Sunday, January 29, 2012


our new favorite place in kansas city: kaleidoscope.

it's located downtown at crown center - shopping, dining, and a holiday hot-spot for some festive outdoor ice-skating. also home to the world headquarters of hallmark cards, and soon-to-be home of the new sea life aquarium & legoland discovery center opening this spring - both of which we hope to visit this year. :)

kaleidoscope is a magical art studio and play place for children developed by hallmark. it was originally created to make use of all of hallmark's scraps. it's colorful, imaginative, and beyond fun for children of any age. stations are set up that allow you to create puzzles, paintings, or anything you want, really. you use markers, colorful tissue paper, heart and star shaped cutouts, melted crayons, water color paints, shiny ribbon, glow-in-the dark markers, numbers, letters, stickers - you name it. everything you create, you get to take with you.

oh, i forgot to mention the best part. it's FREE.

and it's incredible for those little creative minds. my little owen's mind could hardly stay in one place long enough to create anything. read: over-stimulation. but so joyful and happy, that i couldn't help but delight in his delight.

there was an outer space themed room, complete with glow-in-the dark markers and paints, and fun machines that snapped photos of you which displayed on the walls, and glowing light sabers that you could point to "paint" the walls.

and probably owen's favorite spot in kaleidoscope was this music-making chamber. buttons to "poosh" and they make some groovy jams. and then he dances. he loves to dance. get down, o!

i already can't wait to go back. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

bathtub paint.

sick days are more fun with pinterest.

i had me a sick baby to entertain one day last week. i took this opportunity to try out a homemade bathtub paint idea i spotted on pinterest.

the recipe: 1 tbsp cornstarch, 4-6 pumps baby shampoo (about 1/8 c.), 2-3 drops food coloring, 1-2 tsp water

(i modified the original recipe slightly to fit my trays. but it's fool-proof, really. just throw together the ingredients and play with it until you reach a consistency you like)

here's why it rocks:
  • it requires only 4 ingredients.
  • it's a great rainy day (or snowy, or sick, or fussy-toddler) activity.
  • no paint spills on his clothing.
  • easy cleanup: it cleaned right off the tub AND the baby.
  • who doesn't love to paint?!
so i stripped down my sick baby boy and stuck him in the tub with an ice cube tray, a couple of paintbrushes, and a cup of water and let him go at it.

here. we. GO!

art. watch out, picasso.

there comes a point in time when your child will realize that he can put down the paintbrush and rub his hands in the paint for a delightful surprise of colorful & messy hands. unless, of course, you're my owen who has some ocd tendencies. then this surprise is not quite so delightful. "wash. mommy, wash. hand. wash."

if you'll notice, this project was even fun for mommy. notice my sunshine, sky, tree, & grass to the right. :)

i deemed it a success, and we will certainly be revisiting this "recipe" many more times as winter settles in. (but maybe not as soon as you'd think since we're still seeing 50-something degree forecasts? not that i'm complaining...)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

owen's 1st haircut.

we took owen's scraggly head for a cut.

this is one of the only pictures i took before any snipping occurred. you can kind of see his reflection in the mirror and how long and uneven his hair was. they flipped on some thomas the train on the tv for our train-lovin' little boy.

AND, he's sitting in a car while getting his hair cut. don't look too excited there, buddy.

best day ever!

new 'do!

cutie pie.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a pinterest christmas.

pinterest is my not-so-new obsession. it also is the source of many of my christmas gift inspirations this year, as we were on a bit tighter budget than years past. so we did handmade: a pinterest christmas. :)

tile coasters - made with tiles from home improvement store, scrapbook paper, mod podge.

so, not a pinterest inspiration - just a bunch of my photos i've taken over the past year of little owen. this was gifted to my mom who couldn't have been happier. :)

more tile coasters - but a combination of my photography & the the tiles. this one was gifted to my in-laws - one coaster for each of their grandchildren. :)

another pinterest idea: marble magnets. i even coordinated scrapbook paper to go with each of the sets of coasters for the lucky recipients.

recycled t-shirt necklaces. i evolved this tutorial from pinterest a bit since i don't own a sewing machine to make a no-sew version. i thought they turned out quite cute!

some homemade canned jam. there was actually no pinterest inspiration for this one, just inspired to learn to can with my girlfriend, sarah. :) but still a part of my handmade christmas. :)

and one last handmade item: chocolate chip cinnamon rolls. originally made using the Pioneer Woman's recipe, but has since been modified to use an old Mennonite recipe given to my mother-in-law for the dough, then the PW's final steps and icing for the chocolate chip rolls. again, not pinterest (although i believe it was one of my first pins when i joined!) but just handmade. the picture is from the pre-baked & iced stage, but you get the idea.

i even went so far as to get some wrapping inspiration from that beloved pinterest. yarn pom-poms instead of bows. over the course of both families' christmases, i think i totaled around 35. i can't say the time was worth it, but packing gifts into a car on top of one another sure was a cinch - didn't have to worry about the bows getting smashed or ripped off!

