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Building Holiday Traditions: A Holiday Candy Party

Good Morning, Kansas City! We here at iFamilyKC hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. As we all prepare for the upcoming festivities that December brings, a lot of us probably have fun family traditions that we take part in. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, shares one of her favorite holiday memories: A Holiday Candy party! Take a look…

Building Holiday Traditions: A Holiday Candy Party

 

 

Building Holiday Traditions: A Holiday Candy Party

 

 

My favorite holiday memory has to be of my families’ annual Christmas “Candy” party. To me it was truly what the holiday should and were all about. To start at the beginning we have to travel back in time over three decades to the very first party. Imagine a cold December night, where we used the front porch as a fridge because we needed extra space. The house was a little smaller but there were people packed in from the tree in front to the back of the kitchen. I can’t remember too many specifics (I was only a month old and spent most of the night being rocked to sleep!) but laughter and holiday spirit was everywhere. Every year after this the same core group of people would come together to make their candy. After the first few years everyone started to rely on the faithful candy that was easy, as the years rolled on the candy “screw-ups” (and this is the cleaned up version) became more common.

From my perspective, I just got to play with all my “brothers and sisters” run through the house stopping only to sneak a piece of warm candy. See these people who came into my house every year, shared in our Christmas spirit and gave us the gift of true friendship were so much more than friends. They are my second family, my substitute parents.

I am much older now and plan on attending my 35th annual candy party. My families’ house may be a little older too, and now my kids run through the house and sneak treats. My family; their hair may have turned a little grayer and the bodies are fighting battles that only they can see and they hide pain by putting on a smile. The best part is we are all together—every year without fail. They are my family and the only people that I can think of sharing Christmas with—and I would even say that without the candy!

 

From iFamily to Yours,
ifam_sarah

 

 

 

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An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City! There’s so much to be grateful for, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin has a great list of things she’s particularly thankful for this year. We here at iFamilyKC hope you all are spending these few days off relaxing surrounded by love and family.

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

 

Looking back this year, I have so much to be thankful for as a momma! Here are a few moments I thought I’d share with you all:

 

I am thankful for my 22 month old son who pries my eyes open at 6:30am every.single.morning. and whispers “Mommy” 549 times until I wake up.

 

I am thankful for my 7 year old daughter, who I sit with every night to get her to go to sleep because she’s still somehow afraid of monsters in the dark. She kicks her brother out of her room, for the love of sleep, why not me?!

 

I am thankful for Saturdays so I can sleep in. Wait. Children have no idea what day it is. 6:30am it is! Well, I’m thankful for Saturdays when my bed transforms in to the ultimate bouncy house and my adorable 2 year old starts chanting “toons, toons, TOONS!”

 

I am thankful that my husband is able to sleep through the mass chaos that happens every morning in our bedroom. He works hard to provide for this family, yes. Am I a tad bit jealous that I cannot just shut my eyes and ignore the wild beasts gnawing at our feet? Yes.

 

I am thankful my son can feed himself at the table, like the rest of us. When he decides he is done, he spits food out and then proceeds to throw his food away, including the plate, silverware and sippy cup. Oh how I love to rummage through the half eaten mac and cheese searching for buried treasures!

 

I am thankful for the wakeup call I get to find a long lost binky at 2am that the bed has somehow devoured while we slept. Oh well, I needed to use the bathroom anyway.

 

I am thankful for our family photos. They offered cookies and punch to the kids and then proceeded to tell us exactly 2 minutes later that they were ready for us. Ok, who wants the job of prying a cookie out of my son’s tight little fist? Nope. Cookie looks good in the pics. It adds character!

 

I am thankful for my sweet little daughter, who loves all things Christmas, and knows very well that I am not a fan of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. She kept the Holiday Hits channel on my tv, so that when I turned it on, Bing Crosby came blaring through the speakers. Love her and her love of Christmas.

 

Hey moms! I’d love to hear what you and your little turkeys are thankful for this year! Drop me a line in the comments!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdErinV2

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The Life That This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

We here at iFamilyKC are continually blessed by and thankful for our Mom Squad Ambassadors. Brigette is one of our newer members and I think we can all agree, she’s fit right in. Today, she shares with us a heartfelt and honest look into being thankful for the very air we breathe. She overcame an extremely difficult time, and talks about finding gratitude through it all. Take a look…

Check Out What This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

 

For many, this time of year seems to bring out our love for one another, our compassion for the less fortunate and our thankfulness to the ones we love. And that is great! We should all make sure that we spend time thinking about others and the things that they go through or how we can help.

