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Happy Thanksgiving From iFamilyKC

Hello, Kansas City!

We can’t let this day pass without sending out a note of thanks to each of YOU, our incredible community of readers and friends, for making this city such a wonderful place to be. It is such an honor to serve families in Kansas City here at iFamilyKC and we want to wish each of you the very best this Thanksgiving.


It is with deep gratitude that we wish you and your family a happy holiday. As we sit around our tables this Thanksgiving, let’s all take a few minutes to share what we’re most grateful for with our loved ones. We look forward to jumping into the holiday season with each of you and to sharing fun activities, events, and opportunities this season!

From iFamily to yours, Happy Turkey Day!

Victor Frankenstein: A Movie Review

Good Morning!

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, Everyone! One of the holiday traditions in my household growing up was going to see a movie on Thanksgiving with my family. For those of you with older (teenage) children, who might be looking for an alternative to the family friendly films tomorrow (or over the weekend), Victor Frankenstein opens up in theaters nationwide today and we’re excited to share a review of the new film with you on the blog. One of our iFamilyKC team members, Jennifer, had a chance to catch a sneak peek of the new  movie earlier this week. Take a look…


Victor Frankenstein, set to release November 25, 2015 is a sci-fi horror film based on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, written in 1818.

We start off meeting a nameless hunchbacked circus clown working against his will.  His decrepit and beat up appearance make it almost impossible to realize that he is played by the famous Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself.  We are led to assume that he is a bit feeble minded as we watch him submit to being smacked, kicked, and pushed around like a freak show while the circus audience laughs and claps.

But when he goes back to his living quarters, we see his DaVinci like drawings of the human anatomy and learn very quickly that this circus clown is actually very intelligent and likes to study medical books in his free time.

One day as the hunchback watches and admires a beautiful trapeze artist name Lorelei perform (played by Jessica Brown Findlay), the trapeze rope snaps and she plummets to the ground and appears lifeless.  He immediately races to her side where we see a brief look inside his mind as he scans her injury perceived to us, the movie audience, like his anatomy drawings written across her body.  This tells us that he has a knowledge of where the internal bones and organs are and knows exactly what to do to get Lorelei breathing once again.  He is successful in doing so, and Lorelei is alive and on her way to the hospital where we will see her come into play later on again in the film.

During the hunchback’s medical performance, an onlooker has taken on quite an interest in the hunchback and his life-saving capabilities.  This onlooker soon breaks the hunchback free from his circus captors in a tense, action-packed scene of fire, knives, and illusions.  Once the two men safely escape, we learn the onlooker is Victor Frankenstein (played by James McAvoy) a wealthy medical student.  He has rescued the hunchback from his captivity because he senses he is a genius and the perfect partner to help Victor with his secret research.

After the rescue and escape, Victor surprises the hunchback with his doctoral knowledge of what the hump on his back REALLY is, in a grotesque and cringe worthy scene.  But Victor really does know his science and soon the hunchback is standing upright and is told to clean up and shown his new living quarters within Victor’s huge upstairs flat. He is no longer hunchback and additionally no longer nameless, as this is where Victor gives him the name of Igor.

We are thereon taken on a journey where the two become great partners in experiments and also begin to develop a friendship.  Victor’s goal is to continue his research of immortality he has been working on prior, with the help of Igor’s surgical know-how.  Together they create their first creature made from a modge podge of animal parts, which quickly spirals into a terrifying mistake.  Once danger is halted, Victor is convinced he can get it right the second time, but the two disagree.  After a bit of convincing the two come together again and work to build the ultimate Prometheus, a monster so large, he will have two working hearts and two sets of lungs.

Now along the way there are a few bumps in the road trying to stop them from completing the Prometheus.  But once he is completed, Victor quickly (and finally) realizes he went too far.  This is when true friendship between Victor and Igor is demonstrated the most, and Igor helps to save his friend from the monster he created.

The climax of Prometheus was a bit short-lived for the reason that the entire movie was leading us up to this point and I just expected a bit more time within the scene.  Still, with unique special effects, superior costuming of the Victorian era, and a new twist on the old classic Frankenstein that has been retold so many times, it is a film worth seeing and a great use of 110 minutes of your time.

