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A Day At Johnson Farms: iFamilyKC Kids Club Event Recap!

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

To the delight of many (myself included), Autumn weather has finally made its way into the metro area and the crisp air and falling leaves create the ideal backdrop for a visit to your favorite Pumpkin Patch and farm. There’s something about spending time appreciating nature in the Fall that is really special and inspiring – I can’t wait to enjoy this season with my own family at Johnson Family Farms right here in Kansas City.

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As you know, iFamilyKC hosted one of our monthly Kids Club Events at the beautiful Johnson Family Farms on Friday where we enjoyed spending time with the animals in the farm animal corral and playing out on the farm. We kicked off our time at Johnson Farms with getting our hands dirty with beautiful flowers to take home and plant in our own garden. JohnsonFarms4

This activity was included in our exclusive iFamilyKC Kids Club admission price but Johnson Family Farms also offers their guests a vast assortment of different sizes, colors, and shapes of goods at competitive prices. You’ll find:

  • Gourds
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Seasonal Vegetables
  • Flowers and Mums
  • Seasonal Goods and Decorations

The next stop on our Kids Club adventure took us through the Farm Animal Corral where we were able to peek in on the lives of some incredible animals including newborn baby pigs. As a parent and an avid reader, I appreciate the small, intentional, details that the Johnson family has put into making their farm such a special place for families. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed the attribute to “The Three Little Pigs” in their outdoor animal area.

JohnsonFarms2

Watching my almost four year old daughter as she watched, with such beautiful curiosity, the baby chicks and ducks was easily the highlight of my time at Johnson Family Farms. As a parent, I loved that there was a learning opportunity available to her in the animal corral and she enjoyed spending time with some pretty amazing creatures that she doesn’t normally interact with in a normal day.

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After enjoying the animals, we headed back over to the expansive play area available with admission to the farm. From Fort Johnson to the bus preschool zone, there is something to enjoy for children of all ages at Johnson Family Farms and it’s the driving force for my family to revisit again and again this season.

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I imagine it’s very easy to spend an entire day out at Johnson Family Farms and still not experience everything that they have to offer. This year, in addition to their pumpkin patch, they’re also offering:

  • 13 Acre Corn Maze
  • 3 Acre Sunn Hemp Maze
  • Giant Tunnel Crawl
  • Numerous Play Zones
  • Farmer Tom’s Barrel Train
  • Large Jumping Pillow
  • Pig Races
  • Pumpkin Cannon Launchings
  • Pumpkin Chomping
  • Farm Animal Corral
  • Fort Johnson
  • Tire Jungle
  • Little Kids Maze Barn

 

Before we headed out, I grabbed a few things to decorate my front porch and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Their friendly staff helped me pick out a selection of plants to place together in an adorable pumpkin planter that now rests atop a bale of straw that creates a fun Autumn decoration for my house.

Johnson Family Farms

We had such a great time at Johnson Family Farms that I can’t wait to go back. To learn more about the farm or their family friendly activities that are available to you this season, visit them online. Stay up to date with all of our FUN Kids Club events by joining the iFamilyKC Email list!


Reflections At 37 Weeks: On Pregnancy The Third Time Around

Happy Monday, KC!

We are unbelievably over the moon excited for one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members, Jayne, on the new addition to her family. This morning, Jayne is sharing her reflections on being 37 weeks pregnant, the third time around. We’re curious, how did your subsequent pregnancies differ from your first?! Join the conversation here on the blog and on the iFamilyKC Facebook page.

Reflections On Pregnancy

So, I have officially hit that point in my pregnancy.

You know, the point where I just want to beach myself on our couch and not get up until it’s time to give birth?
Yep.  That point.
 
