A Dance With Death

Truth - Justin and I don't get a date night very often. When we do, it's normally out for a semi-nice dinner sans kids so we can have adult conversation and not have to get up out of our seats every 3 minutes to fetch a kid's drink or fork or food. If we get a wild hair, we might throw in a movie or a cocktail in a bar.

When The Murder Mystery Company invited us out for A Dance With Death, I was super excited because we had never been to a dinner theater-type event before! It's always fun to try something new, right?!

We really didn't know what to expect once we arrived but the actors were in character from the very beginning to help set the tone. We got signed in and lined up to take photos in 1950s-themed props and everything. Once seated, the hosts stopped by to explain the rules of engagement and how the night would flow. 

Spoiler alert! They totally bring in audience members to participate, costumes and all! This was my favorite part! It was hilarious watching these people - who were definitely NOT part of the professional acting troupe - try to play along! I secretly wish Justin would have gotten picked. He is not-so-secretly glad he wasn't... he would have hated me for life. Ha! Everyone was a good sport, though, and they seemed to get more comfortable as the night went on. #cocktails #justsayin

Each table (and suspect) has a binder that tells you some information to help you along and throughout the evening, you have some time to mingle and ask questions of other suspects to try and gather clues to solve the crime. 

Some attendees dressed to match the theme - poodle skirts, leather jackets and cuffed jeans. Others wore normal clothes and still had a great time. Justin nixed my costume idea but we did dress up a bit (as in, I wore a casual dress, he wore khakis). It was a date after all, and any excuse to wear something other than leggings as pants is a good thing.

I won't tell you who the killer was in case you decide to catch a show but one of the groups did actually solve the murder!

The Murder Mystery Dinner Company offers shows at two locations in the metro: Kansas City and Overland Park. There is a variety of shows offered at each location so you'll be able to find one that suits you. It would be super fun to get some friends together and work as a group to gather clues. You can even host your own private party and let the murderer come to you! ;)

Thanks so much to The Murder Mystery Dinner Company for inviting us and giving us a fun night out!

I was gifted a pair of tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own and I promise I did not fake-murder anyone in the making of this blog post. ;)

5 for Friday

I kept thinking that this weekend was Labor Day weekend and was so confused all week. Turns out it's not, obvi, which is actually a good thing because it means I have another full week to get the house in order before my family comes to visit! Eeeeeee! So excited to host my parents, brothers, sis-in-law and our niece and nephew for the holiday weekend! 

But first..


We recently signed up for Cook Smarts and this was our first week using their meal planning service. My friend Julia posted about a discount they were offering and I figured we should try it. Meal planning is something I absolutely dread and every week we're always scrambling to come up with a menu for the week so we can get our grocery shopping done over the weekend. More often than not, we're eating the same things over and over again. 

Until now, that is! Ha. Cook Smarts puts out a weekly menu that's customizable and it has me doing things I've never done before - like tenderizing chicken with a fork, buying things like arugula and udon noodles and taking pictures of my meals like I'm some sort of foodie blogger. I'm not, but I needed proof that we actually made the meals... ;)

Most importantly, the meals are relatively easy to put together which is key when trying to get dinner on the table after work and before the children start to melt.


Remember this post from Monday? And the armchair that I was in love with? Well, I still love it but I found another one that I think I love even more.... so much so that I bought it.

Justin was on the fence - he thought it looked pink. I was torn at first because I think it kind of changes the "feel" of the basement compared to what I originally envisioned. I actually drove out to World Market to see the chair in person before I purchased it and while there is some pink, it's definitely not a pink chair.

It's a little quirky but with a nice dark gray throw pillow and a white blanket I'm confident it'll be a keeper! Aaaand, best part, it's on sale and I got an extra 20% off making it under $200. It should arrive Monday or Tuesday!


