KC Parent November 2021

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Kansas city City’s kansas Holiday tradition Tradition holiday

• • • • • • •

100 ft-tall Mayor’s christmas tree outdoor skating at crown center ice terrace local & unique shopping dining options for every taste santa’s gingerbread station holiday music & live theater LEGOland® discovery center and sea life aquarium

CrownCenterChristmas.com #CrownCenter | 2450 Grand Boulevard | Kansas City, MO 64108

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That’s why our ER experts stand ready 24/7 to care for you. Unexpected moments happen. When they do, you can trust that AdventHealth’s ER experts are ready to safely care for you at four locations throughout Johnson County. And, we’ve made it easy to schedule a non-life-threatening emergency room visit online so you can wait in the comfort of home and arrive at a time convenient for you.

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IN EVERY ISSUE 10 Date Night 12 Media Mix 14 Tasty Treats 16 Dear Teachers 18 5 Things


19 Word from Dad 20 Ask the Experts 45 Craft Corner

FEATURES SPECIAL SECTIONS 22 Party Guide 44 Thanksgiving Fun Guide 54 Calendar of Events




Party Planning

Motivate Kids

Turkey Wreath

Ideas to help busy parents

Tips to help kids get and

Prepare for the holiday

plan the perfect party.

stay motivated.

with a cute craft.

Our cover features Reagan from Shawnee. Photo by Melissa Rieke Photography. MelissaRiekePhotography.com FREE | November 2021 | KCParent.com | Since 1985









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ON THE COVER Choosing a Family Pet Seven Tips to Motivate Kids Great Gift Ideas Thanksgiving Guide


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

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ways to calm a fussy baby


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Kim Antisdel (Liberty), Bill Bartlett (Belton), Hannah Berry (Kansas City), Janelle Cumro-Sultzer (Overland Park), Sandy Foster (Grain Valley), Allison Gibeson (Lee’s Summit), Judy Goppert (Lee’s Summit), Lauren Greenlee (Olathe), Christa Melnyk Hines (Olathe), Gina Klein (Kansas City), Kristina Light (Kansas City), Sarah Lyons (Olathe), Julie McKinley (Lee’s Summit), Emily Morrison (Independence)


Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City!

Publisher Michael Gimotty Michael@KCParent.com


appy November! Seems like this year is just flying by! As we do each year when November rolls around, we focus on giving thanks and being grateful. Of course, we should focus on that all year long, but in November, with the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s hot on our radar. Typically, we think of the “bigger” things we have to be thankful for: family, a home, good health, food on the table. Throughout this year, though, I’ve been trying to be thankful not only for those things, but for the smaller things as well. For instance, I’m thankful that my internet works and that my car starts. I’m thankful for a dishwasher full of dirty dishes, because that means I’ve had people to cook for today. I’m thankful for warm and fuzzy sweatshirts on a cold day and for a hot cup of coffee to start my day. What are you thankful for this year? Check out our Thanksgiving Fun Guide, starting on pg. 44, for ways to celebrate the holiday. During the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, but it’s important to remember to take time to slow down and enjoy the season. Because time is scarce during November and December, local mom Lauren Greenlee shares 15 ways to refresh in 15 minutes or less. One of my faves in her article that I do routinely is to utilize the library holds. I almost always have three to four books on hold at any given time. It helps me remember books I want to read (as soon as I’m given a suggestion, I go online and place the book on hold) and keeps me reading throughout the year. Head to pg. 32 for some more great ideas and make it a priority to take time for yourself during this busy season!

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kcparent.com november 2021

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, 11936 W. 119th #335, Overland Park, KS 66213

“Holiday Reflections” Step into the Most Magical Sights, Sounds & Selfies of the Season

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UnionStation.org/Holidays for Complete Details and Schedule



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It’s time for a date, so “Y” not try one of these? YAYAS YaYas Euro Bistro in Overland Park is a restaurant we have been to a number of times, and we have always been impressed by the food and the service. Their complimentary baba ganoush and bread is delicious. We also really enjoy their house soup, made with roasted chicken, tomato broth, zucchini, yellow squash and saffron orzo—silky and flavorful! Some other items we can recommend are the trout almondine, the angel hair pomodoro and the cauliflower steak. Their desserts are very tasty as well. If you don’t want to go in for a meal, they have a great date night to-go menu. For $50, you get two entrees and a bottle of house wine. They also have a good happy hour menu, including flatbread pizza, mussels and truffle fries. And on a nice day, their patio is the place to be. Overall, YaYas is a great choice with a warm, sophisticated atmosphere and staff that treat you like family. You won’t be disappointed.

YOGA A nontraditional date that we like to do on occasion is yoga. Limbering up together can be an enjoyable—and often amusing—time. Some of the yoga poses are difficult to maintain for very long and can lead to lots of laughter. A good at-home version of yoga is Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. We especially like her “Morning Yoga Flow.” Great way to get the day started! However, there are other options for yoga that are entertaining as well. Several area parks offer free yoga on Saturday mornings or on weekday evenings. Numerous other venues offer free or low cost classes as well, including wineries, community centers, alpaca farms, goat farms and museums. We definitely want to try yoga with alpacas or goats sometime. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with the animals, all while getting in some exercise and fresh air.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA The Young Victoria is a 2009 film about Princess Victoria of Kent and her rise to the throne as queen, but it is also a love story about her and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Victoria’s early life was marked by turbulence due to power struggles in the family and a strained relationship with her mother, the Duchess of Kent. Victoria often dreamed about the day when she would become queen and could make her own decisions. At the age of 18, that dream became a reality, and she moved into the newly completed Buckingham Palace to start her reign. Just about a year earlier, she had been introduced to Albert and the two developed an immediate fondness for each other. After becoming queen, Victoria proposed to Albert, since protocol forbade him from doing so. They married and eventually had nine children. My husband and I had never seen this movie until recently, and we felt that Emily Blunt did a superb job in the lead role. Hannah Berry is a freelance writer who lives in the Northland with her husband. They love to explore Kansas City and try new restaurants and activities.




Voted America’s Best Aquarium! . For more information or to purchase tickets, visit our website:

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A New Day Written by Grad Meltzer and illustrated by Dan Santat

In A New Day, Sunday decides to call it quits. She is tired of being the one who gives everyone else a relaxing, free day. She wants to have time to learn Sanskrit or master the sugar arts! “Everyone gets time for their own fun, or to catch a matinee. But no one says, ‘How’re you?’ or even ‘You okay?’” she says. After the other days recover from the news, they fly into action, advertising for a New Day to take Sunday’s place. Tryouts bring all kinds of possibilities . . . Fun Day, Dog Day, Superhero Day and Can-day. Get it? Candy? Well, anyway, a lot of silliness and hilarity ensue in trying to find just the right day to fill the week, until a little girl shows her appreciation for all the days. Sunday overhears and realizes that every day can be a new day.

Something’s Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

G My Name Is Girl Written and illustrated by Dawn Masi

G My Name Is Girl is a new, female, multicultural twist on the alphabet. For example, “A, my name is ALBA, and my sister’s name is AYELEN. We come from ARGENTINA, and we are ADVENTUROUS.” (The names, country where the girls reside, and character traits they possess are bolded for each letter in the book.) B is about girls from Burkina Faso, C showcases girls from Cuba. The alphabet continues from A to Z with the opportunity for children to learn about girls in other countries, names that are common there, and empowering character traits children can emulate wherever they might live. This is Masi’s first book. She employs rhythmic text and charming illustrations throughout the volume. Those elements, along with a shared color palette, cause the story to flow from page to page.

Written by Jory John and illustrated by Erin Kraan Jeff the bear is having one of those days! You know the kind. Where you feel like something’s wrong, but you just can’t figure out what it might be . . . He’s eaten breakfast, bathed, tried on the gift from his grandma and combed his fur, but he feels like he’s forgetting something. Jeff makes his way through the forest, seeing friends and neighbors and chatting happily even though they look at him oddly. As the nagging feeling grows, Jeff decides he needs to visit his friend, Anders. “You know what I need? A friend! Yes. I need a trusted friend who will be honest with me. A friend who will tell me if something is actually wrong.” And Anders, being a good friend, tells Jeff the truth and then stands by to provide support and encouragement.

Sandy Foster is a writer and blogger (NadinesBakery.com) who lives in the Kansas City area.

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I recently adopted a cat from Great Plains

introduce your pets to some of the family

SPCA and wanted to know what your

members before the holidays so they will be

thoughts are on little nail caps. Do they

excited to see them. Also try to give them

really work? We are just trying to figure out

plenty of exercise. Do your best to not leave

ways to keep her from scratching up our

them alone more than normal since

furniture. – Teddie O’Ryan

environment changes are what cause the most stress during this time and make sure

I love the kitty soft paws and they work for

they get some restful sleep. Hope you have

my cat. You can use different colors to

a wonderful holiday.

match upcoming holidays for some extra

– Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

fun. I normally do not do the back paws since they do most of the scratching with

We got a new puppy and he is a cutie pie.

the front paws and I usually do them about

However, he frequently pees when he gets

once a month. Trim her nails, then add the

excited and when he meets new people.

soft paws. If you try them and do not like

This dog is always excited and is living his

them, I recommend trimming nails frequently and getting lots of scratching toys for your cat to play with to redirect her from your furniture.

holidays. Can you share any tips for what we can do to help our pets relax with all the

Goldie is a lovely companion looking for a home to call her own. She is a loving, well-mannered and easy-going girl. At six years old, you get a perfect balance of happy-go-lucky and relaxed with Miss Goldie. She is happy to be wherever you are and would love to be your co-pilot for life. Goldie is house trained, knows a few commands and listens very well. She is simply searching for

To help eliminate submissive urination, do

attention of humans to other pets. Life is sure to

not scold or yell at your puppy when it

be sweet with Goldie around. Come to the shelter

happens. This will cause the issue to

to meet her today!

become much worse. When introducing him to new people and animals or when playing,

holiday commotion? - Leela Chamberlain

try to always do it outdoors to build an

I recommend setting up a pet safe room for

routine as much as you can. If you can,

to help him stop peeing everywhere?


human companionship and does prefer the

I am having lots of guests to my home for the

needed and trying to stick to your usual

peeing moments. Is there anything I can do - Sarah Rodgers

– Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

them to take breaks from the family when

life to the fullest, so he has a lot of excited


association of going pee outdoors. Make greetings very low-key and no big deal at

Thank You

all. Ignore him until he is calm, then reward for calm behaviors. I do have some good news: Most dogs under one year that inappropriately urinate out of excitement usually outgrow the behavior, so hang in there and follow these steps for success. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

We appreciate your continued support and generosity!

Email askashley@greatplainsspca.org for a chance to have your pet question answered here in KC Parent magazine. Animal expert, Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA, is the Director of Animal Behavior & Training at Great Plains SPCA. Ashley has more than 16 years of experience in animal training and behavior.


Great Plains SPCA is an independent 501(c)(3) no-kill shelter serving approximately 4,000 animals annually in the Johnson County community. As Kansas City’s premium family shelter, we continue to support the seven municipalities with which we are contracted including Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa, Shawnee, Lake Quivira and Johnson County Parks and Recreation and unincorporated Johnson County. kcparent.com november 2021



Nutritious Fall Meals (Family Features)


ith busy fall routines, finding the time to sit down at the table for nutritious meals can be challenging for many families. Adding an option like Florida orange juice to your family’s routine can help fuel them throughout the day. Whether drinking it on its own or by adding it to recipes like Grilled Turkey Club with Orange Juice-Infused Aioli or Orange Cream Smoothies, you can feel good about incorporating a beverage with essential vitamins and minerals, nutrients for immune system support and no added sugars.

Diet and nutritional benefits: Both nutritious and delicious, drinking 100 percent orange juice can increase fruit intake, as well as provide key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin and magnesium, as well as vitamin D and calcium in fortified juice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting 100 percent fruit juice to no more than 4-6 ounces daily for children ages 2-6 and no more than 8 ounces for children ages 7 and older. Immune support: Real orange juice can help support the immune system by providing a variety of vitamins and minerals. For example, an 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps protect cells and promote the production and function of immune cells. An 8-ounce serving of fortified 100 percent orange juice is a good source of vitamin D, which plays an important role in regulating immune response to help fight off bacteria and viruses that get into the body.

Visit FloridaJuice.com to find more nutritious recipes.

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Grilled Turkey Club with Orange Juice-Infused Aioli Orange Juice-Infused Aioli: 1 c. mayonnaise 1/2 c. Florida orange juice 2 T. chopped parsley 2 cloves garlic, grated 2 t. Dijon mustard

Turkey Club: 8 slices multigrain bread 1 c. watercress 8 oz. thinly sliced smoked turkey 4 slices provolone cheese Nonstick cooking spray To make aioli: In small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, orange juice, parsley, garlic and Dijon mustard. To make turkey club: Spread 2-3 teaspoons aioli on four bread slices. Spread watercress on top of aioli. Top watercress with turkey, cheese and remaining bread slices. Spray grill pan, electric skillet or cast-iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray and warm over medium heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches, cheese side down, and cook until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted, about 4 minutes. Gently flip and cook 2-3 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve with remaining aioli as dipping sauce.

Orange Cream Smoothies 1-1/2 c. Florida orange juice 2 c. ice 6 oz. non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt 1/2 c. vanilla almond or soy milk In blender on medium speed, blend orange juice, ice, Greek yogurt and vanilla almond or soy milk until smooth and creamy. Pour into two tall glasses.


Maur Hill-Mount Academy We are College Prep, We are Boarding and We are Catholic


anasseh Miller is a senior from Kansas City, MO. He plays basketball and football, he’s involved with campus ministry, a leader in the dorms, and loves volunteering to help the community. Why did you come to MHMA?

My mom wanted me to have more structure and she saw this as an opportunity for me.

First thought of boarding school?

I thought it would be a prison (laughing). But it is the furthest from that. Everyone is so nice! I love being in a place where you have people who truly care about you.

Did it take long to adjust?

Yes, it took me a year or two to really get the schedule down. But you have prefects and teachers to help you, plus the upperclassmen. By my junior year I was well organized, I have developed time management skills, and have become even more focused on my studies.

Have you made a lot of friends?

Everyone here knows everyone, it’s a small school which is nice. I do have a close group of friends, both day and boarding students from everywhere. It’s really cool having friends from around the world too, I can’t wait to visit them after high school.

Favorite thing about MHMA? The people.

Has your faith grown over the 4 years?

I now enjoy going to church and praying more. Father Jay encourages us to be closer to God and it helped me practice more in my own prayer and reading the Bible.

Do you still get homesick?

Oh yes, I still do. But my mom is only an hour away, and you have other boarding students going through the same thing. You’re never alone.

Are you ready for college?

Academically yes. Living in a dorm, no problem. I feel ready, but I’m still a little nervous.

Any advice for an 8th grader?

Come visit, it’s a short drive from KC. We have fun. We have great education, we’re good at sports, and you’ll meet other students who are just like you. Boarding is the best experience, and prepares you for college and life.

Is your sister ready for MHMA?

She is so excited, she never stops talking about coming here.




QUESTION: I hear that one in five teens now suffers

Teens think hearing loss is just for old folks; however,

from hearing loss, most of which is noise-induced.

20 percent of teens now surprisingly have some form

What can be done to help prevent a hearing loss

of hearing loss. Unfortunately, hearing loss is real—and

due to noise? I know that it is hard to get through to

growing—and there is currently no cure. Teens, as well

teens, who often feel physically invincible and more

as younger children, definitely need to be educated

concerned with peer pressure than parental guidance.

about noise-induced hearing loss. The good news is that noise-induced hearing

– Worried

ANSWER: Shari Eberts, an advocate for hearing loss and preventing hearing loss, has the facts you must share with your teenage children—as well as all your school children. She points out that our hearing is fragile. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the sensory cells inside the cochlea

loss is entirely preventable. Teens have the power to protect their ears if they follow these simple rules so they will be able to enjoy better hearing through their entire lives. These rules, in fact, should be followed by all school children.

safe level. Fifteen minutes at maximum volume

of your inner ear are damaged. These cells are

on your iPod is all it takes to damage your

very sensitive, which allows us to hear a full range

hearing. Listening time is cumulative,

of tones, but also very delicate. When exposed

so you can listen longer at lower volumes

to loud noise on a frequent basis, these cells

and stay safe. Try noise-canceling headphones

weaken and eventually die, and once they do,

which block out background noise, allowing you

they are gone for good. Scientists have not yet found a way to regenerate hair cells, although organizations like Hearing Health Foundation and

to enjoy your music at lower volumes.

2. Block the noise. Wear earplugs or earmuffs at concerts or sporting events. They come

the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss are

in many sizes and styles. Some are even made

working on it.

specifically for listening to music.

Your teens, especially, need to understand that prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85

1. Turn it down. Enjoy your music, but listen at a

3. Move away. The farther you are from the noise,

decibels can cause gradual hearing loss. This is the

the safer it is. Always pick a seat far away from

level of heavy city traffic or a school cafeteria. At

loudspeakers, and if you see a noisy construction

105 decibels, the maximum volume of an iPod, some

site, cross the street.

hearing loss can occur within 15 minutes. At 110 decibels, the level of a rock concert or loud sporting event, damage can occur after only one minute.

16 november 2021 kcparent.com

As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

DECIPHERING WHAT A REPORT CARD IS TELLING YOU QUESTION: My child’s recent fifth grade report card had much lower grades than she received last year with all the problems associated with the pandemic. This puzzles me, as she was in school most of the year. I want to help her, as I think that she has put in a considerable effort in doing her homework. How should I deal with this? – Searching for an Answer

ANSWER: Whether her previous report cards have been better or not, you will need to talk to the child’s teacher. Be aware that grades are largely based on tests, quizzes, classwork and class participation rather than homework. Have you been looking at the daily work she brings home from school? Are the grades on these papers in line with her report card grades? Did you consider her attendance? Before you talk to the teacher, take the time to study the report card carefully. Look at all the checkmarks and asterisks on the report card. They will tell you about skills your child has not mastered, areas that need improvement and weaknesses in work habits that may affect your child’s grades in academic areas. Don’t forget to look at the remarks describing her behavior in the classroom. Finally, read the teacher’s comments, if there are any. They usually give an overall picture of the child’s performance. And don’t forget to write your questions or comments about the report card in the space provided. The purpose of the conference should be to find out what needs to be done in the future to improve your child’s grades. The conference could be in person, virtual or on the phone. It is definitely appropriate to question whether the lower grades reflect what she did not learn last year. Nevertheless, the conference focus has to be on how she can be helped to improve her grades in the future. And be sure to find out what everyone in the family can do to ensure academic achievement will improve on the next report card.

© Compass Syndicate Corporation, 2021

kcparent.com november 2021


FIVETHINGS Advent Calendar

Boba Tea I’m not a tea person. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried, but it’s just not my thing—yet. Who’s to say it won’t someday become my thing? Each afternoon, my mom enjoys what she calls “a restorative cup of tea,” and my daughters love to frequent local businesses for a big old cup of tea. My younger especially loves boba tea, and a friend suggested she try out Chatime, a new, local shop that serves tea. From milky to brewed to boba, they have it all! I also spy smoothies on the menu—and I do love a good smoothie! Check it out today for your afternoon refresher! ChatimeKC.com




Compiled by Margaret Sarver

Shampoo I don’t like to spend a lot of money on personal care items. I believe good products can be found that don’t cost a fortune, so, I come to you, dear readers, for help. I’ve gotten hooked on a shampoo that costs more than I like, but I love how it works for my hair— keeps it smooth and easy to style. And even though I no longer color my hair, it still is really the best I’ve found. What are your favorite bargain shampoos? Shoot me an email and let me in on what you use. And if you don’t mind paying a bit more, I highly recommend Angel Wash by Kevin Murphy.

18 november 2021 kcparent.com

Typically, I wait too long to purchase an Advent calendar—by the time I remember, there isn’t much to choose from. Well not this year! This year, not only will I purchase on time, but I’m going to level up as well with the Godiva Luxury Advent Calendar. Each day contains either a Godiva classic or a seasonal treat, and I’m here to tell you that each day is yummy. Spoiler alert: I received a sample, and we’ve already tried each piece, and you won’t be disappointed! Order yours today at Godiva.com.

Jewelry Box If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know I often feature jewelry. I was recently introduced to these darling travel jewelry cases, and they make the best gift for anyone! My older received one for her birthday and loved it! A friend gave them to high school grads who loved them! My sisters are receiving for Christmas this year, and they will love them! The cases aren’t just cute, but they are practical as well and are perfect for transporting your baubles for a weekend away or a longer vacay! Head to Etsy and search “travel jewelry case” for tons of options! Etsy.com

Ornament Our Christmas tree is decorated each year with a hodge-podge of ornaments collected through the years. Each ornament has a story and a special meaning, and that’s what I love about it. Many of the ornaments on the tree were received as gifts. When we put up the tree each year, we talk about the ornament, who gave it to us and what it means. If you’re looking for a unique gift for this year, check out Crown Center’s mayor’s Christmas tree ornament for 2021. It’s a festive image painted on a wooden ornament, made from the wood from last year’s tree. How cool is that? A great gift with a great story! Available at Crown Center.


I’m Thankful for My Family “Ian!” James pointed at Ian, his voice quivering with rage. “You took my charger pack and stole my charge!” Ian bounded out of the couch. “I didn’t take it!” James tried to shove Ian, but his brother grabbed James first. Sandi stopped them in their tracks. “I’m fed up with you two fighting! You know what?” Her voice grew quiet, but gained intensity. “I don’t care if we have Thanksgiving dinner or not.” She blinked back tears and stormed up the stairs, leaving the boys in stunned silence. Ian spoke first. “No Thanksgiving dinner?” James’ voice was subdued, too. “It’s Ian’s fault.” “I used your charger pack.” I lied, but it stopped the fight. “Satisfied? Instead of a nice, family dinner, she’s upstairs crying because you two can’t get along. Is this what you want?” Neither answered. “If you’d like Thanksgiving dinner, we’ll have to make it, and I can’t do it without you. That means no fighting. Got it? Let’s make this the best Thanksgiving meal Mom ever had. What do you say?” I held a hand out to each and received a high five. While my team worked, I sneaked outside and called Sandi. “Are you all right?” She sighed. “I suppose so. Guess I’ll come on down.” “No, wait. You need to stay upstairs until we’re ready. I’ll call you about an hour before we eat so you can put on something fancy.” Dinner surpassed my expectations with everything arranged like a photospread, including us. Sandi wore a black dress and pearls while the boys and I sported slacks, white shirts and ties. “Before we say prayers, I want everybody to say what they’re thankful for. Mom, you start.” Sandi took in everything before she spoke, tears shining in her eyes. “I’m so grateful for my family.”

Little smiles can have a BIG impact!

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William R. Bartlett lives in Belton with his family. kcparent.com november 2021



EXPERTS Jonah Nelson

Brooke Varnum, MD



Family Tree Nursery is a team of passionate horticulturists providing an unmatched selection of plants and gardening products for the KC area since 1964. 913.642.6503, FamilyTreeNursery.com

AdventHealth Lenexa pediatricians and primary care providers offer compassionate, expert care for children of all ages. Find a provider at AdventHealthKC.com.



What can I do to prepare my lawn for winter?

When should my son get his first eye exam?

To prep your lawn for the winter months when grass stores nutrients, apply two applications of a quick-release, high nitrogen fertilizer in October and November for heavy root and stem development. These are important months of vegetative growth when grass typically grows roots, rhizomes, leaf blades and crowns. During these months, proper fertilizing and watering produces thicker roots, stronger crowns, aggressive rhizomes and lateral growth for a healthy, thick, winter-hardy lawn. Family Tree Nursery offers Solutions Winterizer, a quick-release, environmentally friendly fertilizer for the perfect lawn next spring. Remember, October and November are the perfect months to get your lawn ready for winter.

Eye exams start from birth when a doctor or other health care provider will visually inspect your baby’s eyes to check for pupil response and what is called a red reflex by shining a light in Baby’s eyes. There will continue to be periodic screens of eye development at well-child visits where we evaluate eye alignment and healthy development of the eye. At age 5, or as soon as the child can read an eye chart, we will start routine visual acuity testing. If there are ever any concerns during screening, a referral to an ophthalmologist will be made for a comprehensive exam.

Jonah Nelson Family Tree Nursery

Brooke Varnum, MD Family Medicine AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at Lenexa

ASK THE EXPERTS...If you have a question, send it our way and we’ll ask one of our experts to answer. Email editor@kcparent.com and put “Ask the Experts” in the subject line. As always, please consult your health care provider with any medical questions or concerns.

20 november 2021 kcparent.com

Congratulations on 25 years of serving Kansas City!

Create here. Thrive everywhere. The Culture House Conservatory of the Arts Störling Dance Theater Underground Summer Broadway Series

TCH Recording Studio Störling Conservatory Bachelor’s Degree Program New Works Program STAR Program



the busy parents’ guide to

birthday party planning


utting together the perfect birthday party for your child can be a fun process, albeit a time-consuming feat. So, what’s a busy parent to do to throw an easy, fabulous birthday party for a special little boy or girl? Here are some wonderful tips for planning the event and choosing the perfect decorations, food and activities.

Forget the computer. Instead, sit down with your child and 1 brainstorm. What will make the birthday magical for him or her? Will there be a theme? Where should the party take place? How many friends will be invited? Write everything down and create a schedule for getting it all together.

a venue. If you’re a busy parent, consider booking 2 Choose a venue that provides everything, including décor, food and entertainment. Roller-skating and ice-skating parties are always a hit with the older kids, as are rock-climbing walls and trampoline parks. Kids under 5 always appreciate a petting zoo, a local park, bounce house, water park or painting/art studio.



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email or online invites. This cuts time having to 3 Send purchase invitations and write them out. Sites like Evite and Facebook make sending invitations easy! If you prefer paper invites, go for it! Kids usually love getting their own snail mail.

Keep decorations easy and simple. Have balloons 4 delivered rather than trying to blow them all up yourself, and instead of running out to the party store, order what you need online. You can find everything from banners and confetti to party favors and tableware in just a few clicks!

with ease. If it’s an at-home party, utilize your 5 Entertain own skills and teach kids how to paint, dance or cook. Play games such as Twister or musical chairs. For a sleepover party, buy mini pillows for the kids to have a pillow fight. They can take them home afterward.

food simple. Seriously. For an easy and quick way 6 Keep to feed your party, pick up a veggie/fruit tray, set up a chili or pasta bar, let kids make their own mini pizzas or sandwiches, or ask other parents to bring a side dish and make it a potluck.

Make dessert easy. Who needs a custom or homemade 7 cake when you can run to the nearest grocer and let your kiddo pick out a box of premade cupcakes? If you’re short on time, this is the perfect option, and the kids don’t care whether it’s homemade or not (unless there’s a food allergy).

Don’t stress over party favors. If it’s a party full of girls, 8 pick up some cosmetic samples at cosmetic counters to put into goodie bags. Or, buy a pinata, hand out cellophane bags, and let the kids collect their own candy. Piece of cake!

Say thank you. It’s always important to thank friends for 9 their company and gifts, so have a plan on how you wish to go about it. Perhaps your child hugs each friend and says, “Thank you,” immediately after he opens the gift they brought. If you prefer thank you cards, purchase some to send through the mail (be sure your child writes them or at least signs her name), or you may opt to send email thank you’s. Birthday parties don’t have to be stressful or expensive. If you plan properly and strive for simplicity, your kids still can have just as much fun as they would if you had spent hundreds of dollars!

Kansas City mom and author Gina Klein loves throwing parties for her daughters and involving them in the entire process. It makes it more fun!

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Where fun

TAKES FLIGHT! With attractions that cater to any level of adventurer, there’s something fun for everyone. Both locations now open


8554 Maurer Road • Lenexa, KS 66219 • (913) 359-5800


14401 Metcalf Ave • Overland Park, KS 66223 • (913) 298-0626

24 november 2021 kcparent.com


Strang Hall



emember gathering with pals at the mall food court? One could grab a giant slice of pizza, another a sub sandwich, and no one had to compromise. Food halls, trendy eatery conglomerates popping up across the metro, are the food court concept all grown up. Now, true chefs bring their signature cuisine to a shared space where the greatest challenge for a diner is narrowing down which fantastic items to order! Next time you’re gathering with friends or family for a meal, consider heading to a local food hall where you can support small business, enjoy delicious dining and ensure no compromise of choice afflicts anyone in your group. It’s what we call a win-win-win!