In comparison to my two prior winter pregnancies, my third (but first summer) pregnancy has been very different toward the end.  As I round out the third trimester in my 37th week this week – I have to say I’m more ready to have this baby than I have been with any of my other pregnancies.
Clearly, I want my sweet baby girl to stay in my belly as long as she needs to develop and mature to the point of being to safely thrive on her own after her birth – but I definitely am feeling it more this time around.  While we have been given a slight mercy with the weather lately in that it’s been cooler and more tolerable, my body is just tired.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you believe it’s a good thing I still have to be up and running around for my sanity), my two older children are keeping me plenty busy in these few weeks and making the time fly by.  There are a few more things I’d like to have prepared by the time the baby comes (including setting up our baby monitors, preparing a few more freezer meals, giving the house a deep clean – including end of summer things like cleaning the windows and etc.), but for the most part, we are just coasting at this point.
I can clearly remember during both my first and second pregnancies hoping that the babies would hold out and hang with me just a little longer.  I LOVED (and still do love) the feeling of their little bodies moving and kicking inside of me.  It warms my heart to know the miracle that my body is creating and I completely understand that pregnancy is probably the most interconnected I will ever be with my children.  With my first, for whatever reason I expected to be overdue – and then he came almost a week early.  With my second, her due date was three days after Christmas.  I remember hoping so strongly that she would wait to join us until after Christmas so that I could keep the holiday as normal as possible for my first child that year.  (She did, being born two days after Christmas!)
With this third child, while I am continuing to enjoy the movement and last few weeks we’ll have as one – I definitely feel the excitement to meet her overwhelming the wishes for her to stay inside for a little bit longer.  I am so ready to hold her in my arms, kiss her sweet face, and just see who exactly she is beyond the little being inside.
Either way, she will come when she is ready – early, late, or on time.  And any way it happens, I will have been glad for the journey we’ve taken so far and the path we’ll walk together once she joins our family at home.
How did you feel nearing the end of your pregnancy?  Ready?  Or wanting more time?
iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Jayne is a hard working, home schooling mama.
Stay tuned for more posts from Jayne coming up SOON.

ENTER TO WIN- 4 Passes To “Pan” In 3D Saturday October 3rd! #PanMovie

ENTER TO WIN!

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Screening: Saturday, Oct. 3

We are THRILLED to announce a FUN GIVEAWAY for 4 passes to THIS Saturday’s advanced screening of the new film “Pan”. To enter, simply leave a COMMENT on THIS BLOG POST and let us know why YOU should win! We’ll randomly draw and email 25 winners on Thursday of this week! Good luck!

PAN

Location: Cinemark Merriam 20 (we will be in the big 550 seat house)

Time: 10:30am

Movie is screening in 3D

 

 

PAN

 

Pan opens nationwide Friday, October 9.

 


“The Intern”: A Movie Review

Happy Weekend, Friends!

With just about 16 weeks left until the new year (shocking, we know!), we’re about to head into one of our favorite seasons: Oscar season! Movie studios will be releasing some BIG hits in the coming months and we are so excited to share reviews on each of them right here on the iFamilyKC blog. Tonight, we wanted to share a review from one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members, Erin. Erin had the opportunity to attend an early screening of “The Intern” with some of our screening pass winners on Monday. Take a look at what she thought…

“The Intern”

The Intern

Release Date:  Friday 25 September 2015 (Kansas City Market)

Run Time:  121 minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG-13 (for some suggestive content and brief strong language)

Director: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, Adam Devine

“The Intern” stars Anne Hathaway, who plays Jules Ostin, a young entrepreneur who owns and operates a successful fashion website company.  It also stars Robert De Niro, a recently widowed senior citizen, Ben Whittaker, that is hired on at Jules’ company in a senior internship program. I got a chance to watch a screening of this quirky and heartwarming comedy. I enjoyed the chemistry between Hathaway and De Niro. As a young businesswoman and an experienced businessman, they develop a friendship and a unique bond that surprisingly works!  Other characters in the movie included the hilarious Adam Devine, whom you may know from the Comedy Central show Workaholics and Rene Russo, who plays an in-office masseuse for Jules’ company that befriends Whittaker.

