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Friday FLASH Giveaway: Family Four Packs of Tickets To Circus Hollywood THIS Sunday

Good Morning, Friends!

It’s FRIDAY and thanksgiving is OFFICIALLY less than a week away! If you’ve been following along with the iFamilyKC blog for a while (which we certainly hope you have :)) you might remember that we mentioned wanting to do something special for YOU, our amazing readers, leading up to Thanksgiving. Today, we’d like to kick off the weekend with a MASSIVE  flash giveaway for the 79th Annual Ararat Shrine Circus which is in town THIS weekend!

Our local Shriners do so much for the community, most specifically through their involvement with children’s hospitals that serve families who might not otherwise be able to afford access to quality healthcare. This annual event, the Shrine Circus, is a fundraiser to support the local Ararat Shrine and all of the wonderful things they do for the community.

We want YOU to experience the fun and joy of taking your family to the circus and so we’ve partnered up with the Ararat Shrine to giveaway 10 (TEN!!!) family four packs of tickets to th show THIS SUNDAY at 1:00pm! To enter, simply follow the instructions via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Winners will be drawn and notified tomorrow morning at 10:00am so be sure to check your email!

79th Annual Ararat Shrine Proudly Presents

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Circus Hollywood

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November 20-23, 2014

Thursday & Friday 7:30pm

Saturday: 10:00am 2:30pm | 7:30pm

Sunday: 1:00pm | 5:00pm

Purchase Your Tickets

By phone (816) 923-1975 or Online

$12 General Admission

$17 Reserved Seating

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Tickets are not tax deductible
All proceeds benefit Ararat Shriners

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”: A Recap

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Local Release: 11.21.2014

Rated: PG-13

Screen Time: 123 Minutes

CastJennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

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For over a year now (since the release of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), fans and readers have been patiently waiting for the release of the next film in the “Hunger Games” series. Audiences nationwide needn’t wait further as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (how’s that for a long movie title?!) hit theaters across the country this weekend.

The film, third in the series (of four), documents the journey of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who inadvertently finds herself in the middle of an uprising, the symbol for change in the dystopian society of Panem. After facing the brutal Hunger Games arena (where tributes from each district are selected to compete – to the death – for privilege from the capitol) in both the 74th Annual games as well as the subsequent Quarter Quell (75th Annual games), Katniss wakes up to discover her new status as a political refugee in the ghost district of 13.

Unsure of her place in this new community, Katniss finds herself thrust into the position of “the Mockingjay”, a symbol of hope and rebellion that citizens of Panem hope will unify the masses against their oppressive government. Despite her seemingly callous and emotionally unavailable exterior, the emotional impacts of her new life begin to manifest themselves in her dreams leaving her afraid, alone, and unable to deal with her surroundings.

As a fan of the (written) trilogy and also of the movies so far, I was (admittedly) excited for the opportunity to review this new film. I was curious to see how well the story translated from what I imaged while reading it in the book to what audiences saw on portrayed on the big screen and I have to say that I was not disappointed. The movie captures every element of the book in such a way that you appreciate its slower (compared to the first two) pace and seemingly anti-climactic plot because, as we know, all of the things we’re witnessing lead up to something epic…and it’s coming.

Jennifer Lawrence (per the norm) delivers a powerful performance and captivates audiences with the continued story leaving non-readers questioning what happens next. For fans of the series, who’ve already read and appreciate the books, I highly recommend this film. Understanding the “why” in the producer (and director)’s decision to slow down with the third film will go far in appreciating it for the beauty that it is. Moviegoers who haven’t read the books, note that the third movie is a lot slower (and might be interpreted by some as “boring” – I can assure you, I didn’t find it to be) and so you do really need to know that going in.


Thursday FLASH Giveaway: Tickets for a Christmas Carol at KC Repetory Theater

Brrr

Good Evening, Kansas City!