Strang Hall

Iron District

Located in historic downtown Overland Park, Strang Hall is a beautiful and spacious collective of chef-driven restaurants all at home under one roof. You’ll find original, authentic food you can’t find anywhere else in town. Southeast Asian, modern sushi, tacos, craft pizza and locally sourced, seasonally inspired dishes are on the menu at this favorite gathering place. StrangHall.com

This outdoor container park is truly one-of-a-kind. The Iron District is a collective of local food vendors, a full bar and shopping. The outdoor space is dog friendly and open yearround, though you’ll want to check specific vendors for their hours and weather-related accommodations. The outdoor scene is ideal for those who want to enjoy fresh air and support local businesses. IronDistrictNorthKC.com

Lenexa Public Market The Lenexa Public Market is home to a variety of local merchants selling fresh food and handcrafted artisan products. Enjoy a meal, purchase goods or take a class while supporting local entrepreneurs. Kids enjoy playing one of the many games around the market— from Jenga and Uno to checkers. LenexaPublicMarket.com

Parlor Parlor showcases a diverse collection of culinary experiences featuring phenomenal food and drinks. Gourmet mac ‘n cheese, artisan pizza, authentic Korean food and healthy but delicious meals are all served under one roof. The fun, relaxed and eclectic atmosphere is relaxing and appealing, making the Parlor our top pick in the Crossroads. ParlorKCMO.com

Made in KC Made in KC began as a hub for local shoppers on the search for the perfect locally made—and locally proud—KC merch. Now, they’ve expanded with multiple locations, and many of them offer delicious food and drink. You can enjoy shopping and dining all at one location. Savor artisanal sandwiches, coffee, cocktails, beer, ice cream or a tasty snack from a local vendor. MadeInKC.co

kcparent.com november 2021


choosing THE BEST PET for Your Family


efore surprising your children with a new pet as a holiday gift this year, consider your family’s lifestyle, finances and personality to decide what pet is right for you. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, raising children with pets can benefit a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence and can encourage compassion and empathy. But, unlike a sweater that you return if it doesn’t fit quite right, a pet shouldn’t be an impulse buy. Barbara Poe, a humane society manager, says that 75 percent of the animals returned to the shelter result from families adding a pet to their households without considering the challenges. “This percentage rises when talking about the return of puppies. Puppies require a lot of time, socialization and training,” Poe says.

A Moment of Your Time? First, take a look at a typical day for your family to determine whether you’re home enough to provide the care and attention a pet deserves. “Kittens and puppies are like having an extra toddler in your house. They require a lot of supervision because they will chew on things, climb on things or get into things you don’t necessarily want them to or that might be harmful to them,” says Dawn Morgan, manager of volunteer and client services at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. Although older dogs and cats may adjust better to a busy lifestyle, they still need exercise, playtime, training and grooming. Without enough exercise and social interaction, a bored, lonely dog may take out its frustrations by engaging in destructive behaviors like chewing and digging. Less demanding pets, like fish, might work better for families with hectic schedules. As with any pet, determine in advance how much you want your child to help, whether it’s with feeding or cleaning. Be prepared to enforce the rules and pick up any slack.


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A Financial Commitment Besides food, vaccinations, spaying or neutering and supplies, the scale slides wildly when considering the overall financial cost of a pet. Life expectancies vary, and if your pet develops health problems, you’ll likely pay more for its care over the long haul than for an otherwise healthy animal. Also, if you choose a more exotic pet like a guinea pig, bird or a reptile, prepare to pay a little extra for a veterinarian who specializes in handling exotic animals.

It’s a Match! To ensure both the safety of your child and the welfare of the animal, understand the temperament of various types of animals. “It’s really important when you think to bring a pet into your home that you look for a dog or cat that matches your personality and will fit into the dynamic of your family instead of just the one that is the cutest,” Morgan says. If you’re adopting from a shelter, talk to the volunteer who walks and feeds the animals. This person usually spends the most time

with individual cats and dogs and can talk to you about their personalities and which ones would do well in a home with children. Among dogs, research breeds and mixes. Although retrievers and labradors tend to be good family dogs, some families don’t realize how much exercise and attention these breeds require. Take into account your child’s personality, as well. “Shy or timid kids are confusing to a dog. Dogs react differently to a shy, fearful behavior and may see it as a threatening behavior,” says veterinarian Andrea Ferrell, Perimeter Veterinary Center, Shawnee. If you choose a puppy, enroll in a puppy training class to ensure it learns to properly interact with people and to socialize with other dogs.

Pocket Pets With parental supervision, animals like rabbits, guinea pigs and other small mammals make good first-time pets for children who are ready for the responsibility of caring for an animal.

Purchase a young rabbit or guinea pig so that it grows accustomed to handling. Although they don’t require much in the way of exercise, rabbits and guinea pigs do enjoy social interaction and clean, indoor enclosures.

Birds and Reptiles Carefully research other small animals like birds, reptiles and amphibians before adding them to your family. Many of these animals are neither easy to care for nor to handle. Turtles, in particular, carry Salmonella bacteria on their shells, which can sicken a child still learning handwashing hygiene. When researching the right pet for you, talk to friends and family who own pets that you are interested in, your veterinarian or your local animal shelter. Christa Melnyk Hines, an Olathe freelance writer, resides with her sweet rescue dog, a cricket-lovin’ leopard gecko, her loving husband and their two active sons (all of whom demand lots of her attention).

The starting point for a healthy smile. We specialize in giving kids the care and special consideration they need for successful dental care. Locations:

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kcparent.com november 2021




eaching our kids generosity often takes the spotlight as the holidays approach, and many parents search for ways to teach such lessons not only during this season but all through the year. Local mom Julie Hamilton treasures her experiences teaching her son generosity by packing gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collects shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Since the project began in 1993, it has distributed more than 186 million gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 160 nations and territories around the world. Hamilton and her 8-year-old son, Henry, first began packing these gifts for children several years ago when he was quite young. Over the years they have increased both the number of boxes they pack and their overall involvement in the ministry. “I have felt a great passion from God to teach [Henry] to love children,” Hamilton says. In addition to packing boxes themselves, their church, Connection Point Church in Raytown, partners


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with OCC. The mother-and-son team volunteers with the church-wide shoebox packing effort, as well as the church’s service as a drop-off location during National Collection Week each November (this year Nov. 15-22). The two have even been known to create and post videos of themselves at stores shopping for shoebox items. They have fun creating these tutorials showing others how to pack a box. Henry has also been known to wear a shoebox costume and greet people as they come to drop off their boxes at their church during collection week. “I have seen Henry inspire other people by just being there,” Hamilton says. “This is one step of many in our lives that God has put us in contact with to follow Jesus and tell other children about Him.”

A CHANGED LIFE Through their efforts, Hamilton and Henry have learned that each gift packed represents a child who will be shown love, and one of these children was Vladimir Prokhnevskiy from the Ukraine. He grew up in a family of nine children and didn’t receive gifts, as his family lived amidst poverty and persecution. As a result, he and his siblings often had to use their imaginations to come up with objects they could play with as toys. At

times, they even pretended their shoes were cars. This all changed once he received his box at the age of 9. He and his siblings rode a bus and tram to the church doing the distribution, and not only did he receive his first-ever gift, but it was his first time to receive school supplies. “When I received my shoebox, I had my own pen and paper from another country that were so colorful and beautiful,” he says. Receiving his own school supplies was especially exciting as his teacher would often ridicule both him and his twin brother for not having the needed pen and paper for class. She would do so because the brothers didn’t want to admit they couldn’t afford basic supplies, so they always said they forgot them. Vladimir also enjoyed the toys, toothbrush and dental floss that were included in the box. He reveled in ownership of his very own toothbrush, and he even learned how to use the floss. Overall, he says receiving the box was a demonstration to him of an act of unconditional love. In his culture, people would typically expect something in return if they gave a gift, but this gift came with no strings attached. He says it allowed him and his siblings to forget all their challenges and just feel loved.

“It’s the simplest act of kindness,” Vladimir says. “Unconditional love is contagious. It spreads like wildfire.” He says the box was a seed of love planted in his heart because someone took the time to demonstrate love in a physical, tangible way. Today, Vladimir lives in the United States and frequently shares his story to inspire others to pack boxes. Through her experiences in packing boxes, Hamilton says she has learned she doesn’t have to do everything herself, and she has found great joy in helping others see how they can get involved from home here in Kansas City to impact children all over the world. Allison Gibeson is a local writer who loves packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with her husband and son.

EVERY BOY BECOMES A MAN. THE QUESTION IS, WHAT KIND WILL YOURS BECOME? Since 1889, thousands of parents have looked to Missouri Military Academy to give their boys the structure, responsibility and love they need to grow, compete and thrive — and become young men in full command of their lives.


M I S S O U R I M I L I TA RY A C A D E M Y Serving grades 7 through 12 PG


Since 1889 • Mexico, Missouri 888-564-6662 • missourimilitaryacademy.org

Want to pack a shoebox but not sure how to get started? Here’s a step-by-step guide. • Find an empty shoebox or similar sized plastic container. • Choose whether you want to pack a box for a boy or girl and the age range: 2 to 4, 5 to 9 or 10 to 14.



• Go shopping! Fill the box full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items. • Print out a label and make a $9 donation online. • Send it on its way! Nov. 15-22 is National Collection Week, and churches around Kansas City will be open to receive your boxes. • For more information on how to pack a box, print out a label or find a list of drop-off locations, go to SamaritansPurse.org/occ. There you can also find information on packing a box online.



SOAR exists to transform the lives of special families and empower them to SOAR in their local & faith communities with key resources, impactful activities, and thriving environments so that they can live beautiful lives. S OA RS P EC I A L N E E D S . O R G

kcparent.com november 2021



7 Tips to Motivate Kids


otivation is a tricky thing. For some children, it just happens naturally. They want to do well in school, help around the house and put their best foot forward in every sport or activity. For other kids, finding internal motivation is a challenge. Through no fault of their own, the desire to do all the things all of the time isn’t as prevalent. These little ones are more likely to follow an easier path, let the work pile up and even sit things out. Whichever version you’re dealing with—and you’re likely to encounter both in the same household—it’s important to remember that both are right. We’re all made differently. Ultimately though, there’s no denying that motivation is paramount to keeping kids involved and moving toward goals. So what can we parents do to keep the motivation train running smoothly on the tracks? Here are seven tips to implement in your kids’ daily lives.

Start small Motivation is like a set of building blocks: You have to start at the bottom. Children especially need to see successes in small increments. If your goal is to motivate your children to clean their entire room, avoid saying, “Go clean your entire room.” It’s simply too overwhelming—and, frankly, it even sounds boring. All your child hears is, “Go do this big thing that seems impossible and will take all day.” Instead, begin with the most minimal of requirements and build upward. Consider a job that’s small but easy to see


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the rewards of—like making the bed. When one task is completed, go to the next. Each job gets your child closer and closer to a clean room and your sanity closer to restoration.

Reward big—properly When a child does something positive, it’s natural to want to reward the behavior. Fair enough. But oftentimes parents think a reward means chocolate or a new toy. Au contraire. These rewards actually belong in the bribe category, and bribes do not work. Either the chocolate piece won’t be big enough, or the new toy won’t be the right one. Plus, bribes eventually backfire, and you’ll be left with a closet full of meaningless toys that your child will then need to clean up.

End that cycle

Lead the way

Teach your children that the reward for something— we’ll stick with a clean room as an example—is the satisfaction of a job well done. Remind them that with this newly cleaned room, they can see all their toys at once. Now that their bed is made and clean, it feels so much more snuggly when they crawl inside it at night. Lastly, don’t underestimate the impact of a huge smile and hug from you.

If you aren’t great at picking up after yourself, why would you expect your child to be? No matter how much we want a child to be inherently tidy, efficient and timely, it’s too much to ask. We must give our children grace and recognize that they will be great at some things and struggle with others. Just like us. Consider pointing out your own flaws before harping on your child’s. For example, if you’re bad at being motivated to take out the trash, focus on shifting your motivation. Even better, show the behavior change so your child can emulate it. Say something like, “Man, I hate taking out the trash, but I know how important it is in keeping our house clean. Will you help me?” Showing your child that you, yes you, can spark change in your own motivation will almost certainly encourage your kids to do the same.

Focus on internal motivation It’s very easy to overemphasize our personal pride in our children. When their child overcomes an obstacle, parents often reach for the “I’m SO proud of you!” exclamation. Although it certainly is vital for children to witness a proud parent, the real value is feeling pride in themselves. After all, they are the ones who worked hard, put in the effort and made the good thing happen. As a parent, you can’t be there every time your kids hit a bump in the road, telling them you’re so proud of them for trying. So where will they find the motivation? Hint: It’s within. Teach your kids that they are the ones who have the power to keep going and to keep working toward a goal. Let them feel the addicting swell of pride through their body when they accomplish something on their own. They’ll chase that high the rest of their lives.

Keep talking Communication is a consistent takeaway for every parent when it comes to raising a motivated child. Parents frequently assume they know the answers for a lack of motivation, and understandably so. After all, it takes a lot longer to find out the true “why,” and we rarely find ourselves with extra time. Nevertheless, consider taking a few moments to get to the bottom of an issue of motivation before presuming to know the answer. Recently, I inquired of my son about why he refuses to brush his teeth. I assumed it was simply laziness and a lack of motivation to do the right thing. When I asked, I was surprised to learn he hated his toothpaste. It was too “spicy,” and he didn’t like the way it felt in his mouth.

Ask, then listen We quickly switched his toothpaste, and ever since, he has been much more aggregable to the nighttime routine. (Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he still puts up a fight.) The lesson I learned in that moment was sweeping. I don’t always have the answers about my child—but he always will if I’m willing to ask the question.

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

More ways to encourage motivation Allow failure. If you eliminate every little obstacle your child encounters, the real ones will be that much harder to overcome. A little struggle never hurt anyone, but it did make them better. Attempts over results. If your child attempts something and fails, praise the effort. “I saw how hard you worked at that cartwheel! Even though you didn’t get it this time, I know you will soon!”

Try new things. Get your children out of their comfort zone. Try lots of sports, games and activities. Don’t buy the expensive sports equipment right away and pigeon hole your child into one type of activity. Tread lightly and leave the door open for numerous experiences. The motivation will come naturally when they discover something they truly love.

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THAT TAKE LESS THAN 15 MINUTES Life is busy. There are bills to pay, groceries to buy, work deadlines to meet and carpool lines to navigate. If we’re not careful, relationships with those we’re closest to can get lost in the shuffle. But take heart! Bonds are built in the small daily things, not the large and grandiose. Eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time with these quick acts of kindness toward your spouse, your children and yourself.

BUILD UP YOUR KIDS Schedule one-on-one time with each of your children. Kids need dates with their moms and dads, too! Call a babysitter or see whether Grandma can watch your other kids so you can give some undivided attention. Go out to eat, play mini-golf, make arts and crafts or even do a service project together.

