Director Jewels

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Welcome, Kansas City Live Viewers!

Good morning and welcome to! If you're visiting for the first time after hearing about us on Kansas City Live this morning, we're so happy you decided to stop by.

If you missed the live spot this morning, you can view it online here!

I hope you'll take a peek around while you're here - we do a lot of fun toddler crafts and some of our favorites are the Pipe Cleaner Sea AnemonesPaper Plate Fish Aquariums, and DIY Bird Feeders. Sharing birthday party ideas is one of my favorite things, too - a few popular ones are from our Octonauts partyOwl first birthday party, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party! I'm also particularly proud of our Super Mario Bros nursery!

Today on KC Live, I was able to feature some lovely Baby Shower Gift ideas that are a little outside the box. Yes, every mom wants a wardrobe of adorable newborn attire for her bundle of joy, but when she's awake at 3am with a teething or crying baby, she'll be grateful you went another route with your gift.

Here are the ideas we talked about this morning, plus a few extras!

Crane Animal Humidifier - there's nothing worse than trying to comfort a child with a stuffy nose in the middle of the night. These adorable designs may bring a smile to a sleepy, achy little one's face.

Mommy’s Bliss - the Sweet Slumber Family is a 3 step system designed to relax little ones for a good night sleep. With a Baby Wash, Massage Cream, and relaxing Sweet Slumber Mist, both mom and baby are much more likely to get the rest they need. Also try new Mommy’s Bliss Baby Probiotic Drops to soothe and regulate the infant’s digestive system with natural probiotic bacteria cultures!

Kid's Relief Homeopathic Products. I always turn to natural and homeopathic methods before resorting to medication for my kids, so I think these options are great. They offer options for allergies, teething, and colic!

Xlear Baby Banana Brush & Kids Spry Tooth Gel is what we use in our house faithfully, since we have dealt with early childhood tooth decay. Both the tooth gel and nasal spray from Xlear feature Xylitol, a natural sweetener that is great for oral health.

Most of the products listed above use some combination of essential oils. We are just discovering Young Living essential oils in our home, and so far we love the results. Feel free to reach out if you want more information on how our family uses these oils for more peaceful sleep, focus issues, and more - or you can check out all that Young Living offers here.

I really love including something handmade with each of my baby shower gifts, as well. I try to make things myself most of the time - and I keep my Etsy shop stocked with the extra items I create!

Thanks again for stopping by my little corner of the blog world! To keep up with me and my family, you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or subscribe to my email newsletter. Have a lovely day!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Oh, hai there.

Hello, friends. It kind of feels like I fell off the face of the blog world. My last post was just photos and it was four days ago or something. I realize that all bloggers don't have to post every day, but I strive for at least 3-5 good content posts a week...and right now, I've been averaging none.

It's one of those busy seasons of life, I guess, where some things swoop in to take over my hours for a little while. So, here's hoping that I'll get back to normal stuff around here soon, but in the meantime, here's a little of what we've been up to in the past few weeks.

I made Addie's Easter dress this year and was so pleased with how it turned out! Ultimately, I want to list dresses in the shop.

The kids are obsessed with building things right now. And Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

We bought Addie a big girl bed. I didn't even realize it was missing a slat until we got it home and Andrew said "um, did you see this?" Whoops. Hopefully it's an easy fix because the bed was only $15 and I was pleased! Currently, it's sitting in the basement because we haven't had time to take the crib down yet.

For some reason, I decided that the week before drama productions of my own would be a great time to squeeze in an audition so I can try to knock an item off my Thirty by 30 list and perform in a show again. I rounded up my second best friend whom I met in a theatre bathroom and convinced her that the best way to spend our evening was belting our hearts out and then laughing until we cried in my minivan afterwards. It was amay-zing.

We're still waiting to hear if we got parts in the show. It's pretty doubtful, since we didn't go to callbacks, but we had the grandest time ever, regardless.

Did you catch the part about how it's almost production week? Yeah. A week from now, I have five plays performing. Thirty-seven girls to put onstage for their own moments to shine. I really have the best job EVER. But production week is flat out exhausting, so I may be around just a little less than average until the craziness winds down.

Don't give up on me, though! Lots of good stuff on my blog post to-do list. Have the happiest of weekends, okay?

Monday, April 6, 2015


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Who know when I made these Octonauts costumes how much use they would get!
They wore them to the grand opening of the Octonauts exhibit at Sea Life Kansas City.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

She's My Favorite Girl

Disclosure: I received an outfit for Addie to review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

"You're my favorite girl." 

I say this all the time. It might be when we're reading books on the couch in the morning. It might be as I lift her into her not-for-babies booster seat for lunch. Often, it's when we're snuggled up in the rocking chair late at night and she's drifting to sleep.

Being a mama is so very complex. There are more frustrations and emotions in my mind at any given time of day than ever before in my lifetime. There's the task of remembering who had their vitamins at breakfast and who still needs them at lunch, on top of the realization that the never-ending battle to conquer the laundry has been temporarily set aside and the resulting avalanche is an impending doom.

In the midst of the crazy, I want to make time to assure my kids that they are the brightest joys in my day. And this is definitely not the easiest task I've undertaken...because they don't always act like creatures who should cause joy.

This little girl is currently all about drama, and she can be downright cantankerous if she feels like it. For example: when I told her "let's put on this pretty dress from FabKids, Addie!" this week, she fell into a million pieces and had to be literally bribed with a snack bar to take some photos for me. But she's still my favorite and I wish I would always respond to her poor attitude in a way that reflects my heart. And at the end of the day, when I watch her sleep, I often want to go back and take back a sigh or a moment of frustration.