This bitter cold, winter (which doesn’t even officially start for another month, mind you) weather, it’s easy to feel like Ebenezer from time to time. With Christmas only five (FIVE!!!!!) weeks away, we wanted to kick off the celebration early (don’t worry, we’re still planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, too) with a FUN giveaway. We’d like to send you and your family to The Kansas City Repetory‘s rendition of “A Christmas Carol”, which will be playing November 21-December 26th at Spencer Theater.

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Single tickets on sale now!

Based on the book by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Barbara Fields
Directed by Jerry Genochio

Kansas City’s favorite holiday tradition is back for its 34th season!

A ripping good telling of the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the curmudgeonly businessman who requires the intervention of a few spectral guides to understand the true meaning of Christmas and life. Complete with lively musical numbers, ornate costuming, and dashing stagecraft, Dickens’ classic tale of hope and redemption continues to remind us what’s really worth celebrating – at the holidays, or any time!

Groups of 9+: Book now! Contact Rick at 816.235.6122 or groups@kcrep.org to reserve your spot.

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This giveaway runs through Thursday 11/20 at 11:59pm CST and, because we’re feeling generous, we’re going to kick it off EARLY right here on the blog. Your prize pack will include four tickets (for 2 adults and 2 children) for “A Christmas Carol”. To enter, simply follow the instructions through Rafflecopter below. Good luck and, as always, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Live At The Midland Kansas City: Your Kids, Having a Blast

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

I had a moment this week, as I often do living in this town, where I thought: I really love this place. Kansas City is such a wonderful, family-friendly town and I feel incredibly blessed to be raising my daughter here. Among the many reasons that I feel this way is the great events that I have the opportunity to bring her to throughout the year. November, in particular, is a great month of young children in KC. With Yo Gabba Gabba Live and Fresh Beat Band Live playing back to back at the Midland Theater, kids in Kansas City are in for a real treat.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live was in town earlier this week and we had the opportunity to share the show with some of our awesome readers. For those of you who were able to make it with us, we hope that you had a BLAST. If you missed it, here’s a recap of the show:

Children of all ages enjoyed partying with DJ Lance Rock and the Yo Gabba Gabba characters on Thursday afternoon.

We’re SO hopeful that Yo Gabba Gabba will be back in Kansas City again next year (keep your fingers crossed!) but, in the meantime, you can catch full episodes of the show and enjoy other fun activities on the Nick Jr, Yo Gabba Gabba webpage.

COMING THIS WEEK: FRESH BEAT BAND LIVE

We are SO excited to be sending some lucky readers and fans to see the Fresh Beat Band’s Greatest Hits Live! After attending last year, I can tell you that this show is an absolute BLAST. Tickets are still available if you’d like to join us for the show.

The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon’s preschool music group and stars of the hit Emmy Award-winning TV series of the same name, are bringing an all new concert to cities across the U.S.The Fresh Beat Band Greatest Hits Live features Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Shout (Thomas Hobson), Marina (Tara Perry), and Twist (Jon Beavers) performing in this brand new production featuring new hit songs such as “Walk Like an Egyptian” along with fan favorites from their live-action TV show and recent albums. The band will perform all of their biggest hits that teach preschoolers about music appreciation and how to express their feelings through movement, song and instrumental music. Fresh Beat Band Party packages, which include a meet and greet with The Fresh Beat Band will be available.”

If you’re planning to attend the show, we would LOVE to see your pictures. Use the hashtag #iFamilyKC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so we can follow along.


Guest Post From Our Friends Over at ParkPlace in Leawood, KS!

Hello iFamily Readers!

I’m thrilled to have been asked to be a guest writer for the iFamily blog this week!   My only concern is whether I’ll be able to convey my true passion for my topic without sounding like an infomercial.   I handle the marketing for Park Place, a shopping and dining destination in Leawood, Kansas.   We’re tucked behind Nall Avenue and 117th Street, just north of AMC Theater.  If you have not yet experienced Park Place, you may be surprised by the nostalgic tugs as you stroll down the charming streets of “Main Street USA.”