The story takes a disappointing turn involving Jules’ family. Without giving too much away, I didn’t think the writers resolved the issue realistically (but this is a Hollywood movie, not real life!)  The movie did seem to drag on a bit and the ending felt like an abrupt wrap up.  I can’t say I would have gone the same route as Hathaway’s character but, again, this is a movie not my life.

I saw the screening with a girlfriend of mine and we both agreed that this was a great movie!  I give it a solid 9 out of 10 rating, where 10 is the best.  I think this movie would appeal to an age range of mid-20s to 70s. This would be a great movie to attend with your girlfriends or a female family member. My husband would probably call this one a “chick flick.”  You’re in for a good laugh, maybe a tear or two, and a just an overall feel good movie with The Intern.

Erin Booth, mother of 2 little ones and 1 big. Grandma to another little one.

(8 month old son, 5 year old daughter, 20 year old stepson, and 4 month old grandbaby girl).

Starting her very first blog at https://dayinthelifeofamommyof3.wordpress.com/


Staying Healthy As The Weather Gets Colder (Welcome To Autumn!)

Good Evening!

Autumn is FINALLY here! This is absolutely, hands down, without a doubt my favorite season. As the weather gets chilly in the months to come, it’s important to take a look at what you can do to ensure that your family stays healthy. Tonight, iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Emily M. shares her tips and tricks for keeping the colds out of YOUR house this season.

Keep Your Family Healthy This Autumn

Happy Fall! Crunchy leafs, bonfires, s’mores, hoodies, and of course all that pumpkin spice. These are just a few of the things we think about as fall has approached us. Now that I am a mom AND preschool teacher, I can picture fall a little bit differently. Okay, maybe a lot differently. As the weather changes, I see a lot more runny noses, congestion, sore throats, coughs, and ear aches. Now that we are officially out of the summer season and heading into the cooler autumn months, I’m trying to prepare my family for the cold and flu season to make it easier on our bodies. Here are some tips to keep in mind that you might try with your own family:

  • Hand-Washing: This is important for your family and especially small children. Hand washing is an important preventative measure we should be using at all times. However, it is extremely important when those nasty bugs are floating through schools and public places.
  • Break out the bleach. Keeping surfaces clean and disinfected in the kitchen and bathroom are no-brainers. However, we should pay special attention to using a Clorox wipe on door/handle cabinets and other surfaces that your family comes in contact frequently throughout the day. Consider taking wipes or tissues with you in public to open doors or before pushing your cart to avoid contacting germs someone may have left behind.
  • Pump up your immune system. Consider a daily routine of taking Vitamin C and probiotics. Make sure to get plenty of exercise and laughter daily. It is important for children to get a wide range of antioxidants from a healthy diet to help stay healthy from foods such as oranges, kiwi, broccoli, or greens. Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep each day.
  • Flu-Shot. Talk with your doctor and family pediatrician early in the season about getting a flu shot for the season to prevent against influenza.

Gather supplies. Even with preventative measures, chances are you or a member of your family might catch a cold this season. Prepare for the season while you are still feeling good and have a cold kit ready to use. You can include tissues (don’t forget to look for ones with lotion), vapor chest rub, cough drops, throat spray/drops, appropriate medication for age and weight of your family members and children, Vitamin C, and something special to help make your sick one smile. Sometimes I will throw in “silly socks” for my daughter, which most of us know as fuzzy socks.  

Check back next week for more from iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Emily M!


Universal Truths: Parenting Edition

Good Afternoon, Kansas City!

Today is *officially* the LAST day of Summer (though I’ve been out of the ‘Summer’ mindset for a while now) and we’re EXCITED to share a fun post from Jayne, one of our incredible iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members. Today, Jayne shares some universal truths in parenting that I know we can all relate to! Join us in conversation here on the blog and on Facebook – we’d LOVE to hear from YOU!

Universal Truths: Parenting Edition

Parenting is a funny thing, friends.