Keeping Your Mom Mojo

Hello, Friends!

When iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Jayne sent over this post for today, it really spoke to me. I can’t tell you the number of mornings I have been so concerned with getting my household in order that my own personal grooming has gone by the wayside. If you’ve had mornings like this (which I’m guessing you have), this post is for you. Take a look…


After you have children, it is so incredibly easy to focus so immensely on your children that you forget yourself.  I think that, at some point, every mother comes across a time in her (often young) child’s life where self-care hits an all-time low as care for her family increases in spades.

You know those days.  The “show up in yoga pants with makeup from three days ago and hair in a messy bun” days.
For most women – that is at least a once in a while thing, and for a lot of women it can become a routine occurrence.  But just how do you break out of that rut?  And why should you?
Personally, I found that the less I took care of myself after children – the worse I felt about myself.  The worse I felt about myself, overall the worse parent I was.  When I felt down, I had less patience, less calm, and less ability to respond with love to their needs.  On days when I actually took care of myself, it seemed easier to be the gentle, loving parent I wanted to be – because I felt good about and with my own self first.
To get myself to that point, however, it took quite a few small changes that really helped shift my overall self-care routine.  Here are some of the things I’ve changed below:
– Get dressed.  Every day.
Honestly, this is one of the easiest and most simple things that you can do, but one of the most common things for mothers to ignore.  Simply by making sure that after my children were dressed each day that I dressed MYSELF, we were able to leave the house sooner, get outside to play more often, and I wasn’t avoiding actually doing anything all day because I was still in pajama pants and a tank top.
– Eat breakfast.
Most mornings, by the time I get my children’s breakfast on the table – someone is already needing this food cut or seconds of that or has lost a fork or needs to go potty or a million other possible needs all at once.  While I always attend quickly to things like toileting needs when my assistance is required, my children are slowly learning that if they have food and drink on the table and I do not yet – or if I do have my breakfast but am not finished eating it yet – they can try to fix their problem themselves until I can help when I am finished.  By taking a few minutes to feed myself in the morning, I am not only setting a good example of my own self-care for their future adult lives, but I am also encouraging my children to try and solve their own problems first and increasing their independence.
– Have my own hobbies.
As my children’s needs have grown in number and strength, it seemed almost too easy to let things that caused me enjoyment to fall to the wayside.  By making sure that I have my own hobbies, it not only fuels my soul but also teaches my little ones how to be more well-rounded in addition.  One of the things that brings me joy is decorating and DIY projects.  Just this weekend, I was out staining crates in my garage with the intent of using them to store our weekly library book stash in our living room.  My children have also seen me paint furniture, take and hang photography, and choose accessories that fit within the theme of our home.  While some of these things may seem simple, my children are not only watching me take enjoyment in an activity but also learning how to do things like refinish furniture with me.  It’s a win-win situation.
– Get some ME time.
Being a stay at home mother to small children with no family or support system in our area can be difficult to say the least at times.  Oftentimes, if I leave the house WITHOUT any children in tow, I’m that parent checking the seats in the back and texting my husband with haste to make sure everyone is fine only because I’m so accustomed to never being alone.  But that time is important.  Even if it’s only a solo trip to the grocery store or out to take myself to dinner with a friend – mothers need that time alone where they can relax and let down their hyper-vigilant, always-on, never-relaxed guard when going out into public places.  Walking through the aisles of a store slowly, aimlessly, while drinking your own drink or subsequently eating your own meal can be a game changer in terms of returning your calm and patience.
Parenting young children can be hard.  The physical and mental toll it can take on a parent is sometimes vast and deep, but it’s so worth it – and can be much easier when you take a few simple steps to care for yourself as well as your children.
What are some ways in which you care for yourself?  How can your family help you to accomplish these self-care tasks?

Enter To Win: Nutcracker Ballet Tea Party Tickets

Good Evening, Friends!