When asked to write about something I was thankful for, so many reasons flooded my head. I have my husband that is my rock, my kids who are my “why” and of course my family for all they have done. It was obvious! But there is something else that I am just as thankful for, and to be honest… probably more thankful for. My life.

 

Just hear me out.

 

A few months ago, I was in my very first severe car accident. Sure I had been in a few fender benders (1 was my fault) but never anything serious. As my husband and I were moving our things back to Kansas City after living in Dallas for years, we got caught in some pretty icky weather. There were no flash floods, no lightening or severe weather warnings, just enough rain to slick the roads and make you want to curl up and watch movies. Long story short, as my husband and I were headed back into town, we hit a slick spot and it caused our car to hydroplane. Everything happened so quickly and all I could do was scream out for my husband as we spun out of control down the highway. Thankfully, no one else was close enough to be effected by the mishap and we only walked away with a few sore spots and headaches.

 

After going through something so terrifying, I couldn’t help but think. What if that was it for me? What if my time on this earth had come to an end? How would my husband get a long? Or, how will my kids be able to comprehend that mommy wasn’t there? My family means the world to me and if something were too ever happen to them, well… I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

 

Sure I always wake up thankful for another day, thankful for those around me, but knowing that my life could have ended that day has made me even more thankful for my life. Thankful that I have another opportunity to strive to be the best wife I can be for my husband. Thankful that I have the opportunity to be the best mom for my kids and Thankful that I have another opportunity be someone that family, friends and even strangers can trust, to help when I am able, pick them up when they are down and to be encouraging when things get tough.

 

Yes, I will always be thankful for those around me, but I am even more thankful that I still have the opportunity to be a part of their life and the chance to do my part by filling their life with even more love.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

brigettev8

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Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

The holidays are such a great time for reflection — whether it’s on remembering what you’re grateful, reflecting on memories, or thinking about loved ones that are no longer with us, it’s a moment to pause and invest in this beautiful life. Our Mom Squad Ambassador has a beautiful piece reflecting on Thanksgiving with her grandmother and what still sticks with her. Take a look…

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

 

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always very special. My late grandmother who was like my best friend would always let me help in the kitchen. She would teach me her secrets to pie pinching, making her delicious sweet potatoes and even let me help “clean the turkey”.

 

One of my most fond memories for this time of year were us baking together. We would make pies, cookies, rollie polies, and other baked goods. I loved making the pies and rollie polies with her. I would roll the dough out as even as I could, place it gently in the pan and try very, very hard to fix all the cracks I had made lol. When our pies were all done and in the oven, we would move on to the next best thing! Making rollie pollies! Ahhh one of my favorites! My dear grandmother would let me roll the remaining dough out once more, and then the fun would really begin! I remember taking a stick of butter and covering the entire area of dough with it! I would always try to touch it because it looked so slippery and gooey! Once we finished with the butter we would sprinkle what is in my opinion one of THEE best smells ever, cinnamon and sugar. We would cover the dough with handfuls of the sweet mixture and then roll it up! I remember after we had rolled the dough into one long log, she would hold my hand and guide me to cut even pieces. I was so excited to make all of it… every year! Also, she would always let me “taste” our baking creations!

 

Once we were all done baking and the food was finishing its last 45 minutes of cook time, I would the “grown up table”. I LOVED setting the table, my grandparents had this beautiful gold set of cutlery. Every time she would open it (it was in a special trunk) I would feel like I was setting the table for royalty! She would get out the nice glasses and table cloths too. I remember her showing me how to place the lace covering on the table just perfectly. My cousins and I would always do our very best to make it as neat and clean as possible!

 

Once the food was cooked, we would all set the dishes and bowls on the table, take our seat and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Even though I didn’t get to sit at the “grown up table” I would always look over to see everyone’s reaction to all the food we had made.

 

Even though this year won’t be the same since she passed last December, I try to think of the positives. All the things she taught me, all the traditions we had, I can now do with my daughters this Thanksgiving. I can teach them how to set the special table, how to bake our family favorites and so on. And even though these are just memories, they all make Thanksgiving even more special.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

brigettev8

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch a flick, and Disney holiday fashion, they’ve released their new animated movie, Moana. So, after eating all that turkey, and catching a few Zzzz’s, why not head to the theater and enjoy this family movie. Check out Holli’s review and insider look of the new film below. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

 

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

 

Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 103 min
Rating: PG
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson

 

 

Thanksgiving is, for me, a time not only to appreciate life’s incredible blessings but also a time for reflection. One of my favorite childhood memories, and a tradition that I carry on with my own daughter, is experiencing the new Disney movie that comes out around Thanksgiving each year (like “The Santa Claus” in 1994 and “101 Dalmations” in 1996). This year, Charlotte and I had the chances to celebrate early at the advanced screening of Disney’s latest movie “Moana” and we were not disappointed.

