How I Really Feel about Being a Single Mother on Mother’s Day and Every Other Day of the Year
This post about my Mother’s Day in 2017 is clearly long overdue. But you know how the saying goes … Better late than never. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother’s Day.
*Sidenote: This post features the opinions of a woman who, at this point in life, only has five years of experience with raising one girl. Just in case you feel that makes a difference in what I’m going to write.
This past Mother’s Day was my first one as an official single mother. I didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers. That’s because my daughter isn’t old enough to cook by herself and I no longer have a husband to make those things happen. Yet it was fabulous, none the less. I had a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and enjoy quality one on one time with my daughter. It was awesome! We did absolutely nothing except lounge around the house all day.
But what about your Mother’s Day brunch!? Well since you asked… “Brunch” consisted of a delicious mix of “Let’s see what we can come up with from the fridge”. The truth is this was my favorite Mother’s Day so far. There were no expectations, no agenda for the day, no pressure. I loved it!
Society has placed a grossly false stereotype on single motherhood. (More specifically, single black motherhood). We aren’t all surviving on welfare with six kids in the projects while our baby daddy is locked up. That is just a plain wrong viewpoint to put on all single black mothers. I know that is true for a small percentage but it’s not my story.
God has truly blessed me to have a mindset of gratitude. Although it isn’t easy to maintain especially when I see so much of what could be considered greener grass. When I first became single I was envious of the friends whose marriages and families were still holding together. At times I felt that there was something wrong with me for not sticking it out. And of course I worried about the effects of Lily growing up with divorced parents. I mean, come on, Christians don’t get divorced!!!
Fast forward to now when I’m in a place where I have come to terms with my marriage ending. Yes, there was something wrong with me; with Terry; with our friends; with the world. That something is sin. I could have stayed but I didn’t. We were two sinful people who wouldn’t step out of the comfort of our selfishness to allow God to orchestrate the structure of our marriage.
So here I am, a single mother.
Let’s go back to God blessing me with a mindset of gratitude. I love my life! I love that God moves through and all around me everyday to constantly show me all that I have to be grateful for. The most important being my daughter. I know it sounds unbelievable but being a mother (and a single mother) is fun. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love my child.
Not that raising Lily is a slice of cherry pie a la mode. Motherhood requires much of me on a daily basis. Loving my child means I actively stay present in her life. It means that I allow her the space to grow as an individual with a strong personality, feelings, and opinions. It means that I guide and discipline her with compassion and understanding.
Discipline usually isn’t associated with compassion but that’s what it is. To let a child live in an environment where they don’t receive proper structure and direction is reckless. Children need to be taught how to function as upstanding citizens in the world. At times these lessons are not easy to teach. Occasionally I find myself irritated or upset because Lily behaved in such a way that warranted correction when I really just wanted her to “be good” so she wouldn’t get in trouble. In reality what I’m saying is Lily’s undesirable behavior is an inconvenience to my wishes for her to always be pleasant and obedient.
Unrealistic standards for anyone! Much more so for a five year old. She’s an imperfect person. Inevitably she will not follow my directions. She will break something when I told her not to touch it. She will throw a fit because I said she couldn’t watch tv. She will have to be told repeatedly to pick up her toys. And I will have to deal with each situation accordingly. That is my job as a parent. I would be doing Lily a grave disservice to overlook or ignore times when she needed correction because I just didn’t want to deal with doling out consequences. Being a good parent isn’t about I want it’s about what Lily needs.
Also, speaking of “discipline” that leads me to another stereotype for Black America.
Black people do love their children. We hug and kiss them, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework, take care of them. We don’t spend all day giving them spankings, whoopings, beatings or whatever you call it.
Ok… Back on topic… For me being a single mother means accepting, with joy, the responsibility of stewardship over my daughter’s life as she, God willing, grows into adulthood. How dare I not cherish every moment that God blesses me to have with her! Now pause to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married, black or white, male or female, to make that lifestyle choice.
Choices. Isn’t that what it breaks down to? You as a person have the choice to live however you want. Just keep in mind there are rewards or consequences for everything. I choose to love my life. My single mother life.
Thank you so much for reading! If you liked this, there’s a whole lot more where it came from! Subscribe to the blog and stay connected to My City Adventures.
The Ultimate 2017 Guide to Having a Fabulous and Completely Free Summer in Kansas City
Whether you’re traveling to Kansas City on a budget or are simply looking for activities that won’t break the bank, you will love my Guide to Summer in KC! Some of the event listings are sponsored which means I received compensation for sharing them with you.
I love that I live in a city where I don’t have to spend a fortune on fun things to do. No matter the time of year, Kansas City has wallet friendly activities and events. But there’s just something magical about the summer! Warmer days, gorgeous nights, and for my family it is birthday season. Yep, we were all born in July or August. Except for my oddball sister who has a January birthday…
Summer is when most people start reaching deep into their piggy banks to splurge on vacations. Not me! Actually that’s a lie. God willing, I’ll be going on a few road trips this summer. More on that later. Even so, I take on this season with an extra challenge. How many free things to do can I find over the next three months? This year I’m sharing that list with you! You’ll be surprised at some of my finds.
The Ultimate Guide to Free Summer Events & Activities in Kansas City
Plaza Live! Courtyard Concerts – May through September
Live music from the best local and regional acts kicks off at the Country Club Plaza on May 4th. Plaza Live! features concerts in beautiful Plaza courtyards every Thursday 5 to 8 pm, Friday 4 to 7 pm, Saturday 2 to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 3 pm. Concerts are held in Mermaid Courtyard near Michael Kors, Penguin Courtyard near J. Crew, and Valencia Courtyard near Banana Republic from May through the end of September.
Off the Wall Film Series – May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8
This year the Kansas City Public Library’s annual rooftop summer film series highlights quirky characters fighting the status quo. Bring blankets and folding chairs to the Rooftop Terrace of the Central Library for an evening of downtown KC skyline cinema. Enjoy popcorn courtesy of Friends of the Library and locally brewed ales and lagers from Kansas City Bier Company. Doors open at 8 pm, screenings start at 8:45 pm.
Hot Country Nights – June through mid August
Hot Country Nights presented by Q104 is a country concert series happening at the Kansas City Live Block every Thursday evening, all summer long! The party starts every week at 7 pm. Shows are open to all ages but anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Must be over 21 to enter after 9 pm.
Dragon Boat Festival – June 10
The 13th annual Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival brings the traditions of ancient China to Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza on June 10th. Enjoy this event featuring 14 college and community boat racing teams, authentic musical and martial arts performances, children’s activities and the Bochi and Kona Ice food trucks. The eyes of the dragon are opened at 9:45 am when the races begin.
Juneteenth KC – June 10, June 17
Juneteenth is the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The celebration kicks off in Kansas City with a parade down the historic 18th and Vine District on June 10th from 11 am to 1:30 pm. For the first year ever the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art joins JuneteenthKC in commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. Activities at the museum include visual and literary arts, music, entertainment, and education on June 10th from 10 am to 4 pm. The Juneteenth Festival takes place at 18th and Vine on June 17th from noon to 8 pm. The festival features cultural activities, a kids zones, crafts, local music, and dance.
