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The little book with BIG resources!

Join Us For Emler Swim School’s Grand Opening in Leawood!

I have vivid memories from my own childhood of splashing, swimming, and enjoying the water. It’s for that reason that I get excited about the prospect of watching my own daughter create similar memories as she grows. As a parent, I also have a lingering fear thinking about the dangers associated with not knowing how to swim. Teaching young children (and adults who don’t know) how to swim is extremely important.

We are so excited to help announce the grand opening of Emler Swim School in Leawood, Kansas. Founded in 1975 by Jan Emler, who has been teaching swimming for the past 50 years, her schools specialize in water education for babies and preschoolers Ms Emler was inducted into the USSSA (United States Swim School Association) Hall of fame in 2010 and serves as a keynote speaker for aquatic conferences across North America and Australia.

Emler schools pride themselves in hiring nurturing, extensively trained teachers who provide an effective and happy environment in tropical water where parents can observe lessons from a comfortable viewing room. Leawood’s new heated, indoor facility will offer swimming instruction including communication with parents, “safety with a splash of love”™, and pool parties available to Johnson County families.

Although swim classes officially began at the location late last month, the school is excited to announce that registration for new classes is now open. Emler Swim School is hosting a Grand Opening celebration THIS weekend and invites YOU to join in on the fun. This free event is open to the public and will include:

  • FREE family swim
  • FREE food and refreshments
  • FREE door prizes
  • FREE drawings for swim lessons and pool parties

Emler Swim School Grand Opening Celebration

 Saturday May 3, 2014 

2:00pm – 4:00pm 

3612 W 135th St, Leawood, KS 66224

For more information on this event, Emler Swim School, and a complete list of their upcoming classes, please visit their website or connect with them on Facebook. We hope to see you there THIS Saturday!

Autism Awareness Day At The K!

Take a moment to think about the people you come into contact with on a daily basis.  These are people that you encounter while dropping your children off at school, picking up groceries from the store, heading to and from work, attending meetings, or any other activity where you might find yourself engaging with the public.  When you think about it, we all come into contact with a lot of people each day.  A whole lot.   Now I want you to take a moment and think about this: 1 out of every 68 American children has been diagnosed with Autism.  What exactly is Autism?!

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”  –Autism Speaks

In support of families who have been impacted by Autism, the Kansas City Royals are hosting Autism Awareness Day at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday May 4, 2014. This incredible event provides the unique opportunity for families to come together and enjoy a baseball game in a fun, family friendly atmosphere.  The stadium plans to provide “quiet zones” during the game where families can take a breather should their loved one become overwhelmed during the game.

Tickets for this very special event can be purchased online through the Royals. A portion of the proceeds for each ticket sold to this game will benefit Autism Speaks.

Autism Awareness Day at Kauffman Stadium

Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers 

Sunday May 4, 2014 


Tickets for this event can be purchased through the Kansas City Royals website.
Questions about Autism? Check out the Autism Speaks website for more information about the disorder, diagnosis, symptoms, facts, and how you can help raise awareness and show your support. See you at the Game!

“Transcendence” Movie Review

Transcendence: A Movie Review

Release Date: April 10, 2015

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 120 minutes

Movie Genre: Science Fiction

Cast: Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, Rebecca Hall plays   Evelyn… Dr. Casters wife, and Paul Bettany is Max Waters the best friend of Dr. Caster.  Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger a scientist.

Mom Rating: This movie is a future scientific film set in modern day, mixed with some major pseudo technical mash.  It is definitely not one of Johnny Depp’s Disney films for the little kids!  I thought it very confusing and indirect.  There was a lot left to be implied.  The only thing my middle school child thought cool was the use of solar panels because they are studying about different ways to conserve energy in science class.

The movie begins with Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall in their garden working peacefully.  Dr. Carter’s life long work has been on his transcendence project, the goal of which to turn computers into rational thinkers similar to humans. While attending a promotional event Dr. Carter is shot by someone in an extremist group that is against more technological advancements.  Although it does not kill him it is laced with poison and his death is soon imminent.  His wife Evelyn decided to save him by uploading his memory into the computer and surprise, surprise it works!  This could be a modern day Frankenstein flick at this point. Dr. Carters best friend Max is very apprehensive about both, their decision to go through with the upload and the possible repercussions that could result.  Eventually Johnny Depp, without the help of Evelyn, figures out scientific secrets and is able to create hybrid super humans to help him.  This movie comes to a close when all trust is lost between friends, co-workers, etc.…. only to discover that this was the only way for both Dr. Carter and Evelyn’s life goals to be achieved.