“Moana” follows the story of a special little girl who feels called to the sea. As she grows and learns about her community, she feels compelled to do something different from what is expected of her from everyone she knows. Her father, the Chief, has long rooted beliefs that the sea is not a safe or friendly place for their people and that fear drives him to forbid Moana (and her tribe) from passing the reef located just off of their island.

Even when their food supply begins to diminish, his overwhelming fear of the unknown keeps him from venturing away from home. Moana, however, was chosen by the sea for an unforgettable journey that will restore her island and her people’s long rooted history with the ocean. Along the way, she encounters struggles and situations that force her out of her comfort zone and into the woman she was meant to be.

What I loved most about this movie is the message that it sends to little girls across the world – To be who you are and to not be afraid of the challenges that you might face along your journey. Disney has done it again and moviegoers can expect to fall in love with the stunning animation, fun characters, and incredible sound track throughout the feature film.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the digital short before the movie – It’s a good one!

From iFamily to Yours,
holli_ifamilykcteam

 

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This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

Good Morning, Kansas City!! Now, I know it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and most of you are probably running around trying to tie up as many loose ends before the holiday, but if you find some down time this holiday weekend, Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt have a new movie out. Allied is out in theaters today, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, was able to get a sneak peek and tells us the highs and lows of the film below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

 

Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 124 min
Rating: R
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt

 

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard headline in a new spy movie titled Allied out on the 23rd. They play two spies who meet on a mission in Morocco and fall in love. The basic premise of the movie is that they marry and have a child after which one learns the other may be a double agent.

I’m not going to lie; I went into the film with Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the back of my mind. Although both films have Pitt and center on married spies, there the similarities end. Allied is set in the 1940’s and the allies are working together to bring down Hitler. The costumes, sets and locations are magnificent. The scenes on the rooftops in Morocco are some of my favorites. I was lucky enough to travel to Morocco several years ago and I felt they really captured the magical beauty of the country. The clothing and cars had me nostalgic for the 1940’s- until the bombings knocked some sense into me. Robert Zemeckis directs and creates a visually stunning story. I think this one will be nominated for some awards this winter.

 

I like Brad Pitt, I feel for the stress he’s going through in his personal life, but I didn’t feel like this was his best movie. It may be just me though. I felt like he was a bit stiff. ‘Did he get botox?’ ‘Was he stressed about life?’ ‘Is he just a spy and they don’t show much emotion?’ These were all thoughts I had while watching. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I just didn’t feel like he gave it his all. ‘Am I really criticizing Brad Pitt?? Why does criticizing Brad Pitt make me break out in a sweat?’ The questions continue. He did produce a very emotional scene at the end of the movie. Maybe the stoicism was to make it more impactful.

 

Marion Cotillard was great. Both she and her character were enigmatic and charismatic. She also gave a very moving performance. I think most of the cast was terrific. Again, this was a movie that demanded a lot visually from its cast and I think they hit it out of park. The movie has quite a bit of action in it, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it an action movie. It definitely had an artistic quality to it. If you are looking for your typical spy movie this isn’t it. My husband didn’t care for the film. I think the very things I enjoyed about it (visually interesting, emotionally charged) didn’t register with him. So I guess keep that in mind. If you are wanting to see an action film, there’s probably a better option out over the holiday weekend. That considered, I guess I’d rate it a 3 out of 5. I would watch it again, but apparently it would have to be without my husband.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

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4 Ways to Cope with Being Home Alone for the Holidays

Not all of us are able to spend our holidays with family. Whether it’s distance, money, or some other circumstance, being away from loved ones during this time of year can be tough. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has some great ideas to beat the blues and enjoy your holiday season alone or separated from those you hold close. Check it out…

4 Ways to Cope with Being Home Alone for the Holidays

4 Ways to Cope with Being Home Alone for the Holidays

 

We are reaching that busy, magical time of year, when holidays and get-togethers fill our calendars. Many people love this time of year and kids can make it extra special. But if you find yourself (or your family) away from other loved ones, it can be tough. My husband and I moved out of state a year after we married. Being newly-weds launching careers 500 miles from ‘home’ meant a lot of missed holidays. To be honest, it wasn’t so bad. We were still in newly wedded bliss and making new traditions seemed exciting. We spent Thanksgiving at a five-star French restaurant one year, and with work friends the next. Christmas Eve was spent at spectacular churches and at fancy restaurants with friends. Christmas Days were spent in pj’s binge-watching movies and eating left overs. It was fun! Or it was until we had kids. Suddenly I mourned the loss of all the traditions I had growing up. Also, they’re terrible in fancy restaurants. I wanted my kids to have huge turkey meals with their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I wanted the kids to see our family’s faces when opening their gifts and not just feel like they came from ‘mysterious benefactors’ in the mail.