 This is where it’s hard to separate fancy marketing lingo from my real feelings.   Maybe this place means so much to me because it reminds me of my childhood.   My grandparents lived in Sedalia, Missouri and even though we had everything we could ever need in Kansas City, it was such a thrill to be invited on a big shopping trip to downtown Sedalia!  It wasn’t the location or the clothes, it was the people.  It was the experience.  All of the shop owners knew my grandparents personally and they talked forever before the shopping even commenced.

I see that happen every day here – in the clothing stores, the flower store, the toy store, the salons and the fitness facilities.  Local business owners dedicate their life to every aspect of their business, from the research, to the buying, then – their favorite part – making a customer feel their best.   Since I’ve started working here and began witnessing the hard work and dedication of these owners, I have practically given up all mall shopping.   My family is in shock. I know it’s sometimes more affordable and more convenient, but you will never experience the level of appreciation and personal service than when you buy local.

And that’s just the people!   It’s the ambiance that will make your whole family feel good.   When I started, the developers, Jeff Alpert and Melanie Mann, told me about the details they put into the site – the width of the streets, the height of the buildings, the lighting, the architecture, the landscaping – everything to create a warm, safe and inviting atmosphere for families.  It’s that type of “inside information” visitors will never have to think about – but they will feel it – and it makes me so proud to work here.

Let me paint you a picture.  The two main streets are lined with lush trees and bright, bold flowers in the spring, summer and fall.   This time of year, leaves are replaced with twinkling lights that dance as you stroll past them.   Barkley Square, the centerpiece park that holds concerts and picnics in the summer, is now replaced with an ice skating rink.   Many people comment that it has a European feel.   Whether it’s European or circa 1950’s, it’s fun, it’s beautiful and it just feels good.

Speaking as a single mom of a teenager, I’m fortunate enough now to experience occasional date nights but I do remember a time not long ago when they were few and far between.  Whether you’re an unofficial restaurant critic or your last date included the option of super-sizing fries, all moms know the importance of making every free moment count, because you never know when the next child-free moment will be.  For just that reason, Park Place has 15 restaurants and specialty food stores that provide the ideal romantic escape.  One man — yes, I said man — described his Park Place perfectly to my friend.  He said it was a “hand-holding” place.   Need I say more?

If you haven’t already experienced Park Place, I have the perfect reason to try it now.   On Saturday, November 15th, we’re holding our annual Holiday Open House.   We’ll have free (that’s not a typo) horse-drawn carriage rides from 1-3pm, strolling Dickens carolers from 2-4pm, ice skating and some great sales and fun activities from the stores and restaurants.   Plus, if you spend $100 or more at any Park Place merchant on this day, you can pick up a free Poinsettia at Rosehill Gardens.   That’s a $50 value, for free.

This is the perfect time to experience the charm and unique character of Park Place.   If not sooner, be sure to come by mid-February to visit “The Ice,” the only outdoor ice skating rink in South Johnson County.   When you’re out there skating with your family and it’s snowing those fat, beautiful snowflakes on a not-so-freezing day, you will swear you just entered a Norman Rockwell painting.   And don’t we all long for those brief moments?  Whether it’s for our Open House, later this winter or someday down the road, I hope you will bring your family and experience all that Park Place has to offer – you may even take your own trip back in time.

 


Free Mobile App Enables You To Capture Memories: Introducing LittleHoots

Good Morning, Kansas City!

Happy Tuesday! If your child is anything like mine (smart, funny, energetic three year old), you’ve likely heard some pretty memorable, comical one-liners from them. Sometimes my daughter says something so sweet or so funny that I want to store it away in the memory bank (if only my memory was that good). For that reason, I was absolutely ecstatic to discover a brand new mobile application that allows you to capture and keep those moments forever. The best part about it – it’s free! We’ve asked our friends over at LittleHoots to share their story with us so, without further adieu, I present to you: LittleHoots.