here are links to the tutorials and pictures which i gained my inspirations.
also, feel free to follow me on interest by clicking the button below!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

hoosier loves.

indiana holds some really special people.

this is a group of me and 4 of my high school girlfriends and [some of] our little ones. it's hard to believe we graduated high school almost 9 years ago! but then you look at that gaggle of babies (with 2 of them not pictured), and then i guess it's a little more believable that much time has passed. i was blessed to have such a great group of girlfriends to do my high school years with - and feel that is even more apparent 9 years later that i still call them friends. (we missed those of you who couldn't be there!) they are all such amazing ladies, and often wish i lived closer to be able to see them (and their families) more often.

while i don't have a sister, i do have my cousins who i spent many, many days of my childhood with - birthday parties, cookouts, sleepovers at grandma and grandpa's, family vacations, and so on. i feel incredibly lucky to have a family i care so much about, and ones that i love enough to really miss now that we live 500 miles apart. i love these girls immensely, and always am looking forward to our next family occasion that we all get to be together again.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

blonde hair & dark eyes.

i get a lot of comments on his blonde hair and dark brown eyes. no, there wasn't a mailman involved in his conception. yes, both colby and i were blonde as babies. yes, the light hair and dark eyes are an unlikely combo. chances are, his hair will darken as he gets older like colby and i's did. (in fact, my dad is still convinced i dye my hair brown, and i'm still a true blonde.)

any way you have it, i think he's quite handsome.

here's pictures of colby and i as toddlers. i think my picture is a little bit older, but i have only a couple of my baby pictures here to go through, so this is the best i could do.

so tell me your opinion? 
Owen most resembles...

A. His daddy! He is a mini version of Colby.
B. His mommy! He is a mini version of Meg.
or C. A blend of both Colby & Meg.

the park.

one nice thing about living in the suburbs is having a neighborhood park. within walking distance.

a week before christmas, owen and i took a break from our holiday baking to enjoy the unusually warm  december day. actually, the entire day was unusual. colby was at the chiefs game watching them beat the undefeated green bay packers, and my colts won their first game of the season. that, and it was 60 degrees outside. wacky.

wacky and wonderful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

christmas in indiana.

owen is a mama's boy, there's no denying that. but the second we arrived to indiana, owen did not want me out of his sight. the holidays are busy - constant family activities and always chaotic. (it wouldn't be a kissane-koontz gathering without a little chaos!) we also had my uncle bruce and eddie staying with us, along with their two dogs - emma sue and einstein - different than our past visits to see grandma, grandpa, & uncle derek. i'm guessing it was the combination of the many "new" faces, going from one place to another, and just being outside of his normal routine that made him cling to his mommy for a familiar face. but that's hard on a mama. and hard on a grandma who doesn't get to see her grandson that often.

regardless, our family vacation was wonderful. that is, after finding out i needed to replace my tires when taking my car in for a last-minute oil change the day before we intended to leave. so $800 later, we loaded up my escape with gobs of gifts for my family that is multiplying by the year (we added 4 babies to the gift list this past year! yowza.), a couple of dogs, some luggage, and that cute little toddler that bores after about 20 minutes on car rides for a family road trip across the unusually warm midwest.

there was no white christmas, which was a bit of a disappointment to macy and kirkwood who LOVE going to visit grandma and grandpa and running through fields of snow. but, as it turns out, it was equally as fun to run through fields of mud and standing water. 5 dogs staying in 1 house made for a lot of muddy paw prints, and a lot of dog baths.

to add to the fun, my brother's beloved sheep (named "21") gave birth to twins while we were home.

unfortunately, one didn't make it through the night, so we brought the other one indoors for a couple of days once the temperature dropped to help with feeding since 21 had some health problems that was preventing her from being able to nurse. the little guy, which we named "Jesús," was pretty darn cute and a fun addition to our christmas. :)

christmas morning was so fun. owen gave lots of "oh woowww" and "whooahhh" responses to opening gifts. a little more exciting than last year when we were happy just to have him hold a piece of paper long enough that it actually ripped the gift open a bit. there were certainly gifts that he loved and wanted out of their packaging immediately (trains, hot wheels, cars 2 DVD) and others that he could have cared less about (clothing). how much of a difference 1 year made, and next year will be even better!

i have to say that probably my favorite part of our trip, though, was christmas night. colby spent a greater part of our visit very ill, and finally was feeling a little bit better by christmas day. we kept very busy, and even while we were at home the commotion didn't stop - dogs barking and wanting in and outside, the sheep baa'ing, and all of the people in the house talking and carrying on.. it just didn't stop. on christmas day, it is a family tradition that we all go out to see a movie. but because of owen's age and the time of the movie, we decided to stay back. the house was dark, and silent, and we spent the evening up in my old bedroom. we busted out owen's new DVD - Cars 2 - and all snuggled into my bed and watched the movie on my macbook. our first family movie night! it was absolute perfection.