Sprint Family Fun Days – May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14
Bring your kids downtown for the Sprint Family Fun Series the second Saturday of each month, May – October. Enjoy a new theme filled with family fun and entertainment every time. Be a part of all the fun on social media by using #FamilyFunKC. Event is held on 14th Street and Walnut Street in the Kansas City Power & Light District from 10 am to 3 pm.
City Market Busker Festival – June 11
The City Market is known for its buskers (street performers who entertain for tips). They are an important part of the unique atmosphere at the City Market. On June 11th, 9 am to 1 pm, the City Market presents Busker Festival, a celebration of the street-style entertainment that’s fun for all ages. The Busker Festival will showcase uni-cycling, juggling, fire twirling, aerial arts, stilt walkers, dancers, comedy, hula hooping, circus acts, magicians and more. The City Market’s motto is “where the locals go,” and in keeping with that tradition, all performers are local to the area.
Urbana KC – June 11, June 25
This downtown street scene happens on select Sundays in June. A familiar city block is re-imagined without the traffic flow from cars. You can eat and drink under the stars, hear live music, see public art displays and share a uniquely Kansas City summer experience. It all takes place in the heart of the Power & Light District neighborhood from 4 to 8 pm.
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival – June 13 through July 2 (excluding Mondays)
Moral corruption, revenge, madness, murder – Hamlet runs the gamut of dysfunction. This year’s festival focuses on the villainy and abundant human frailty in perhaps the greatest of the Bard’s 38 plays. Activities for each night include an educational prologue to the play and performances from the KC Shakes teen apprentice troupe. The play begins at 7:30 pm. Enjoy your dinner, picnic style, with blankets and lawn chairs or buy food from nearby vendors.
Future Stages Festival – June 25
As an extension of the Kauffman Center’s Spotlight on Youth initiative, Future Stages Festival is a free, community event designed to celebrate the arts in Kansas City. This one-day festival showcases Kansas City’s diversity. It brings together visitors from all over the metro area to enjoy interactive arts activities and performances featuring more than 700 young artists.
Crown Center Weekenders – July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4
Cap off your work week with top local bands and favorite food trucks. Finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars at Crown Center Square. Festivities begin at 6 pm with the movie starting at approximately 9 pm.
Celebrate National Park and Recreation Month and KC Parks 125th anniversary with Kansas City’s Big Picnic. Kansas City Parks and Recreation join with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to host the biggest picnic the region has ever seen! The Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park will be linked to become a giant space for Kansas City to come together for an evening of fun activities from 4 to 8 pm. Pack your own picnic or grab dinner from an on-site food truck.
First Fridays – Monthly recurring event
On the first Friday of every month, the Crossroads and 18th & Vine districts come alive with hundreds of people there to enjoy works from local artists, buskers, street concerts, and more. Arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a variety of local businesses feature regional and national artists as well as live entertainment starting in the early evening.
Third Thursdays – Monthly recurring event
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosts third Thursday programs every month from 6 to 9 pm It’s your not-so-quiet night at the museum where art and local talents meet for a lively night of free entertainment. The night spotlights the wonderful musicians, community organizations and local businesses from the Kansas City area while drawing attention to the artwork, galleries and exhibitions at the museum.
Third Fridays – late Spring through mid Fall
The West 39th Street District takes summer up a notch on 3rd Fridays. Live acoustic musicians stretch all the way down West 39th, boutiques have extended hours, restaurants have special happy hours. It’s a great time to get out and explore the local atmosphere at a leisurely pace. Activities take place from 5:30 to 9:30 pm.
Phew, that’s a long list! I hope my guide gives you some fun ideas for summer. Also I mentioned earlier that I plan on hitting the road soon. And I’m taking my free loving spirit along when I do! Subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss any of my city adventures. Thank you for reading!
Charities that Represent the Things I Am Most Passionate About
I am passionate about three things. Food. Children. Adventures. Here is a list of my favorite charities that represent those three things. This post also has sponsored links. I hope you enjoy reading and will take the time to explore these charities further.
When I say I’m passionate about food, I don’t just mean eating it. Although, that’s where it started! I constantly advocate for people to learn just how easy and inexpensive it is to eat healthy foods. Whenever someone tells me how hard it is to afford quality foods I always recommend two places. The first is their local farmers market. The second is Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to members at wholesale prices. At 25-50% off retail, most Thrive members make back their $60 membership fee in savings within their first two orders. Their mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. That’s why, in addition to already affordable health foods and products, Thrive Market’s Spread the Health program donates a membership to low-income families, teachers, veterans, and students for every purchased membership. More than 23 million Americans today still live in “food deserts”—low-income neighborhoods without healthy food. This leads to low-income families resorting to buying food they know isn’t healthy just to make ends meet. The lack of access contributes to a number of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. By donating, you help food-insecure families stock up on wholesome pantry essentials and kick-start their journey to good health. Use my Thrive Market link to enjoy a 30 day free membership trial.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I realized just how awesome and amazing a privilege it is to raise a child. Children are capable of being the most intelligent, compassionate human beings. If we as their parents, teachers, and role models don’t hinder them from fulfilling their potential. Unbound and Show Me Shoes Foundation, both based in Kansas City, MO, are two charities that are on a mission to help children and the families that raise them.
Unbound is an international nonprofit bringing people together to challenge poverty in new and innovative ways. They deliver financial assistance to people in 19 countries. Each sponsorship directly benefits an individual and helps pay for education, skills training and livelihood programs. They believe families and communities can overcome the challenges that face them when we all work together. Unbound also creates opportunities right in my hometown of Kansas City, MO. Every week, Operation Breakthrough cares for more than 400 children. More than 20 percent of the children are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless — living in battered women’s or homeless shelters or transitional living programs in Kansas City. Unbound provides funding for mental health care for those kids and family services to help their parents give a better life. Unbound staff members also volunteer weekly by tutoring children at Chalet Manor public housing in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, KS. The Learning Club of KCK serves more than 100 children, focusing on homework help and enrichment activities. Unbound and the Learning Club of KCK share the goal of helping children who live in poverty meet their highest potential through one-on-one relationships.
Show Me Shoes Foundation launched when friends Anneka Maquay and Shiv’on Bullock shared a vision to inspire young girls to follow their dreams and to help build confidence from the “Sole”. Show Me Shoes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a goal to create a movement of confidence through self-love, mentors and sisterhood. Show Me Shoes has served young girls and women in chapters in Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO. With the support of volunteers and donations, they are able to make a difference by restoring strength and self-love through the “sole”.
When it comes to adventures the more unique they are the more I like them! I don’t just mean bungee jumping of a cliff or flying off top a getaway on the beach in Bali. Sometimes the most treasured explorations are to be had right where you call home. Social Heart provides a myriad of my kind of adventures all year-long.
Social Heart is a non-profit organization that is 100% volunteer managed. Their purpose is to create a better community by supporting all local charities in the Greater Kansas City area in uniquely impactful ways. Social Heart is helping to improve the city through creatively fun events, promotions, marketing, donations, and volunteer support. A few of their biggest events are the annual Mardi Gras celebration, Laugh Your Ass Off comedy show, and National Volunteer Appreciation Month. They also host monthly happy hours at a variety of local places. The best thing about Social Heart is that all funds raised go directly to the charities.