Written By: iFamilyKC Mom Squad Blogger Shari Jacobs

“The Other Woman”: A Movie Review

The Other Woman“: A Movie Review

Wide Release Date: Friday April 25, 2014

Running Time: 109 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 (on appeal) for mature thematic material, sexual references, and language

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton

Moviegoers in search of a comedy with a great female lead have likely been looking forward to the release of “The Other Woman”, which hits theaters nationwide this weekend.  The film, which co-stars Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann, portrays the unlikely friendship of a wife “Kate” (Leslie Mann) and her husband’s girlfriend “Carly” (Cameron Diaz).  After their awkward encounter, Kate and Carly form the kind of bond you would never expect from a man’s lover and his wife.  As they work together to unveil the truth behind his deception, they encounter another mistress “Amber” (Kate Upton) and the three three work together to plot revenge.  Unbeknownst to them, while working together, the three would form lifelong relationships with one another, learn about what it means to be strong, and have some fun along the way.

The potential downfall for this film is its use of exaggerated characters and over the top situations but audience members who realize that the film isn’t exactly attempting to portray real life, will likely enjoy the film.  Leslie Mann perfectly portrays an intense, quirky, and mildly neurotic housewife struggling to find herself after discovering her husband’s betrayal.  Cameron Diaz plays a strong, independent woman whose harsh personality softens as the movie progresses.  The two perfectly balance out each other and their relationship somehow just seems to work.

The movie, Cameron Diaz’s character and performance in particular, reminded me of the film “The Holiday” assuming, of course, that “The Holiday” was a little more revenge driven. In both films, Diaz plays a successful, brilliant, strong woman who has been betrayed by the man she thought she loved. In both films, she finds herself forming an unlikely friendship with another female almost opposite her personality. In both films, she falls in love with her newly found friend’s brother and comes out on top in the end.  Basically, “The Other Woman” is liken to a amped up, revenge driven version of “The Holiday”.  It’s hilarious, ridiculous, and wildly enjoyable.

Questions about this review? Contact Holli Ann anytime via email at holli@ifamilykc.com.

“Under The Skin” Movie Review

Movie Review of “Under The Skin”

Release Date: Friday April 18, 2014 (Kansas City Market)

Official Rating: R (language, nudity, sexual content, violence)

Screen Time: 108 Minutes

I will be the first to admit to you that I am a nerdy parent. I enjoy sci-fi movies, board games, and am somewhat of an adventure book snob. I think that’s what intrigued me so much about the movie “Under The Skin”, which was released here in our area on Friday. The film, which stars the lovely Scarlett Johansson, gives insight to what it might be like to live as an alien hunter in the human World (assuming, of course, that aliens living as humans is something that could actually be a real thing). More so, it gives insight to what it might be like for that same alien to attempt to learn how to be like the humans she’s surrounded by.

It’s a bizzare movie that you really need to be a fan of the genre to appreciate. Laura (the lead character played by Scarlett Johansson) is a complex, yet simple, alien who collects men. The first half of the film is spent following her quest to pick up men, bring them back to her creepy alien lair, and seduce them so that they’ll willingly walk into a pit of gooey substance that tramps them and robs them of their internal organs. Audience members never quite fully understand the point of it all but we’re not meant to. Instead, we’re meant to follow Laura’s journey as she attempts to live as a human (and not as a huntress) throughout the second half of the film.

Overall, the film is dark, disturbing, interesting, and enjoyable for any sci-fi lover to watch. Given the amount of nudity in the film (and the general content), it’s not something that I was recommend watching in front of your children but it would make a great date night option for parents looking for something unique and off the beaten path.

Questions about this review?! Connect with Holli anytime at holli@ifamilykc.com

“Heaven Is For Real”: Movie Review

Heaven Is For Real

Movie Release Date: Wednesday 16 April 2014

Screening Time: 1 Hour, 40 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material including medical situations.