Write notes of encouragement and place them in unassuming places— not just their lunch boxes! Words have the ability to build or crush a spirit. Exhort your favorite little people with positive words. Place sticky notes around their bedroom, scribble a kind word on their bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker or establish a journal that you and your child write to each other in.

Go through scrapbooks together.

CHERISH YOUR SPOUSE Learn your spouse’s love languages. According to author Gary

Chapman, there are five love languages: quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service and words of affirmation. Have your spouse rate his or her love languages in order of most valuable to least, as well as a few specific ways you can love your lover through them. Then, take inventory of how you can intentionally do that each week in a few simple yet meaningful ways.

Read a book together—or apart, but then come together to discuss it. Mix it up! Have your spouse pick the first read and you choose the next one. Aim to go through a variety of books you both enjoy and critique them.


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Schedule a surprise couples getaway. Take a cooking class together, schedule a couples massage or book a weekend retreat out of town. Need to stay closer to home? Check out KC Parent and KC Going Places magazines for incredible staycation date ideas.

Create romantic bedroom ambiance. Buy soft, high thread count sheets, cover the dresser in candles or add a fresh flower bouquet to the nightstand. Make the master a warm and inviting place.

Enjoy date night in. Having a hard time scheduling date nights with any regularity? Order dinner in and enjoy watching a favorite movie or TV show after the kids go to bed.

Walk them through your years pre-kid by taking them through your wedding album or through photo books from your younger years. And don’t forget to check out the baby books and family albums from after your kids entered the scene.

Teach them a skill you are good at. Are you good under the hood of a car? Can you cook up a scrumptious cacciatore? Maybe you play a mean guitar solo. Whatever your talent, impart what you know to the next generation. You never know what significant impact it might make on your son or daughter, but simply having a shared interest isn’t a bad thing either!

TREAT YOURSELF Learn a second language. Whether you took advanced foreign language classes in college and just want to brush up on an old skill that’s been collecting dust, or you want to try your hand (er, make that tongue) at a new language, there’s never been a better time to grow in fluency. Download an app like DuoLingo where users can choose from almost 40 different languages. In only a few minutes a day, expect to add a few new words to your arsenal.

Discover the beauty of library holds. Sometimes, strolling through the library and hunting for a good read isn’t always feasible. For those times—and so many others— checking the library’s online system for materials is the way to go. Not only can you get this year’s bestseller reserved in time for

your upcoming vacation, but you can also have holds moved to the most convenient library within your system.

know how they make a difference in your life and how you just had them on your heart.

Write a letter. That’s right! An old-

Soak in Silence. Turn your phone to silent, shut off the TV, mute the playlist you have streaming and close the door. Give yourself permission to take a quick cat nap or simply close your eyes and enjoy the gift of unadulterated silence.

fashioned, hand-written letter. Go ahead and give yourself the green light to get that adorable custom stationery you always wanted (and, while you’re at it, the rubber address stamp, too). Each week, devote a few minutes to penning a note of encouragement to a family member, neighbor, friend or coworker. Let them

Lauren Greenlee is a homeschooling boy mom of four hailing from Olathe.

Building Great Smiles for Life!

Four convenient locations near you!

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Connecting with Kids


he first and most important relationship we have in our lives is the one with our parents. Children learn how to love, play, interact and resolve conflict through the bond they form with their mom and dad. From the moment children are born, they want their parents’ love and attention, and receiving it helps form their confidence and develop their identity. As kids mature, the bond strengthens through shared experiences and by spending quality time together. Here are some easy ways to strengthen the parent-child bond.

Play together The simplest way to bond with your children is to spend time playing with them. Play comes naturally to children, so take advantage of that opportunity to spend quality time with them. Play not only teaches kids life skills, such as how to share, resolve conflict and follow rules. It is also a great way to bond with your child. By playing peek-a-boo, tossing a ball in the


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backyard, playing house or making crafts, you are bonding with your kids because you are sharing in their joy of those activities. “My son would always open up when we played catch,” says Angela Leever, Olathe mom of three. “We had some great conversations playing together.” Playtime gives children a safe place to share their feelings and express worries. By spending time doing what they enjoy, you are showing them they are important and you are there for them.

Find a mutual interest What is your child interested in? If your child enjoys reading, create a two-person book club and discuss the books as you read. If your child loves football, make game night a family event and cheer on your team. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, visit a museum. Some of my lifelong friendships grew from playing sports or participating in activities together, and the same can be assumed when we are talking about parent-child

bonding. If you truly enjoy activities together, a stronger bond will naturally form. “When they show interest in a sport, music, games, hobby or even a TV show, I will find free time to do it together,” says Michelle Lyons, mom of three. “I have found that while they are doing something they enjoy, they are more likely to talk about other things in their life.”

Tell them you love them and why Your children likely know you love them, but how often do you tell them? Saying I love you to your child has powerfully positive effects. “My kids and I have something we do in the car,” says Olathe mom Pricella Edwords. “I reach back and lightly squeeze their legs three times which means ‘I love you.’ They know and will often say, ‘I love you too mom.’” Try not just saying you love them, but tell them why: “I love you because you are so fun to be around” or “I love you because you care about others.” Words of affirmation are powerful tools to give our

kids the self-confidence they need to face the world, and they are a great way to bond with your child. Similarly, snuggling, hugs, kisses, pats on the back or even tickling and wrestling give your children the physical affection and bonding they crave from their parents and creates a strong bond.

Make them a priority Put down your phone and talk to your kids. Show them they are your number one priority. If you have a task that needs to be done, ask them to let you finish it, and when it’s complete, give your youngsters your full attention. “We read together before bed long after the storybook years,” says Amy Cameron, Olathe mom of three. “Books spark discussion and debate, and it’s an experience they will have forever.” If you have multiple children, it can be hard to spend one-on-one time with all of them. Set aside time to go on a “date” with each of your children so you can connect and check in with what everyone has going on. Ask them open-ended questions and then listen to the answers. When you commit to making your children a priority, they will feel important, and it will help strengthen your relationship.

Create a helper For the busy parent, finding the time to make quality moments, in addition to all your other responsibilities, is a daunting task. To ease this, try incorporating kids into your daily tasks. While you are cooking dinner, doing dishes or folding laundry, ask your child to help—then start up a conversation. Some kids may bond with their parents over fixing the car, painting, gardening or performing any other household task. Not only are you creating a great opportunity to spend time together, but you are teaching life skills and a good work ethic. Louisburg mom Amy Siebert suggests talking to your kids while you are in the car. “We spend a lot of time driving between activities. That’s where our best conversations happen.” Mom of three Carrie Miller of Olathe says, “Our most

meaningful conversations happen before bedtime. It’s always worth the extra time, even when I’m tired from a long day.”

Love them no matter what One of the best ways to build a healthy bond with your children is to let them know you will love them no matter what. You communicate this by listening to their problems, offering advice when appropriate and then respecting their decisions, even if negative consequences will ensue. If children make a mistake, let them know you are there to love and support them through the challenges they may face. “I’m vulnerable with my children and tell them when I mess up and apologize when I do,” says Sarah Clark, mom of two. “I ask them to do the same for me. This authenticity creates a closer bond because they

understand I’m not just an authoritarian parent figure.” Everyone needs to know they have someone in their corner, especially on the bad days. Barb Shapiro, mom of six, says “Validate their feelings and truly listen when they talk. This lets them know how important they are to me, and it’s not hard to do.” Most of these ideas are not profound or difficult to do, they just take a little planning and intentionality. Over time, without even trying, the bonds will be built, and your children will have a solid foundation of love and support as they mature.

Sarah Lyons is an Olathe mom of six children, including 7-year-old triplets.

How Well Do You Know Your Child? Can you answer these questions about your kids? Check your answers and use this list as a conversation starter with all of your children.


What is your child’s favorite color?

n What is your youngster’s favorite subject in school? What is the least favorite?


What do they want to be when they grow up?


If your child had $100 to spend on anything, what would it be?

n If your child could have anything for dinner, what would it be? What would the choice be for dessert?


Who is your child’s best friend?


What is your youngster’s favorite animal?

n What is your child’s favorite thing about himself? What is one thing he would change? n What is something she loves about your family? What is something she wishes she could change? n What is something that scares your child? What is something that makes him feel brave?


If your child could own any pet, what would it be?


What’s her favorite toy? TV show? Music? Sport? Book?


Who is your child’s hero?

kcparent.com november 2021




kcparent.com november 2021


he holiday season is one of the most magical times of the year—but it’s also often the most exhausting. With neverending to-do lists for holiday meals, shopping, end of school events and special activities, the busyness of the season easily sucks us in. But … do we really want to be that busy? The holiday season is a unique time in the year—everyone expects things to be a little bit different. You get to control the atmosphere in your own home, and no one can tell you what that should look like for your family. Use your intuition! There will be years when going to special events every night might be the best way to spend your time, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted before the season even begins, chances are, you need some rest. Magical winter wonderland events just aren’t as wonderful when you’re running on empty. We live in a world where everything is available at our fingertips, in an instant. This means we are often operating on information overload! The holiday season might be a great time to establish some new habits and boundaries to set you and your family up for success in the new year. Challenge yourself to really find time to do absolutely nothing and recharge. Your body and your brain will both thank you! The human brain needs rest in order to function properly. Read that again: the brain needs rest! When we are constantly managing streams of incoming information and conversations, as well as balancing deadlines and commitments, our brains get tired. Wellrested brains can be more productive and creative, stay motivated and focused, and be better at keeping up with daily habits. Here’s some good news: Doing nothing doesn’t have to mean just sitting at home, staring at each other. Once you have found a time that your family has no responsibilities, you can create a list of ideas for how you might spend those hours. Have you always wanted to make a gingerbread house with the kids but never seem to get around to it? What about that list of holiday movies you watched in January last year after the busyness of the season died down— wouldn’t that be better as a holiday tradition during the holidays? Try having a recurring family game night, making an easy craft or just driving around to look at holiday lights. These are all things that are impossible to fit in when you have a jam-packed family calendar. This all sounds great, right? But what if you’re struggling to know how to carve out time for rest

and relaxation during this busy season? We’ve put together some ideas to help you create a purposeful pause in the chaos.

Schedule nothing time in your calendar. That’s right—take a look at the

upcoming week or month and identify a time when no one in the family has a commitment, then lock that time in and don’t schedule anything else! Write it on your calendar as “Family Time” or as a “Do Nothing Day.” It might seem odd to schedule breaks like this at first, but you likely will come to look forward to these times with as much anticipation as kids waiting to hear reindeer footsteps on Christmas Eve.

Learn to say no. There will always be one more activity, one more party or one more opportunity to add something else to the holiday schedule. As tempting as it might be to always take every available opportunity, recognize the beauty in the mundane and only say yes to the things that are truly important to you and your family. Your sanity is worth it! Look for ways to keep your normal schedule intact. It’s inevitable that things

will change during busy seasons, but whenever possible, find ways to keep up with your

family’s natural routines. Do you always do takeout pizza and a movie on Friday nights? Are Sunday afternoons reserved for naps and picking up the house before starting a new week? Honor that family time and keep the traditions as standing appointments. Find ways to make them holiday themed: Pick holiday movies that are meaningful to your family and listen to holiday music while you’re doing everyday housework!

Leave it all behind … literally! Have

you ever taken a trip during the holiday season? It might seem like an unconventional time to pack up and leave town, but think of it this way: The holidays are a time for reconnecting with family and for making memories your kids will always remember. What better way to do that than by traveling? Just make sure your destination is somewhere you will be able to truly relax. Don’t simply move your busy schedule to another physical location. Consider booking an AirBnB or VRBO for the whole family, pack your favorite board games and movies, and plan to just hang out together with no outside obligations.

Take time to rest and recharge! However you choose to reset your family’s calendar this year, make sure you are carving out time for true rest … even if that means saying no to fun activities sometimes. It’s okay to not be involved in every opportunity. Go to bed earlier or sleep in an extra hour or two on the weekends. Ask for a massage or a spa day as a gift, then go use it! You deserve the chance to recharge.

Give yourself grace. Sometimes, a chaotic calendar is absolutely unavoidable, and when that’s the case, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if you are having a hard time finding somewhere to put downtime into your schedule. Make it a goal to make one small improvement at a time. Even if it’s just 15 or 30 minutes of rest—that’s better than no time at all. Be proud of yourself for making an effort to give your body and brain as much downtime as you can! Julie McKinley is a single homeschooling mom, freelance writer and theater teacher. She lives with her two cats and two kids in Lee’s Summit.






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arents can take every precaution possible to keep their kids safe, but accidents happen. Start teaching your kids early some basic first aid skills and what to do in an emergency. If your child gets injured, remain calm and talk him through the steps you are taking while applying ice, bandaging a boo-boo or treating a bug bite. The skills you teach youngsters now will be used for a lifetime. Here are some basic first aid tips you can start teaching kids now.

For bumps and bruises Explain that bumping into something can cause bleeding under the skin—which is a bruise. Apply an ice pack to the bruise to prevent swelling and reduce pain. Show your child where you keep the ice pack and how to wrap it in a towel, so the ice isn’t directly on the skin. Call for help if … your child has a head injury and is acting strangely or experiencing nausea, vomiting, confusion or vision changes.

For cuts If your child has a cut, teach him to use a clean cloth to put pressure on it to slow bleeding. When the bleeding has stopped, clean the wound and apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Call for help if … the cut is deep, will not stop bleeding, has something stuck in it or if you can see ligaments or bone.

If your child has a mild burn, run it under cool tap water for 15 minutes and repeat as needed. Do not apply ice directly to the wound. If the burn blisters, ask your child to leave it alone as much as possible as this will help with the healing process.

bones, you can use role playing to help kids understand what to do. Set a date on your calendar at least once a year to go over first aid, fire safety and what to do in an emergency. This regular practice will help your children remember what they learned and remain calm if they are faced with one of these situations.

Call for help if … the injury makes your child unable to move. If the injury is waxy looking or bigger than the palm of your hand, seek medical attention.

Sarah Lyons is a part-time freelance writer and full-time mom. She lives in Olathe with her family.

For bug bites and stings

As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

For burns

If your child has a bug bite, wash the area and apply ice for swelling and pain. You can also apply calamine lotion to help with itching. Call for help if … your child has an allergic reaction to a sting or bite.

