents to enjoy coffee and conversation. Free. 913.226.9438

Toddler Tumbling 10:00, Kansas City North Community Center. Bring toddlers for fun exercise while allowing them to build motor skills. $4. 816.784.6100

Baby Bounce Story Time 9:30 & 10:30, Plaza Library. Stories and activities for the youngest set, ages newborn through 18 months. 816.701.3481

Child of Hope Thru Dec 3, Oak Park Mall Studio. See Storling Dance Studio’s portrayal of the Nativity story.

Preschool Indoor Playground 9:30, Irene B French Community Center. Inflatable bouncers, Little Tikes riding toys and more. $2. 913.322.5550 Open Play 10:00, Jump City. Bring the kids to Jump City—where excitement and laughs are found daily! $8/child; parents are free. Creative Story Time 10:30, Ceramic Café. Hear a story, create a pottery piece and enjoy a simple snack. $12. Family Feast Day Pizza Shoppe. Get a single topping king pizza, two Shoppe house salads and an order of garlic cheese bread for only $19.99. American Girl Book Club 6:30, Johnson County Library (Central Resource). Read and craft with your American Girl. This month’s book: Gabby Book 2.

Santa’s Wonderland Thru Dec 24, Bass Pro Shop. Enjoy an interactive play area, make crafts, write letters to the North Pole and visit Santa. Doo Dad Mike 10:00, Johnson County Heritage Center. A Kansas City performer focused on family entertainment. $5. 913. 831.3359 Open Gym Noon, Integrity Gymnastics. A great time to practice, get familiar with the gym and for kids to release energy. $6. What’s for Dinner? 3:00, Burr Oak Woods. Watch on Wednesdays and Saturdays as the captive amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast. 816.228.3766

Joy Around the World 7:00, MCPL (Claycomo). Take a trip around the globe and celebrate all the December holidays. Pre-reg at The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 7:30, Blue Springs High School Auditorium. Delightful comedy adapted from the best-selling book.

For TONS more holiday events, including lightings and Santa sightings, visit the calendar at!

Once Upon a Time



Cinderella & Belle Proceeds Will Benefit Global Missions and Forest Avenue Family Shelter





Register by Jan. 10th and take advantage of the early bird discount: $65 per couple ($15 for each additional daughter). Registration after Jan. 10th is $75 per couple/$20 each additional.


64 november 2017


GIVEAWAY! KC Parent is giving away 2 sets of tickets to the

Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball

on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Muehlebach Tower, followed by the 2:00 performance of Kansas City Ballet’s

The Nutcracker

at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. Each set includes 2 tickets, a $275 value!

Visit and click “Giveaways” #KCParentContest


Christmas Productions for the whole family!

Classes & Workshops in the arts!





Gifts for the performer & artist in your life!


of Joy!

Now two locations to serve you!

Grand Opening Nov. 2017!

at Oak Park Mall!

Nov. 30-Dec. 3

Experience StÜrling Dance Theater’s stunning portrayal of the Nativity story through dance, music, beautiful costumes and performers.

Dec. 7-10 One of the funniest holiday plays ever! See the Herdman Family wreak havoc on the church Christmas play and help us all get in the Christmas spirit.

Dec. 14-17

Celebrating the Season in Song! Join some of the best musicians and singers in Kansas City for classic Christmas & Holiday music at its best! Maybe Santa will arrive for a special visit!

For more information & tickets november 2017


Experience a Magical Kansas City Tradition


at Union Station 2017 Holiday Highlights NOV 17 - 22: Holiday Classic Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

NOV 18: “Holidays Come Alive” Kickoff Ceremony

NOV 18 - JAN 5: Mini Holiday Train Rides NOV 24 - 30: Holiday Classic Movie: Elf DEC 1 - 7: Holiday Classic Movie: Home Alone DEC 3: Holiday Dance Showcase DEC 8 - 14: Holiday Classic Movie: Polar Express DEC 9: Merry Science Day in Science City DEC 10: Strawberry Swing’s “Holiday Swing” Indie Craft Fair

DEC 15 - 19: 17th Annual Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train

DEC 15 - JAN 5: NEW! Holiday Laser Shows in the Planetarium

DEC 16: Trombone Christmas Concert DEC 25:

All Union Station Attractions Closed including Science City

DEC 31: Noon Year’s Eve in Science City New Year’s Swingin’ Eve For complete details and full line-up, visit


Kansas City Zoo

November 4 & 5 Great Pumpkin Smash November 11 & 12 Zootastik Learning Fest— Red Panda November 18 & 19 Feline Frenzy November 24–26 Santa Dives Penguin March November 25 & 26 Species Spotlight— Tigers and Cheetahs December 2 & 3 Meet Santa at the Zoo

Santa Dives Weekends November 24 through December 17

Always a New Adventure! Open Year Round Check online for more Zoomazing experiences! | 816.595.1234 | Open Daily The Kansas City Zoo, a private, non-profit organization is operated in agreement with the Kansas City, MO Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, partially funded by the Zoological District in Jackson and Clay Counties in MO, and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Endless Variety, Matchless Talent!


Nov. 11

Feb. 24

Mar. 10

México’s authentic musical heritage lives on!

Featuring Star Dust, a tribute to David Bowie and his music.

Featuring Abe Guthrie and Sarah Lee Guthrie.

Mariachi Sol de México®

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Arlo Guthrie Re:Generation Tour

Tickets on sale now! | 913-469-4445 NO ONLINE FEES | FREE PARKING | WINE & BEER AVAILABLE

KC Parent Magazine November 2017  

KC Parent Magazine November 2017

KC Parent Magazine November 2017  

KC Parent Magazine November 2017