Cast: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Margo Martindale

Imagine, if you will, coming so close to losing your child that his doctors call his recovery a ‘miracle’. Imagine, if you will, that same child recounting his experiences in the afterlife once he’s recovered. According to the film “Heaven Is For Real” the Burpo family experienced just that. Todd and Sonja Burpo, along with their children, lived in a small Nebraska town when their son Colton fell dangerously ill and nearly lost his life. After making a full and seemingly miraculous recovery, Colton began to tell his father (who was also a pastor at their local church) about his visit into the afterlife, the encounters he claimed to have with Jesus, and the family members he met along the way. Colton’s experiences would forever change his family, their network of friends, and the community in which they lived.

The screenplay, which was adapted from the book with the same title, was true to the original story in every single way. The cast of the film were convincing in their respective roles that captured life in a small, close knit town and the message was clear: Heaven is for real. What would that mean if this child’s near death experience gave us a glimpse of what was to come? How would our lives change if Heaven was, indeed, a real place? “Heaven Is For Real” is the perfect Easter film that is sure to please audience members who are interested in the subject. Skeptics will likely remain skeptical and Christians will undoubtedly walk away with a renewed sense of faith and understanding. This film is all perspective.

On my It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale where 1 is the least, 5 is the most, and 10 is the least again: I award “Heaven Is For Real” 7.874 points with a final thought of: “Awww, what a sweet film!”

“Rio 2” A Movie Review

Rio 2“: A Movie Review

Release date: April 11 2014

MPAA Rating: G

Running time: 101 minutes

Genre: Animated musical comedy

Great Cast:  Ann Hathaway as Jewel, Jessie Eisenberg as Blu, Bruno Mars as Roberto, George Lopez as Rafael, Jamie Fox as Nico, Leslie Mann as Linda, Rodrigo Santoro as Tulio, and the list goes on!

Mom rating: The younger children are not going to have any problem sitting through Rio 2! This movie is packed with lots of singing and dancing, romance, revenge, and hilarious theatrical spoofs. Love that it has a strong emphasis on preservation of both land and species. This would be a great time talk to the little ones about endangered species and the Rain Forest!

Jewel, Blu and their three kids think they are the only Blue Macaws left in the world. They are somewhat civilized birds; the kids go to school, they have cellular phones and iPods, a GPS to get them places and even eat blueberry pancakes with syrup for breakfast! Every now and then Jewel misses her home in the Rain Forest but Blu, having always been a pet, sees their life as completely normal.

They live with Linda and Tulio, two bird enthusiasts with a passion for Blue Macaws. While in the Amazon Tulio spots a Blue Macaw feather and it makes the national news.  When Jewel and Blue realize that there are possibly more of their species they decide to take a family vacation to the Amazon to do what they can to help. The trip is quite comical with Tulio having a fanny pack and using a GPS!

It takes no time at all for them to find other Blu Macaws.  Life becomes one big party that Blu is not as comfortable with as Linda.  When Loggers capture Linda and Tulio and try to cut down their homes everyone must work together to defeat them.

Written by Mom Squad Member Shari Jacobs.

Pirate Fairy Movie Review

Release Date:  April 1, 2014

MPAA Rating:  G

Genre:  Computer Animated Fantasy

Running Time: 78 minutes

Fairy Voices:  Mae Whitman as Tinker Bell, Christina Hendricks as Zarina and Tom Hiddleston as James!

Mom Rating:  Kid approved!  This story sends a great message that working together is much better than working alone.  It takes a village! With all the fairies accidently switching powers they realized just how important each fairy is in preserving Pixie Hollow and the blue fairy dust.


Ever wonder what Captain James Hook was like before his hook?  What about how the crocodile swallowed the ticking clock?  This movie hilariously answers these questions about Peter Pans world even though Peter does not make a showing in this Disney flick.  Hope you enjoy this Pirate Fairy movie review!

When the dust keeper fairy Zarina decides that she wants to make pink fairy dust, fairy Gary harshly tells her to do no such thing.  Of course Zarina does it anyway and ends up expelled from Pixy Hollow.  She also ends up joining a very bad group of pirates that would love nothing more than to steal the blue fairy dust.  Will Zarina become a villain and help the pirates or will she be a hero and help her fairy friends!

This is the fifth in the Tinker Bell animated films and surprisingly a family favorite already!  Having both ill-mannered, unpleasant pirates and cute, mischievous and quarreling fairies this is great for both boys and girls alike.

The Pirate Fairies Tinker Bell character can be found in the novel Peter and Wendy written by J.M. Berrie. Reading aloud is a great way to spend quality time with the kids and this is a classic book everyone can enjoy. Surprisingly, it’s even educational to read about a character, and then watch them on the big screen.