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The little book with BIG resources!

The Perfect Smile, A Story of Braces

Growing up, I never had braces. My teeth were far from perfect but they were straight and that was good enough. Today’s world is so set on perfection that perfect teeth are a necessity. I don’t want to teach my children to be vain about their looks. However, people judge you based on your smile. It can make or break first impressions socially, romantically, and even professionally. With so many things that I can’t control, when it comes to what I passed down genetically, this I can. I want to do whatever I need to- to help my girls feel good about themselves and to set them up for a bright future.

Before Braces

I was shocked to discover how many dental plans had no ortho coverage for braces. The very few that do, are expensive and have a $1500 lifetime max. My daughter is now eight years old and is in phase one for braces. This phase is 12-15 months long and costs approx. $2500 which includes her retainer when the braces come off. Right now we are straightening her four upper and four lower center permanent front teeth and fixing a cross bite. My hope is that once these are off, we don’t need phase two in a couple of years.

We found a place called Comfort Dental here in Independence who offers a great deal on braces. We didn’t need any down payment and there is no interest. You pay monthly for the term the braces are on for. The cost is $139 per month and then $400 for a retainer which has to be paid in full before braces come off. I adjusted my monthly payment to $180 per month so that both are covered.

At first this seemed like a lot of money for us to fork out. But the reward in seeing my daughter’s beautiful smile, and her blossoming confidence where she didn’t have it before makes it all worth it. The changes are seen very quickly and I know this 12 month sacrifice that our family is making will be a gift to her for a lifetime.

1st Week of Braces
3 Months
6 Months

By iFamilyKC Mom Squad member, Keri Nichol


Celebrate Science with Sid the Science Kid Event at Kansas City’s Union Station!

Visit Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City, this Saturday, March 30th, for a special Celebrate Science with Sid the Science Kid event. Science City is partnering with NCircle Entertainment to present this exclusive program. Young scientists are invited to join us for a fun-filled day of experimentation and innovation. Ignite curiosities with hands-on learning activities, live science demonstrations, a magic show and more!

Special screenings of Sid the Science Kid: The Movie will be shown Saturday on the H&R Block City Stage at 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Admission to one showing is free with each paid admission to Science City. Offer is good Saturday, March 30 only. Tickets are limited to the first 200 ticket holders for each show. Admission to Science City and tickets to the special Sid the Science Kid: The Movie screenings must be purchased at the Union Station Kansas City, Inc. box office Saturday.

Union Station members can attend the screenings for free, but must go to Union Station’s ticket office on March 30 to get a ticket for the film, due to limited seating for each showing.

In addition to the movie screenings, the following activities will be offered exclusively for our visiting young scientists (pre-K through first grade):

10 a.m. –        Let’s Make Goo!
11 a.m. –        Reggie Regg the Magic Man (live show in Maze Park)
Noon –            Make and Take Your Own Baggie Garden
1 p.m. –           All About Rainbows
2 p.m. –           Bubble Science & Art
3 p.m. –           Fun with Marshmallows
4 p.m. –           Science Story & Painting Time

It is sure to be an exciting day packed full of science fun and learning! What a great way to welcome Spring! www.UnionStation.org

A Success Story from All Things Are Possible Education


Everybody at Camp Genius liked Steve. Handsome. Charismatic. Good guy. Likable. Great work ethic. Athletic. The girls all had crushes on him. The boys all wanted to be like him. Shoot, I liked Steve, too. Steve was tested by Dr. Cates, the same doctor who trained me to get great test results.

Prior to meeting Dr. Cates, I had my master’s degree and had hundreds of hours of training in the latest and greatest strategies and curriculum but I didn’t really know how to individualize curriculum with any kind of accuracy. It was more of a hit and miss approach. I’d teach until I got some kind of breakthrough with even the toughest kids. The average burnout rate for my field was a year and a half. I not only beat the odds but I received local television and state recognition. So, I could hold my own in the classroom, but what I accomplished then was nothing compared to what I learned from Dr. Cates.

I met him when I took a 4th grade student to be tested and have a program designed. She was non-verbal until age five and didn’t learn to read fluently until the end of third grade. After I started teaching her using Dr. Cate’s method, she read series of novels by her favorite authors, graduated from high school a semester early, worked her way through college and landed a really impressive job with a major pharmaceutical company.