Introducing: LittleHoots

“Look Mommy – the moon is on!” Of course, to little Jett Eliis, age 4, that big round “light” in the sky is switched on just like the little bulb in the lamp by his bed. You have to love the simple logic that comes “out of the mouth of babes”.  So pure, so innocent, so memorable thought Jett’s Mom, Lacey Ellis, when she heard those words spoken as they were getting into the car one night. Thus was born an idea for a new phone app. Right here. Yes Dorothy, we’re still in Kansas- City to be exact, birthplace of LittleHoots.

Lacey, a former Art Director with a Kansas City advertising agency, immediately sensed the value in being able to keep the memory of Jett’s charming observation, which she knew would be lost and forgotten by the time they got back home. Yes, she did grab her phone to type it into the notes app, but knew in her heart that it would be lost in the “noise” because it lacked attention to design and personalization that she wanted and knew it deserved.

That was a year and a half ago – now LittleHoots is a real live, up-and-running mobile app that allows you to capture all those memorable words that tumble out of the mouths of your kiddos, your grand-kiddos, your friend’s kiddos- words that you can save, along with photos, encased in a nicely designed Memory Tile [what we’re calling these little works of art] – created on-the-fly by you – yes, you – it’s that simple. They say it – you crack up, tear up, scrunch your eyes in disbelief – and, with a couple of taps on your mobile device, you send it on its merry way to be archived forever on LittleHoots and your camera roll – as well as in your heart. These memories can also be shared on social media, in a text or email – or they can simply be cherished by you along with your closest friends and family. AND, because it’s that time of year when families often gather together, a Keepsake store will be launched on the app [Nov. 15th] from which you will be delighted to choose from and order the Memory Tiles you have created displayed on all manner of products.

The time to download LittleHoots on your iPhone – it’s free! is now. Android owners, please be patient – our little team of worker-owls are toiling fast and furious to have LittleHoots available to you very, very soon, so you can join in the fun. Promise. We would love to share some of our favorite “hoots” from the many that have already been created, so you can get an idea of what said “fun” is all about! Enjoy! 🙂

For more information on LittleHoots, please visit their website. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


October 2014 Kids Club Recap: Skate City Overland Park

Happy Monday, Kansas City!

If not for the cooler, Autumnesque, temperatures making way into the metro area this week, I’m not sure that I would believe it’s already November. Between cheering on our boys in blue during the World Series to the incredible interaction we’ve had with all of you both online and in person, October was an amazing month here at iFamilyKC. As you know, we partner up with some of our favorite family friendly places across Kansas City each month to host our exclusive iFamilyKC Kids Club events throughout the year. Last week, we teamed up with Skate City Overland Park for our October 2014 Kids Club event and we had a blast!

‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’ hanging out with Skate City’s own lovable snowman.

Our friends over at Skate City provided iFamilyKC readers with discounted admission to their weekly Pixie Class, which is designed for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old who are interested in learning how to use roller skates, where we enjoyed a skate lesson, candy, snacks, and some great door prizes from iFamilyKC, Disney’s Big Hero 6, and The Boxtrolls. Take a peek:

Everyone’s favorite deputy and his pal ‘Buzz Lightyear’ enjoyed their morning at Skate City.

The highlight of our morning was seeing all of you dressed up in your Halloween best for this Kids Club event! In attendance were princesses, robots, superheroes, and just about everything in between.

These princesses sure do know how to rock a roller skating party!

We had so much fun hanging out with everyone in costume!

It’s always fun hanging out with our readers and giving away some fun door prizes along the way! Our friends over at Disney sent over some fun Big Hero 6 gifts for this event:

We also had some great goodies from The Boxtrolls for every attendee!

Congrats to our winners!

Want to get in on the fun this month?! Get on the iFamilyKC email list so you can stay up to date on all of our fun Kids Club events throughout the year! Can’t wait to see you soon!