But then I think...if I were to show her absolute perfection at all times, it would be a tough game for her to play as she grows up. Right now, she's forming memories and experiences that will shape who she is as a woman - and a mom - someday. Rather than having her expect things to be sunny and bright and brilliant all the time, I'm okay if she gets the chance to watch me model a lack of patience and a need for more joy. If I can muster up the courage to apologize to my kids when I'm wrong, tell them when mommy needs a break, and strive for the best days we can have in spite of all of our faults, that will probably do more for her character than just giving her a shiny, perfect life.

Here's to reminding our children that they're our favorites - and that we're their biggest cheerleaders - at all times, not just when things are sunny. I know that I need to hear someone is on my side when I'm down! Chances are, she needs to hear it, too.

You can find FabKids monthly outfit subscriptions with a VIP membership starting at $29.95/month, or purchase individual pieces with a regular membership.

Thanks to FabKids for providing the outfit featured in today's post. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.  

Peter and the Starcatcher at the Kansas City Kauffman Center {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production from Theatre League Kansas City. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.

"...Life'll be so beautiful that no one will ever say sorry again - 'cause nobody'll have to."

I wasn't sure what to expect of Peter and the Starcatcher, an origin story for the timeless and witty boy who never grew up. My husband has read the book on which the production was based, but I have not had the chance yet - so for me, this was entirely new material. There ended up being a great deal that I liked, a few things I disliked, and several moments that turned me into a blubbering fool.

Here's a little "official" info about the show:

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, the most magical evening of madcap fun, is now on tour!  Hailed by The New York Times as "THE MOST EXHILARATING STORYTELLING ON BROADWAY IN DECADES," this comedy takes a hilarious romp through the Neverland you never knew.  The winner of 5 Tony Awards®, this swashbuckling prequel to Peter Pan will have you hooked from the moment you let your imagination take flight. PETER AND THE STARCATCHER  is the innovative and imaginative comedy based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  A company of a dozen actors play more than a hundred unforgettable characters, all on a journey to answer the century-old question: How did Peter Pan become The Boy Who Never Grew Up?  This epic origin story of popular culture’s most enduring and beloved character proves that your imagination is the most captivating place in the world.

Photo by Scott Suchman

We were treated to comfortable seats and an amazing view of the Kansas City skyline, thanks to the venue choice: Kauffman Center. This was our first chance to visit this venue, and we were not disappointed! I'm scheming for reasons to go back. The sound quality in the performance hall was lovely, and we didn't even have to wait a long time to get out of the parking garage at the end of the night! The stage is smaller, but this show, in its somewhat minimalistic design, adapted well.

The show follows Molly Aster and her father, Lord Aster, as they embark on a voyage to transport a trunk filled with some sort of treasure to a faraway island. They end up on separate ships: the Wasp and the Neverland, and it becomes Molly's mission to keep the trunk from falling into the hands of some greedy pirates. Molly, while skirting the watchful eye of her nanny, Mrs. Bumbrake, cheerfully signs on as the leader of a trio of orphans who have been sold into captivity.

Peter (Bryan Welnicki) and Molly (Aisling Halpin).
Photo by Scott Suchman

Act I starts off a little slow, requesting that the audience to learn a lot of names and situations to follow along. The pace picks up after a bit, and I overall thought the cast had great comedic timing, so I got lost in the story. The cast features only twelve actors, who play all of the characters in the story (over one hundred). Molly (Aisling Halpin) is the only female in the ensemble cast, which works in most regards, but did create a few strange moments during the romantic sideline story of Mrs. Bumbrake and Alf, as well as the Act II opening which features a gaggle of singing mermaids. I'm pretty conservative and can understand how a lot of people may find these staging choices in poor taste, but I also get creative casting and I think it works for the most part. That said, it's probably not a show that I would find appropriate for my kids until they are in high school or older.

The show does not take itself too seriously, and is filled with references to modern culture that audience members may or may not understand. I appreciated the shout outs to other Broadway productions, particularly.

The PETER AND THE STARCATCHER company. Photo by Scott Suchman

Stand out cast members included Bryan Welnicki (Boy), who told us Peter's history with a perfect balance of curiosity and resentment, Molly (Aisling Halpin), who had just the right amount of precociousness to make her thirteen-year-old character believable, and Joe Beuerlein (Black Stache), who had the majority of the audience either laughing or groaning at the delivery of his exaggerated jokes.

I was captivated by the use of a simple rope to convey doorways, waves, a broken mirror, and a giant crocodile. The use of creative lighting and the ensemble cast contributed to the very unique and minimalist set and gave me many ideas to use in future productions myself! Most impressive were the scenes where the cast was used as multiple doors in a hallway.

The only scene I truly did not care for was the seemingly never-ending reaction when Black Stache finds himself without a hand. The audience cracked up at his repeated irreverent wailing, moaning, and shouting - for awhile. But by the time it finally came to an end, there was more of an anxious spirit in the house, followed by a collective sigh of relief when the story finally moved on. And while I found the mermaids-in-drag scene to be a little over the top for my personal taste, I did really love the costume design and the use of sparkling fans as mermaid tales!

Prentiss (James Crichton), Peter (Bryan Welnicki)
and Ted (Nick Lehan). Photo by Scott Suchman

All in all, it's a spunky production with a lot of heart. Even without loving every aspect, I'm glad to have seen it for the chance to explore the unique and interesting design and the emotions of the characters. They brought me to tears near the end with "'s supposed to hurt. That's how you know it meant something."

The PETER AND THE STARCATCHER company. Photo by Scott Suchman

Peter and the Starcatcher plays now through April 5 at the Kauffman Center. Tickets are available online.

Thanks to the Kansas City Broadway Series for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.
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