The Nutcracker ballet has been a special holiday favorite for generations and I have fond memories from the live show stemming from my own childhood. I think that’s why I’m so excited to be able to share a very wonderful enter to win opportunity with each of you today.


Our team would like to invite YOU to join us for this year’s Nutcracker Tea Party presented by Crescendo Conservatory and the Friends Of Overland Park Arts. This holiday event will take place the first weekend in December at the Ritz Charles and there are several performances to select from if you’re interested in purchasing tickets. We’ll be going on Saturday December 5th for the 10:00am showing and would like to bring 7 lucky couples with us to the event.

Nutcracker Tea Party

To enter: Head on over to the iFamilyKC Enter To Win page and fill out your information!

Enter To Win

Drop us a comment on here and let us know when you entered (and who you’ll bring with you if you win) for brownie points! For more information on the Nutcracker Tea Party, visit them online. We can’t wait to share this magical experience with you!

Ten Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Photography Session

Good Afternoon, Friends!

Happy Tuesday, Everyone! Although the weather has been pretty rainy the last 24 hours, we hope it hasn’t put a damper on your day. I don’t know about you but I always find myself spending more time on my personal social media account when the weather is rotten outside. I’m not sure whether I’m subconsciously trying to live vicariously through my friends who live near the coast (or are traveling to tropical places) or if it’s the lack of being able to spend the afternoon at the park but, regardless, I’ve been active on Facebook today and I noticed that several of my friends are getting their holiday family photos taken lately. This inspired us to ask our friends over at Plank Photography to send over their top ten tips for making the most out of your next photo session. Take a look…

Top Ten Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Next Photography Session

Top Ten Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Next Photography Session

A Guest Post From Plank Photography

#1 Be Well (Rested & Fed)

We’re all at our best when we’ve had enough rest and our bodies are well nourished. Try to schedule your family photography session around your existing routine avoiding nap times and regular bedtime so that you’re well rested and ready to go when taking pictures. Like the Snickers commercials say, you’re not you when you’re hungry so be sure to grab a snack on the way to your session!

Pro Tip: If your child is (or has been) sick, they very likely need lots of rest and healthy foods: Don’t hesitate to reschedule with your photographer.

#2 Don’t Rush (Getting Ready)

What happens in the hour or two prior to your arrival will likely set the tone for how your session will go. Be sure to leave plenty of time for showers and baths, dressing, and grooming for the entire family so that your family won’t feel rushed beforehand.

Pro Tip: We know moms are typically busy getting everyone else in the family ready but remember to leave time for yourself, too!

#3 Be Happy Participants 

Attitude is everything. When someone in the family isn’t enjoying the idea of taking family pictures, it impacts the mood of the session. Remind them that your images are memories for your children and family to have long after you’re gone.

Pro Tip: Spend some time revisiting special photos before your session as a reminder of how important capturing this time is to future generations.

#4 The Cohesive Family 

The number one question I get from families is “What do we wear during our session?”. While I don’t normally dole out fashion advice (because I want my clients to dress according to their own style), I usually advice AGAINST identical clothing (all the same print or color). Coordinating colors that look cohesive will translate well in your photographs. Don’t be afraid to dress in layers and try to say away from bold patterns and prints.

Pro Tip: Your photographer may have a Pinterest board you can look at ahead of time for inspiration.

#5 Don’t Be Above The Bribe

Some parents are okay with bribing their little ones with snacks or treats in exchange for smiles and good behavior during the session (and they make for GREAT incentives). If at all possible, try to wait until the end of the session for the rewards to avoid messes on clothing or on the set.

Pro Tip: Toddlers are messy! Try to avoid colorful snacks that might stain teeth or clothes. Marshmallows and cheerios make for great snacks since they don’t leave color on their sweet little lips.

#6 Bring A Helper

The best pictures are ones where everyone is happy so don’t be afraid to ask for help with your session. Invite a grandparent or friend who can come along and help you take care of the little ones when it’s not their turn to be photographed. Your helper can also assist with wiping hands and faces and wardrobe changes.

Pro Tip: Moms need extra hands sometimes, be sure to let your helper know exactly how they can ensure a successful session for your family.