Everything that worked for her I started using with kids who were wired like she was. Pretty soon I began to see patterns in the way children processed new information. I was able to design curriculum around their learning styles. I was getting incredible results—my students averaged two year’s gain in standardized testing in nine months of attendance. Dr. Cates told me, “Modeling after me is the best form of flattery as long as you give me credit.” So here I am giving Dr. Cates the credit he is due.

So now, back to Steve, he was in high school and finished with Dr. Cate’s programming when I met his mother. Steve wanted to get into medical school and was struggling in a certain section of the test. Steve had already tried the only curriculum I knew that addressed his issue, with disappointing results. “Steve, did you complete the whole book?” I asked. Sure enough he had only gotten three quarters of the way through. “Steve, I have an idea. I’ll hire you to work at Camp Genius teaching the very same curriculum to a student with challenging social skills.” Since Steve was so popular I hoped that he would help this student be accepted more readily, and that Steve would learn what he needed by teaching.

Steve far exceeded my expectations; he took this freshman under his wing, taught him, visited him in the hospital and turned into the best camp counselor. If you asked the campers what they loved about camp, they would enthusiastically reply, “Steve and the massive water wars on the Fourth of July!” My high school and college counselors bought out every water toy and water balloon in town.

Most of the kids don’t remember that they gained two, three, and four years in standardized testing during a six week camp. They remember Steve, the friends that they made and the water games that turned the football field into a slurpy mud hole. They walked away from camp with academic confidence they never had before. Only two percent of the students ever needed my services again, they were at or above grade level and I’d worked myself out of a job. Sure, I would run into parents at the grocery store asking for advice, “What should I do? I paid you to teach my son to read and now he’s up past his bedtime, hiding his novel and flashlight under his covers.” (That student went from being a slow reader to earning a full college scholarship)

What about Steve? I ran into him a few years back at the mall. He introduced me to his beautiful and sweet fiancé. He was finishing up his dental residency. I guess he got what he needed on his test scores. I got more than I could have hoped for that summer–a young man who made a lasting impression on every child he met!

I did not change the names or the stories. If this story resembles you or triggers any camp memories, contact me at www.atapedu.com
with your side of the story!


Karen Marie M.Ed.SPEC, Educational Therapist, director of Camp Genius, and owner of All Things Are Possible Education; improving class rank and standardized test scores in individual and small group sessions.


Raising Money Wise Children


At one time, not long ago, my husband and I managed a full time job, and a part time job each. With a six and eight year old girl, I found myself spoiling them rotten. I knew I was doing it in the process but I was normally too exhausted and feeling too guilty to tell them “no” too much.

This meant 5-$10 each at every store we went to for items they “had to have”. Why? Well, of course it was to avoid the dreaded, “You never buy me anything” or” So and so’s mom bought them one”…or whatever other guilt driven line that hurt my feeling and caused me to cave. The thing was that nothing was ever enough and I began to see I was only creating monsters who were acting entitled. They didn’t have an appreciation for the item because they never actually done anything to earn it or realized what I had to do to earn the money to buy it.

When our family went to one income changes had to be made and I felt this was a very important one. I made up work charts with things like vacuuming, dusting, laundry, trash, cleaning out the car, poop scooping the yard, etc. These items paid between $.10 and $.50 each. Every Saturday was set as payday and there were NO advances on payday. We told the girls we supplied a home, clothing, food and love but extras were on them unless it was a holiday. For example: This meant that if were out for the day and they were hungry or thirsty and we stopped at McDonalds well they would get the same things we did. We would order off the dollar menu and get ice waters for drinks. If they wanted a happy meal, cookies or a coke then they had to buy it out of their own money.

We have been implementing this for seven months now and the results have been fantastic. We’re working toward raising money wise children. When we go to a store the girls don’t mindlessly grab things and beg for them. They see if it’s in their budget and then they determine if it’s worth spending their money on it. I have also seen them put their money together for higher priced items. It has saved us lots and lots of money in knick knack toys, candy and other junk that adds up fast. . It has taught them budgeting skills, problem solving, math, taxes and about appreciation for things they work hard for. They have come to understand that money isn’t just given but is earned.