Thank you so much for reading! What are you most passionate about? What are some of your favorite charities? Leave a comment below.
10 Amazing Companies that Created Unique Sightseeing Tours in Kansas City
Maybe it’s that I love history. Learning about where things got started has always interested me. Lucky for me, where I live, there is plenty to learn and explore. Here are 10 amazing companies that created unique sightseeing tours in Kansas City.
1. American Jazz Museum Tour
Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through visual arts, interactive exhibitions, films, and performing arts. Public programming for all ages enliven the history and music at the center of the American Jazz Museum. The engaging Museum tours bring Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington to life. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for 65+, $6 for children 5-12. Discounts are available for groups of 25 or more. Tours are perfect for family reunions, corporate outings, networking events, and more. Call 816-474-8463 for scheduling.
2. Boulevard Brewing Company Tour
Founded in 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become the largest specialty craft beer brewer in the Midwest. The brewery offers two options for tours of its factory. Enjoy free public one hour walking tours of the brewery, which close with samples in their Tasting Room. The entire day’s tickets become available at 10 am each day, and are on a first-come, first-served basis from the Tours & Rec Center Welcome Desk. Public tours are open to ages 6 and older and offered at regular intervals from 10 am to 4 pm. Thirsty for more? Then the Smokestack Tour & Tasting is for you. Join Boulevard for a two-hour experience including the tour plus guided food and beer pairings. Smokestack tours are available Sunday through Friday for guests 21 and older. Tickets are $25 per person and released online the first Monday of each month for the following month’s tours.
3. Chocology Tour
Chips Chocolate Factory, in Crown Center, makes more than 200 chocolate confections by hand including over 40 flavors of Kansas City fudge. Their Chocology tours are a unique experience where you learn the history of chocolate, where is it grown, how is it harvested, and how is it made. You’ll also watch the resident candy makers transform fresh ingredients into a loaf of smooth, creamy fudge. Scheduled group visits are between 10:30 am and 5 pm, excluding Tuesday and Sunday. The cost for the visit is $5.00 per person and includes a bag filled with yummy Chips Chocolate Factory goodies. Tours need a minimum of 10 people. Each visit lasts about 45 minutes. To schedule your group visit, call 816-421-0012.
4. The Gangster Tour
Kansas City was a favorite spot of the “old timers.” The Gangster Tour puts you hot on the trail of this city’s most notorious Goodfellas. But don’t make the guides twist your arm. Grab your chopper, hop on the bus, and you’ll spend 90 minutes immersed in a melodramatic look at mob homes and hangouts, turf wars and infamous crimes like the Union Station massacre. Tours are held every Saturday year round for $29 per person. Sorry kiddos, adults only. Dinner and a tour is also available for groups of 15 + at $69 per person. For reservations or ticket information call 816-471-1234.
5. Harley-Davidson Assembly Tour
Harley-Davidson has built a legacy of fulfilling dreams of personal freedom. Step into the process of that legacy with tours of the Vehicle and Powertrain Operations Factory. Two tour options feature a series of displays that guide you through the various manufacturing and assembly processes. Classic Factory Tour are free and offer people and small groups an intimate view of Harley-Davidson’s assembly line and fabrication areas. The Steel Toe Tour goes behind-the-scenes through areas previously unseen by the public. Tickets are $38 per person. This is the only Harley-Davidson factory tour where you will see a Harley-Davidson powertrain and vehicle assembled and brought to life. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on the tours. Visit website for more information, including tour times.
6. Historic Kansas City Tour
Historic Kansas City is the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment. The Historic Kansas City Foundation offers a variety of walking tours featuring the diverse architecture and history of neighborhoods across Kansas City. Trained volunteers lead tours that last between 1 and 1.5 hours. Tour pricing is $10 per person. Members of Historic Kansas receive a 50% discount. Email email@example.com or call 816-931-8448, at least one week in advance, to schedule a tour date.
7. Kansas City Ballet Tour
The Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity is home to the Kansas City Ballet. Located at 500 W. Pershing in downtown Kansas City, the facility houses the professional company, Kansas City Ballet School, Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater, and Kansas City Ballet’s artistic and administrative staff. Kansas City Ballet invites you and your group to come see the company at work. Call to arrange a tour of the studios for groups of 10 or more people. The presentation includes information about productions in progress and you can take a peek at their professional dancers in rehearsal. You’ll also be able to see costumes in the making in their costume shop. For more information about tours, please contact 816.216.5583
8. Kansas City Fun Tours
A Kansas City Fun Tour is the best first thing to do in Kansas City. Get acquainted with popular sites, local favorites and hidden treasures that the city has to offer during their fully narrated 75 minute, 15 mile guided tour. Take the tour in style aboard an authentic trolley. Some of the things you’ll experience are art museums, fountains and statues, where to go for the best nightlife and live music, and great restaurants to enjoy cuisine from around the world. Scheduled tours are daily at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for children 12 and younger, $18 for 60+ and military, and $20 for adults. For scheduling book tickets online or call 816-500-5417.
9. The Roasterie Factory Café Tour
The Roasterie Factory Café goes to great lengths to bring you the best coffee in the world. Enjoy tours of the factory that gives you an up close look at their cupping, roasting and blending processes. You’ll learn about the history of the company, get a behind the scenes look at the factory, and experience a manual coffee brewing demonstration along with a Q&A. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for the 45 minutes long tours. The best day for a Roasterie Factory tour is Thursday. Public Cuppings (coffee tastings) are held on the first and third Thursday of the month. On these days, from 5 pm to 6 pm, you can sample a myriad of coffees from all over the world. One hour private tours are best for groups of 15 or more. Here’s a link to my last visit to the Roasterie Factory.
10. Taste of Kansas City Food Tours
Taste of Kansas City Food Tours started in 2012, becoming Kansas City’s first food and culinary tour company dedicated to helping visitors and Kansas City residents enjoy the best Kansas City food and cultural experience off-the-beaten-path. In addition to tasting deliciously crafted foods, participants will learn about the history, culture, and neighborhood entertainment offerings of the Crossroads Arts District. Whether through the Crossroads, Prohibition, Sunday Brunch, or on the KC Streetcar Line, any of the four Taste of Kansas City Tours are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Ticket pricing starts at $54 per person. Visit website for more tour information and schedule.
Which tour your favorite? Leave a comment. Thank you so much for reading!
The KC Foodie Club Takes on Kansas City Restaurants, One Forkful at a Time
What happens when you put some of Kansas City’s most passionate foodies together? The KC Foodie Club. That’s what! We are a group of locals who come together at restaurant tables across the city in pursuit of all things delicious.