For choking If someone is choking, remain calm and ask the person questions. If he can answer, he is still able to breathe. If he is coughing, wait and see whether he can clear the airway on his own. Older children can be taught how to do the stomach thrusts (formerly known as the Heimlich maneuver) to help dislodge the item choking them. Older children also can be taught how to perform stomach thrusts on others. Call for help if … someone is struggling to breathe and is unable cough or speak. In that case call 911.

For sprains and broken bones Any time a broken bone is suspected, your kids should ask for help from an adult. Teach them to not touch the injured area and to apply ice while waiting for help. Call for help if … the bone is bent or sticking out or if you cannot move or put weight on the injured area.


kcparent.com november 2021

First aid is an important life skill for anyone to have, and it is never too early to begin teaching basic skills. You can model what to do in an emergency situation by remaining calm and talking your child through minor injuries. For other emergencies, like fire safety and broken

When to Call 911 Once your children can read numbers, teach them how to use a phone to dial 911 for emergencies. Create a list of people to call in an emergency, including 911 and family and friends who would be willing to help if needed. Write your home address on the paper as well, so kids can refer to it if needed. Try role playing with your children so they know what to expect. Here are some quick do’s and don’ts to help you know when to call:

DO call 911

• If there is a fire • If someone is struggling to breathe • If someone is unconscious • If someone is choking (cannot talk and is not coughing) • If there is a car accident • If there is a crime

DON’T call 911

• If there is not an emergency • If your pet is sick • For a prank • For minor injuries


BEST GIF TS for the holidays

Sketch Pals Doodle Board Doodle with these adorable pads while out and about. With the push of a button, the doodle board instantly clears itself for a new creation. There are no erase marks or wiping needed. $19.99, MyBoogieBoard.com


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CUBLES A unique mashup between origami, puzzle, toy and craft that promotes STEM principles and learning through clever paperboard constructions—which in turn become playable and collectible characters. $6.99, Cubles.com

Batman All-Terrain RC Batmobile Water, snow, mud, rock and grass are no match for this Batmobile built with performance tires for unstoppable fun. $54.99, Spinmaster.com

Magna-Tiles Builder 32-Piece Set

Red & Olive Co Doll A fair trade brand that hand-knits fashionable best friends that encourage positive values. Handmade with premium natural materials by artisans in Peru. Comes with matching head accessory for your child. $88, RedAndOliveCo.com


kcparent.com november 2021

Engage in real engineering and real construction fun with this new set. Includes light printing of roads, bricks and caution signs, plus movable, magnetic crane pieces. $49.99, MagnaTiles.com

KidiZoom PrintCam Click and print instantly. Incudes 110+ templates and activities including small greeting cards, printable games and more. This kidfriendly camera takes videos, too. $69.00, VTechKids.com/ kidizoomprintcam

Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron Special ingredients combine to make the potion and create real mist, revealing a surprise creature that will respond to touch, lights up, grants wishes and casts endless spells. Kids can repeat the fog and reveal, as well as create their potions using household items for limitless play. $69.99, MooseToys.com

KidKraft Blue’s Clues & You! CookingUp-Clues Play Kitchen Four-sided play with a sink, fridge, snack table, stove and oven sized just right for a playful preschooler. $99.99, ages 3+, Walmart.com

Rush to Recycle

Schleich Big Horse Show Join the fun with this detailed and well-designed imaginative set that includes more than 100 accessories perfect for hours of play. $99.99, Schleich-S.com

Metal, glass, paper, plastic or compost? This eco-minded game makes recycling fun. $18, PetitCollage.com/products/rush-to-recycle

Got2Glow Fairy Finder With 30+ fairies to collect in each of the three Fairy Finder jars (100+ fairies to collect in total). Grow your collection by trading fairies with friends, bond with your fairies by giving them hugs, saying hello through the heart shaped door, feeding them and more. $39.99, Wowwee.com

Disney Junior Roller-Skating Party Minnie Mouse These friends feature matching glittery helmets and can skate side by side, spin together or skate in a conga line. They can even spice up their routine with 360-degree turns! $39.99, JustPlayProducts.com

Adora Amazing Girls 18-inch Doll Cassidy Enjoy hours of imaginative play with this free-spirited doll who calls Arizona home and likes to stomp with the rhythm of her favorite country songs. $45.36, Amazon.com

kcparent.com november 2021


Spirit Untamed: Swing & Saddle Barn Playset Marble Rush Ultimate Set Roll through thrilling stunts and exciting challenges with this 145-piece color-coded building set, which includes a spinning Ferris wheel, a swirling cone that plays a musical light show, thrilling ramps, fast tracks, extreme launchers and bases that all easily connect together. $47.99, VTechKids.com

Be a part of the friendship, bravery and adventure with this Swing & Saddle Barn playset. Inspired by the animated film Spirit Untamed. Features a large barn with four areas to play, including a stable, clubhouse, feeding and grooming area and tire swing. $39.99, Shop.Mattel.com

Orbeez Challenge Includes 2,000 Orbeez, six unique tools and Orbeez storage for mess-free fun with the original soft and squishy, fun and wacky colorful water beads you can’t get enough of. $24.99, Spinmaster.com

Smashers Lava Light Up Dino Mega Surprise

STEAM Paper Butterflies Science Kit

Discover different dinos to build, which then light up and are ready for battle—complete with dino sounds! More than 25 different surprises in each egg. $24.99, Zuru.com

Create beautiful paper butterflies that explode with color—all while learning about the magical phenomenon of capillary action. $19.99, Crayola.com

Coding Critters MagiCoders

Koosh Sharp Shot Features three interactive game modes —criss cross, lightning flash and target toss. Use the kick stand or the door hanger for easy setup wherever you want to play. Play with a friend or against the Sharp Shot’s built-in AI. $29.99, Target.com


kcparent.com november 2021

Playset and spellbook encourage imaginative play to decode the magic inside. Kids cast spells to “train” pets to dance, light up and follow objects. $54.99, LearningResources.com/coding-crittersmagicoders

Rainbocorns Golden Egg Hatch open the giant golden egg to reveal three new characters and discover more than 25 layers of glittering and golden surprises, including golden hair accessories, glam glitter and new BooBoocorns. $49.99, Zuru.com



— R A L LY H O U S E

‘Tis the season for creating magical, memorable moments with loved ones...and holiday shopping, of course! At Legends Outlets, you can enjoy fun events and find gifts at prices so good, they deserve a spot on the “nice list.” L E G E N D S S H O P P I N G . C O M


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thanksgiving FUN GUIDE

TABLE OF CONTENTS 45 Turkey Wreaths 46 Giving Thanks 48 Best Lights in KC 50 Thanksgiving Hacks 52 KC Thanksgiving

CRAFTCORNER Materials needed:

• Assorted construction

paper (we used red, yellow, orange and brown)

• 1 large paper plate • Pen or pencil • Scissors • Tape, glue or stapler (we

used both tape and stapler)

• Cup or other object to trace 1 big and 1 small circle

• Googly eyes (or marker)

thanksgiving turkey wreaths


hat better way to get into the holiday spirit than to make a cute and easy wreath with your little ones using supplies you probably already have on hand!

Step one: Trace one small circle and one large circle onto the brown construction paper using the cup as a guide. Cut out and set aside.

Step two: Cut out 1- to 2-inch strips of paper. Roll into a circle and staple ends together, making a circle. We used about 1.5 sheets of each color.

Step three: Arrange paper circles into your preferred pattern and either staple or tape onto the plate. Leave one strip of each—red, orange and yellow—to the side. We used the bottom side of the plate so our wreath would pop out when hanging. Once you get the paper circles attached to your plate, set aside.

Step four: Take the big and small brown circles and attach the small circle to the big brown circle, making the turkey body.

Step five: Add face of turkey. Step six Flip turkey over and attach additional strip to make the feathers. We chose to cut the strips in half to help give more feathers. We taped them to the back of the turkey’s body. Step seven: Attach turkey to the wreath with tape. Step eight: Hang up your new wreath and enjoy!

Janelle Cumro-Sultzer lives in Overland Park with her husband, son and two dogs. Janelle is a former health care executive director and is a mediator in Kansas, helping families in conflict. Janelle loves to focus on learning through play and getting messy with crafts. kcparent.com november 2021


This Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to remember the blessings of daily life and remind

A Different Perspective


kcparent.com november 2021

our children to be thankful for little things.

thanksgiving FUN GUIDE


he next time you sit on veggie sticks in your seat or pull a toy out of the toilet, give thanks! Well, as much as you can. Having these little moments means you are a busy parent, and you have active kiddos in the house. This is a blessing! Having a messy car comes with the territory. Trust me, when your kiddos grow up, you’ll miss it. Those road trips with sack lunches or stops at McDonald’s are the stuff dreams are made of. This Thanksgiving, try being present in the moments. If things don’t go exactly as planned, roll with it. Your children won’t remember the perfect table setting, but they will remember when someone spilled the gravy while passing it! Winnie the Pooh once said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our heart.” Think about that. Instead of comparing yourself to all those photos on social media, be glad you have great internet and step back from it during holidays. Instead, try setting up a card table and having everyone write what they are thankful for each day of November leading up to Thanksgiving. Your daughter may be thankful for the new hair ribbon you gave her. Your son may like the new tennis shoes. You may like the new coffee creamer you found, and your husband may like that he was able to fix the car headlight! This way of thinking can transfer to each day. Make a conscious effort to be

thankful for small things that are big in the long run. “To be thankful for one thing is infinitely more powerful than to be bitter about a hundred others” is a quote from licensed counselor Craig D. Lounsbrough. It’s a great thought to ponder. To put this in perspective, before you begin worrying about what will go wrong when you prepare your Thanksgiving dinner, try to be thankful that you have a kitchen filled with food and supplies. That your children like to help you stir and measure. And that you have a table to set food on. Perfection is definitely overrated. A full sink of dirty dishes means little mouths were fed. There will come a time when you miss that, trust me! A favorite blessing of mine was when my son and daughter would have friends over, and the kids would all leave their shoes at the front door, something I suppose some mom in our neighborhood made them do and a trend that stuck. One day I counted 40 pairs of shoes! I thought about getting a basket to organize them, but there was something about that menagerie of footwear at my front door that makes me smile even today. Both my kids are living on their own now, but they both still recall the fun times in our basement, which was always a mess but so inviting to the kids. I actually got my walls painted because all the girls were dancing against them in

their new blue jeans whose dye rubbed off on any surface touched! Keeping a thankful attitude will get you through many of life’s moments. For example, when you pick your son up from football practice with his buddies, and the smell of their sweaty uniforms knocks you over, remember they are being coached and learning. Just open the windows of the car and be thankful they are involved in sports! It’s raining during the soccer game. Be thankful for hot chocolate, friends, umbrellas and raincoats! It is easy to fall into a complaining mode, but little ears and eyes are everywhere, and those children will take their cue from you. There will be times when life just seems too much, but in those times, take it easy. Look at what is directly in front of you, be it your coffee cup, your toothbrush or your child’s lunch box. Take care of one task at a time and don’t get too weighed down. This foundation of thought is almost as important as potty training. When your children complain about getting up early, losing a game, falling down or even just being in a bad mood, remind them that life really is good. Notice how the sun shines on the window or how the cat purrs up against their legs, or just tell them your love for each other is a big reason to smile every day. This Thanksgiving season, make a little extra effort in the thankful department. The past year has been one of so many ups and downs, and all of us have been prompted to look inside our own little worlds and, hopefully, see things we were overlooking before that make us happy. As Scarlett O’hara said, “Tomorrow is another day!” Judy Goppert lives in Lee’s Summit. She enjoys drawing on her personal experiences to write about the nuances of everything wonderful about life.

Sources: Crosswalk.com, ThePeacefulNestBlog.com kcparent.com november 2021




ansas City sparkles in holiday splendor with magnificent displays across the metro! These are our top picks for the best Christmas lights in KC! Most displays operate from Thanksgiving through Christmas, from sunset (5:30) to 10:00; however, there are a few exceptions. Check websites to verify times.

NEW! Holiday Light and Magic near Legends Shopping Center: Nov. 21-Jan. 2. Holiday Light and Magic is an all-new Christmas lights experience out by Legends Shopping Center. The family fun-filled holiday event will be held nightly from mid-November to the new year. HolidayLightAndMagic.com

Winter Magic: Nov. 2-Jan. 1. Come one, come all, to Winter Magic—the most fantastic of drive-thru holiday events in Kansas City. Motor through 1 mile of the most amazing, mesmerizing, magical holiday light experiences you’ve ever laid your gazers on! WinterMagicKC.com Crown Center Mayor’s Christmas Tree: Crown Center Square. The 100-foottall tree is adorned with 7,200 lights.

Legendary Christmas: Legends Outlets Kansas City. Unique lighting display on a 45-foot holiday tree created by a world-renowned technology-driven holiday lights team, all synchronized to music. LegendsShopping.com Festival of Lights: Thu.-Sun., Nov. 11- Dec. 30 at Powell Gardens. Festival-goers walk a mile-long path spread out over 25 acres through the gardens featuring a variety of immersive light displays. Christmas in the Park: Longview Lake Park. Open Thanksgiving Eve through Christmas. With more than 500,000 lights, 175 animated figures and splashes of Christmas color, this enchanting drive-thru winter wonderland’s magic will delight the entire family. Country Club Plaza Holiday Lights: Country Club Plaza. Take in the lights Thanksgiving through mid-January. Enjoy more than 80 miles of illuminated strings of bulbs. CountryClubPlaza.com Liberty Light Show: Dec. 3-5 and 10-12, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. Enjoy a 15-minute show featuring live performances of Christmas favorites from the comfort of your vehicle. Automated shows (without live musicians) run Dec. 13-24. Alta Sciences Animated Lights: Alta Sciences. From mid-November through Christmas, the 175,000-LED light display is beautifully choreographed to music for an animated light show your children will love! Sar-Ko-Aglow: Dec. 3-Jan. 17, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. Take a nighttime stroll around Rose’s Pond to view the beautiful annual light display in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park throughout the holiday season. Lenexa.com


kcparent.com november 2021

kcparent.com november 2021




t’s that time of year again! Time to be thankful and create all the warm family memories! Now, how do we go about this without being stressed out, snapping at our families for whom we are so grateful or forgetting one of the many timers for one of the many dishes we’re attempting to serve? First, let’s take a deep breath. Think about what is important to you about the Thanksgiving holiday and check in with your family about what makes it feel like Thanksgiving to them. If no one really cares for turkey, why stress out about when to purchase, thaw and cook this bird? It’s your family’s holiday, so you get to decide whether you’d rather prepare and eat ham, roast, or stick with apps, sides and desserts only. Or if the sweet potato casserole you remember your great-aunt bringing but no one actually eating, you don’t have to continue serving it just because it’s been a part of your family’s Thanksgiving tradition for years. You have permission to shake things up—you can blame or thank me! Secondly, a well laid plan always helps. Start by answering all the easy questions, like who is coming, where you are having dinner, what day and time work for your family, and then move on to the menu and activities. Also, remember that each family has its own unique hurdles to jump regardless of how things are presented on social media. If you live near most of your family, that can be wonderful but also stressful if you have to coordinate your plans to attend several holiday meals. In the end, it’s up to you to determine what you’re capable of and willing to do. If you’d prefer to attend or host one dinner, make that known. If you’re up for and enjoy bopping around to several different dinners, make those plans known so expectations are clear.