 

We tried to travel, but as everyone’s schedules became more and more hectic- it just wasn’t possible to spend every holiday together. Now that we’ve been in this position several times though, I’ve come up with some ways to ease the heartache and loneliness that can come from a holiday spent apart.

 

Make plans

 

Stay busy. Sitting at home, it is too easy to feel like you are missing out. Say yes to friends/coworkers who invite you over. We first said no because we didn’t want to impose- but when we started saying yes, it was so much fun! It’s nice to get into the holiday spirit with others- even if they’re not necessarily your first choice in company for whatever the holiday. Spend some time handing out meals. Or enjoy the arts. We started taking our girls to the Nutcracker ballet every Christmas Eve. It has become a fun tradition that fills our time. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day will have events going on around town too. Get out of the house and be festive. Check out iFamilyKC for events happening around Kansas City.

Schedule some ‘Facetime’

 

We used to Skype Gram and Pop Pop, but Facetime has made it much easier. They can still watch the kids open their gifts and we have even set up the computer to ‘share’ a meal. It can be hectic and not ideal, but it can also work out perfectly and be a great experience. If it’s not possible to do a live video that day, you can prerecord a holiday greeting and message with the app VideoFizz. Everyone with the link can watch it- so it is especially nice for big groups who may not be able to line up one set time to connect.

Send gifts

 

Every year since my eldest was born, we make a DIY gift for every member of our extended family. The first year I just put paint on her fingertips and decorated some frames. I labeled each one “Gram and me” or “Uncle Chris and me” or whomever and put in a photograph of my daughter with that family member from our visit over Easter. Last year, the girls decorated coffee mugs and filled them with chocolates and notes about what they loved about the recipient. I think that kids have to start giving early. They need to see the fun in it and not only see the holidays as a time of getting. It also means that we spend quite a bit of time talking about and thinking of our family over the holidays. It keeps us all connected.

 

Keep the gifts for the big day

 

If you’re going to be alone Christmas Day, try to draw out the things you have going on. Open the gifts on the holiday. Make some phone calls on that day. If everything has been done before you get to the holiday itself, it can make the day feel a bit empty.

 

The holidays can be a wonderful, but stressful time of year. I hope these tips can help you and your family have a happy, fulfilling holiday season.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

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Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping

The hour is upon us. Thanksgiving week is here. How insane is it that 2016 is almost over? It is still boggling my mind. We all have a million things on our to-do list for this upcoming week, and a lot of us probably have some shopping to get done as well. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some a great tips of how to survive (and thrive) during your Black Friday shopping trip!

Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping

 

 

Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping

 

Black Friday…so ominous right?! I will throw a little history lesson at you; give you something to talk about around the Thanksgiving table. “Black Friday” was coined in the early 1960s to mark the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Referring to the time when retailers would go from the red to the black when entering in accounting numbers (red for a loss, black for a profit). For a little extra credit; “Black Friday” also refers to a financial crisis in 1869. Regardless of the definition it is practically a holiday in and of itself, making for long lines, excitement, some disappointment, and has been fulfilling wish lists for a long time. But how do you survive this one day? I will give you some tips that are sure to make your day (or night) of shopping easy and successful!

 

Stay Home

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. If you really want a successful shopping experience stay home; set the alarm for 2AM and hop on the internet. It may take some time for the site to refresh and it will most certainly be slow, but you will have a fairly good chance of being successful and you won’t have to venture out in the cold. But where is the sport in that?! My husband goes out in the below freezing weather to walk through a field looking for that one perfect deer, then drags it back to the truck where unimaginable carnage takes place to put deer meat in our freezer. This is the same thing people! I am going out in the freezing cold to stand in line for four hours to “hunt” that one toy that is on my daughters’ list only to drag it home wrap it and place it under a hacked up pine tree!

Start Early

We will start around November 1st. Why you may ask? Because that is truly when Black Friday ads begin to make it on the internet and we can see them. Take a look at TheBlackFriday.com, there are plenty of others but this one always seems to get all of the ones that I want. These aren’t leaked either, some sites may say they are but retailers want you to look at their ads, they want you getting excited as early as possible. Another option is waiting until Wednesday or Thanksgiving Day to go and get a paper with ads. If you do this, make sure to go early—like before putting the turkey in the oven! They will sell out quick. And now comes the fun part!