Most appropriately, the foundation for the KC Foodie Club was set during the mother of all Kansas City culinary events. Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017. This year we did much more than good while dining out. The kick-off party for KCRW 2017 gave us KC Foodies a chance to actually meet face to face. Most of whom I personally had only been familiar with on Instagram. After the event, we were all pretty much thinking the same thing. “These people are kind of cool. They love food just as much as I do. Why don’t we hang out more often?” Okay, maybe not those exact thoughts. But it didn’t take long for the ball to get rolling on a small group to make plans for the first KC Foodie Club meet-up. You know the saying? Birds of a feather flock together. Well, we eat together. Mmmmm, speaking of birds…
Succotash, at 26th & Holmes, was the setting of our first club meeting. This quirky eatery, known for its brunch, proved a cool backdrop to our crowd. Once the rosemary-caramel lattes and sunrise smoothies were flowing, we made formal introductions, chilled, and talked shop. Oh, and of course we took plenty of Instagram-worthy photos. The best thing about dining with other foodies is that they appreciate what goes into a good a meal. Not just the ingredients and preparation but also the presentation. Plus I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt to eat with people who honor Foodie Rule No. 1. Do not touch or eat anything until a photo has been taken!
Who are the members of the KC Foodie Club?
We all agree on our excitement about delicious food, It’s what brought us together. However, our backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. Nursing, Advertising, Preschool Education, Marketing, etc. But it works. Food has a funny way of being a common denominator. Below is a list including each member and their Instagram page. (Instagram being where most of the magic happens!)
What does this mean for restaurants in Kansas City? It means we are 20 hungry foodies with a reservation at your place! So be ready!!! Just joking! A little.
Okay, here’s what it really means. The KC Foodie Club is made up of unique individuals who share the common desire of exploring the best of Kansas City cuisine. And we want to share our discoveries with EVERYONE we know! From social media photos and posts to good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. We love exposing people to all the delicious restaurants in Kansas City. If you own a restaurant or sell food products in Kansas City, there all lots of ways you can connect with the KC Foodie Club. Publicity for restaurant openings. New menu tastings. Honest and unbiased restaurant and product reviews. Press for special events. If you have something different in mind for a collaboration, just let us know. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The creative possibilities are endless!
Look for us everywhere with the hashtag #kcfoodieclub. In the meantime we’ll be happily feasting on Kansas City’s most yummy dishes! Thank you for reading.
Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City
Kansas City has developed a huge culture for three things. Sports. Food. Art. We are faithfully passionate about our Royals, Chiefs, Sportings, Tigers, and Jayhawks. This city has an insatiable appetite for deliciously authentic culinary masterpieces. We support the visionaries who creatively bring the depth of their imaginations to life in architecture, installations, music, literature, dance, and theater. Which leads me to the subject of this story. Five surprisingly free ways to become a connoisseur of the arts in Kansas City.
Kansas City is widely recognized for its arts. It also works tirelessly to maintain accessibility of the arts in Kansas City for all who live and visit here. From opera and ballet to poetry slams and street festivals. And of course, a myriad of classes and arts based curriculums. What I love best is that you don’t need to be rich to enjoy them. Here is a list of just a few ways I enjoy arts in Kansas City for free.
Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City
1. Quixotic Fusion
Quixotic Fusion is an innovative performing arts group which integrates technology with live music, contemporary dance, and cirque nouveau arts. They perform across the United States and at two annual events which I try to never miss.
The first is WaterFire. This annual event in October combines a spectacular multi sensory experience of live vocals, dance and acrobatics with the installation of braziers in Brush Creek. Last year included performances by Quixotic, StoneLion Puppet Theatre, and Kansas City Drum Tribe. The second is Union Station’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony in November. This event marks the beginning of Kansas City’s holiday season. A full day of festivities include family friendly activities, a Holiday Maker Village, and stage performances from local musicians and performers including Quixotic.
2. Lyric Opera
Located in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads community, Lyric Opera creates transformational opera experiences through performances, outreach, and education initiatives. They also aim to develop talent, repertoire, programs and productions that bring the best of Lyric Opera of Kansas City to the world. The Lyric Opera also hosts occasional free First Friday previews of their upcoming operas. Preview nights feature select music and songs from their operas, themed food and drinks, and opportunities to meet and greet with Lyric Opera singers.
3. First Fridays
Speaking of First Fridays, the Crossroads Art District is at the center of arts in Kansas City. It’s home to hundreds of eclectic restaurants, shops, and galleries. On the First Friday of every month, the Crossroads comes alive with hundreds of people there to view works from local artists, buskers, street concerts, and more. Arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a variety of local businesses feature regional and national artists as well as live entertainment starting in the early evening.
4. Kansas City Public Library
The Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) system champions itself as a doorway to knowledge for all people in the community. That standard of excellence is met through more than just books. Each month the Library is host to a plethora of diverse events and programs designed to educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of Kansas City residents. Events such as local jazz legend Brother John performing a one man show about the history of Native Americans in Missouri. Programs like the Kansas City Symphony children’s outreach which exposes and teaches kids about musical instruments. The Central Library, located in downtown Kansas City, also features an art gallery of ever-changing installations. There are 10 branches in the KCPL system throughout Kansas City and an outreach services program serving a constituency of over 250,000. The Library also serves as a resource for the 1.7 million residents of greater metropolitan area.
5. Intentionally Exploring the City
You may wonder what do I mean by intentionally exploring? I mean that deliberately getting out of the car or in my case off the bus and forcing myself to just wander the streets takes me to a place where the worries of life fade away and time becomes abstract. I can devour each singular moment of whatever I’m experiencing. My senses of what I see, hear, taste, smell, and touch all become sharply branded imprintings in my heart and mind. Day by day I can get away with merely going through the motions of city life. But walking explorations are a fierce reminder of why I am so emotionally tied to where I live.
The arts in Kansas City are highlighted remarkably well when exploring local neighborhoods and districts. Each neighborhood in Kansas City is a distinct area full of harmonious mixtures of nature, urban life, and architecture. Buildings. Trees. Animals. Fountains. Gardens. Sculptures. Graffiti walls. No matter where you go, these are represented in Kansas City’s most walkable neighborhoods. City Market/Riverfront; Downtown Kansas City; the Westside; KC Crossroads Art District; the West Bottoms; 18th and Vine Jazz District; the Crown Center District; Midtown; Westport; West 39th Street; the Country Club Plaza.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to use this as a guide to enjoying arts in Kansas City for yourself. Also if you absolutely loved it subscribe to more of our city adventures.
Why the City Market is the Ultimate Kansas City Hotspot
To celebrate the summer, I’m writing about the City Market, my favorite summertime spot in Kansas City. Psst, there’s a bonus giveaway at the end!
It’s August in Kansas City. For me and other moms and dads that means getting ready for the kids to go back to school. However, most of the city seems to also think that means the end of summer. It was barely the end of July before I started seeing stories about the last days of summer. Well, the rest of Kansas City may act like we’ll be stuck in three feet blizzards in the next couple of weeks, but not me. For me, summer is still in full swing!
The Definition of Summer
How do I define summer in Kansas City? The days are long and scorching hot. Nights are for sitting on the front porch eating picnic dinners with Lily. There are festivals, concerts, movie nights under the stars. And my favorite, weekends at the City Market.
The City Market is open seven days a week, all year long, but it becomes almost magical during the summer. There’s just something about the thousands of people who visit each weekend that seem to make it come alive. I can spend hours just watching the crowds go by on leisurely Saturday afternoons. It has been said that once you taste your first bite of a ripe peach you won’t forget it. Well, that is the truth. Mine was at the City Market in July of 2014.
