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The little book with BIG resources!

The B-I-G BLOG Giveaway CONTINUES!

Good Evening, Kansas City!

Our blog was on a week-long hiatus while we were hiding from this crazy heat and, while we were gone, Rebecca Ramaglia WON our family 4-pack of tickets to Disney On Ice: Frozen that’s coming to Sprint Center in August. Congratulations Rebecca and family, we hope you enjoy the show! We’re gearing up for what is sure to be an exciting back half of the week here in KC- we’ve got our monthly Kids Club event at Faulkner’s Ranch tomorrow (Yeehaw!) and Kansas City’s ONLY Baby Fair coming up on Sunday. We want the fun to continue with our B-I-G BLOG GIVEAWAY and we want YOU to join us THIS Sunday at the Overland Park Convention Center. Take a peek below for more details on the event and how YOU can enter!

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This Sunday, iFamilyKC will be at Baby Love, KC’s ONLY Baby Fair from 10:00am-3:00pm and we want YOU to come out and experience the day with us. We’re giving 10 LUCKY WINNERS 2 tickets each for the event.

To enter: Simply LEAVE a COMMENT on THIS blog post and let us know who YOU will be taking with you if you win! We’ll randomly draw winners from both our blog AND our Facebook posts on Friday morning and will notify the winners either via email (winners from the blog) or Facebook (winners from social media) on Friday afternoon! Good luck and may the odds be ever in YOUR favor!


Inexpensive Outdoor Play Ideas For Kids

Hello, Readers!

With all of the stormy weather we had in the metro area recently, I begrudgingly peeked at the weather app on my smart phone this weekend all the while wondering “what’s next?!”. To my surprise, I discovered that much of the upcoming week is supposed to be hot and dry at least dry from the rain – even if not from the humidity. With all of the wet weather we’ve had over the past few weeks, we’ve been enjoying just about every indoor activity we can think of and our family is ready for some outdoor fun. Tonight  on the blog, Jayne (one of our lovely Mom Ambassadors), shares some great low-cost outdoor activities that you can enjoy this week!

PS: If you’ve been playing along with our B-I-G Summer Giveaway – your question of the day is included in this post.

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I don’t know about your kids – but mine have been itching to get outside and play.  As we leave the wetter weather we’ve had behind and dive into the heat of summer, we have several tried-and-true favorite toys we return to every year and I’d love to share them with you all!
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Bubbles
 
Bubbles are one of our favorite summer time toys.  Purchasing a cheap bubble combo pack with different wands and trays can be a great way to keep your toddler entertained for quite some time.
Pro tip- buy a LARGE size of extra bubbles.  That teeny jar is going to last you about 10 minutes, especially if it gets accidentally knocked over.
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Rakes/Shovels/Garden Tools
 
One of the best toddler investments we made was buying sets of toddler outdoor “tools” for our kids.  My kids will play around in the yard with rakes and actually functionally clear out portions of our yard while they’re playing.
Pro tip – if you have a small area of dirt or sensory dirt table, playing with small outdoor toddler garden tools is even more fun!
 
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Plastic Kiddie Pool
 
Outside of the obvious use for a kiddie pool, a plastic kiddie pool can be great for sensory play of all kinds – water with toys/cups/etc., sand, water beads, shaving cream, soap, colored ice cubes, feathers, dry beans – the possibilities are endless!  You could also use the kiddie pool for dirt or mud play as mentioned above!
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Chalk
 
Chalk is for sure a heavy hitter as part of our outdoor toddler toys.  Other than giving my kids free play with the chalk, they LOVE when I make games out of the chalk.  Drawing hop scotch, colored circles they run to, train tracks for their trains, race tracks for their toy cars, start and finish lines for the kids themselves to race, etc.  There are a few brands that even have washable chalk paint and glitter chalk for the kids to play as well.
Pro tip – opt for washable chalk and bold colors.  The bolder the color, the better your children will be able to see the chalk on your surfaces.
 
Thankfully, all of the items listed above are relatively inexpensive and easy to find for your children.  Sometimes we will gift these toys as stocking stuffers for holidays or birthday gifts off-season and ahead of time, so that when the summer rolls around, we’re prepared with a plethora of toys.
What are your favorite go-to outdoor play toys?

This Weekend At The Box Office: A Movie Review of “Minions”

Happy Friday, Kansas City!

The weekend is finally here and we are thrilled to share a review of the brand new “Minions” movie, which was released in theaters nationwide today. We had a chance to catch an early screening of this new film earlier this week with several of our winners as well as our friends over at SilverTree Visual Arts. Although a few of our iFamilyKC team members were there for the movie, this review was written by one of our Mom Squad Ambassadors, April. We’d love to hear what your thoughts on the movie were on the iFamilyKC Facebook page. If you’re following along with our enter-to-win for Disney On Ice Frozen tickets, you’ll find the question of the day at the bottom of this post. Without further adieu, let’s hear what April had to say about the movie…

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 “The Minions”

Walking into the theatre, my hopes were high for the latest from these cute little creatures. The first two movies were enjoyable and even the villain was redeemed when he discovered the good in his heart. A fun, light-hearted jaunt with “The Minions” is what I expected when I settled into my seat and popped on my 3D glasses. The story follows the minions’ quest to serve the most despicable master from the time they landed on Earth. Sadly, every master they choose to follow experiences an untimely death due to the shenanigans of the minions. An ice cave becomes their new home where they succumb to a mundane life with no master. Unsatisfied, Kevin, Stuart and Bob set off to find a new villain and restore hope in the hearts of the minions. Their quest takes them on a global adventure where they encounter villains, become heroes and stay true to who they are.

