Plaza Lighting Ceremony 2014

Posted November 23, 2014 10:36pm by Jane

plaza lighting ceremony posterI can’t believe it’s almost time for one of Kansas City’s favorite events: the Plaza Lighting Ceremony! This popular KC tradition started in 1930, and is celebrating its 85th anniversary this Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 2014. The fun takes place in the heart of the Country Club Plaza, at the Main Stage, at Nichols Road & Pennsylvania by Brio Tuscan Grille. (click here for a map of the ceremony)

This year, Royals All-Star Alex Gordon and Royals GM Dayton Moore will be up on stage to flip the switch, joining the ranks of other KC stars, including George Brett, Trent Green, Kate Spade, Paul Rudd, and Jason Sudeikis, who have also had the honor of flipping the switch in years past.

Here’s the schedule of events:

  • 5–6pm: Pre-show performances and giveaways from KCP&L and Helzberg Diamonds from the stage
  • 6-7pm: KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony, performances by The Mowgli’s, The Snow Globes and Gracie Schram
  • 6:54pm: Flip of the Switch by Royals All-Star Alex Gordon & Royals GM Dayton Moore 
  • 7–8pm: Post-ceremony concert featuring The Mowgli’s

Can’t make it to the festivities? You and your family can:

And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can watch the lights test, which takes place Wednesday, Nov. 26 (the day before Thanksgiving) from 2-6 am. I’ve never experienced this early viewing (my family & I are definitely never going to be able to get up and moving that early!), but I hear it’s become a popular tradition for Kansas Citians to grab a sneak peek of the Plaza Lights.

The KCP&L Plaza Lights shine daily from 5pm to 3am, Thanksgiving through Sunday, January 18, 2015. So whenever you take the kids to see the lights, I hope it’s a magical time for all of you!

Image courtesy of CountryClubPlaza.com

Ice Skating in Kansas City

Posted November 17, 2014 10:11pm by Jane

Ice At Park PlacecropThe weather this November may have run some of us indoors, but it’s looking like we have warmer days to come…and enjoy outdoor ice skating! So lace up your skates and get ready for the great outdoors with this list of outdoor ice rinks in the KC area:

  • Crown Center Ice Terrace: Kansas City’s public outdoor ice skating rink opens for its 42nd season of great skating fun. Set in the heart of majestic Crown Center, the Ice Terrace is open Nov. 7, 2014-mid-March 2015. Regular admission is $6, or complimentary for those over age 60 and children age 4 and under. Skate rental is $3, or skaters may bring their own. Hours through January: Sun.-Thur., 10am-9pm; Fri. & Sat., 10am-11pm. Feb.-Mar. hours: Mon.-Thur., noon-9pm; Fri., noon-11pm; Sat., 10am-11pm; Sun., 10am-9pm. Click here for additional information.
  • The Ice at Park Place: This Leawood ice rink – set right in the middle of Park Place, is open Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 – Feb. 16, 2015 . The Ice is surrounded by seasonal festivities, warm food and drink options, and unique holiday shopping.  Admission is $7 (all ages); skate rental is $3, or skaters may bring their own. Hours through January 5: Mon.-Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., noon-8pm; Jan. 5, 11am-9pm. Winter Schedule: Jan. 8-Feb. 16: Closed Mon.-Thur.; Fri.-Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., noon-8pm. Receive $1 off your admission when you bring a canned or non-perishable food item for the Jewish Family Services Food Drive. Not valid with any other offer. Click here for additional information. 117th & Nall Ave., Leawood, KS.

If the warmer indoors is more your style, here are some indoor public ice rinks in town:

  • KC Ice Center: Located in Shawnee, KS, KC Ice Center offers skating and hockey lessons, home school skate days and more. Regular admission is $7, and skate rental is $3. Kids 4&under Free (with free skate rental) and Seniors 60+ admission is $4. Click here for public skating schedule, or click here for calendar of events and more information. 19900 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, Kansas 66218
  • Line Creek Community Center and Ice Arena: Set in this 34,000 square-foot family recreation center, the Ice Arena is located off of I-29 and Waukomis Drive in Kansas City, MO. Admission is $6, and skate rental is $2. Hours of operation are Sun., 7am-10pm; Mon.-Fri., 7am-10:30pm; Sat., 7am-7pm. Click here for public skating schedule and more information. 5940 N.W. Waukomis Drive, Kansas City, MO 64151

Happy skating everyone!

Photo courtesy of The Ice at Park Place.

Volunteering in KC: It’s for the Entire Family

Posted November 11, 2014 10:00am by Jane

We’re so excited it’s that time of year again: where we get the opportunity to share some family-friendly opportunities to give back through volunteering. Yes, our lives are incredibly busy, but the experience of working alongside your children to give back is such a joyful one that we wanted to share some options with all of you.

Whatever you choose, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page!

  • Johnson County Christmas Bureau- This United Way ‘safety net’ agency serves the needs of low-income families of Johnson County, KS. Groceries, personal care items, children’s clothing, adult and teen gifts, toys, hats, gloves, scarves, books and coats are made available for client selection at the annual Holiday Shop held in December. All items are new with the exception of gently worn coats and books. Families can volunteer to work at the holiday shop, or you can help by donating items.
  • The Salvation Army Bell Ringing is what many associate with the holidays. The best part about this is that the money collected in the kettles stays right HERE in the KC metro. Bundle up the whole family and enjoy a great time together!

  • Operation Breakthrough. Operation Breakthrough-St. Vincent’s Family Service Center is located at 30th and Troost in KCMO (See video above for insight into this incredible organization). Volunteers range from ages 8-80 and do everything from “rocking babies to tutoring parents for the GED exam.” They also have an adopt-a-family Christmas program, similar to Don Bosco Center’s. I can tell you firsthand, volunteering with Operation Breakthrough children is a special experience you will all remember.
  • Harvesters is the city’s largest food bank, and they always need help is needed sorting and boxing donated food! You could even start your own neighborhood or classroom food drive…and deliver the food to Harvesters on the day you choose to volunteer. Location: 3801 Topping Ave., KCMO 816.929.3000; Or, you can do the same work for other local food pantries in the KC Area, many of which receive help directly from Harvesters.
  • Adopt a family through Don Bosco Centers’ Holiday Friends! This is such a great project for a family group of families. Holiday Friends is a fundraising program which benefits the clients of the Don Bosco Centers.  You can get specific names, ages and sizes for a family in need and can even personally deliver your gifts. This really shows us the true meaning of the holiday season! Your kids will never forget it. For more information, call the Holiday Friends Hotline at 816-691-2906 or visit www.donbosco.org.
  • Check out www.VolunteerMatch.org. The site features loads of volunteer opportunities, and you can organize your results by Distance, Event Date and even Date Posted. While not all are kid-specific opportunities, you might find something suitable for the whole family or just for you!
  • Brighten someone’s day with a little artistic cheer… you can do something as simple as having your child(ren) draw some holiday-themed pictures; use glue, markers, construction paper, glitter, etc. Take your creations to a nearby nursing home or to Children’s Mercy Hospital near Crown Center or Children’s Mercy South at I-435 and Nall. You’ll be glad you did!
  • City Union Mission– Work with a family, friends or your kids’ classmates to adopt a family for the holidays through City Union Mission, too. Please remember that families need our help year-round…not just at the holidays.

Whether one of these ideas, or choosing an agency that is near and dear to your heart, I hope you and your family enjoy volunteering as much as we do. It may be during the holidays or when your schedule slows down this summer, but it’s a wonderful bonding experience that’ll make each one of you feel great you did it!

Please feel free to list any additional kid and family-friendly volunteer opportunities below!