I can’t say that the process was an easy adjustment. The first month was very tough but with consistency and not giving in every week got better. For the past 4-5 months the whining and the entitlement arguments are over. Now I can say that I am preparing my kids by teaching them valuable life lessons in earning, saving and that money doesn’t grow on trees.

By Keri Nichol


The Croods

Sneak Peek Preview Review

By Keri Nichol


This past Saturday I was able to take my girls to see the new Disney movie, The Croods. We went to see it in 3D at the Independence IMAX. My girls are ages 6 and 8 years and they LOVED it. It was a movie with a great story line, great graphics and comedy that my kids understood yet I laughed at as well. It’s rare to find those animated movies that appeal to kids of all ages and I think this one will be a hit. It rates right up there with Shrek, Over the Hedge and Brave for us. The movie comes out this Friday 3/22/2013 and is a must see for families on this snowy first Spring weekend in Kansas City.

An afternoon at the Build a Bear Workshop!

I am a mother of five and we have an extensive collection of build a bear stuffed animals and loads of accessories.  So, whenever my five year old asks to go to build a bear, I just tell her that we will get the “build a bear bin” out from the basement and because she loves swapping out toy bins it works!  Well after several attempts she was “finally” successful and we planned a trip to the workshop!  After all it’s not just about having the bear it’s about the building process!

Upon entering the workshop a friendly sales associate asked if we’ve ever been to build a bear before, and because Natalie knew that I would say yes she looked at the girl quickly and said “No”!  Picking out a stuffed animal is no easy job here.  There are so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming!  So we took a walk around the store checking out all the bears, dresses, shoes, etc.… In for spring are swimsuits, Easter baskets and leprechauns! Natalie finally decided on the new white Persian cat, so she was given the unstuffed version to stuff with filling!  Let the fun begin!!

Next, (all extra cash except the wishing heart) she picked out a sound to put in her kitty and she very practically chose the meow sound.  Decisions, decisions, one can even choose from different scents to put in the cat and Natalie picked the bubble gum.  I suggest buying more than one scent because we cannot smell it.  Before stuffing her cat she picked out a wishing heart and added a beating heart as well.  The beating heart made the cat very life like!  She made a wish, kissed the heart and began stuffing!  There is also an identification tag in the bear, just in case it gets lost!  The Zona Rosa store has actually returned several lost bears to their owners!! Once the cat was sewn up, Natalie gave it a bath and brush and chose the name Bella for her.

Finally, she was able to dress her new pet!  I suggest having the sales associates help out with this one; they give great step-by-step instruction for dressing your pet.  Our final stop was the computer and with help from her sister Claire, Natalie filled out a birth certificate for her new pet. At check out she got a copy of it and she got to pick out bows to put on her pets ears as well as a colorable wardrobe box to put Bella in.


Build a Bear Workshop is not just about the bear; there are many pets to choose from!  Kids learn not only valuable life skills but can also learn how to tie a shoe, how to use the computer and much more!  Great fun.


Kickball Leagues with Live2Play Sports!

I grew up under bleachers. I thought the scalpers in the Royal’s stadium parking lot were close family friends. I always had a ball in my hand.

I’m a CK (coach’s kid). Putting my life-long love of sports to work seemed like the only option when I graduated college. But I quickly discovered sports was not the joy for all kids that it was for me.

My father coached basketball for as long as my siblings or I can remember. We did our homework while he ran practices and watched from the sidelines during games. I noticed his face always shined with pure love for the game. He hated losing as much as the next coach, but he always reminded his team why they were there in the first place: for the game. When I started coaching and refereeing as an adult, I saw more competitiveness and negativity than real coaching and respect for the game. Unfortunately, parents yelling at kids for their performance was not an uncommon site after games. I saw coaches lose their tempers, displaying poor sportsmanship and players who then imitated this. I saw kids sitting on benches the whole game…during middle school games that weren’t riding on a state championship. And I saw kids without basic skill foundations who seemed to have forgotten why they started playing in the first place.

I started running adult leagues and as soon as he could ask, my son wanted to know when he could play. Like many young children, he loved chasing balls with glee and didn’t care that he could not catch the ball yet. He just loved PLAYING. Truth be told, I was worried about sending him to play competitive sports and seeing the joy leave his face from the experience. After saying “someday” to him too many times, I realized I was missing an opportunity.