Kids will be entertained by the expected antics of the minions and the characters they encounter. Mostly set in 1968 England, this movie is just as amusing for the parents due to the music and cultural references. The colors, settings and 3D effects make this movie visually stimulating as well. The plot easily draws in the viewer, however there is a considerable amount of violence and death. Also concerning is that the line between good guys and bad guys is blurred. Commendably, Kevin steps up as a leader who is genuinely concerned for the welfare of his fellow minions to the point that he is willing to risk everything to improve their future. This movie is entertaining enough that it’s worth seeing and following up with a discussion.

Find a discussion guide for your family at For Such a Season and follow April on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

Our Enter-to-win question of the day: 

If you had to pick one fictional villain for the Minions to serve, who would it be?


B-I-G BLOG Giveaway Announcement! Hint: It Involves Disney’s “Frozen” (ON ICE!)

Happy (almost) Weekend, Kansas City!

We’re almost there, folks! (all together now: WE CAN DO IT!) As the weekend creeps in, we thought it might be fun to change things up a bit with how we normally do our enter-to-win giveaways. We’ve got a lot of fun content from our staff, Mom Ambassadors, and special guests here on the iFamilyKC blog and we want YOU to join in on the fun.

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Over the next two weeks, we’ll be including a question in each of our blog posts that we’d like for YOU to answer by leaving us a comment on the blog post.

Playing along is simple: For every question you answer, you’ll be entered to win.

Want to know what you’re playing for?!

(“Survivor” fans, I hope you heard that in Jeff Probst’s voice, because that’s exactly what we intended).

We are giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to Disney On Ice: Frozen! 

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We can’t wait for you to join us as we are whisked away to Arendelle (Sprint Center) for a fun evening with Mickey, Minnie, Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and special guest appearances from our favorite Disney Princesses and characters. We invite you to sing and dance along at what is sure to be a memorable evening with your little ones. Now it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie but we still sing along to the “Frozen” soundtrack every night on occasion in our household so tonight’s question is pretty simple for any “Frozen” fan:

What is YOUR favorite “Frozen” song?

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Disney On Ice Frozen 

August 26-31, 2015

Sprint Center 

 Tickets for the event can be purchased through the Sprint Center box office or online and start at just $27.

The winner of a family 4-pack of vouchers to Disney On Ice Frozen will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries* on or around July 27th, 2015 and will be notified by email to the address used to submit the winning entry on the iFamilyKC blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize or an alternate winner will be drawn. 

*This contest is open to adults age 18+ with a valid email address. Entries are earned by answering the question, in its entirety, in the comments section of the iFamilyKC blog post where the question was asked. One entry per blog post per person. 

 


Keeping The Toys In Check With Mom Ambassador Jayne

Good Afternoon, Kansas City!

Ask any parent who has dealt with the issue of MOVING with small children and they will tell you how important it is to manage chaos. Today, we hear from one of our Mom Squad Ambassadors, Jayne, who shares her journey in managing the stress of clutter in the transition of moving.

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Over the past year, we will have done the following things –

1. Sell our home in one state
2. Move to another state
3. Move into an apartment while building a home
4. Move into said new home from apartment
 
During this process, we’ve had to streamline our possessions and our at-hand possessions (the ones that didn’t go to storage during the temporary living situation) quite a bit more than we’ve ever done before in our lives – and the first time we’ve done it as parents.
Throughout the process, I think there has been one blazing, clear theme that shown up on multiple occasions:
We have/had too much stuff.
 
Even though it is current and in style to “KonMari” your items to only those that bring you joy, we were sort of forced into the process this past year by multiple moves and small spaces.  While I thought we were giving our children a “Montessori-based” environment in our prior state, I now realize that the amount and organization of the things we did/do have was not quite as beneficial for their development and the amount of clutter in our home.
Moving into our new home, here are a few things we’re planning on doing differently:
– Purging/donating/selling any toys that no longer are age appropriate or spark interest from our kids. 
 
Because otherwise, it’s feeling like hoarders for kids over here, y’all.
 
– Offering only a small amount of toys/games at one time on shelves in the kids’ rooms, and then changing them out as needed.
 
One of the main things I noticed throughout our transitions was that our children didn’t NEED as many toys within grasp, and when they had less – they focused more on what they had.  More time was spent on those toys, there was a higher likelihood they’d get put away, and they played more purposefully with those toys.
– Setting up stations where our children can access their own activities as desired or supplies as needed.
 
As my children have gotten older (ages 4 & 2) and have shown some early tidbits of responsibility, we’ve tried to give them as much independence as they can safely handle.  In our new home, this will mean self care stations where they are able to independently wash their own hands, brush teeth (although we do brush for them one time per day), etc.  We’ll also set up clean up stations including rags for spills, brooms, dustpans, etc. so that they may clean up after their own messes.  Another station we’d like to set up is their own crafting station, where our children can grab construction paper and crayons or markers on their own and create their own art on their own time.  We’ve had to work a bit on proper use and improper use of those craft tools, but I think we’re coming around the corner to a point where even my youngest realizes what is expected of her when it comes to things like crayon.
What are some ways you’ve optimized toy placement and use in your home?  Any tips for us as we transition into our new space?