#7 Don’t Side With The Photographer 

Tricked you there, didn’t we?! If you’re trying to help and get a child’s attention, stand BEHIND the photographer instead of to their side. When you’re standing to the side, your child will likely be focused on you and not in the direction of the camera.

Pro Tip: Stand tall! Try to place your child’s attention at the camera by placing your hand or a focus object just above the photographer’s head.

#8 The Early Bird Gets The Session

Fall is, hands down, the most popular time to have family photos taken here in the Midwest because the weather is great and the trees are beautiful. If you wait too long to book with your favorite photographer, you may not be able to grab a spot for a session.

Pro Tip: We know you’re not going to send out holiday cards until December but don’t wait until September or October to book your session or you might miss out.

#9 Skip The “Cheese”

Saying ‘cheese’ can be downright cheesy. Let your photographer interact with your children instead of having them say ‘cheese’ so that the photographer can capture more natural laughs and smiles in your photographs.

Pro Tip: Introduce your children to the photographer early on so that they’ll be comfortable enough to laugh and smile when it’s just them in front of the camera.

#10: Relax & Have Fun!

Things don’t always have to be pristine and perfect. Sometimes real life makes for great memories. Relax during your photography session and enjoy it.

Call Angie over at Plank Photography to book your family photo session today (913) 856-5950 or visit online at plankphotography.net

#DiscoverCMH Children’s Mercy Hospital Behind The Scenes

Good Morning, Friends!

Last week we had the opportunity to share a post highlighting the Children’s Mercy Child Life Program and we’re so thrilled to be able to share another post about Children’s Mercy with you today. As you know, one of our wonderful Mom Squad team members, Leah, had the opportunity to spend the day at Children’s Mercy and she came back with a TON of information about their programs and services (some of which are little known). Today, she’s sharing information about the founders of Children’s Mercy, Katherine Berry and Alice Berry. Take a look…


I wanted to take a few moments and introduce you to the incredible Berry Sisters. Last week, I had the honor of being able to take a behind the scenes tour of Children’s Mercy Hospital. While I was there I was able to hear the beautiful story of the founders of the beloved organization we all now know today. Below, I have included their story.

Katharine Berry and Alice Berry were both widowed when they came to Kansas City from Wisconsin in 1895. They put each other through school; Katharine being the first to get her medical degree while Alice worked as a school teacher, and then Alice obtained her dentist degree—both male-only professions during the 19th century. The women were excluded from professional medical groups because of their gender, and their entrepreneurial spirit discouraged. But the two persevered and due to their widowed status, were permitted to control their own finances, which they poured into their medical work with children.

Children’s Mercy Hospital was founded in 1897 when Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson, now a surgeon, and her sister Dr. Alice Berry Graham, a dentist, found a crippled, malnourished girl abandoned in the streets of Kansas City, Missouri and treated and cared for her at a rented bed in a hospital. Since no hospital in the city allowed a woman physician on the staff, the sisters continued treating patients by renting beds in a small hospital.

The bed soon became known as the “Mercy Bed,” and the need for health care for children continued to grow. By 1899, the Berry sisters had moved into their own building, naming it Free Bed Fund Association for Crippled, Deformed, and Ruptured Children. The hospital soon changed its name to Mercy Hospital before finally becoming Children’s Mercy Hospital in 1904. The hospital soon changed its name to Mercy Hospital before finally becoming Children’s Mercy Hospital in 1904.

At first, the public ridiculed the sisters’ work, especially the Berry sisters’ ardent belief of women-only staffers. Many believed women should work in the home and not be physicians. But as the hospital progressed and showed miraculous outcomes, the ridicule lessened and public opinion soon helped the hospital strive.

Giving all they had, the sisters bought a home in 1909 to work as a hospital, sheltering children. The sisters and few staff members begged for supplies, volunteers, and monetary support. Dr. Kate (Katharine Berry) would keep a sign near the street, letting the public know the needs of the hospital, such as the basic comforts of new sheets, pillow cases, bath towels and canned food.