I started Live2Play Sports to offer children of all ages the chance to build athletic skills in a non-competitive environment. No yelling parents, no arguments, everyone plays and the focus is on fun. The parent of a third-grade player told me this is the first chance her son has had to actually build his skills. He was never taught how to kick, pitch, or catch a ball. And because of this, he never got to play and so never got to build those skills. She’s amazed at how quickly he’s gained confidence in his physical skills playing on one of my kickball teams. Further, she’s thrilled to see how good he feels about himself from the experience. She’s since signed all of her kids up for youth kickball.

Come to one of our fields and you’ll see a very different experience from your usual youth sports leagues. There’s no “sides,” everyone cheers for everyone. Kids cooperate and help each other do better. We host nights for adults-only along with an end of season team celebration for the kids. It’s not the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. The focus is on giving every kid the opportunity to play, build their skills and confidence, and bring back the love of the game.

Check out www.Live2PlaySports.com


Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City Providing Tons of Family FUN!

The Swiss psychologist and philosopher Jean Piaget believed that children learn through play, through interactions, and experimenting.  It’s very fitting then, that the mission of the Wonderscope Children’s Museum is “sparking a lifelong love of learning through the power of play.”  I have always been a fan of hands-on learning and this place is full of it!!  Who said “green is not a creative color”? Well it wasn’t this place! Wonderscope Children’s Museum succeeds at providing tons of family fun! From the Artworks room where kids can get creative and even face paint, to an awesome interactive Lego exhibit that will have the kiddos exploring ocean life, Wonderscope excels!  The museum opened their doors in 1989 in Shawnee to kids from all around the Kansas City metro area who wanted to explore, experiment, build, and play; all the while developing science and inquiry skills, literacy skills, and most of all a love of learning.

Upon entering the old school building that is now the museum, there is a giant cage that houses two adorable guinea pigs, appropriately names Oreo and Teddy. These guys are a big hit with both the parents and the kids.  Every Saturday from noon to 1:00 is “animal chat” time and the kids can learn about their habitat, living environment as well as their favorites foods.

For parents with kids ages 6 months to 2 years there is a Small Wonders Exhibit especially for them!  One of the most popular exhibits at the Wonderscope Museum seemed to be the Farm to Market exhibit.  Dramatic play included: playing farm with a garden in which you can grow plastic veggies and then put them in a cart and check out with a cashier, eggs and chickens and much more.  The H2Oh room is another popular exhibit with water table fun.  Nothing in the rooms are off limits so the parents really have nothing to do but play or just watch their little ones have the time of their life.  It really was great fun and we would recommend this trip to a friend for sure. Be sure to check out their web site for more special events, announcements and offers:


Submitted by By iFamilyKC Mom Squad member, Shari Jacobs

Frugally Clean!

By:Keri Nichol


Living frugally has meant finding ways of cutting back on everyday expenses. Some ways of doing that seem obvious: gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. However, I needed to think outside the obvious in order to relieve my pocketbook a little more. I started looking at items we used a lot of and those that seemed to hit our budget pretty hard. In a family of five, one of these things just happened to be laundry detergents. Sure, they have cheaper brands at the store, but they didn’t meet our needs. My baby was diagnosed with eczema at 2 months old. His topical steroid ointment doesn’t help by itself and neither did changing the detergent for his clothes only. The fact is that he lies on his bare face on my shirts. Not only that, but after three children, we don’t buy separate baby wash rags and towels. He uses the same ones that we use. So this meant that we had to buy expensive “free” detergents for all our household laundry.

This is when I began looking into making my own. I figured it would be work it just as long as our clothing got just as clean, it saved us some money, and the baby was able to tolerate it without any breakouts. It started out as an experiment but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to make more than I can buy at the store for 1/3 of the prices and everything was just as clean.

I was able to test the cleaning power with several soiled bibs and a bloody shirt from an accident my husband had. They came out just as clean with no traces of food or blood. The amazing part was that I had used cold water. In another attempt to save money I had begun doing more of our laundry in cold water to cut back on our gas bill (gas water heater). Water temperature was a concern that I read a lot about with my research. Some people found that their detergents didn’t dissolve in cold water. Maybe it is the differences with the recipes but mine done fine and has for over a month now.

The biggest test came with whether it would make the babies eczema flare up. After a month, I do no longer have to use steroid ointment on my son daily. This was something I did have to do even using the “free” detergents from the stores.

