An Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City for National Ice Cream Day and Month

I could practically hear ice cream lovers scream for joy across the country. July is National Ice Cream Month and July 16th marked National Ice Cream Day. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. In his proclamation, he recognized ice cream as “a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by over 90 percent of the nation’s population”. President Reagan called upon the people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Fulfilling my civic duty, I followed the President’s orders.

However, it didn’t seem enough to merely partake of just one ice cream shop in Kansas City. Instead, I decided to GO BIG and went on a self guided ice cream tour around the city. Yes, indeed! Lily and I ate ice cream ALL DAY! How’s that for celebrating National Ice Cream Day? Bring your taste buds along as I share the deliciousness from each tour stop.

Westport Ice Cream Bakery

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our first stop was Westport Ice Cream Bakery.

What we ate: Ghost Pepper Hot Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake

Westport Ice Cream Bakery is a family-owned and operated ice cream shop. The shop features “Vito’s Famous Shalolly & Sorbetto” crafted with a recipe handed down from the owner’s grandparents. They also serve up locally sourced ice creams, fresh baked cookies and brownies, decadent sundaes, and delicious shakes.

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our second stop was Spin Neapolitan Pizza.

What we ate: Tahitian Vanilla and Blueberry Butter Cookie

Founded in Overland Park, KS, SPIN! was one of the nation’s first Neapolitan-style pizza restaurants. SPIN! serves hand-spun, stone-fired pizzas, fresh salads with house made dressings, soups, Italian deli sandwiches, appetizers, seasonally themed cocktails, and all-natural gelato ice creams. Of course we’re here to talk about the gelato. One taste of Spin’s gelato and you’ll know why we frequently go to a pizza joint for ice cream. The flavors are rich and creamy with fresh ingredients.

Paleteria Tropicana

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our third stop was Paleteria Tropicana.

What we ate: Mango-Pineapple with Chili and Piña Colada.

Paleteria Tropicana opened with a single concept. To serve authentic Mexican ice cream to a growing Hispanic market. In addition to ice cream and paletas made on site, Paleteria Tropicana offers an extensive menu of fruit cocktails, smoothies, and traditional Mexican lunch and dinner.

Betty Rae’s

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our fourth stop was Betty Rae's in the historic Waldo neighborhood.

What we ate: Joe’s Burnt End BBQ, Goat Cheese with Walnuts & Apricots and Root Beer

Owners, David and Mary are college sweethearts who got their ice cream beginning at  Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Colombia, MO. Betty Rae was David’s grandmother. Her sense of culinary creativity has been passed down to the shop’s ever-changing menu of unique ice cream flavors.

Miami Ice

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City!

What we ate: Custard ice with Tiger’s Blood, Lime, & Passionfruit and Pineapple & Cotton Candy.

Miami Ice has been family owned and locally operated in the eclectic West 39th Street district for over 40 years. This shop carries Lawrence based Sylas and Maddy’s ice cream, so you can expect rich and creamy scoops.  The shop features a range of flavorful syrups. Get creative with the ability to mix up to four different flavors!

Now before you sound the alarm, yes I KNOW there are several classic Kansas City ice cream shops not on my list. For the very simple reason that I didn’t happen to visit them on National Ice Cream Day. But they certainly deserve to be mentioned. Maybe you’ll add one or all of them to your itinerary for a Kansas City Ice Cream Tour.

  • Andy’s Frozen Custard
  • Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard
  • Glace
  • Snow and Company

I hope you enjoyed our Ice Cream Tour. Share how you celebrated National Ice Cream Day in the comment section below. You can also stay connected to My City Adventures by subscribing. Thank you for reading!

This is what $20 worth of food from the City Market in Kansas City looks like.

This is What $20 of Groceries from the City Market in Kansas City Looks Like

The City Market is and always will be the heart of Kansas City, MO. At least in my eyes. If you want to get a good idea of the city is like, go to the City Market. Tip: The local vibes are strongest on Saturdays! More than just a hot spot for tourists, it’s also the location of Kansas City’s largest farmers market. Every week, seven days a week, thousands shop for the freshest local produce.

As you can gauge from the title of this post, it’s about eating affordably in Kansas City. My weekly food budget is $50. For just me and a five-year old, that is plenty. Sometimes it is too much. Staying within that budget is easy mainly because of the myriad of options for thrifty yet healthy food in Kansas City. Months ago, my original idea was to post what $50 worth of groceries would be, but I quickly changed my mind. There’s just no way Lily and I could eat $50 of City Market produce in one week.

Without further ado, here is our real City Market haul from last weekend.

Bread – $4
A staple in pretty much every household anywhere. But I wouldn’t label what Bristle Ridge Farms creates as mere bread. A more accurate description would be manna from heaven. They have several varieties. Our favorites are the rosemary Italian loaf and cake like pineapple coconut.

Eggs – $3.50
I don’t know what it is about eggs straight from a farm but they are the creamy dreamiest. A few farmers sell eggs. We normally buy them from DanJo Farm but on this day chose to go with Abe Yoder Farm.

Corn on the Cob – $3
I have a big thing for street food. When I saw delicious corn my mouth starting watering. I happily went home with 9 ears of corn which were prepared elote style. The farmer from Flores Farm sold 6 for $3 and threw in a few extra.

Kale – $2
Kale is an acquired taste. Lily has acquired it while I have not. But since she loves it I got some. The farmer who sold it to me recommended I bake them into kale chips. He was even kind enough to share his recipe with me. If I do make some I’ll be sure to post it.

Tomatoes – $3
Sweet, juicy, earthy tomatoes! In our household we eat them like apples. We got a sweet deal too! Two cartons for the price of one.

Baby Eggplants – $3
The little purple beauties from Lee Family Farm were too good to pass up. I plan on turning them into eggplant parmesan and vegetable kabobs.

Herbs and Spices – $2 per scoop
Last but certainly not least, we made sure to spice it up. Tikka House herbs and spices are another stable in our house.

Grand total: $20.50. I can’t say it enough. Eating healthy foods does not have to be expensive. What tips do you have for food on a budget? Leave a comment below. Thanks so much for reading!

 

From opera to street festivals, Kansas City's art culture is widely recognized. Here are five surprisingly free ways to enjoy the arts in Kansas City.

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. Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City.

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. Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City.

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

On the First Friday of every month, the Kansas City Crossroads Art District comes alive with hundreds of people there to view works from local artists, buskers, street concerts, and more. Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City.

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

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. Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City.

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

Each neighborhood in Kansas City is a distinct area full of harmonious mixtures of nature, urban life, and architecture. Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas 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.

What God taught me in 2016 is that faith in Him brings light to the darkest of days. Here's how God's extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

How God Carried Me Through 2016 with Extraordinary Love and Grace

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 is the premier dining event in Kansas City! The 10 days of dining will spotlight local restaurants and support local charities.

Dine Out and Do Good for Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017

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.

Sicilian Caprese Salad from Johnny Cascone’s Italian Restaurant

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.

Gumbo Pasta from O’Neill’s Restaurant and Bar

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

BoysGrow (www.boysgrow.com)
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.

Thank you for reading!