In 1915, construction on what would be the first official hospital began at Independence Avenue. The hospital flourished in its new home until 1970, when it moved to its current location on Hospital Hill.

*Information obtained in this article was found originally from The Children’s Mercy Website. If you would like any further information about The Barry Sisters or Children’s Mercy please contact Children’s Mercy Public Relations Department directly.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

Good Afternoon, Friends!

Sundays are always a day we spend cooking a nice, warm, homemade meal in our family and I’m elated to share a mouthwatering recipe from Erin, one of our lovely Mom Squad Ambassadors. This Pumpkin Dump Cake is the ideal finish to an Autumn meal that combines our traditional holiday pumpkin flavor with a classic staple that’s been a crowd favorite for generations. Take a look…

Pumpkin Dump Cake

Pumpkin Dump Cake

The holidays are almost here! Let the overeating begin! Many years ago, I found this recipe for pumpkin dump cake. We decided to give it a try and it is always a big hit at Thanksgiving!  It is a delicious addition to your dessert table and could possibly even replace the pumpkin pie! It’s that good!  So without further ado, I present to you Pumpkin Dump Cake. Bon Appétit!


  • 1 can pumpkin purée (16 ounces)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (13 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • whipped topping

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice, eggs and sugar together.  Pour into an ungreased 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with dry cake mix and top that with melted butter and pecans. Bake and 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until firm.

I admit, I am not a huge pumpkin pie fan. Gasp! I know. But, I just love this cake and I think you will too! Happy #everythingpumpkinspice season is upon us! Dig in!


“Room” One of The Most Powerful Films of 2015 Now Playing In KC

Hello, Friends!

The weekend is FINALLY here and we are SO excited for our Mother Daughter Diva Dance party TONIGHT at the Overland Park Ballroom & Social Club! As we look to spend time with our children this weekend, I wanted to take a moment to share a quick post about a powerful movie I had the opportunity to see recently. I am going to break away from how we normally do movie reviews on this blog and share my very quick thoughts on the movie and the trailer so that you can decide if this is the type of film that’s right for you. I do NOT recommend taking your children to this movie as it is both rated “R” and would not be appropriate for them to watch.


“Room” follows the story of a young mother and her five year old child and illustrates the gravity and impact of what some young women experience with human trafficking. Without giving too much of the film away,  we learn that “Ma” (Brie Larson) was kidnapped by “Old Nick” as a teenager and kept in a garden shed for several years where she birthed and raised a child “Jack” unbeknownst to neighbors and the community. The film is deep and powerful and important. Take a look at the trailer and decide whether or not this movie is right for you. I (personally) loved it despite the emotional journey it took me on during the screening.

“Love The Coopers” A Movie Review

Happy Weekend, KC!

Another unseasonably warm and beautiful weekend is in the books here in the metro area and, as we plan for our weekends, I waned to share my review on a film that opens nationwide today. We were thrilled to share the opportunity to catch the advanced screening of “Love The Coopers” with so many of you earlier this week and I’d love to know what YOU thought about the movie. Send us a message, drop a line in the comments, or join in on the conversation on Facebook to share YOUR thoughts on the movie!



Love The Coopers

Release Date: Friday November 13, 2015

Run Time: 107 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Cast: Practically Everyone

From classics like “Miracle On 34th Street” and “Christmas Vacation” to newer films such as “The Holiday” and “The Family Stone”, there never seems to be a shortage of feel good films with a holiday theme to enjoy this time of year. With a promising cast and a solid theme, it seemed like the release of “Love The Coopers” would fall into such a category this year. But will the audience really LOVE the Coopers or does he film, much like my (in)ability to properly cook a Thanksgiving turkey, fall short?

“Love The Coopers” follows the story of a dysfunctional family (like most holiday films do) coming together for Christmas. True to real life, everyone in the family deals with their own personal issues that impact their interactions with other members of the family. From impending divorce to job problems, everyone seems to be hiding their very own secret from one another. While the premise of the film and the incredible cast they brought together to execute the script seem like a sure thing, this film falls a little flat for my personal taste.

