Home, Home on the Range: Life “Out West”

Note: This is the fourth post in our five-part “Metro Wars” series covering all the things we love about Kansas City. Head back on Friday for more! To see all posts in this series, click here.

When my husband and I started the process of buying our first home, our only requirements were that 1) it must have a yard large enough for a garden, 2) it must have at least four bedrooms and two bathrooms, 3) it must have an attached garage, and 4) it must be located on the Kansas side — inside the 435 loop. We looked at homes for several months and slowly inched west, closer to our “435 boundary.” After looking at (and passing on) house #33, our realtor finally convinced us to look at a few homes out west — and out west is where we stayed!

Harvest time

When I say that I live “out west,” most people think of wheat fields or Colorado; honestly, so did I before I lived here. I live in Shawnee, but “out west” also includes parts of Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Bonner Springs, De Soto, and Leavenworth. One reason my husband and I weren’t initially interested in living outside of the 435 loop is because we both commute downtown to work every day and anywhere outside of 435 seemed too far to drive twice a day. To my surprise, the I-70 commute is rock-star! I am able to sip my coffee at a cruising speed of 75 mph all the way in to downtown every day — rarely even hitting my brakes! Door-to-door, it takes about thirty minutes each way; but the traffic is a breeze, and I use the time each morning to wake up, catch up on phone calls, and listen to the news. After work, I have time to clear my head from work-mode before picking up my daughter from daycare and switching into mommy-mode.

Out west, we found the perfect house and neighborhood (we finally bought house #40-something, in case you were wondering!). Our home is the right size to grow into as our family grows. It’s updated enough that we didn’t have to do any major overhauling to make it livable, but there are still lots of improvements we can make to keep us busy for a few years. Our lot is three-quarters of an acre, which includes a 500-square foot vegetable garden and lots of flower gardens and landscaping. It’s also on a cul-de-sac … so yeah, pretty much ideal (did I mention our realtor was AWESOME?!). The families in our neighborhood have upper-elementary and middle school-aged kids, so our babysitter literally lives right next door. There are also some families who have moved in recently with younger kids and babies, so our daughter will have lots of friends to play with as she grows up!

Here are a few other great things I love about living out west:

My mechanic, Donovan’s Service. Donovan’s is a family-owned business that just celebrated their 75th anniversary last summer. The owner, Pat, remembers my name and my car every time I call. He and all of the guys in the shop do high quality work in a timely manner. They are kind, honest, and hard-working, and they seem to always have baked goods on their front desk brought in by their clients. It’s a good sign when you love your mechanic enough to bake them cookies!

Legends Outlets. Legends is only about eight minutes from my house and we go there frequently! It’s perfect for date night (my hubby and I love Yardhouse, especially the patio on a summer evening), family night (check out T-Rex Cafe, especially if your kiddos love dinosaurs), or an afternoon of shopping (for the kids, check out the Carter’s, OshKosh, and StrideRite outlets, and for mamas choose from LOFT, Banana Republic, J.Crew, and a host of other outlets). (The Legends are also one of our Moms Night Out swag bag contributors. Yeah!)

Shawnee Mission Park. I have been to this park a million times and have yet to cover everything there is to do here! There are multiple playgrounds, miles of hiking and biking trails (paved and off-road), a lake with fishing and small boat rentals, disc golf, an off-leash dog park, and more!

Pizza West. If you live out west, you will probably agree that the best place for pizza is Pizza West — and if you live out west and haven’t been, you MUST go! It’s a small pizza shop (dine in, carry out, and delivery are all available) that’s family owned. The owners have thirty-five combined years of experience in the restaurant business, but this shop is a “dream come true” for them. The braided crust pizza is outstanding, and if you’re dining with my family, you’ll be eating the K7 Combo. Yum!

Nails Mirage. I am not a “girly” girl: I buy regular drugstore makeup, use Suave shampoo, and have never spent more than $60 at a hair salon (claim to fame: I’ve never dyed my hair-not even highlights!), but pedicures are my “one thing.” I go to Nails Mirage at least once a month. They always work me in on the schedule when I forget to make an appointment (which is often!), the salon is clean, and the service is excellent. They have a lot of great polish colors and options if you want “girly” stuff like designs, gemstones, or French tips. They always let you stay in the massage chairs until your polish is dry, too – bonus!

A few other things to check out if you’re ever out west are: Old Shawnee Days, Wonderscope Children’s Museum, Sky Zone, Splash Cove, Shawnee Aquatic Center, Moon Marble Company, and Power Play. You’ll notice harvesting wheat and downhill skiing weren’t on my list. 🙂

So, let’s hear it! Anyone else live out west? What are some of your favorite things to do or places to go in our corner of the metro?

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