don't get me wrong - i wouldn't trade the business and commotion of the visit for anything - it just made that christmas night a standout moment. and extra special.

i hope you had a marvelous christmas. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

a list for 2012.

i've never been one to make resolutions, but i think that was mostly because i was single (unmarried, at least) & basically free of any responsibilities that would get in the way of doing them. if i wanted to start running to get into better shape, i just did. i didn't have a family or career or list of grown-up responsibilities that needed to come first. 

so here's one for the year. it will likely grow as the week goes on and i come up with things that "i should have added to my blog! arg!" ... and will hopefully mature into a list of short AND long term goals for my life.

1. run another half marathon. one that i don't end up on the ground. one that i'm proud to tell people about. ideally, one i walk only long enough to drink the gatorade at the aide stations. because, let's face it, i'm not one of those people who can drink while running. i end up choking and have managed to spill water everywhere. i'll leave that to the pros.
2. make granola regularly. granola is one of those things that can be customized to change things up, all while implementing good grains and fibers into your diet. after having my then-boyfriend/now-husband's mom's granola in college, i became hooked. i was a granola-making machine in my college years, and have never gotten back into that habit since married life. i would love to try a lot of different recipes this year, and find a few favorites to put into a rotation. 
3. have 25-50% of my christmas shopping done by july. 90% completed by october. i was onto something really great this year when i had purchased gifts for 6 of the 13 kids i had on my christmas shopping list before summer had ended. less time spent shopping during the holiday season means more time for family, baking, crafting, and just enjoying the spirit of christmas around the city without the stress of unfinished christmas shopping haunting me during the holidays.
5. create a family cookbook. i got this idea from a blog somewhere along the way much earlier in the year, and also is a shared goal by my sister-in-law. this would be a fun, personalized cookbook that incorporates our family favorites, with some pictures along the way - either of the finished product, or some flour-covered cheeks and fingers of my little kitchen helper. as the years pass, we'll surely have additions - and hopefully enough to create a second edition. and third. 
6. take one photo per week for my photography blog. i found a project online which will be a fun way to keep me inspired: let's do 52! those picture-a-day projects just aren't realistic for me, personally - i'd rather not set a goal that i'm likely to fail miserably at - but one picture per week? attainable, yet still a challenge. 
7. blog more on my personal blog. i find myself throwing in a picture and a quick 3 liner just for the sake of having a post. i'd really like to put a little more effort, thought, and depth to my posts for my family and friends who follow that may not get a daily phone call (momma) with all of life's updates and daily happenings. 
8. have family date nights, movie nights, and daddy/owen & mommy/owen dates. that's a lot of dates. and ideally, we'd have one of each of the aforementioned each month. but probably more likely, we get in 1 or 2 - and i'd be satisfied with that. having an evening or day devoted to family and spending time together always leaves my heart feeling so full. i would also like to add one-on-one dates to the mix, as i think those are important in their own way. (and some time alone while colby and owen go out sounds fantastic, too!) 
9. go on dates with my husband. we actually have been better this past 6 months or so than the year following childbirth. we went out 1 month after i had owen for our wedding anniversary, then not again until december of that year - 6 months later. yikes. while we improved from our semi-annual average, i still don't think we had any more nights out together than i could count on one hand.  monthly would be ideal - and this date night take priority over the above 4 separate family dates. my husband is my favorite person (most days, anyway ;-) & i like to go on dates with him.
10. bake bread often. often enough to eliminate buying bread from the store when possible. thanks to my new bread machine, this should be fairly easy to do! my inspiration again: my sister-in-law. (can i be like you when i grow up?) i've successfully produced one loaf of french bread that has been used for toast, eggs in a basket, dipping in oil & vinegar, and PB&J sandwiches. next on my list (once i purchase all the ingredients necessary) is to make some form of wheat or whole grain bread so that i'm not only eliminating preservatives, but also am keeping with some of the healthier aspects of bread consumption.


let's do 52!

52 Week Project Photo Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions PSE

i'm trying a project 52. i've seen those project 365's posted around, and think i'd only be setting myself up for failure to think i could take AND post one picture per day. but 1 a week seems more realistic.. and fun!

i'm blogging my "let's do 52" project over on my photography blog & would love for you to follow along, or even join me in your own 52-week project! here's to hoping i keep up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This is Indiana... Jr.

owen's favorite song. :)

hilarious. but seriously. his favorite.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

lucky boy.

owen is one lucky boy. among many other things, here are a couple of things he was spoiled by. :)

owen's thomas the train wooden railway set from nana & papa (& some pieces from grandma & grandpa too!)

a homemade tent by grandma & grandpa which has been set up in his bedroom, and also is the home of our nightly story time.