For instance, maybe you can do appetizers or a lunch one day and a dinner or just desserts the other. On the other hand, if you live out of town, plan for when you will be able to come to town and what you’re realistically able to bring to dinner. There’s nothing wrong with picking up a store or restaurant purchased side, salad, rolls or pie. If you want to disguise it, you can even bring along your own dish to transfer it to. After all, dinner should be more about gathering people you love than the food you eat, and knowing your limits when traveling with small children and staying in a hotel is imperative. Our amazing editor, Margaret Sarver, admits, “True story, I’ve never had to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. In fact, the closest I get to contributing to our celebration is ordering pies.” But I bet her family still looks forward to those pies making an appearance! Now, time to determine and delegate what’s for dinner. I assume most people enjoy bringing something to add to dinner or at least don’t mind when they’re asked to contribute something. Giving more specific requests can actually help guests narrow down what they would like to bring and ensure there aren’t three green bean casseroles for dinner. Communication is always the key to success, right? Lori Tate,

mother of three, says, “When we host for our extended family, I always ask them to bring specific foods that are their signature dishes that everyone loves. I also tell them what I am making, and if they want to bring anything else to just let me know.” If you are hosting and preparing the main dish of turkey or whatever your family serves, then focus on that and making your home a welcoming place for guests to come and relax. Or if cooking a turkey is completely overwhelming to you, delegate that to your dad who wants to smoke or deep fry the bird! Let him! Or if no one wants to step up because no one has had much experience with it, there is definitely the option of having part of the meal—or even the whole thing—catered! Many grocery stores and restaurants offer this service, and it’s an awesome way to have your traditional dinner and have more time to focus on enjoying your guests, especially if you aren’t able to see them very often. Think of it as supporting and stimulating the local economy. Our family has moved out of state several times, and one time we moved the week before Thanksgiving away from all of our family. At the time, we had three kids 5 and under and were in the midst of

thanksgiving FUN GUIDE unpacking all the boxes, so we ordered our Thanksgiving dinner from Hy-Vee. It was amazing! It was just the feeling of home we needed to enjoy the holiday without the additional hassle. Stacy Marvin, mother of two, agrees: “Last year we ordered our whole meal from Madison Meat and Deli, and it was amazing, and I didn’t have to cook or clean anything!” Amanda Wetterson, mother of two, recommends backwards planning like all parents are well accustomed to. “Make yourself a game plan by starting at mealtime and working backwards based on cook and prep times of what you’re making. Like 8:00 a.m. put the turkey in the oven, 8:20 prep pies, etc. Don’t forget to schedule wiggle room and time to shower and pull yourself together!” As for Thanksgiving hacks, the mom squad has stepped up and offered many great tips to make your holiday a success. n “Always brine the turkey the night before and cook it in a paper bag. It takes three hours from cold oven to carving,” says Megan Knox, mother of two. n Sarah Lyons, mother of six, has a lot of great tips! “I make my gravy ahead of time and put it in a crock pot, so I don’t have to stand there stirring it in a pan while our food gets cold. I make a lot of things ahead—all casseroles, pies, are made the day before.

I make the mashed potatoes and put in a casserole dish, so I can just put it in the oven to warm up the day we host.” n Lyons offers another genius tip: “I also use a big countertop turkey roaster for the turkey, so my oven is free for everything else. After you carve the turkey, put the carcass right back into the roaster, fill with water and let it simmer on low for a few hours. Then you will have turkey broth for turkey noodle soup the next day.” Allyce Trusheim, mother of two, seconds the roaster: “I bought an electric roaster last year and it was amazing! The turkey was delicious and I had the oven free to bake the sides.” n Ask people to bring side dishes, so you only have to make the meat. n Roll

a piece of butcher paper onto the table. Let the kids color on it and guests can write what they are thankful for. n Keep

all your recipes and notes for next time in a big holiday binder, so you can just pull it out and reference it next time.” n Katie Bland, mother of two, has another option for keeping the oven open. “Our favorite hack is to barbecue your turkey! It’s easy, creates a juicy turkey, and it keeps your oven open for everything else!” Barbecue is always acceptable in KC, right?

n Alli Stevick, mother of two, is another believer in preparing as much ahead of time as possible. She also keeps it real and adds, “We bake dinner rolls the day or two before, too. (Rhodes frozen rolls are easy and good!) Any cold dishes (cranberry salad, lettuce salad, fruit bowl, relish tray, deviled eggs, etc.) are usually done in between getting the other things ready or are brought to the host house by visiting family. And for my super-duper extra picky (and usually overstimulated by the special-day activity) kids, we make sure there’s fruit and maybe even something like grilled cheese or hot dogs, because they don’t like a lot of the amazing foods that people typically eat at Thanksgiving.”

If the holidays are still looking a bit different than they used to with all that’s going on in the world, Tate has a great outlook. “This past year was a first for us as we celebrated just the five of us,” she says. “I wanted to have all the traditional food but also knew it would be too much food. So I asked what everyone’s favorite side dish was and focused on those only. We also just smoked a couple of turkey breasts in the smoker when it was just the five of us.” Finally, remember that it’s just a day, it’s just a meal, it’s just a holiday, and it’s supposed to be a time to gather and be grateful. So as with any family function or dinner guests, remember to be flexible, expect some sort of change of plans, and keep your sense of humor handy like Karen Hepp, mother of four, who recommends, “The best advice is to fully baste yourself and the bird in a good white wine ... nothing else matters! Bon appetit!”

Stephanie Loux is the mother of Layla, 11, Mason, 9, and Slade, 6, and fondly recalls holidays as a kid but mostly remembers her grandpa’s homemade rolls as her favorite part of dinner.

kcparent.com november 2021


A Kansas City Thanksgiving: The Shawnee Indian Mission


Histony &

n Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, writing, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

The First Thanksgiving The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in 1620. History tells us that they learned to survive in their new settlement with the aid of Squanto, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, who taught them how to farm the land and live off the soil. In 1621, Chief Massasoit visited the Pilgrim settlement, and they signed a pledge to treat one another peaceably. To celebrate the harvest and their new friendship, they shared the first Thanksgiving with a feast of deer, corn, shellfish and roasted meat and three days of ballgames, singing and dancing. Sightseeing: Kansas City displays a bronze statue by Cyrus Dallin in memory of Massasoit at 47th & Main. You can visit the statue on Thanksgiving Day when you head to the Plaza for the annual lighting ceremony. Also, visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum (4525 Oak, Kansas City, MO), where you can explore a 6,100-square-foot Native American art collection.

The First Thanksgiving in Kansas City In 1920, The Evening Public Ledger published an article written by Mrs. M.A. Wilson about the food served at the first Thanksgiving in Kansas City in 1856. The holiday was celebrated throughout the United States from the earliest days, even before President Lincoln made it a national holiday. She wrote, “A recent visit to Kansas City, Mo., while looking for good things for this corner, led me out to the Shawnee missions, in the beautiful misty mission hills of Kansas, which are in a spur of the Ozarks. High upon the summit of the hills stands the council grove, or as it is now called, Shawnee


kcparent.com november 2021

Park.” She then tells of her interview with an early pioneer: “Mrs. Belle Robinson, now about 85 years of age, though she is as straight as a sapling and has a very merry twinkle in her eyes, recalls the early pioneer days about the Shawnee missions. These missions are so called because a group of Indian missions were located close together in these hills, where one may stand today, shading the eyes with the hand, and watch the sun sink amid the splendor of a riotous color into the west. The country in those days contained wild game, fish from the nearby waters, moose, buffalo, and, as Mrs. Robinson said, it came back to her, just as if it were yesterday, the most troublesome period, when Governor Geary appointed November 20, 1856, as a day of Thanksgiving for the advent of peace. She was a young woman of 16 in those days and, as she remembers it, the celebration was done in a right hearty manner. As you will imagine, the greatest attraction of the day was the dinner.” Of the meal, she says, “A combination of French, Spanish and New England cooking prevailed. Here is an old 1856 Kansas City Thanksgiving dinner: onion soup, barbecue of beef, homemade relishes, yams, succotash, homemade relish and pickles, roast duck, pepper cabbage, wapsie pudding, tea and coffee.” (Source: OCBarbecue.blogspot. com/2012/11/the-first-thanksgiving-dinner-in-kansas.html)

Sightseeing: The Shawnee Indian Mission (3403 W. 53rd St., Fairway) still stands on the site of this meal. The museum is open year-round Wednesday-Saturday from 10:00 to 5:00.

Kansas City’s Thanksgiving Tradition Kansas City’s Thanksgiving tradition since 1930 is the lighting of the Country Club Plaza Christmas lights. In 1925, Charles Pitrat, head of the Nichols Company maintenance operation, placed a single 6-foot strand of 16 colored lightbulbs across the doorway of the Suydam Building, the Plaza’s first building. Five years later, the first lighting ceremony took place. The only holiday the Plaza lights did not operate was in 1973, when President Nixon

thanksgiving FUN GUIDE called upon all Americans to curtail the use of Christmas lights to reduce dependence on foreign oil imports. Now, the entire Country Club Plaza is decked in holiday splendor every year, maintaining its role as a “nighttime fairyland.” The annual ceremony includes live music, fireworks and the celebrity “switch flipping” that bedazzles the Country Club Plaza in Christmas style with 80 miles of colorful lights! (Source: CountryClubPlaza.com/event/plaza-lightingceremony/plaza-lights-fun-facts/) Sightseeing: Visit the Country Club Plaza to see the lights Thanksgiving through mid-January (CountryClubPlaza.com). Tip: A lights test occurs Wednesday before Thanksgiving, from 2:00 to 6:00 in the morning. Sneaking a peek at the Plaza Lights has become a popular tradition for families in the metro.

Turkey Time Most Americans assume that turkey was the main course at the first Thanksgiving, but we don’t really know for sure that it was featured on the 1621 menu at Plymouth. We know that the Pilgrims did hunt and eat wild turkeys at Plymouth generally, but it was not listed among the items on the menu in historical accounts of the First Thanksgiving. We do know that “wild fowl” was served, but it’s unclear whether that was turkey or another savory poultry. What we do know is that Thanksgiving was celebrated by many American presidents and founders, and Alexander Hamilton is quoted as saying, “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Over the years, the turkey did become the traditional meal for Thanksgiving dinner, and many historians have claimed that

Harry S. Truman, from Independence was the first U.S. president to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey. The Truman Library, however, disputes this claim, saying that others were first, but he has become known as the originator of the pardon as he was the first president to receive a turkey from the poultry and egg board. In 1947, the national news pushed “Poultryless Thursdays,” and farmers from across the nation mailed crates of live chickens, known as “Hens for Harry” to the White House in protest. In December 1948, Truman was gifted two turkeys, and after he commented that he’d enjoy eating turkey for Christmas, they were not pardoned. You can read the entire story courtesy of the Truman Presidential Library here: TrumanLibraryinstitute.org/tru-history-3/. Sightseeing: Burr Oak Woods Nature Center (1401 NW Park Rd., Blue Springs, 816.228.3766, MDC.mo.gov). Admission: FREE. Burr Oak Woods Nature Center is home to wild turkeys, and the bird watching center is a wonderful observation room where families can watch the birds strut and gobble!

Giving Thanks and Giving Back As we reflect on the history of Thanksgiving, we recognize it’s a time both of giving thanks and also reaching out and giving to others. Local families can show appreciation to others and help those in need. Search “Volunteering” on KCParent.com for local volunteer opportunities and look for ways to give back to your community. Kristina Light looks forward to watching the Plaza lighting ceremony with her family every Thanksgiving. She is thankful to call KC home.


Country Club Plaza

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No part of this calendar may be reproduced in print or web format. Please call to verify event details.


Legendary Lighting Ceremony at Legend Outlets

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Enjoy a date night at Winterlude Nov. 7 at Midwest Trust Center. Take a journey through Kansas City jazz that celebrates the greats! JCCC.edu/midwesttrust-center

On Nov. 13 head to Legends Outlets for the Legendary Lighting Ceremony. Annual tree lighting ceremony with entertainment and fun for all! Legends Shopping.com

Shop special Black Friday Deals Nov. 20-30 at Backyard Specialists for great savings on gifts the entire family will enjoy! Backyard Specialists.com

Register for Kids Day Out Nov. 22-24 at the Johnson County Museum. Explore KidsScape and museum exhibits, play games and more! Pre-reg at 913.715.2570.

Visit Fun Farm for Winter Funderland beginning Nov. 27. Train rides, visits with Santa, photo ops, gift shop and hot chocolate bar. FunFarmPumpkin Patch.com

1 Monday Sensory-Friendly Days 9:00, Johnson County Museum. Limited occupancy session for kids with sensory processing differences and autism spectrum disorders. Pre-reg at JCPRD.com. Visit Legoland 11:00, Legoland Discovery Center. Take the kids to the ultimate indoor playground for the biggest fans of Lego. Purchase tickets at LegolandDiscoveryCenter.com. Parent & Me Swim Time 10:00, the View Community Center. Parents with children 4 and under can get acquainted with the water and enjoy the indoor pool.

2 Tuesday Drive-Thru History Tuesdays 9:00, Missouri Town 1855. Drive into Missouri Town to explore the village and visit with our living history interpreters. MakeYourDayHere.com Read & Sing with Mr Stinky Feet 10:00, MCPL360. Join in as Mr Stinky Feet reads from his book, Bop Bop Dinosaur, and sing songs! Pre-reg at MyMCPL.org.