No matter how much you read, study, or discuss with others beforehand – and no matter how many opinions you form about how you will parent your children – inevitably you realize that you know nothing and that most of those “I never” statements will completely backfire in your face.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you prefer to appreciate the learning experience), there just isn’t any way you can know really much of anything about parenting until you’re in those moments actually doing it.  That said, in the short amount of time I’ve been a parent, there have been a few universal truths that have proven accurate to our family.
– You will read the same book, over and over, for days/weeks/years.
 
It doesn’t matter if you just read Curious George Makes a Pizza twenty minutes ago.  They want to read it again.  And don’t even think about paraphrasing longer pages or trying to skip a page, because your children will know.
– Whenever you get comfortable with a stage, your children will change.
 
This can be a blessing and a curse.  Think your child will never sleep through the night?  I promise, eventually they will.  But that happy, sweet phase of exploring while still leaving all your things alone?  As soon as you feel comfortable leaving your child alone in a room because “they do so well leaving all of our nice things alone!” is the second you come back to a room full of flour everywhere or a lamp smashed into pieces.  No fail.
– You will never own a complete game or toy again.
 
No matter how few pieces a toy or game has, I can guarantee at some point (often the first time they play with it) that your children will lose some or all of the pieces.  Especially if it contains small pieces.  The other day I rotated in a puzzle to one of my son’s bookcase shelves, and less than 24 hours later half the pieces were missing.  The culprit and location were found to be a rather curiously sweet little sister who’d pilfered the pieces and stashed them away in her mailbox toy.  Half a puzzle, coming someone’s way!
– Your car will never be clean again.
 
Well, maybe for a day or so.  After a deep clean.  That takes 6 hours.  I don’t know what it is about children, but even if I try to extremely limit anything they’re bringing into the car from our home – things always find a way to my SUV floor.  Whether they pick up items while we’re out, extra bits of food get dropped or thrown around, or the toy fairy drops off little gifts for my children on the floor of my car while we’re sleeping – the mess always.comes.back.
Thankfully, even though some of the above universal truths of parenting seem a little rough – most days you won’t even for one second care.  Because those beautiful children stealing game pieces and smashing fries into your car are the most lovable creatures you will ever meet in your life.
Now, pass me the vacuum cleaner.

Let’s Talk About Potty Training!

Good Morning, Friends!

Happy Monday! As many of you get started with your work week, we wanted to share a sweet post on potty training from one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members, Brandi. I vividly remember trying to potty train my daughter when she was two and all the frustration and cookies (so many cookies in the bathroom!) that went along with it. I also remember how unbelievably PROUD I was of her when things finally clicked. If you’re in the process of potty training your little ones, have faith…it WILL happen! Take a look at Brandi’s story:

Potty Training

Get ready for the best potty-training story ever…

A couple of months ago at my son’s daycare I witnessed something that left me not only in awe but also in panic mode. As I was hanging up his bag I heard a flush from the classroom toilet and the teacher walked out with a little girl who could not have been 2 years old yet.

I looked at the teacher, “Is she potty-trained ALREADY?” The teacher looked at me with that I know its amazing right look and said “Yes!” I was fascinated by this and at the same time a bit jealous. I knew that potty-training was coming up and I had already googled every potty-training tip out there so I was prepared – but I have to admit it snuck up on me.  I mean, my baby is still a baby and I just spent $40 on a new box of diapers, not pull-ups! There are websites and books and self-proclaimed potty-training guru videos.

Whatever your learning style is, it’s out there for you.

After that daycare incident I started quizzing my friends and family about potty-training and when they did it and how they did it and what age ….my mind was dizzy with tips. After talking to my husband we decided to wait a couple of months, at the time our son was only 27 months old and some people had said to wait until he is ready.  A couple of great tips to know when they are ready is they start saying ‘pee pee’  and recognize what a toilet is and if they can pull up/down their pants.  Tristan was already doing those things so it was up to us to get him his gear (potty seat, stepping stool) and start potty boot-camp which in my mind would start on a Saturday and we would press through it all weekend. I was exhausted already!

