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The little book with BIG resources!

Five Must Do’s to Soak Up Those Last Days of Summer Sun


As quickly passing as Summer never fails to be, we must not let it slip away too fast without taking full advantage of what the beautiful outdoors have to offer. Before the leaves turn and Fall is upon us, it is time to squeeze in some last minute activities that will allow us to soak in those last rays of golden Summer sunlight. Whether it be before the new school year starts, or before the Fall breeze keeps us inside, here are five must do’s to ensure last minute Summer fun:


1. With the many benefits that come with having family dinners, why not make a day of it? The Farmers Market Downtown Lees Summit offers a variety of fresh foods such as produce, baked goods and more every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm. Bring the whole gang for a fun family outing and make a day of it! After you have checked everything off your list, head home to prep and enjoy a nice evening with good company and nothing but the freshest foods for a delicious home cooked meal.

Need some new dinner ideas?? Check out our Pinterest page for delicious and healthy recipes!

2. For those music lovers out there, Lees Summit and the City of Blue Springs both offer evenings of FREE music in the park. Grab a blanket, pack up the family, and throw in a couple snacks to sit back and enjoy evening entertainment at sunset. For the remainder of August, Downtown Lees Summit is offering a free concert at Howard Station Park from 6:30-10:00. In addition to Lees Summit, the City of Blue Springs also offers free music in Rotary Park at Railroad Lake every Sunday from 6:30-8:30  until September 2nd. Click here for a link to a list of their upcoming artists.


3. In the mood for an outdoor movie? Legacy Park Amphitheater in Lees Summit is the place to be this Friday, August 17th. Relax in the quiet outdoors and enjoy movie night under the stars. This Friday, pack up the family with plenty of blankets and enjoy a FREE showing of Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax”. Popcorn and snowcones will be availbe for purchase. Doors open at 7:00 and the movie starts at 8:20, get there early to get a good spot!

4. With the Summer sun turning our Kansas days into Summer scorchers, what better place to cool off than the water park. Enjoy a day of fun and activities at one of our very own wet n’ wild water parks here in Kansas City. Pack your own picnic and float the lazy river or ride the wave pool with free tubes at Schlitterbahn. If you are looking to switch it up, take a trip to The Bay Waterpark, Kansas City’s newest place to play in the water. Last but not least, be sure to check out The Springs Aquatic Center for a day of family fun at their very own pools and Spray Ground.


5. Enjoy Kansas City’s last days of Summer by exploring all they have to offer through their parks and recreation. A day in the park may be just what you need to relax, and enjoy the day with the family.  Feeling adventurous and ready to explore some of Kansas City’s greatest parks? Check out the Top 10 Kansas City Parks for descriptions, locations, and neat facts on FREE parks all over the metro area.

Lastly, if you have an animal lover on your hands be sure to check out Lakeside Nature Center, Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilition center. Here children can explore nature and get a front row view of the center’s wild animals. See below for the center’s location and hours of operation:

Location: 4701 E. Gregory Blvd., (Swope Park) Kansas City, 816-513-8960
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm. Closed Mondays.





Fuel for School

Has your healthy eating also taken a summer vacation?  It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time!  Really, for many of us, this is like the New Year.  At my house it means back to schedules and routines.  Why not make this happen with your diet as well?  What your child eats does make a difference in how they learn.

 Also, about a quarter of 2-5 year olds and one-third of school-age children (including adolescents) are overweight or obese in the U.S.  As a parent, you can influence what your kids are eating at school and at home.

 Yes, breakfast is an important meal for growing children. Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have higher school attendance, less tardiness and fewer hunger-induced stomach aches in the morning. Their overall test scores are higher, they concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination. So whether they eat at home or at school, be sure your children eat a nutritious breakfast every day.  Avoid high sugar cereals which will leave your child with spikes in blood sugar and hunger pains early in the day.

If your children’s school provides meals, take time to go over the menu with them and discuss how to build a healthful and nutritious meal they will enjoy. Make sure the choices include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat or fat-free dairy at every meal.

If you pack your children’s lunch, take your kids grocery shopping with you and allow them to pick out healthy foods that they enjoy. Your children are much more likely to eat what you pack for them if they have picked it out themselves.  Try and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also, use whole grain breads and less processed foods.  Have protein at every meal.  Protein gives you lasting energy since it takes longer to break down as compared to carbohydrates.  This is the energy that will last throughout the day.  Cut back on sugar.  Consider giving them a special sweet treat or letting them purchase something at the snack bar once a week.

If your children are involved in after-school activities, pack a healthy snack they can eat beforehand. Fruit or vegetable slices and whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese are healthy options that will give them the energy they need to make it to dinner.

And, most importantly, set a good example for eating healthy foods at home.





Organizing a Disorganized Family

In my line of work I meet so many wonderful people.  Whether through working, speaking, teaching, or casual contact in my daily life; almost all of them have a burning question to ask me about getting organized.  Two questions turn up far more often than any others.  One being whether or not I have ever worked with a real hoarder (the answer is yes) and the second being how to get your family on board when trying to get better organized.  This answer is not quite so simple. 
One very important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how many family members you may have in your home with you, it is their home too.  Although much research has been conducted on the overall benefits of living in an organized environment, some people just aren’t interested.  Should you happen to be married to one of these, hope is not lost but it will be a challenge, for sure. 
When asked this question, I always tell people to never underestimate the power of compromise.  If you share a space with someone and as difficult as it may be to imagine, there are things you do that bothers them as well.  These things are your bargaining tools.  Quid pro quo…I will put away your laundry if you will make the bed before you leave the house.  I won’t throw away your magazines if you stack them neatly in a designated place. 
This process can work beautifully yet it must be handled delicately.  Take one thing at a time.  When one area has been successfully negotiated and implemented, begin another.  For a safe, long-term fix, I would recommend one change every three weeks to a month.  It is also important to note, that your spouse should have a designated area within the home where he or she can be themselves without having to adhere to strict organizational guidelines.  A man-cave or a scrapbook room are perfect examples. 
Children are another, much simpler story…clear instructions, rewards, and consequences.  Take care to clearly communicate what you expect then establish rewards for meeting or (hopefully) exceeding those expectations and consequences when not given a genuine effort.  If the effort is there, provide additional, patient training.  Children of all ages love to learn and as their parent you are their most important teacher.  All children can be organized provided they are taught and supported by an organized, loving parent. 
Have a neat day!
Jennifer Snyder
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
Facebook: Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts