Saying Goodbye to Preschool

Elsewhere : A Happy Goodbye to Preschool

Tate Last Day Preschool

Earlier this summer I was over at the Kansas City Moms Blog talking about my joy at the end of an era…and now school is starting! I can’t believe it!

Look, I get it. Time is scary. Watching our children grow up and eventually grow away from us is one of the most difficult things we go through as mothers. Every day they become more independent, and for us, that can be a bit terrifying. I’m sure one day I will look back and miss these days. But today is not that day!

Today my kid is so excited to move on to kindergarten! He is ready to be at the local elementary school with all the big kids he’s looked up to for ages. He’s ready to not be the preschooler anymore, and instead be part of the crowd. He’s ready to be challenged and learn new things. In short… he’s just ready!

And as his mama, I’m ready, too!

You can read more over at the Kansas City Moms Blog. And wish me luck next week when my little guy is actually starting kindergarten! Will I end up an emotional mess? I guess we will just have to wait and see…

Malala and Chat 2.0 with Hallmark

Chat 2.0 : Malala Yousafzai

This past Tuesday evening I was incredibly honored and grateful to be invited to hear the incredible Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, speak about continuing the world-wide fight for education for all children. I’ve long been an admirer of Malala, since her horrific story hit the news in 2012. Two summers ago her book, I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, was one of my favorite reads. When I saw she was coming to Kansas City to speak, I knew I wanted to take my daughter. Malala was only 11 (a year older than Lucy) when she began writing her BBC blog, documenting life under the Taliban regime, and I really wanted my daughter to experience getting to hear someone speak who stood up against oppression at such a young age.

Malala Chat 2.0 with Hallmark

Having the opportunity to take Lucy to this event was a huge gift to both of us. Malala’s message is one of empowerment, and she talked in detail about how education can enable girls to be change-makers in their communities. Before the event started, the host asked all the people in the audience under 20-years-old to stand up and be recognized…and I won’t lie. When Lucy stood up, and the people around us started cheering for her, I totally started crying. I’m so proud of the young lady she is becoming, and I know she’s going to change the world in big ways!

First we heard from Malala’s father, Ziauddin, who was so inspiring to me as a parent. He spoke about coming from a place where women were not valued in the same way as men, and how he had five sisters, but no one ever thought to send them to school. Ziauddin is an educator himself, and when he was blessed with a daughter, he knew he needed to create his own school to ensure she could attend. He said, “My biggest achievement in my life is being the father to a daughter.” He encouraged us to stand up against oppression and inequality, and reminded us that the biggest capitol we have in our communities is US!

“Your own voice is the most powerful voice…raise it!” – Ziauddin Yousafzai

Malala Chat 2.0 with Hallmark

Then Malala came on stage and told her story. When she was 11-years-old, the Taliban came to her community and banned all the girls from attending school. She continued to attend, at much risk to herself and her family, and her father continued to teach girls, even though many schools were being bombed. She then began blogging for the BBC, sharing with the western world what it was like to be growing up female in Pakistan with the Taliban in control. In 2012, when she was 15-years-old, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban as she rode home on the bus after school. She was deliberately attacked because she had spoken out regarding education for girls. Amazingly, she survived and continues to speak worldwide about the issue of education for all people.

“I was shot to be silenced, but the opposite happened and my voice is louder than before.” – Malala Yousafzai

The question and answer section of the event was my favorite part, because hearing the candid and strong answers from Malala and her father was incredibly inspiring. Much of the conversation revolved around lack of funding for education around the world and the effect of poverty on education. Both Malala and her father stressed that the problem isn’t “lack of funds,” but instead the allocation of funds. Malala said the most surprising thing she’s seen in her travels is the lack of investment in education. She said if military entities worldwide stopped their spending for only eight days, we would be able to educate all of the children across the earth that are currently NOT attending school.

“More guns and bombs will never protect you. Educated children do not need to pick up guns.” – Malala Yousafzai

When I asked Lucy her favorite part of the event, she said it was when a child in the audience asked Malala what still scares her….her answer? Balloons! I loved that, because it helped show Lucy that even though Malala is an extraordinary person, she is still just a regular girl. Albeit, a girl who has won the Nobel Peace Prize!

Malala Chat 2.0 with Hallmark

Malala also told the crowd that the reason she always felt she could speak up, was because her father ALWAYS listened to her and her siblings. Even if they just wanted to talk about something silly, she said he would stop what he was doing and really listen to them. This was a huge wake up call for me as a parent. There are definitely times when I dismiss what my kids are saying, or shush them because I’m too “busy” with my own stuff, and that is something I plan on working on. I want my daughter to know her voice matters, and that begins at home.