So this is the best part of my story…

Tristan is 29 months old now and basically aged out of his daycare class and moved across the hall to a class his age and older. He moved from one wonderful teacher to the next. I knew a move might shake up his world for a week or two but we would work through it. Day 3 in his new class: I walk in to pick him up and his teacher saw me and said, “Oh, he just got on the toilet.” I looked behind me thinking she was talking to another mother but there was nobody behind me and I said “Tristan did?” as she shook her head yes. I jokingly asked her, “Are you potty-training him for me?”  My face went from big joking smile to WOW! She proceeded to tell me that she thought he was potty-trained because he had been going on the potty since he was in her classroom…3 days ago!  That little stinker was doing what the other kids were doing! Now I was in awe of my own little boy, I was in awe of the teacher and of the students he was mimicking.  When Tristan came out of the restroom he ran to me and told me in his cute little words that he went potty and washed his hands. I felt like I just got a helping hand on one of the biggest milestones of parenting.

The key is making sure your child is physically and developmentally ready

Look for the signs and your child may lead the way!


“Black Mass” Movie Review

Happy Weekend, Kansas City!

Weekends are always such a special time in our household – it’s the two days that we get to spend time together as a family and, occasionally, my husband and I enjoy an evening out. Since we’re both history buffs, it comes as no surprise that we tend to enjoy movies based on real life events. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to attend a sneak preview of “Black Mass” earlier this week. This film was intense and absolutely not appropriate for your children but it’s also fascinating and historically relevant. Tonight, I wanted to take a moment to share my personal thoughts on this film. If you’ve seen it – tell us what YOU thought in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Black Mass Review

Black Mass

Release Date: Friday September 18th, 2015

Running Time: 122 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use.

CastJohnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson

From “The Departed” to “The Town”, movies depicting the seedy underbelly of Boston’s crime syndicate have always personally fascinated me as a moviegoer. Perhaps its the historical significance of how the mob’s presence has worked to shape our nation (like helping to end prohibition in the early 1930s) or the relationship between the mob and the government that is so interesting to witness but it seems like mob movies are always a hit (get it, a hit – haha). The same can be said for the latest in the genre, “Black Mass”, which hit theaters nationwide this weekend.

This film, starring Johnny Depp (“Finding Neverland”, “Pirates Of The Caribbean”), Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”, “Zero Dark Thirty”), and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”, “Star Trek Into Darkenss”) depicts the real life of FBI agent John Connolly (Edgerton) and crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp), who grew up together in south Boston. The film demonstrates an era in American history where criminals utilized law enforcement to get ahead in their community and some of the scenes are downright unbelievable – it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that this actually happened in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The movie follows the story of how “Whitey” Bulger utilized his role as an informant for the FBI to take down his opposition and position himself as the Irish godfather in the Boston mob. Years of murders, drug dealing, and racketeering ultimately lead Bulger to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List but not before he made big waves in Boston and in the local FBI office.

Crime drama lovers and history enthusiasts alike will appreciate how well the screenwriters, director, and actors brought this part of history to life in “Black Mass”. It’s a great film well worth the ticket price to enjoy it on the big screen.

Questions about this review?! Email me anytime: Holli@ifamilykc.com 


“Everest” A Movie Review

Happy Friday, KC!

Like many of you, our team loves to travel and often dreams of what it would be like to visit some of Earth’s most exciting places. One of the beautiful things about movies is that they award us with the opportunity to witness scenarios and places that we might not ever have the chance to see in real life. iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Erin B had the opportunity to do just that when she caught an early screening of “Everest” earlier this week. Thankfully, Erin was nice and safe right inside the theater here in KC unlike the characters in the story who found themselves in a dangerous predicament. Take a look…

“Everest”
Everest Movie Review

Release Date:  Friday 25 September 2015 (Kansas City Market)

Run Time:  150 Minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG-13 for Disturbing Images, Intense Peril

Director: Baltasar Kormakur

Cast: Jason Clarke Josh Brolin Michael Kelly John Hawkes Robin Wright Emily Watson Keira Knightley Sam Worthington Jake Gyllenhaal

Everest follows the true story of a group of adventure seekers in 1996 who attempted to defy odds by climbing to the highest peak of Mount Everest. I got a chance to catch a screening in 3D and I must say this movie kept me on the edge of my seat, terrifying and thrilling at times. The climbers battled a monstrous storm and their physical and mental strength was put to the ultimate test.  Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall, the leader of the expedition. Josh Brolin stars as Beck Weathers along with many others in this all-star cast.  