History of the City Market
The City Market has a rich history dating back to 1857 when it began as a site for market commerce, horse trading, political rallies, revival, medicine shows and circuses. It has been approximately in the same location since its inception when the City of Kansas City granted a lease to Jacob and Fred Scheibel for $50 per year. From this beginning, the City Market and its surrounding area became the focal point for people making their way westward. By 1878, activity in the area began attracting legends including Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody and Jesse James.
During the 1920s life around the City Market was thriving. At this time it stood near City Hall, the Gillis Opera House, the Jackson County Courthouse, two newspapers and a number of other businesses. After City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse moved to their present locations, the City Market benefitted from extensive renovation with a massive public works project in the 1930s. New buildings were constructed through the job creation initiatives of the Roosevelt Administration. The Market’s west building built during this reconstruction currently stands today.
The Dawn of a New Era
In the 1960s the City Market was predominantly a produce-only destination. As the City Market and the surrounding River Quay area (as it was once known) entered the 1970s, it became a popular district with bars, restaurants, and other businesses. The late ’80s and ’90s marked a $14.5 million publicly and privately funded period of investment to re-energize the area. Structures were modernized in 1986 and rehabbed in 1990, resulting in over 100,000 square feet of restaurants, food-related shops, retail and museum exhibit space. With the addition of the Arabia Steamboat Museum, the City Market took a major step forward leading the way toward downtown redevelopment.
Since 2000 the City Market has received national acclaim and numerous awards. In 2002, the Market received a Great Markets/Great Cities Award of Distinction from the Project for Public Spaces, an internationally known advocate for farmers’ markets. In 2007, the City Market celebrated its landmark 150th anniversary season. With a record attendance of more than 700,000 visitors, it was listed as Kansas City’s 6th Top Area Attraction in the Kansas City Business Journal. In 2008, a Farmers’ Market of the Year award was given by the Missouri Farmers’ Market Association and AgriMissouri. The City Market continues to be a hub of activity and an enduring community landmark. The farmer’s market is open on Wednesdays 4-7 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 7 am – 3 pm.
A City Market Education
Did you enjoy the history lesson? Do you feel smarter? Good! The City Market is so much more than a place to buy locally grown produce. Although, that is amazing! As a mother, I’m always looking for opportunities for Lily to learn outside of the classroom. The City Market has an abundance of them. She learns about botany and horticulture at Dutch Flowers. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is a great way to explore historical artifacts from the pre-Civil War era of the 1800s. Buskers in the City Market provide plenty of exposure to musical education.
Good Times all Year Long
The City Market celebrates Valentine’s Day with the annual free Tie the Knot private wedding ceremonies in February. 12 couples are invited to take part in this unique and romantic way to unite in marriage or renew their vows. Live acoustic music, twinkle lights, sparkling hearts, a red carpet, and an elevated ceremony platform set a lovely scene in the square heated glass pavilion as each couple says “I do’ or “I still do”.
The Busker Festival dazzles with freaky fun and free entertainment in June. The event showcases uni-cycling, juggling, fire twirling, aerial arts, stilt walkers, dancers, comedy, hula hooping, circus acts, magicians and more. The City Market’s motto is “where the locals go,” and in keeping with that tradition, all performers are local to the area.
The City Market presents the annual Grub Crawl in September. It’s like a pub crawl only tastier. Grub Crawl Passport holders will experience a culinary adventure in the historic market. Each stop on the Grub Crawl walking tour offers samples or small plate from participating restaurants. Between bites, Grub Crawlers can enjoy live music from local performers stationed along the route.
The City Market is all about creating a fun, fresh healthy community through good-for-you foods and positive lifestyle choices. Through a partnership with Sundown Naturals, the City Market focuses on balanced wellness with proper supplements, nutrition, and exercise. Every Saturday at 10 am, certified instructors from The YMCA of Greater Kansas City provide a rotation of classes including Cardio Kickboxing, Zumba, Bootcamp, and Body Combat. KC Yoga Center brings Yoga in the Park starting at 10 am on Sundays. Come with your own mat or blanket for this mind and body boosting workout. These 60 minute classes are free and for all ages and levels of fitness through the first week of October. Get your body moving then keep up the momentum and head to the farmer’s market to find what you need for healthy and delicious meals.
With the sights, sounds, and flavors of fall comes the October Harvest Celebration. You’ll find plenty of autumn produce including apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, and more. Children will receive vouchers to redeem for free produce from Farmers’ Market vendors. There are also fun giveaways. Festivities for the Harvest Celebration include a pumpkin patch, hay rides, arts and crafts, pumpkin themed games, and music.
Enjoy the joyous Christmas season with Whoville Holidays on Saturdays in December. Bring your camera to get a picture with the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who in the warmth of their Whoville home. Little Whos will enjoy the Whoville activity area where they can make Whoville themed tree ornaments, a Grinch mask and more! Whoville Holidays is free with your “Help a Who” donation of three canned goods for Harvesters or a new unpackaged toy for the Salvation Army.
Back to the Food
What I like most about buying from local farmers at the City Market is knowing that I’m getting the freshest produce possible. Plus, I save so much money compared to shopping at a grocery store. The range of what’s available may surprise you. City Market farmers provide a huge variety of produce every week. Eggs, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, meats, and breads. Not to mention the culturally diverse mix of shops and restaurants as well. Dining at the City Market is like a mini instant passport to whichever country I want to visit on any given day. If I’m in the mood for Indian food than Tikka House is there to satisfy my taste buds. When I want a taste of Brazil, I can literally have one at Taste of Brazil. If I crave something Italian, I just head to Carollo’s Grocery & Deli. In addition, several of the restaurants carry imported goods from their countries.
The City Market is also home to many small pop up shop businesses selling everything from hand crafted jewelry to homemade soaps. From caricature portraits to fashions for men, women, and kids. From home and garden decor to trendy hairstylists. Now, here is your chance to get to know them better. As a celebration of the ultimate Kansas City hotspot, I’m hosting a giveaway featuring products from City Market shop owners and farmers. Valued at over $250, this giveaway will introduce you to goods sold in City Market and the people behind them. Stay tuned for stories about each participating business. To enter, subscribe to Kiara Loves KC then follow the link below.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’re having a fabulous summer!
The Roasterie Cafe Factory Tour
This post will kill two birds with one stone…as the saying goes. As you may know I’m on a challenge to dine at all 44 Kansas City Original Restaurants before the end of the year. My afternoon at The Roasterie makes number two. Secondly, this is the first in a new series called Take a Tour of Kansas City. In the series, I’ll share our experiences of tours you can take in Kansas City. Now on to The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour.
The Roasterie goes to great lengths to bring its customers the best coffee. Complimentary tours give coffee lovers a chance to learn about their cupping, roasting and blending processes.
Our tour date fell on a Sunday at 12:30 pm. The Roasterie accepts walk ins for tours or you can reserve a tour spot at the website. The tour usually takes about one hour. However, ours with tour guide Gage lasted 15 or so minutes longer. Which was actually great. We got a huge amount of information and Gage talked fast. I appreciated the extra time.