Justin and I get to have a little date on Sunday afternoon and I'm super excited! We got invited to a Murder Mystery Dinner Party and I can't wait to see what the evening entails. We've never been to an event like this before; there is a full acting troupe and a theme and we, as party-goers, get to participate and try to solve the murder. Stay tuned to find out whodunnit.. ;)


Week 2 of soccer was a success! G still loves it and we're completely biased thinking she's the best on out there. #saideveryparentever


Leighton has been kind of out of sorts the last few weeks. Kind of whiny and clingy and not eating as much as she normally does. I chalked it up to our lake trip a few weeks ago but as I was brushing her teeth the other night I noticed her two-year molars had come in on the bottom. Like, alllll the way in. And I didn't even notice! #waytogomom

Seriously though, I'm convinced they came in literally over night after bothering her for a few weeks. Justin hadn't noticed them either! Granted, brushing teeth and getting the kids ready for bed is quite the debacle and we usually just rush through it but I feel like we should have noticed a new set of teeth!

And then I was all confused because she's too young to be getting her 2-year molars but NOPE. Girlfriend is 20 months old and she will two before we know it. Then I realized I don't have a baby anymore so now I'm just a sad mom with a cranky toddler who I didn't even realize is growing up!

Good thing it's Friday 'cuz I need a drink to cope with my feelings... ;)

Happy Weekend!


#HomeByOakley | Basement Inspiration

I don't know why but I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do with our basement rec room. Justin wanted it to be more of a "man cave," displaying sports memorabilia and OU Sooner gear. I wanted it to be more of a family-friendly space and have it not look like a frat house.

There has to be a way to incorporate some sports stuff and keep it looking like actual grown-ups live here, right?! We might still be working towards that goal but here is what we've come up with so far!

Originally, we had big plans to get a sectional. First for upstairs, but quickly realized it probably wasn't the best way to go. We then thought we could get one for the basement (this one? swoon!) but after shuffling furniture around and measuring, we decided maybe we're just not sectional people. I think the room is just a little too narrow to have a big 'ol piece of furniture and still incorporate a recliner and some end tables like we wanted.

So, plan B! We already have a decent leather recliner that was Justin's dad's before he passed away and we found this TV console last weekend at NFM so that's our starting off point. Our current microfiber couches are looking a little sad (tan microfiber + kids = the worst...) and I'm ready for a different style altogether so we're trying to sell the couch/loveseat combo to make room for a new sofa.

We have plenty of bedrooms but we actually found a sleeper sofa on sale (and yes, it came from Nebraska Furniture Mart, where else?!) which will make even more sleeping space when company comes to visit us! ;)

And P.S. That's an open invitation for our friends and family to come to KC and hang out. :)

I'm kind of loving this printed chair from Target. It's a little wild but I want it. This chair is a little more spendy and maybe a little too formal so I might need to find something less frilly (?). I'm DYING to get my hands on the Kansas City pennant and a few other KC items. Neither one of us is from here but we definitely consider it home since both our girls were born in Kansas.

It should also be noted that I'm totally against spending $100 on a single floor lamp so while I love the style of this one, I will be keeping an eye out for a cheaper version! Throw in a few Jojo-inspired accessories and I feel like we're on the right track!

I hope to share a home tour here soon once a few more rooms come together. I really love seeing other bloggers' spaces and how they make things work for their families. In my case, we're on a budget so that makes it even more challenging (and kinda fun, actually!) to make our house a home. Over time, I'm hopeful it'll become exactly what we want in terms of function and style!

First Day of School | 2016-2017

Her face may not say it, but Gracyn had a great first day of preschool!

We had donuts for breakfast and she was in good spirits up until it was time to get dressed. She was not into my picture-taking this morning but she reluctantly held up her sign for a couple of photos. She said she was "probably kinda nervous..." about her first day and her eyes welled up when it was time to say goodbye but she didn't have actual tears. None that I saw, anyway. I wanted to be the creepy mom who peeks through the classroom window or lingers a little too long at the door to see what she was doing but I didn't. I forced myself to walk away. ;)

She loved when they got a chance to play outside. They played with stickers and colored a picture. You know, typical preschool things.  She was all smiles once she got home and had lunch. She also said she was excited to go back on Tuesday, so that's good, too!

Leighton was mad I had to wake her up this morning so she actually went back down for a nap after we got home from drop-off. I had to wake her up again to go pick Gracyn up but this mama is NOT complaining... Two (essentially) kid-free hours? Yes, please! ;)

Here's to a great first school year!