I have to give HUGE thanks to Hallmark, who along with sponsoring Chat 2.0, gave Lucy and I the opportunity to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event. Hallmark Cards has a mission to help create communities where all children have the chance to grow up as healthy, productive and caring persons and vibrant arts and cultural experiences enrich the lives of all citizens. I so admire Hallmark’s dedication to gender diversity, especially in the STEM fields. Lucy really enjoyed seeing the Hallmark engineers before the event, and learning how they use math, science, engineering and technology to create so many incredible products. Lucy loves art AND science, and she loved seeing how the two can work together to make beautiful things!

“You young people…you need to speak out. I didn’t wait for someone older to come speak for me. Believe in your voice. Believe in yourself.” – Malala Yousafzai

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hallmark, However, the written remarks and opinions are entirely my own.

30 Day Photo Challenge on Better KC

Summer Photo Challenge on Better KC!

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging lately…this would be why! I am getting ready to launch a super-fun program this summer, all about inspiring creativity among moms (and everyone else!) over the summer! I’ll be officially launching next week, but I was thrilled when Better KC asked me to come on their show and talk about the program a few days ago.

To sign up for the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge, click here!

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

Easy Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sidenote: We have one week left of school for one kid and two for the other. God help me, summer is coming!

While I always want to let our teachers know how much they are loved and appreciated, it can be a little difficult with kids in different schools, especially when they each have a handful of teachers they interact with on a daily basis. Between my kids we had ELEVEN teacher gifts to put together this year, which meant we needed to keep it a little more cost-friendly. We tend to do bigger gifts for our main room teachers at the holidays, and then do smaller gifts at the end of the year. And I do my best to try and give something that the teacher will actually use!

This year we kept it simple with these great disposable coffee cups from the Design Love Fest/Cheeky line at Target! I loved how happy they looked and that I was supporting a fellow blogger/small business owner by purchasing her products. We filled the cups with a few instant coffee packs, tea and added a Starbucks giftcard. I had the kids sign the back and we were done. Easy peasy!

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

2016 Kansas City Mother’s Day Gift Guide

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

Mother’s Day is right around the corner (can we talk about how fast 2016 is flying?) and one of my favorite things is giving and receiving locally-sourced gifts. As a small business owner myself, I know how hard we all work to succeed at this crazy entrepreneur life, and I want to support others as much as I possibly can. Collaboration over competition…always!

So I’m super-excited to share this Mother’s Day Gift Guide, full of items from incredible Kansas City-based designers, makers and retailers! If you’re looking to pick up something for the mother figure in your life (aunt, grandmother, BFF, whoever!), I’ve got you covered!

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

For the No-Fuss Fashionista Mom:

Nickel & Suede is known for their lightweight leather earrings that look amazing and are so comfortable to wear. This KC-based brand is available at many retailers throughout the metro (Made in KC is one of them!), but you can also buy their items online. I love all the color choices and styles! Something for everyone!

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016


For the Organized Mom:

Etiquette Boutique is now featuring glam inspired planners, stationary, journals and more! I know as a mom I’m always writing down notes and lists, but then I leave them all over the place. I’d love to have them stored all in one location, in a cute notebook that looks sharp as well as being super-functional.

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

For the Mom Who Loves Flowers, But Wishes They’d Last:

Who doesn’t enjoy getting a pretty bouquet on a special occasion? Unfortunately, however, the joy is usually short lived…until now! Gift a succulent from Flowers By Emily instead, and mom will be able to enjoy them for much longer.

KC Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

For the All Natural Mama:

Hand & Land is a gorgeous store that has a ton of beautiful and Eco-friendly items from beauty products, to jewelry, home products and more! This Mother’s Day you can put together a little gift basket of some of their items and personalize it especially for your recipient.

Mother's Day Photo Gift
For the Sweet Tooth Mom:

Want to surprise mom with something sweet, but not plain old chocolates? Try out a gift box from Sweet Kiss Brigadeiro! These Brazilian candies melt in your mouth, and they look so unique and beautiful. You can order them online or buy them at Hand & Land’s retail location. Sweet Kiss is also hosting a Mother’s Day event this Saturday at Hand & Land from 12-3 p.m. where you can roll your own Brigadeiro! A fun activity for moms to do with their kids, or for kids to go do with dad as a surprise for mom! Sign up via their website here.

Mother's Day Photo Gift

For the Mom Who Has Everything:

What mom doesn’t want to receive a meaningful, thoughtful gift? But sometimes it can be pretty hard to shop for the lady who seems to have everything. Enter the Crazy Bananas Creative Studio Mother’s Day Package! When you buy a gift card for a family photography session, you also get a 4-pack box of Sweet Kiss Brigadeiro candies to gift along with it! It’s a present that any mom would love, and she’ll be grateful to be able to capture images of her family (which include her in the frame!) that will last a lifetime. Time is running out, so get your order in by Wednesday, May 4th to ensure delivery by Mother’s Day. Email me at to reserve yours!

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