I tend to be the type of movie goer that doesn’t need to have everything wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end of the film and that’s the very issue I have with “Love The Coopers”. Life is messy and the movie is definitely a great illustration of that fact. While it’s a fun movie to see, don’t go into it with the expectation that it’s going to be winning any awards this year. Take it for what it is, appreciate the ridiculousness, and you’ll be fine.

Children’s Mercy Child Life Program #DiscoverCMH

Hello, KC! 

Our team has been BUSY preparing for BOTH our December 2015 print issue of iFamilyKC AND our Mother/Daughter Diva Dance Party this weekend so we took a few days off from the blogging world and are SO excited to be back today to share some information from one of our lovely Mom Squad bloggers. Leah recently had the opportunity to spend the day at Children’s Mercy Hospital and she came back not only with a love for the programs that they offer but also with a strong desire to share their mission with each of you. Today, we’re sharing Leah’s thoughts on the Child Life Program at Children’s Mercy Hospitals. Take a look…

12250059_684346174116_4223872239962464969_n       Hope is a therapy dog who works a lot in the epilepsy unit keeping the kids calm during testing.

When you think of a hospital, it’s not the type of place you’d usually rush to spend a lot of time in but it’s a place that we all value and appreciate. Last Friday I got to experience something magical and have the inside scoop of Children’s Mercy Hospital, a place many parents have had to enter at least a time or two. The Children’s Mercy hospitals and clinics make our city a better place for residents of the greater Kansas City metro area but many of us are clueless to the vast array of services that they provide.

Children’s Mercy Child Life Program 

Were you aware that Children’s Mercy offers a Child Life Program? It’s an unforgettable program for families who utilize the service. Today, I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight the Child Life program and other services provided by Children’s Mercy Hospitals. I also wanted to highlight some of the beautiful things I witnessed and acknowledge the hard work that Children’s does on a daily basis. This is just a glimpse of their program – it would be impossible to accurately capture all that the hospital does on a continuous basis in one blog post. My hope is that you will grow to appreciate them as much as I have. The information below was found on the Children’s Mercy website. If you would like any further information on this program or any of their other programs please contact them directly.

The Music Therapy Program at Children’s Mercy provides music specifically planned for each child and family’s needs by a trained professional. Our music therapists have graduate or undergraduate degrees in music therapy, have completed a 1040-hour clinical internship and are board certified. Music therapists are board certified through the Certification Board for Music Therapists, and complete continuing education to maintain certification.”

Why Music Therapy is Helpful

Exposure to music in the hospital setting is a great way to help children relax, and to make the hospital more normal and comfortable. Music therapy can also help your child reach other goals related to chronic pain, physical rehab, respiration, and cardiac conditions. Other benefits include:

  • Giving your child ways to express feelings
  • Helping manage pain and discomfort
  • Helping your child cope during medical procedures
  • Improving your child’s mood
  • Helping your child learn and grow
  • Decreasing stress and anxiety for the entire family

The Child Life Department at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics provides services to make the hospital experience easier and more comfortable for patients and families. 

Department Highlights

  • Our team tries to reduce stress and worry that may come with being in the hospital or from being ill.
  • We help children deal with their feelings, thoughts, and questions.
  • We provide services to help children continue to learn and grow while in the hospital.
  • Our team members encourage patients to interact with other children.

Child Life Programs

The Child Life Department has created a variety of programs to support patients and families during their time in the hospital.

Playgroups and Evening Programs

These are designed to help inpatients learn, play, or talk with other patients. The Child Life specialist, the patient’s nurse, and the medical team decide when a patient is ready to attend playgroups and evening programs.

Health Care Play

Patients receive hands-on opportunities to learn about medical supplies and equipment. This helps patients become more comfortable with equipment used during the clinical experience.


Our Child Life Specialists use child-friendly terms, pictures, and models to help patients understand what to expect during a procedure. 

Procedure Support

We provide support to enhance positive patient and family coping during procedures.  Examples include promoting parental participation and using diversion and relaxation techniques.

Family Support

Our team provides support services to help ease stress and anxiety families experience when a child is receiving care.