Free Admission Day Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Visit today and pay no admission fee! OPKansas.org/events/free-admission-day

Toddler Time 10:00, Ceramic Café. On Thursdays from 10:00 to 2:00, toddlers 5 and under can paint one selected item for just $10! CeramicCafeKC.com

3 Wednesday

5 Friday

Farmers Market 8:00, Downtown Lee’s Summit. Purchase a variety of fresh produce, plants, meat, baked goods, handmade crafts and more. DowntownLS.org

Opening Day 6:00-9:00, Crown Center Ice Terrace. KC’s only public outdoor rink opens for its 49th season. Enjoy free skating, coffee and hot chocolate. CrownCenter.com

Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. 10:00, Union Station. Exhibit features more than 700 original objects, 400 photographs and hundreds of artifacts. UnionStation.org

Jumperoo 9:00, Urban Air (Overland Park). A special time when entire park is open for children 5 and under with a parent. Jump, bounce and crawl! UrbanAirTrampolinePark.com

Animal Tales Story Time 10:30, Ernie Miller Nature Center. Listen to a story and meet a special animal friend. Today’s theme: Animal Mouths. 913.826.2800

Fall Harvest Holiday Art & Craft Show 10:00, the Pavilion at John Knox Village. Enjoy the talents of more than 90 artists of handmade art and crafts. IBDPromotions.com

4 Thursday

SOAR Special Needs R & R Night 7:00, Westside Church of the Nazarene. A variety of activities including games, crafts, sensory, worship and more. Pre-reg at SoarSpecialNeeds.org.

Koala Bears 10:00, Kansas City Zoo. Meet koalas Chuckels and Thackory! These two cuddly marsupials are visiting the zoo through November! KansasCityZoo.org

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Operation Christmas Child Collection Week Nov. 15-22, various locations. Pack your shoeboxes and drop off during the week to spread the Gospel. SamaritansPurse.org

First Fridays 7:00, Crossroads Art District. Art galleries, retailers and other participating art venues located in the Crossroads Art District showcase art. KCCrossroads.org Peter and the Starcatcher 8:00, Olathe Civic Theatre. Play takes the familiar story and breathes new life into Neverland, the piratefilled seas and more! OlatheTheatre.org

6 Saturday Badge Event 9:00, TimberRidge Adventure Center. Brownie and Girl Scouts can earn Eco Friend and Outdoor Adventure badges. Pre-reg at 913.826.2800. Holiday Extravaganza 9:00, Belton High School. All your holiday shopping under one roof! Shop from more than 100 crafters and vendors. BeltonMoChamber.org


Out of Proportion 10:00 or 2:00, Nerman Museum. Learn about proportion and scale in art and create a distorted selfportrait drawing. Ages 8-11. Pre-reg at NermanMuseum.org. Veterans Day Parade 11:00, Main Street Belton. Join in honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those who continue to serve. BeltonParks.org SOAR Special Needs R & R 1:30, Westside Church of the Nazarene. A variety of activities including games, crafts, sensory, worship and more. Pre-reg at SoarSpecialNeeds.org. Superhero Party 5:00, the View Community Center. Superhero-themed activities, games, a selfie station and special guests. Pre-reg at GrandviewParks.org. Darlene Love 8:00, Midwest Trust Center. Enjoy an evening of music with Darlene Love, an award-winning singer and performer. JCCC.edu/midwest-trust-center


2 weeks to 12 years ChildAges Development Center 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. “Where Your Child Is Special”

Child Development nd & enrollment. MetcalfCenter Ave 127th &year Antioch first with162 new “Where Your Child is Special” 913.681.2191 913.681.2190 2 weeks to 12 since years FamilyAges Owned and Operated Part-Time Preschool (Ages 1990 3-5) 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 9:00-11:30 or 9:00-3:00 weeworkshopchildcare.com Mother’s Day Out (12 mos-3 years) 9:00-3:00

Public Tours 11:00, Cedar Cove. Explore Cedar Cove with an experienced guide. See these epic animals and learn about them. Tours start every half-hour. SaveOurSiberians.org


Child Development Center ORKSHOP “Where Your Child is Special”

10% OFF infant room for Two Convenient Locations:

Gobbler Grind 7:30, Corporate Woods. Race features three great distances to get you ready for the feast of all feasts: Thanksgiving! GobblerGrindMarathon.com



Ages 2 weeks to 12 years 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

7 Sunday


Seasonal Themes Each Month !



Two Convenient Locations: 127th & Antioch

162nd & Metcalf Ave

913.681.2190 Two Convenient913.681.2191 Locations:

162nd &and Metcalf Ave 127th & Antioch Family Owned 913.681.2191 913.681.2190 Operated Since 1990 Family Owned and Operated since 1990 weeworkshopchildcare.com weeworkshopchildcare.com

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SIGN UP ONLINE OR CALL ceramiccafeonlinestore.com 913.383.0222



Free Afternoon Program 1:30, Prairie Park Nature Center. Free program for the family may include video, slideshow and going outside to enjoy nature. LawrenceKS.org Winterlude 7:00, Midwest Trust Center. Hosted by meteorologist Bryan Busby, take a journey of Kansas City jazz that celebrates the greats! JCCC.edu/midwest-trust-center

8 Monday Mom & Me Bumper Bowling 9:30, Summit Lanes. For just $3 per person, you get a game, shoe rental and drink on Mondays and Wednesdays. SummitLanes.com

Owl Prowl 6:30, Martha LaFite Thompson Nature Sanctuary. Go in search of wonderful owls. Pick apart an owl pellet and go on a night hike. Pre-reg at 816.781.8598.

The SpongeBob Musical 7:00, Coterie Theatre. Enjoy a performance where SpongeBob powerfully proves that optimism can save the world. TheCoterie.org

10 Wednesday

12 Friday

Retro Story Time 10:00, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. Hear a story from long ago read by a guest from the 1950s All-Electric House! Craft included. Pre-reg at 913.831.3359.

Jumperoo 9:00, Urban Air (Overland Park). A special time when entire park is open for children 5 and under with a parent. Jump, bounce and crawl! UrbanAirTrampolinePark.com

Grow a Reader 10:00, MCPL. Join library staff for a virtual story time brought directly to your home! Pre-reg at MyMCPL.org.

Creative Story Time 10:30, Ceramic Café. Read a book, then paint a ceramic item that goes along with the story and finish with a snack. CeramicCafeKC.com

Veterans Day Celebration 11:00, Aspiria (Overland Park). Learn about military equipment, experience an A-10 flyover, listen to the American Legion Band and more. OPKansas.org

Visit Sea Life 10:00, Sea Life Aquarium. Bring the kids to see the Doodle Reef, the touch pool, Stingray Bay and more! Purchase tickets online at VisitSeaLife.com.

11 Thursday

9 Tuesday

Thank a veteran for his or her service

Holiday Bazaar Today & tomorrow, Lake Quivira Clubhouse. Enjoy 40 local vendors featuring boutique home décor, jewelry, gifts & more! Facebook.com/lakequiviraholidaybazaar

Winter Magic Thru Jan 2, 5:00, Oakwood Drive (Swope Park). Drive through nearly one mile of a magical holiday light show experience. Purchase tickets at WinterMagicKC.com.

Night at the Museum - Scout Edition 6:00, Johnson County Museum. Activities include a flashlight scavenger hunt, art project, KidScape and more! Pre-reg at 913.715.2570.


Discover Nature: Naturalist Hour 2:00, Burr Oak Woods. Go on an adventure with a naturalist to make amazing discoveries as you explore on a trail. Pre-reg at MDC.mo.gov/events.

Campus Visit Day 1:00, Summit Christian Academy. Schedule your visit to see all we have to offer your children! Pre-reg at Summit-Christian-Academy.org.


1-3 pm • Friday, November 12 RSVP REQUIRED

Visit Summit-Christian-Academy.org S














Named a Top 5 Private School in Kansas City Just 15 minutes from Kansas Biblically Integrated Preschool - 12th Grade College Preparatory | MSHSAA Member kcparent.com november 2021



Holiday Bazaar




40 local vendors featuring boutique home décor, jewelry, gifts, pet items, clothing/accessories, raffle & more! Holiday entertainment Friday evening Bar open during shopping hours; dining available All in our festively decorated 1930 stone clubhouse overlooking Lake Quivira

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC facebook.com/lakequiviraholidaybazaar Lake Quivira is located 1 mile East of I-435 on Holliday Drive (Exit 8A) The Clubhouse is located at 100 Crescent Blvd

piano lessons


In My Dreams Thru Sunday, Culture House. A showcase of Broadway scenes and song performances. Tickets at CultureHouse.com. The Romeros 8:00, Midwest Trust Center. Be dazzled by this preeminent classical guitar quartet. Tickets at JCCC.edu/midwest-trust-center.

13 Saturday Food on the Missouri Frontier 9:00, Fort Osage. Staff prepare a wide variety of early 19th-century foods and beverages using historic methods. FortOsageHS.com Holiday Craft Fair 9:00, the View Community Center. Start holiday shopping at the Holiday Craft Fair, featuring unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. 816.316.4888 Pueblo Pottery 10:00 or 2:00, Nerman Museum. Learn about contemporary American Indian pottery and make a clay coil vessel. Ages 5-7. Pre-reg at NermanMuseum.org. Kids Club 10:00, Colonial Gardens. Kids enjoy fun activities while you shop at Colonial Gardens or savor a coffee at the Bean Counter. Pre-reg at ColonialGardensKC.com. Little Acorns 10:00, Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. Join for a journey through forests, streams and other magical places as we read select books. Pre-reg at MDC.mo.gov. Curling Ribbon Coasters 2:30, ScrapsKC. Coil curling ribbon to make colorful coasters and repurpose materials. ScrapsKC.org Legendary Lighting Ceremony 5:00, Legends Outlets. Annual tree lighting ceremony with entertainment and fun for the entire family! LegendsShopping.com Open House & Tree Lighting 5:00, Weston. Stroll the sidewalks and enjoy the freshly decorated windows, tree lighting and more! WestonMO.com


14 Sunday


Show Me Reptile & Exotics Show 10:00, Adams Pointe Conference Center. Learn about reptiles, get supplies and see a variety of reptiles. 636.528.0962

Both daytime and evening lessons available! Call Spring Terburgh at 913-636-4472 LOCATED RIGHT OFF I-35 AND 119TH ST IN OLATHE AND IN SOUTH KCMO

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Public Tours 11:00, Cedar Cove. Explore Cedar Cove with an experienced guide. See these epic animals and learn about them. Tours start every half-hour. SaveOurSiberians.org

Puzzle Palooza 1:30, the Lodge at Ironwoods Park. Gather a team of two to four people and race to complete a custom-made 500-piece puzzle. Pre-reg at 913.663.9157. Free Afternoon Program 1:30, Prairie Park Nature Center. Free program for the family may include video, slideshow and going outside to enjoy nature. LawrenceKS.org Youth Symphony’s Fall Concert 2:00, Midwest Trust Center. Enjoy the four ensembles and percussion ensemble in concert! YouthSmphonyKC.org

15 Monday Operation Christmas Child Collection Week Thru Nov 22, various locations. Pack your shoeboxes and drop off during the week to spread the Gospel. SamaritansPurse.org Koala Bears 10:00, Kansas City Zoo. Meet koalas Chuckels and Thackory! These two cuddly marsupials are visiting the zoo through November! KansasCityZoo.org Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. 10:00, Union Station. Exhibit features more than 700 original objects, 400 photographs and hundreds of artifacts. UnionStation.org Visit Sea Life 11:00, Sea Life Aquarium. Bring the kids to see the Doodle Reef, the touch pool, Stingray Bay and more! Purchase tickets online at VisitSeaLife.com.

16 Tuesday Drive-Thru History Tuesdays 9:00, Missouri Town 1855. Drive into Missouri Town to explore the village and visit with our living history interpreters. MakeYourDayHere.com Tots on Tuesday 10:30, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Sing songs, read books, explore art and make your own art. KemperArt.org Discover Nature: Naturalist Hour 2:00, Burr Oak Woods. Go on an adventure with a naturalist to make amazing discoveries as you explore on a trail. Pre-reg at MDC.mo.gov/events.

17 Wednesday Talk Turkey 10:00, Martha LaFite Thompson Nature Sanctuary. Head to the nature sanctuary to learn all about turkeys! Pre-reg at 816.781.8598.

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Central Park at Zona Rosa is the Northland’s ultimate gathering space. The park features beautiful green space with fountains, children’s play area, shaded swings, covered seating and a main stage where you can enjoy live music and entertainment. The venue will be the hot spot for Zona Rosa’s events throughout the year, including the annual holiday lighting ceremony.

The Kansas City Improv and Dinner Theater is a great spot for a date night. They bring in great comedic talent and serve delicious food. Draftcade is a retro arcade bar where all ages may play (under 16 must be accompanied by an adult) until 8:00, and adults can play later. Enjoy vintage arcade games you remember from your youth!

Mid-Continent Public Library – Woodneath is located in the Shoal Creek area. The Woodneath Children’s Literacy Center is state of the art. One of the most unique features is the Espresso Book Machine that prints, binds and trims a paperback book in minutes. You may purchase and print a book of your choice or bring your own book for self-publishing.

Play is the name of the game at Main Event. This family fun center offers bowling, billiards, laser tag, gravity ropes course and more. The arcade is a favorite for all ages with dozens of games to choose from. Main Event also offers a full restaurant and bar, so you can spend an entire afternoon or evening at this attraction.

Autumn is a lovely time to enjoy a nature hike, and Amity Woods Nature Trail is perfect! This concrete nature trail is just under a mile long. If you’re adventurous, you can scope out more nature by taking a detour along one of the looped wood-chip side trails. The trail is accessible and open year-round, and leashed pets are permitted.

Opening in November, ice skating at the Rink at Zona Rosa is yours to enjoy. The attraction is open for public ice skating, curling, pond hockey, special events and more. They offer day passes and multiple visit passes, and you may bring or rent skates. They also offer ice skating lessons, curling lessons and special events throughout the season.

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Animal Tales Story Time 10:30, Ernie Miller Nature Center. Listen to a story and meet a special animal friend. Today’s theme: Turkey Tales. 913.826.2800

Best Little Arts & Crafts Show Today & tomorrow, Roger T Sermon Community Center. Enjoy more than 100 vendors with original merchandise. VisitIndependence.com

Holiday Craft Fair 10:00, Raymore Activity Center. Get ready for the holidays and shop for unique homemade and handcrafted items. 816.322.2791

Festival of Lights 4:00, Powell Gardens. Enjoy more than 20 miles of holiday lights that highlight the natural forms of Powell Gardens. PowellGardens.org

Holiday Film 12:30, 3:00, 5:30 or 8:00, Extreme Screen (Union Station). Start the holiday season with Jack Frost on the big screen! ExtremeScreen.UnionStation.org

Turkey Time 10:00, Prairie Park Nature Center. Join Naturalist Dara and her favorite live turkey friends to learn more about wild turkeys in Kansas. 785.832.7980

18 Thursday

Journey to Judea Thru Sunday, Countryside Baptist Church. Interactive Christmas experience that walks you through the narrative of the Bible. Tickets at JourneyToJudea.com.