The Roasterie Cafe Factory Tour Facts
Don’t worry. I won’t spoil the tour experience for you. These facts are just a small (very small) amount of what I learned during the tour. Think of this as a sneak preview or movie trailer.
On November 22, 1978, The Roasterie’s Bean Baron, Danny O’Neill picked his first coffee beans while living as a foreign exchange student in Costa Rica. Almost four decades later, his love for coffee, the people who grow it, and the countries where it grows remains at the heart of The Roasterie’s success. One of their key goals is to support the world’s small, specialty farmers and their communities. That passion is the driving force behind their mission: find the best beans on the planet and roast them the best way known to man.
The Roasterie is a specialty coffee-roasting company that delivers premium coffees to espresso bars, coffeehouses, fine restaurants, high-end grocers, offices, retail accounts, and coffee lovers in Kansas City and around the world.
All of their coffees are air-roasted, which helps highlight the origin flavor while unlocking the best of the bean.
The Roasterie has five categories of coffee: Organic, Decaffeinated, Italian, French, and Vienna. The beans are processed in separate machines to make sure none are contaminated by another.
The Roasterie imports only 100 percent Arabica Specialty Grade coffees from thirty-one different coffee-producing countries.
Nine of The Roasterie’s coffees have received a ranking of 90 or higher on CoffeeReview.com, the premier international coffee-buying guide.
It’s best to arrive 15 minutes before The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour is supposed to start. We didn’t though, due to an impromptu walk through the Crossroads District. By the time I quit stopping every three seconds to take a photo we arrived with five minutes to spare. Unfortunately, Lily and I were both hungry and could have used the time go sit down and eat. Speaking of eating…
Lunch at The Roasterie Cafe
The Roasterie serves an assortment of baked goods and pastries from local eateries. When we got there (almost late) I hurriedly got two cranberry scones. As the tour’s introductory video played we gobbled them down. The scones were moist and slightly dense, almost cake-like. With each crumbly bite I got a sweetly tart juice cranberry. The taste of them was so fresh as though they had came right out of the oven.
After The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour was over I ordered a breakfast sandwich with bacon, eggs, and gruyère cheese, a lemon and thyme fruit bar, and a cup of hibiscus-ginger-orange tea.
I have had a few pleasant experiences with coffee but I’m still a tea lover first. So, yes I did go to The Roasterie and order tea. The Roasterie offers teas from Harney & Sons, a company known for producing top quality teas with heavenly aromas and exquisite flavors. Lily fell asleep before the tea was ready which meant more for me [insert smiley face emoticon]!
The sandwich from Baked in Kansas City, came on an English muffin with fluffy scrambled eggs. The bacon wasn’t crisp like I prefer but I ate it without complaint. I only tasted a small amount of seasoning. I expected the overpowering flavors of salty bacon and buttery eggs. Instead the naturally heartiness came through nicely. Baked in Kansas City is a patisserie that offers French pasteries and handmade breads, and a restaurant with a fresh and creative brunch. They also feature a full bar with cocktails, wine, and beer.
Lily loves lemons so I got the lemon bar for her. *Such a shame that she was too sleepy to eat it. (Sarcasm.) It almost tasted like I had bitten into a lemon with the first bite. That first burst of tartness exploded in my mouth. Little flecks of thyme added a savoriness to the intensely bright citrus flavor. The lemon and thyme bar came from The French Bee Bakery, a charming locally owned bakery and café. They specialize in sweets, treats, and cakes, as well as boxed lunches for corporate catering in the Kansas City metro area.
The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour is available seven days a week. Tour times are Sunday at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm; Monday – Friday at 10 am and 12:30 pm; Saturday at 8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Thanks for reading and share this with the coffee lovers in your life!
Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 featured an array of restaurants that gave foodies a chance to visit old favorites and try new ones. As always, Kansas City’s finest culinary talents offered a variety of mouth-watering lunches and dinners. Kansas City Restaurant Week has long been considered a 10 day highlight of one of the best dining scenes in the nation. Here are just a few of the delicious dishes that I enjoyed during the 2017 event.
Pan seared with bacon, sweet potato purée, pecans, dried fig, and red wine vinegar.
Voted KC’s Best Mac & Cheese! Creamy gourmet mac & cheese with bacon, green onion, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, bel paese, fontina & romano cheeses.
Gooey Chocolate Cake
Served with pecan praline ice cream and caramel crème anglaise.
Served with carrot curd, elderflower syrup, carrot brown sugar, and mascarpone.
Kale Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, pistachios, raisins, sweet baby tomatoes, and shaved parmesan.
Nashville Hot Chicken
Served with fried sage, sweet potato pancakes, pickles, ranch dressing, and honey hot sauce.
Banana Berry Rum Macadamia Nut Crumble
Topped with toasted coconut ice cream
Classic style served with signature Marzen balsamic vinaigrette.
Southwest Egg Rolls
Stuffed with pulled chicken, black beans, corn, roasted red peppers, carrots, zucchini, and pepper jack cheese.
Lobster and Shrimp Tacos
Prepared with house-made Cajun rémoulade, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Wrapped in crisp blue corn tortillas and in soft flour tortillas. Served with their signature garlic fries.
Triple Chocolate Brownie
Three different chocolates mixed together, topped with fudge, caramel and ice cream.
Roasted Potato Pizza
Pancetta, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and scallions on whole wheat.
Dark chocolate and raspberry.
Tuscan Tomato Caprese Salad
Roasted plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lightly dressed artisan field greens, finished with aged balsamic reduction.
Tossed with roasted garlic marinara. Finished with Pecorino cheese & fresh basil.
Salted Butterscotch Pudding
Served with fresh cream and shaved chocolate.
I had a blast during Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017! If you enjoyed it as well leave a comment about what you liked best. You can also find more delicious photos at My City Adventures on Instagram. Thank you for reading!
Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, sponsored by Blurb’s BookWright. It contains affiliate links featuring products I think you’ll love. I will also receive compensation from any purchases made from clicking through these links. Thank you for supporting My City Adventures.
What is BookWright?
Just in case you don’t know what BookWright is, I’ll explain. It’s a free desktop software you can use to create beautiful books, magazines, and ebooks. The software contains high quality design templates found in the most popular books and layouts to start fresh with your own ideas. There are also videos, instructions, and tips built right into the application so you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips. Once your project is finished, one file makes print ready books, ebooks, and PDF output. BookWright also has printers with a custom built color profile to produce your book at the best quality.
How Can I Make Money from BookWright as a Blogger?
Blurb has created an exciting feature that is a game changer for bloggers! You can now use their new blog import tool in BookWright to turn digital content (such as your fantastic website) into a beautiful book. This new feature accepts just about any blog building tool, including Blogger, Squarespace, and WordPress to name a few. It easily pulls text and images directly into any project you want to create.
I’m sure that you as a blogger always work hard to do what you love and earn a living while doing it. Right? Well, with the help of BookWright you can convert blog pages into your own ready to print layouts. This new tool is a great opportunity to create a revenue stream from content you already have by making a digital or print book to sell. This is also a great opportunity to increase your brand. Hey, all you food bloggers out there! Imagine taking your most delicious blog posts and converting them into a one of a kind cookbook. Or if you’re a fashion blogger, creating a collection of your best outfits for a highly stylized look book.