I truly enjoyed the action scenes of the men making the treacherous ascent as well as the emotional and heartfelt scenes with the wives of two of the men. There were shots that made you feel as if you were on that mountain alongside them braving the icy and frigid conditions.  I found myself rooting for the guys to make it up the mountain and witnessing their descent was quite unsettling.  Horrifying and shocking describes quite a few scenes toward the end of the movie.

I give Everest a solid 8 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. Some scenes in the movie are disturbing, as the rating suggests, so I would recommend this movie for ages 13 and up. It is definitely suited for a more mature audience. If you are in the mood for an action-packed, thrilling piece of history, I would definitely check this one out!

Erin Booth, mother of 2 little ones and 1 big. Grandma to another little one. (7 month old son, 5 year old daughter, 20 year old stepson, and 4 month old grandbaby girl). Follow along with Erin’s blog at: Day In The Life Of A Mommy Of 3 

 


The Turn Signal Theory: A Personal Post From iFamilyKC Mom Squad Ambassador Leah

Greetings, KC!

As we enter into another weekend here in the metro area, we wanted to share a special post written by one of our Mom Squad team members. Leah, who recently joined us, shares a personal story this evening about a lesson she’s learned from her boyfriend – coined, “The Turn Signal Theory”. We’re curious – what lessons have YOUR loved ones taught you?! Join the discussion here at on the iFamilyKC Facebook page.

The Turn Signal Theory

A little over a year ago, God placed a very special man in my life. After the first few interactions we shared, I knew there was something about him that would change my life. Our conversations always held significant value and created a lasting impact on me. One moment we shared constantly comes to my mind when I think about his character as a man and what he stands for as a person.

The two of us were walking around my favorite trail and getting to know each other better. We spent about an hour or so swapping stories and subconsciously taking inventory of our compatibility. When he spoke, there was something almost magical in his words. His theories and values drew me in with every twist and turn. I was intrigued. I was becoming smitten and I was eager to know more about this man. As he held my hand and shared with me things that are most important to him, he shared a particular “moral theory” with me.

He said he often approaches life similar to the way he uses a turn signal.

I looked at him with pure confusion as I listened to the rest of this “theory” of his. He went on to say, “There are many times you may find yourself on the road with no one but you. While you are driving alone, you may need to make a turn. Even though no one but you would know if you used your turn signal, the right thing to do would be to use your turn signal anyway. What I am trying to say is I always try to do the right thing regardless of whether  anyone is around to see if I do.”

I stood there speechless for a moment. I began  mentally evaluating  my past actions and wondered how many times in life have I done the right thing regardless of who was watching?

His words shook my core and created a shift in my future approaches to my own behaviors. His words molded me in a sense. I needed to be reminded of the simplicity of “doing the right thing”. There are many situations in life where you think no one is watching you. Yet you learn later someone was watching you all along. This theory of his resonates so beautifully with parenting. It teaches you the value your actions hold with everyone you meet. The simplicity of holding the door for a stranger, letting someone go in line ahead of you, helping someone in need, smiling at a stranger, etc. Even though you think no one notices those actions, there is someone noticing all along.

You are teaching your children daily by the things you do when ”no one” else is watching.

There is so much power in knowing your actions play a part in cultivating  the future. That is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. So, when life gets hard and you feel like taking the easy way out, allow yourself to remember the simplicity and truth of the “turn signal” theory. You hold a power in your actions that can not only change the life of your children, but could change the life of someone else who maybe silently watching.

Follow along with Leah’s adventures over at Life With Leah.