I am proud to say my newest experiment for living frugally paid off for my family. I can’t see myself ever buying premade detergents again, saving my family hundreds of dollars per year. Below are the recipe that I used and the cost breakdown as I found it. Check out my blog at www.newfrugalmomma.wordpress.com for more frugal living tips and experiments.

2 cups washing soda $.68 ($2.23 for 55 oz. box)
2 cups borax $.56 (3.27 for a 72 oz. box)
2 bars of Fels Naptha $ 1.94
$3.18 for 4 ½ gallons which will do 144 loads (1/2 c per load)


In a large pan bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile shred with a grater the two bars of Fels Naptha. Once water is boiling slowly add in the soap. Continue stirring until the soap is dissolved. Then add in the soda and the borax. Be careful because a small reaction occurs and the mixture will attempt to foam and boil over. The best way to avoid this is to put a wooden spoon over the top of the pan. Once everything is combined well pour it into a clean five gallon bucket that is filled ¼ full of water. Mix these together very well and then fill the bucket the rest of the way with water. You will mix very well and then put a lid on it. Allow the mixture to set for 24 hours. When you return the next day you will find that it has turned into a get. Using a spoon or a paint stick, stir the mixture well. Then you can transfer some of the mixture into a smaller container to use as needed. I bought my five gallon bucket with lid for about $4 at Ace Hardware who keeps several in stock at their store on 24 hwy in Independence.  Note: If you do not have to worry about fragrances you can add in essential oils to your mixture prior to letting it set and gel. However, the soap has a clean citrusy scent as it is. I like to add Tea tree oil because of its antibacterial ability.

Compared to Xtra (which don’t have a “free”) – 166 loads @ 7.98
All Free and Clear- 96 loads @ 10.96
2 bottles of Purex free and clear- 132 loads @ 11.54


Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!

iFamilyKC is proud to announce SUPER WHY is coming to Kansas City at The Midland Theater in April! Be sure to visit www.iFamilyKC.com and Enter to WIN a family 4 pack of tickets!


Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!

The Midland by AMC – Kansas City, MO

April 24 at 6:00pm

Tickets on sale Friday March 15 at 10am at www.midlandkc.com


Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power! is coming to Kansas City for the first time ever! Based on the top-rated, Emmy-nominated preschool TV series that airs on PBS KIDS everyday across the U.S., Super WHY Live brings entertainment and education together in a live show unlike any your family has seen before. It is sure to be unforgettable.

Super WHY Live was written by Super WHY creator Angela Santomero, with music by Jack Antonoff, of the Grammy-nominated band “fun.” The show is produced by S2BN Entertainment (Yo Gabba Gabba! Live, Spider-Man on Broadway, and Rock of Ages: The Musical) in association with Out of the Blue Enterprises.

Super WHY Live will stop in 26 cities across the U.S. in April and May, taking kids and parents on a live reading adventure traveling inside a book to find the answer to the question, “Who has the Greatest Super Power in the World?” The show is uplifting, entertaining, and educational. It features kids’ favorite literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig with “Alphabet Power,” Wonder Red with “Word Power,” Princess Presto with “Spelling Power,” Super Why with the “Power to Read,” and their puppy pal Woofster.

Fans who want to sing along at the show can get a head start learning the music, as the soundtrack album, “Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power Soundtrack” from Razor & Tie is available now at iTunes, Amazon.com, and retailers nationwide.

For an extra special experience, You’ve Got the Power! Party Packages offer premium seats and a meet & greet with your favorite characters after the show.

Just a few of the nice things preview audiences have said:

  • “It was good for the whole family. Our 5-year-old was mesmerized and excited all at the same time.”
  • “My son absolutely loved the show! He said it was his favorite that we have ever seen live!
  • “My husband and I took our daughter and she didn’t take her eyes off the stage.”
  • “Super Why Live was amazing!”
  • “Very professional, colorful, highly inspirational!!! Loved it from beginning to end.”
  • “Entertaining for kids and adults. Love the positive message of the show. Overall, it was spectacular!”
  • “My 2.5 year old was so excited and so happy with the show. I’ve never seen him smile quite as brightly as he did while watching Super Why Live!


For more information

Super Why Live on the web:  http://www.superwhylive.com

Super Why Live Promo on Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhvbLmS1Fwk