Soccer Star

Gracyn had her first soccer practice tonight! Look at her! She was so excited. I was so excited. I played soccer for 13+ years growing up and LOVED it. I actually didn't realize how much I enjoyed playing until after I quit in high school. I always just played on recreational teams and was picked up by other teams for the occasional local tournament. Never on traveling or club teams or anything like that. In another life, I think it would have been fun to play at the college level. Whether or not I was actually good enough for that, I'll never know, but I did have playing the game!

Soccer is huge here in Kansas City and I know it can be pretty hard core. These little mini+me sessions put on by the community center are a great introduction to the sport. The kiddos run around with parent involvement learning the rules and practicing some skills. The entire time Gracyn "dribbles" the ball, she squeals in delight because someone is chasing her. It's quite comical but she does a great job! I'm most looking forward to their "game" at the end of 6 weeks - I can't wait to see a bunch of little bees swarming around the soccer field!

After another rough couple of days in the listening department, I was worried she'd shut down at "practice" and not want to participate but she did so well! I was so proud of her, listening to the coaches and actually participating. She nailed it. We even celebrated with ice cream after dinner. Can't wait for next week!

Give Me Friday or Give Me....

...not death, because holy morbid but ya'll. THIS WEEK.


Don't let this face fool you. The THREENAGER has arrived. Gracyn has always been such a sweetheart and rather well-behaved if I do say so myself. Until this week, that is. She's spent the week making poor decisions when it comes to her listening and toileting habits, along with total disregard for her sister's safety and my sanity.

I'm hoping this is a very short-lived phase. Please tell me it is!?! Ha. I'm trying to be understanding because she knows school starts soon - could she be internalizing something?! That or she totally knows what she's doing and is just testing the limits.

She might win the battle, but I WILL WIN THE WAR!


On top of the three-year old antics, this little lady has been fighting a cold all week. Too much fun at the lake, I suppose. Her naps have been short and her crankiness is on another level so I'm ready for her to be back to her normal happy, healthy self.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that we ordered some bar stools from Kohl's for our kitchen island. I was super excited to get them because they were exactly what I was looking for in terms of color and style. We put the first one together only to discover that one of the legs was broken. Boo. After fully assembling the 2nd stool, we realized they were just too short to sit comfortably at the counter, which isn't as low as the standard counter-height but not as tall as the normal bar-height so I was confused as to what height of stool I needed in the first place.

In addition to being too short, they felt really flimsy and unsturdy for being a wooden stool. It would have only been a matter of time before another leg broke or the girls tipped them over so back to Kohl's they went. I also lost my $70 Kohl's cash which sent me into a full depression. Not really, but kinda.

Anyway. I had a hard time finding full-back fabric barstools that I liked and that didn't cost $500 a piece so we ordered these from Target to see what they looked like. It's definitely a different look and feel but they're super affordable and I think we'll keep them. Another pair are supposed to arrive this afternoon so we'll see what all 4 look like together. Thoughts??!? Too harsh?!

I think I might just quit while I'm ahead and hire an interior decorator because I don't think I can make any other decisions... #dreamworld


When I haven't been dealing with unruly toddlers and sickie babies and making life choices when it comes to home decor, I've spent every other free moment watching the Olympics. I'm obsessed with Michael Phelps and Kerri Walsh Jennings and the Final Five. So good. And then I found this article last night and about died. Hilarious.


Back in January, my brothers and I gave my mom an extended-family photo session for her birthday. We are finally cashing in over Labor Day weekend when my entire family comes to KC to visit and outfit planning is in full effect. How do you get 11 people to coordinate but not be all matchy-matchy!? We could always do the "khaki and white polo shirt" look, right? Ha, just kidding.

We decide to keep it causal and neutral and everyone can pick their own outfits to wear. We figured if we stayed within the same color family, everything would come together and we'd all look good. Here's what I'm thinking for the Oakley branch of the family tree...

Hope you all have a great weekend!


How my baby is old enough to be starting preschool is beyond me. We went up to G's preschool to meet her teacher and see her classroom last night. She starts next week going Tuesday and Thursday mornings and I'm so excited for her! I think she's totally ready to have some time away from the house with kiddos her own age. It'll be so good for her and I know she'll do great!

We did some pretend back-to-school shopping last year but this year, it's the real deal! The only things she technically needs to bring with her to school are a backpack, change of clothes and a water bottle but why stop there?! It's her very first day of school, after all! We won't go overboard but she could stand a few new items of clothing and shoes that will carry her into the cooler months.

1 & 2 | Hanna Andersson has the cutest backpacks! We didn't get this exact one but I scored a backpack and lunchbox set way back last year on SUPER sale (like, $20 for both!) and they've been sitting in her closet ever since. We got them out the other day and G is super excited to carry it to school with her. Never mind the fact that it's half her size...

3 | You can never have enough water bottles sitting around the house. Leighton's favorite game is to get mine out of the cupboard and pretend to take sips. The contigo autospout ones seem to work well for kids and don't seem to leak all that much.

4 | Comfy tanks that can be played in are a must, even at school. Old Navy is always my go-to because they're affordable, hold up well for the most part and you aren't super sad when they happen to get covered in food, marker and paint stains.

5 | I really like these pants for some reason and think they'd look so cute on G. And you can't beat $7 am I right?

6 | These pinkish gold shoes are too much. They're a little over the top but I think they might need to make their way home with us....

7 | Every girl needs a cozy sweatshirt. It can get cold in those schools! ;)

8 | Gracyn's not big into me doing her hair. She's not a fan of ponytails or braids yet but she will let me use a clip to at least keep the hair out of her eyes. And as her hair gets longer, the baby bows we have don't stay in as well so we're on the hunt for some new ones.

9 | Can't go wrong with a good old fashioned denim jacket for the fall!

10 | G lives in leggings 90% of the time (I mean, who doesn't!?) so it's always good to add a few new pairs to her drawers.

11 | Moccs for life! These are so cute and I'm thinking Leighton needs the pink pair...

Homegirl will be all set come next week! Here's to a great first day!


We are back from a mini family vacation to Lake Okoboji in Northern Iowa. It was a wonderful 4 days and the beautiful weather definitely made the 6+ hour drive there and back totally worth it! Then girls are completely nuts today, whiny and tired, so they're actually both upstairs napping this afternoon while I'm doing a silent happy dance downstairs. Post-vacation mom win!

My family has been spending summers at the lake for years and years - we figured out our kids are the 4th generation to be lucky enough to spend some time here. It is probably one of my favorite places and I don't get to visit nearly as often as I'd like. I have so many memories here and my aunt and uncle were generous enough to let us invade their place for the weekend. 

The girls had a blast hanging out with a few of their cousins - 5 kiddos aged 5 and under - and Gracyn has a newfound love for boating. Girlfriend ran up to the front of the boat to claim her spot every time we got ready to go on a ride. She fished off the dock and even swam in the lake. She was loving life.

Leighton was unsure of the sand at first but after a few minutes she was joining in on the fun. She had a rough night of sleep our first night but after that she napped well during the day and slept great at night, which was definitely welcomed after full days of fun in the sun.

In between naps and eating (and drinking...) we hit up the Barefoot Bar for some {more} cocktails and the Emporium for a little shopping. It's a vacation requirement to get new Okoboji t-shirts every time we visit. And yes, we took the kids to the Barefoot Bar. They have an actual playground so it's totally acceptable to bring your babies to the bar. In fact, as we were leaving, Gracyn said, "oh mom, i love this bar." #proudmom

We didn't get the chance to take the girls to Arnold's Park so we'll have to do that next time. It's a small amusement park with a few rides, including a roller coaster that physically hurts your body when you ride it, but it's kind of one of those things you have to do at least once in your lifetime. 

The drive home yesterday felt pretty long but we made it back in time to watch some of the Olympics before falling into bed. We meet Gracyn's preschool teacher tomorrow afternoon (HOW IS SHE GOING TO PRESCHOOL!???!?!) and have a few other things on the calendar which will hopefully make the week fly by. 

Cheers to one of the last official weeks of summer!