Here’s how it works. First, download and install BookWright on your desktop computer. Next, start a new book project in your desired size and format. After that click on the site import icon inside the software. This will pull up a series of prompts to take content from any public website. Finally, get ready to let your creative juices flow! Find your content under the text files and photos tabs. Then choose from read page layouts or create your own. Last, auto create your book, or drag-and-drop to place content in layouts.
BookWright is an amazing tool to create your self published works. To learn more, please visit www.blurb.com/blurbbookwright. Thank you for reading!
Cheers to 2017! Also, as of January 1st, I’ve been a blogger for three years! Everyday I am so amazed and excited at all the richness that blogging brings to my life. What amazes me even more is how blessed I am, by God, to do what I love. Last year was full of growth, challenges, love, and lots of beautiful moments. It seems like a cliché to say that 2016 had its ups and downs, but it did. However, with the roller coaster that it was, I learned that faith in God can bring light on the darkest of days. Here’s how God’s extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016.
Out with the Old
The year started off with me seeking a new church to call home. After moving across town in 2014, it became a struggle to keep up regular attendance at my former church. I choose to use public transportation so the commute was increasingly hard to keep up. Sadly I realized it was time to move on. Leaving the church I loved and all the meaningful relationships I had formed with fellow brothers and sisters in God was heartbreaking. The time I spent there was a groundbreaking part of my life as a bible based follower of Jesus Christ. I miss them.
Without the security blanket of constant love and fellowship from my old church, feelings of loneliness, resentment, and anger began to form. Loneliness because I needed people in my life who I felt truly loved and cared about me but had lost that. Anger because I thought that it should have been easier to keep up those connections when it wasn’t. Resentment because of the season of life I was in at the time which caused to have to move. In 2014, I separated from my husband of four years.
Terry and I got married in 2010. The foundation for our marriage wasn’t as good and strong as it should have been but we managed to make it work. I gave birth to Lilyanna in 2012, which, as it should have, completely changed my life. And my way of thinking. Terry and I both had fierce tempers. Our arguments were mentally and physically abusive. Eventually we sought counseling and things got better. But not for long. After Lily was born I began to think about how I conducted myself as a woman, wife, and mother would affect her.
Then, with the fighting already too much to handle, Terry told me he had cheated on me. This revelation left me devastated. We ended up separating that spring. It just so happened that the lease for the house we were living in was also set to end that summer. At the time I was a stay at home wife and mother. I had no income of my own. I no longer had a husband to support me. And soon I and my daughter would have no place to live.
Finding Comfort in the Word of God
Matthew 6:31-33. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Those words had never rang truer for me. My church family really came through during that extremely difficult time. They rallied behind me, helped me get a job, provided counseling, and were just plain and simple a wonderful support system. Not to say that I didn’t worry because I did. But God certainly used all that to show me that everything in my life works according to His will and in His time. I started my new job just in time to afford a deposit and first month’s rent. In August of 2014, I became a full-time working mom with a job outside of the home for the first time in a little over two years.
Fast forward to 2015. After several months of still being married yet living life as a single parent I learned a few things. I learned that the fear of being stigmatized as a “divorced Christian” was not worth the trauma I had subjected myself to. I learned that in order for me to really be committed to having a successful marriage I would have to let go of demanding that things go my way. (This may seem like a forgone conclusion but you’d be surprised at the things that being married will show about your natural inclinations.)
I learned that through God, I can do amazing things. I went into marriage with the belief that I would fight and stick it out, no matter what. Marriage is for life. Period. However, as I grew a woman, I realized that the circumstances rendered me unable to thrive as the wife and mother. I know I could have stayed. God had certainly given me enough strength to endure. But what existence would it have been to merely survive being married? Instead, I had to let go of my ideals of what marriage should look like and trust God in leaving a broken and abusive relationship. I had to trust God that I would be okay even though I had no idea how.
Starting a New Chapter
I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I got plenty of experience at learning the art of contentment with where I was in life. Not just content, as in satisfied, but happy. Back then, I felt as though I shouldn’t feel happiness considering what I was going through. Being Happy is still a situational juxtaposition I grapple with at times. But I didn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead I sought the good out of my circumstances. I found joy and peace in living in a home where I was safe. My daughter now had a mother who was able to live out the best her possible everyday. I continued to take pride and excitement in my hometown.
Thankfully I had moved to a wonderful neighborhood in which I slowly began to grow new roots. For the first time in my life, I became friends with my neighbors! And I found a new church body of believers. Most important of all, I received continuous lessons in trusting God for everything that I needed.
The change of atmosphere in my home was immediate. The air of tension and anxiety was gone. My focus shifted from being ready for whatever battle might arise to enjoying my home life. Lilyanna may not have known exactly what was going on between Terry and me but I could tell she noticed the change too. She adjusted well to life without a two parent household. Our relationship as mother and daughter was also refined as I became the sole provider of the household. Being responsible for the first and most important example Lilyanna has of womanhood is something I take quite seriously.
Terry and I managed to get on good terms with each other for Lilyanna’s sake. Which was and is a huge blessing. I was also in counseling for guidance on this transitional phase. On one hand, divorce was a serious consideration. On the other hand, reconciliation with my husband wasn’t out of the question. My former beliefs on an ideal marriage still had a strong place in my heart. After time in prayer and meditation, bible studies, and counsel; I reconnected with my husband.
Change Is Good
Unfortunately neither of us could have foreseen how much we would change and grow in opposite directions during our time apart. I wasn’t the same person as a year earlier. I had come to a place in which I knew that my life could still be meaningful, valid, and fruitful without the coveted titles that society made me believe I should work to keep. Wife. Stay at Home Mother. I knew that God wouldn’t cast me away if I wasn’t married to Terry. Our life as husband and wife went downhill once again. The old yet familiar destructive patterns resurfaced and I discovered he had been unfaithful again. The difference this time was that there would be no period of reconciling our marriage. I am no longer the kind of woman who will accept being abused, cheated on, and undervalued.
Throughout my days of being a blogger I have always loved sharing my stories of adventures in Kansas City. Hence, the name Kiara Loves KC. However I began to long for exploration outside of the norm. Halfway through 2016, I started thinking of ways I could join writing about other cities and places with a blog dedicated to Kansas City. The answer was I could but it wouldn’t make much sense. In November of 2016, I re-branded as My City Adventures.
Blogging is a great passion of mine but it isn’t always easy. I sometimes struggle with comparing my blogging to someone else’s who I admire. But again, as with many areas of my life, I have learned that I am enough. There are and will always be bloggers who could be deemed better than me. I can’t blog with them in mind. Comparing myself to others won’t do anything except cause me to downgrade my ability as a writer and photographer. All I can do is produce the best work I possibly can.
One fact remained constant in 2016. My life would not be what it is without God. In all the good, bad, and ugly that transpired God showed me that my life is in His control. I am so appreciative of who I am and how God is transforming me. I love the new friendships that are forming at my new church. I’m grateful for the relationship Lilyanna has with her father and I cherish every single special moment I have with her. The opportunities that blogging and photography will bring in 2017 are thrilling. Through God’s amazing love and grace I can and will thrive!
Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to My City Adventures for adventure stories, special giveaways, and more!
Kansas City Restaurant Week (KCRW2017) presented by US Foods kicks off Friday, January 13th, 2017, with 180 participating restaurants across the metro area. The 10 day event, concluding with dinner service on Sunday, January 22nd, marks its eighth consecutive year in Kansas City.
Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 participants will offer lunch and dinner menus under two price tiers – $15 and $33. For the first time in KCRW history, the two prices are interchangeable. This will allow each participating restaurant to customize a lunch and/or dinner menu that best represents its dining experience. To browse menus or make reservations, visit KCRestaurantWeek.com. You can also download the new and improved, free Kansas City Restaurant Week app for iPhone and Android. Both platforms continually update with new participating restaurants and available menus. Additionally, both the KCRW website and app feature a search option for special dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, nut free, vegan, and vegetarian. Plus a recent menu updates feature allows visitors to track newly added Kansas City Restaurant Week menus.
Continuing its commitment to the Kansas City community, 10 percent of proceeds from all KCRW meals between January 13-22 will benefit five local charitable beneficiaries. Over the course of its first seven years, Kansas City Restaurant Week has raised more than $1.4 million for local charities.
2017 Kansas City Restaurant Week Beneficiaries
Founded in 2010, BoysGrow has a mission to teach entrepreneurial-ism to urban male youth in the Kansas City area through farming and agriculture. The organization operates two working farms maintained by male youth, ages 14-16, from throughout the metro. Participants use fruits and vegetables grown at the farms to create products such as ketchup, salsa, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce that are sold in local restaurants and food stores. BoysGrow will unveil its 2015 product, Tzatziki salad dressing in mid-August of 2017.
Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (www.ccvi.org)
Founded in 1952 in an area church basement, the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired has grown to serve nearly 400 children with visual impairments annually from birth to age eight in the Kansas City metro. The center offers programs for children and their families including a food program designed to teach children with visual impairments positive eating habits, leading to developing good health and positive social skills.
Cultivate Kansas City (www.cultivatekc.org)
Founded in 2005, Cultivate Kansas City works to grow food, farms, and communities for a healthier local food system in the Kansas City area. Beginning in 2015, the organization took ownership of Beans & Greens, a program to offer incentive to those receiving government assistance to shop at local farmers markets. The program matches dollar for dollar EBT, SNAP or other assistance program monies spent at farmers markets. Thereby, low-income families are effectively able to double their budget when purchasing healthy, locally produced items. This also brings new customers to local farmers.
Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation
Administered by Visit KC, the foundation focuses primarily on the identification, development, and advocacy of tourism products in Kansas City and its surrounding communities. The KCRDDF oversees the Heartland Tourism Ambassador training program and provides career development opportunities in tourism. The KCRDDF takes a specific interest in at risk populations, including youth, minorities, and seniors.
Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Administered by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, the foundation seeks to promote the restaurant industry in the greater Kansas City area. Scholarships are offered to students pursuing a career in the hospitality industry.
Kansas City Restaurant Week is Kansas City’s premier dining event founded by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and Visit KC to support the regional restaurant community. For more information and a complete list of restaurants visit KCRestaurantWeek.com. Also, follow along as I share my delicious dining experiences and some special KCRW 2017 surprises at My City Adventures on Instagram.
In recent years, the Watts family has spent the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday) shopping sales at local places in Kansas City. But… This year I was over holiday shopping before the season began. So I searched for another way to keep us entertained. Enter Thrive Wild + Free KC meet up at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. With nowhere to be and nothing to do, this jump started an amazing walking tour exploration day.
Thrive Wild + Free KC is a casual all-ages community family group that meets at Kansas City metro nature venues twice a month. It’s associated with two faith-based communities: Wild + Free and Thrive Moms. Their mission centers around learning through play and exploring in nature. This is a great morning play group for families who want to connect with their neighbors. Meet-ups are the second and forth Friday of each month. I found out about Thrive Wild + Free through Instagram several months ago. However, I’m usually at work during their group times. This was actually our first time at a meet up and I’m so glad it was at Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center.
The Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center is located just south of the Country Club Plaza on Troost Avenue. Educators with the Missouri Department of Conservation imagined a place in urban Kansas City where children could connect with their natural environment and where conservation services could be provided to an urban audience. I was blown away the first time Lily and I ventured through the doors of the center From the street, it looks like any other building in the area. Yet it is much more than meets the eye! Anita B. Gorman Conservation Center hosts tons of educational programs and events for children and adults. We’ve attended nature story times and seed saving classes there. The building demonstrates natural processes to provide energy efficiently, has live animal exhibits, and a nature play area. Outdoor landscapes feature small versions of upland and lowland forests, prairies, and wetlands. Specialty planting areas include hummingbird, butterfly, wildflower, and water gardens. Events also include workshops and scout programs that are used to teach the basics of Missouri wildlife and the natural environment.My energy levels were pretty high after an unseasonably gorgeous morning spent getting in tune with nature.
With no pressing agenda, we continued to explore. We crossed past the teepee and stream at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center to the pond at the beginning border of Kauffman Legacy Park. This two acre memorial park features a serene pond and seasonal gardens with vintage and modern plants. It also encompasses the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. More on that later. Turning west, we headed down a path toward Brush Creek.
Brush Creek is a 10.5 mile long stream that begins in Overland Park, Kansas and drains to the Blue River in Kansas City, Missouri. Near the Blue and Missouri Rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. Brush Creek got its name from the brush that once lined its course. The waterway was constructed to help control flood waters following heavy rains. Thanks to its design, Brush Creek provides a safe and picturesque location for joggers, walkers, and bicyclists to exercise without the danger of traffic. Ramps and steps on both sides lead down to the wide concrete walkway lined with plants and park benches for seating. It played a significant role in American history. The Battle of Westport, the biggest battle in the American Civil War west of the Mississippi River, was fought on either side of it. Brush Creek is also home to several festive events in Kansas City. The Dragon Boat Races take place in the spring and Water Fire occurs in October.
The scenery of Brush Creek eventually drew us back up to street level where we wandered into the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden.
Influence of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman can be seen throughout Kansas City, MO. From Kauffman Stadium to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, their enduring legacy of graciousness has left its mark on the city. The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden draws inspiration from the couple’s world travels. Design of the garden is similar to parks throughout Europe. Fountains are a signature element of Kansas City’s landscape and the Memorial Garden reflects that as well. A fountain in the Parterre Garden features bronze sculptures by Tom Corbin. Over 7,000 plant varieties that include vintage and modern perennials, annuals, shrubs, bulbs and trees can be found within the stone wall of the garden. Lily was thrilled to see a plethora of flowers that bore her namesake! On this particular day, gardeners were planting tulip bulbs in preparation for next spring. The Memorial Garden is also the final resting place for Ewing and Muriel Kauffman. Sightseers can enjoy this beautifully lush garden year-round.
Exiting the iron gates of the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden concluded our walking tour exploration day. Our grumbling bellies called for a search for food. Thank you for reading and share this with someone you know loves to explore!
Final Thoughts for Walking Tour Exploration Day 11-25-16
“Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts.” – Rebecca Solnit