Little Acorns 10:00, Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. Join for a journey through forests, streams and other magical places as we read select books. Pre-reg at MDC.mo.gov.

Discover Whitefield Open House 8:30, Whitefield Academy. Get an inside look at our loving, Christian culture and vibrant learning environment. WhitefieldAcademyKC.org Jumperoo 9:00, Urban Air (Lenexa). A special time when entire park is open for children 5 and under with a parent. Jump, bounce and crawl! UrbanAirTrampolinePark.com Container Workshops Thru Sunday, Family Tree Nursery. Create a fabulous holiday container that is sure to add some festive joy to your front porch. Pre-reg at FamilyTreeNursery.com. Toddler Time 10:00, Ceramic Café. On Thursdays from 10:00 to 2:00, toddlers 5 and under can paint one selected item for just $10! CeramicCafeKC.com KC Holiday Boutique Thru Sunday, Overland Park Convention Center. Support local businesses this season! Shop for holiday décor, apparel, toys and more! KCHolidayBoutique.com Free Family Fun Nights 5:00, Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Come explore where children can create, discover and learn through play. KansasDiscovery.org Sip and Shop 6:00, Colonial Gardens. Grab friends to enjoy an evening of private shopping, live music photo booth and more! Tickets at ColonialGardensKC.com.

Mayor’s Tree Lighting 6:00, Downtown Lee’s Summit. Annual tree lighting festival with entertainment and fun to kick off the holiday season. DowntownLS.org SOAR Special Needs R & R Night 7:00, Grace Church. A variety of activities including games, crafts, sensory, worship and more. Pre-reg at SoarSpecialNeeds.org. Night at the Arboretum 7:00, Overland Park Arboretum. Come roam the trails with your flashlight and look at the stars after dark. OPKansas.org

20 Saturday

21 Sunday Public Tours 11:00, Cedar Cove. Explore Cedar Cove with an experienced guide. See these epic animals and learn about them. Tours start every half-hour. SaveOurSiberians.org The SpongeBob Musical 1:00 & 4:00, Coterie Theatre. Enjoy a performance where SpongeBob powerfully proves that optimism can save the world. TheCoterie.org

Black Friday Deals Thru Nov 30, Backyard Specialists. Shop special deals for great savings on gifts the entire family will enjoy! BackyardSpecialists.com

Trip the Light Fantastic 6:00, Frank White Softball Complex. A magical 4.5-mile bike ride through hundreds of lighted, animated displays. 816.503.4800

Holiday Craft Show 9:00, High Blue (Belton). Shop local artisans and crafters with jewelry, home décor, baked goods, skin care and so much more! 816.348.7400

Holiday Light & Magic Thru Jan 2, Near Legends Outlets. Drive-thru Christmas lights experience the whole family will enjoy! Tickets at HolidayLightandMagic.com.

Pie Day 9:00, Missouri Town 1855. Stop by to learn about the techniques that went into making pastry and fillings in the 19th century. MakeYourDayHere.com

1860s Thanksgiving Workshop 7:00, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm. Explore what people ate in the 1860s, the real story of the Pilgrims and more. Mahaffie.org

Santa and Mrs Claus Today & tomorrow, Colonial Gardens. Start off your holiday season with a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus. Details at ColonialGardensKC.com

Grow a Reader 10:00, MCPL. Join library staff for a virtual story time brought directly to your home! Pre-reg at MyMCPL.org.

Lighted Christmas Parade 6:00, Downtown Excelsior Springs. The parade kicks off following the mayor’s lighting ceremony. VisitExcelsior.com

Cars and Coffee at the Museum 8:00, Kansas City Automotive Museum. Morning cruise-in event held first and third Saturdays. 913.322.4227

If You Knew My Story Thru Saturday, Culture House. A showcase of Broadway scenes and song performances. Tickets at CultureHouse.com.

19 Friday

Holiday Hoopla Noon, Oakhill Day School. A one-day boutique shopping experience benefitting the students of Oak Hill. OakhillDaySchool.org

Illuminating Art 10:00 or 2:00, Nerman Museum. Learn about technology in art and lighting effects and create a black box sculpture. Ages 8-11. Pre-reg at NermanMuseum.org.

22 Monday Mom & Me Bumper Bowling 9:30, Summit Lanes. For just $3 per person, you get a game, shoe rental and drink on Mondays and Wednesdays. SummitLanes.com Koala Bears 10:00, Kansas City Zoo. Meet koalas Chuckels and Thackory! These two cuddly marsupials are visiting the zoo through November! KansasCityZoo.org Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. 10:00, Union Station. Exhibit features more than 700 original objects, 400 photographs and hundreds of artifacts. UnionStation.org

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Visit Union Station and take a walk through the KC Model Rail Experience (UnionStation.org), a model train exhibit in the Grand Hall featuring 8,000 square feet of track to explore.


Have a Party with

Your Bear Day: Visit the National Museum of Toys & Miniatures (816.235.8000), where exhibits celebrate favorite childhood playthings. You’ll find teddy bears throughout the museum—even in miniature in dollhouses.


Take a

Hike Day: The metro offers many

Go for a Ride Day: Head

great places to hike! Search “Best Hikes” on KCParent.com to learn about our favorite trails.

to Independence for a horsedrawn wagon ride with Pioneer Trails Adventures (PioneerTrailsAdventures.com) or take a historic trolley tour of Kansas City with KC Fun Trolleys (KCFunTours.com).

NOVEMBER 18 Mickey Mouse’s Birthday: Mickey


Día de

los Muertos: Experience an innovative Día de los Muertos altar created in collaboration with local artists, the Mattie Rhodes Center and community and school groups at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Nelson-Atkins.org) Nov. 1-15.


Mouse was inspired by a pet mouse Walt Disney loved at his KC Laugh-O-Gram studio. Watch a Mickey Mouse film in celebration of his official film debut on Nov. 18, 1928, in the film Steamboat Willie.

NOVEMBER 19 National Adoption Day: If your family would like to support children and families through foster care or adoption, check out KVC Kansas. They provide heartcentered services to children and families through in-home family support, foster care, adoption, behavioral health care and children’s psychiatric hospitals. Kansas.KVC.org

Veterans Day: Remember the sacrifice of

American soldiers at the National World War I Museum and Memorial (TheWorldWar.org).

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NOVEMBER 25 Thanksgiving Day: It’s a day of gratitude and family. Finish it off with a Kansas City tradition as the Country Club Plaza Christmas lights turn on for the season!

NOVEMBER 26 Black Friday: Spend Black Friday at Legends Outlets (LegendsShopping.com) where you’ll find sales, giveaways and fun events all day long so you can experience the best kickoff to holiday shopping ever!

23 Tuesday Winter Magic Thru Jan 2, 5:00, Oakwood Drive (Swope Park). Drive through nearly one mile of a magical holiday light show experience. Purchase tickets at WinterMagicKC.com. Grow a Reader 6:00, MCPL. Join library staff for a virtual story time brought directly to your home! Pre-reg at MyMCPL.org.

24 Wednesday Kids Day Out 8:00, Johnson County Museum. Explore KidsScape and museum exhibits, play games, enjoy activities and more! Pre-reg at 913.715.2570.

NOW OPEN! LIMITED Group Size Morning and Afternoon Sessions Enhanced Cleaning

Seasons of Wonder Thru Dec. 27, Wonders of Wildlife (Springfield). Get in the “fishmas” spirit with festive themed events and delightful activities. WondersOfWildlife.org Christmas in the Sky 5:00, Longview Lake. Fireworks set to music kick off the season and are the opening to Christmas in the Park. Free. 816.503.4805

25 Thursday Happy Thanksgiving


8788 Metcalf Ave Overland Park, KS jocoahc.com

For more info & to book your session: JCPRD.com/Museum

KC Parent Readers! We are thankful for your 36 years of readership and support! Thanksgiving Day Run & Walk 8:30, 86th Terrace & Ward Parkway. Kick off Thanksgiving Day with a morning run! WardParkwayThanksgivingDayRun.com Thanksgiving Day 5K & Family Stroll 9:00, Aspiria. Join other families as they participate in a family 5K and stroll! ThanksgivingDayRun.com

26 Friday Black Friday Deals Thru Nov 30, Backyard Specialists. Shop special deals for great savings on gifts the entire family will enjoy! BackyardSpecialists.com Visit Legoland 10:00, Legoland Discovery Center. Take the kids to the ultimate indoor playground for the biggest fans of Lego. Purchase tickets at LegolandDiscoveryCenter.com. 1860s Living History Noon, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm. Take a stagecoach ride, see cookstove and blacksmith demonstrations and more. Mahaffie.org

Want More in Life? Here’s a way to experience the joy of parenthood and help children

4,000 Kansas City area children are in crisis due to child abuse, neglect or other family challenges. The need for new foster and adoptive parents is greater than ever. Whether you are single or married, own or rent your home, have children already or don’t, work full-time or stay home, you may qualify. We provide free training, 24/7 support, and monthly reimbursement to meet the child’s needs.

Contact us to learn more. (888) 655-5500 | www.kvckansas.org kcparent.com november 2021


Merry Market 4:00, the City Market. Enjoy festive shopping, food and drink. Shop from more than 75 local artists. TheCityMarket.org Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 5:30, Crown Center. The 100-foot-tall mayor’s Christmas tree is lit up to kick off the holiday season. CrownCenter.com Holiday Luminary Walk Today & tomorrow, Overland Park Arboretum. The arboretum transforms into a wonderland of candles, music and holiday fun. OPKansas.org

27 Saturday

The Elves and the Shoemaker 2:00, Theatre for Young America. A new dramatization of the classic story of elfin kindness. Tickets. UnionStation.org

28 Sunday Seasons of Wonder Thru Dec. 27, Wonders of Wildlife (Springfield). Get in the “fishmas” spirit with festive themed events and delightful activities. WondersOfWildlife.org Holiday Film 12:30, 3:00, 5:30 or 8:00, Extreme Screen (Union Station). Enjoy the holiday favorite Elf on the big screen! UnionStation.org

Open House 8:00, Louisburg Cider Mill. Shop for unique gift items and enjoy tasty samples, festive music and more. LouisburgCiderMill.com

The SpongeBob Musical 1:00 & 4:00, Coterie Theatre. Enjoy a performance where SpongeBob powerfully proves that optimism can save the world. TheCoterie.org

Santa’s Gingerbread Station Thru Dec 24, Crown Center. Santa Claus will welcome guests throughout the holiday season for visits, wish lists and photos. CrownCenter.com

Festival of Lights 4:00, Powell Gardens. Enjoy more than 20 miles of holiday lights that highlight the natural forms of Powell Gardens. PowellGardens.org

Winter Funderland Thru Dec 28, Fun Farm. Train rides, visit with Santa, photo opportunities, gift shop and hot chocolate bar. FunFarmPumpkinPatch.com

29 Monday

64 november 2021 kcparent.com

Letters to Santa Thru Dec 10, the View Community Center. Write a letter to Santa, then drop it off and Santa will write back! Grandview.org

Visit Sea Life 11:00, Sea Life Aquarium. Bring the kids to see the Doodle Reef, the touch pool, Stingray Bay and more! Purchase tickets online at VisitSeaLife.com. Holiday Light & Magic Thru Jan 2, Near Legends Outlets. Drive-thru Christmas lights experience the whole family will enjoy! Tickets at HolidayLightandMagic.com.

30 Tuesday Holiday Reflections Thru Dec 27, Union Station. Enjoy sky-reaching lights, decorated trees —plus a bigger-than-ever Rudy’s Wonderland. UnionStation.org Petite Picassos 10:00 or 11:00, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. Bring budding artists into the art studio for a mini art project. Pre-reg at 913.826.3070. Cookies with Santa 3:00, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm. Visit Santa, pose for a portrait, and enjoy some treats! Pre-reg at Mahaffie.org. Grow a Reader 6:00, MCPL. Join library staff for a virtual story time brought directly to your home! Pre-reg at MyMCPL.org.





DECEMBER 3-5, 10-12 6P | 6:45P | 7:30P | 8:15P | 9P

Enjoy the 15-minute show featuring live performances of your christmas favorites like jingle bells and little drummer boy from the comfort of your vehicle. Parking is first-come, first-served. Vehicles will be directed to enter at the north entrance and exit at the south entrance. Automated shows (without live musicians) will run Dec. 13-24 From 6-11pm each night.



1600 N 291 Hwy Liberty, MO









jccc.edu/MTCArtsEd Box Office: 913–469–4445 Mon. – Fri. / 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Season packages available November 15. Individual shows on sale December 6. Ask about our school shows! DAYTIME PRICES: $5 School Groups • $6 Individuals / EVENING PRICES: $9 and $16

STONELION PUPPET THEATRE The Lost Treasure March 2 / 7 p.m. Yardley Hall Grades K – 5

How do lost Aztec treasure, an ancient map and a deep cave save the world?

MESNER PUPPET THEATER In the Workshop LIVE May 14 & 15 / 11 a.m. May 10 – 13 / 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. Polsky Theatre / Pre-K – 2 Puppetry that uses humor and heart to connect with young audiences.

Select Saturdays / 11 a.m. / Polsky Theatre

DINO O’DELL Dinosaur O’Dell’s Build a Better World! January 22

“Learning hasn’t been this fun since School House Rock.” – School Library Journal


123 ANDRÉS Actívate

March 26

“A rockstar for little language learners.” – Billboard

May 21 It’s a family dance jamboree!

THANKS TO: Adams Family Arts Education Endowment, ArtsKC, BNSF Railway, Hudson Family Foundation, Hall Family Foundation, Francis Family Foundation, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, The Kennedy Center, National Endowment for the Arts, Victor and Caroline Schutte Foundation, and Yellow Freight System Inc.



Every November, we transform our garden centers into magical winter wonderlands. Our stores are lined with forests of decorated trees, lights, fresh-cut greens, wreaths, garlands, ornaments, and much more. Stop by any of our 3 Family Tree Nursery locations to get into the holiday spirit. Also, be sure to follow us on social media for details on upcoming events. WWW.FAMILYTREENURSERY.COM

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