Make a Wish List

Once you have claimed the entire dining room table or living room floor, whichever you prefer, make sure that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on for the kids and get focused! Get a pen and paper, if you have wish lists or lists of those that you need to buy gifts for, get those out too. I like to remove all the ads that I know I will shop at and then go from there to stores that maybe I won’t go to but they may have that off the wall gift for husband or father-in-law. Now, check times on all your favorites and put them in order from earliest to latest. A couple years ago some stores started to open on Thanksgiving Day—I really hated that! Oh no, not because they were opening on turkey day, if someone wants to skip dinner to go stand in line all the power to them, it just messed up my timing! Now we start to scan, looking at each page and thinking about the people on your gift list, write down (DO NOT CIRCLE or DOGEAR) on your paper the name, gift, price, store, and open time. You will probably find this same item at several stores so make sure to leave room for that, it will come in later. If you really want to get type A you can take this list at the end of your scanning and make it into an Excel file! (Insert: Type A control freak aka Sarah)

Map It Out

Now that we have gone through each ad and we have written down every gift, we are officially ready for Black Friday (or Thursday) ad reading. Now you have to have your plan of attack. Go through your list and look at each store you have to go to. Let’s say its Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy and Toys R Us, for example, then you know from your list (or excel sheet) that Target opens at 6PM on Thursday, Wal-Mart at 6PM on Thursday, Toys R Us at 5PM on Thursday and Old Navy at midnight. You see what I am saying about moving everything to Black Thursday? Messes with your method! You plan to head to Toys R Us first since it opens at 5 then weigh what you want to buy at Target and Wal-Mart and whichever one has the most important “get” on the list then go there first, then Old Navy at midnight. If you haven’t ever done Black Friday shopping then you know from news reports that this isn’t something you just walk into, there are lines—lines city blocks long in some cases just to get in. Take a look at your list and really ask yourself what the most important thing on the list is—focus there. Because unless Target and Wal-Mart are right next to each other (which I am going to guarantee you they aren’t) then you will have to pick your battles, theoretically speaking of course.

Day Of Morning

The day has come! Or it is several hours later because you just looked at ads this morning! Imagine you are going on a four hour hike, then pack and dress for that. I would recommend leaving the kids at home, for obvious reasons if you are buying gifts for them but for the pure agony they will feel about 10 minutes in. Take a big purse, no we aren’t stealing anything or planning on hitting anyone on the head! This is for putting in gloves, hats, anything that won’t fit in pockets. Don’t wear a coat, a vest would be better, less bulk and little easier to manage once you are inside. Take some coffee and granola bars for energy and caffeine and store in the big purse. And finally, wear tennis shoes for goodness sake, I have to say this because I have seen women in heels and two hours into waiting in line they are complaining about their feet hurting! If you can it is always a good idea to bring someone along with you. Its makes the time move quicker but also comes in handy, more on that in a minute! Don’t worry you will know when the doors have opened, usually screams of joy erupt and the line starts to move quickly. I have never been in a line with pushing but I have heard it happens (insert sarcasm!) This is the point where I don’t care how cold it is, take off the hat, gloves and put up the coffee!

Day Of Action

When you get in, have your plan of attack on where to go. Sometimes those pesky stores mix it up and put the TVs in the clothes section so keep a keen eye! SKIP THE CARTS! Everyone always goes for them and it takes up time. Unless you are getting a big item, you can come back or you may have to awkwardly carry smaller items through the store. Back to that person who came with you, have them stand in a different line now, head to the registers and when the line starts to get long have them save a place. I know this is the worst and I am not a fan when people do it but let’s face it—brilliant idea! Please, don’t push and shove for your item, no one likes that, but you should be aggressive and forceful but polite—it is the holidays anyway! And no pressure, but the “Hallmark moment” you imagine when your daughter opens up that one desperately wanted toy of the season depends on your ability to be a little aggressive.

So you have scored your item! Head to the registers and check out, looking at other things as you go along, or sending said “line holder person” back for more things! If you did not score the item—do not fret! Pull the store website up on your phone find the item and place in your shopping cart, and then head to an open spot and purchase. You may be asking—why didn’t we just do that in the first place from our nice warm house? Sport my friend; it’s called the sport of it! Happy hunting!

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,
ifam_sarah

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Watch the Holidays Come Alive at Union Station

Happy Saturday, Kansas City! Are you looking for some festive fun while you’re out and about getting ready for Thanksgiving? Union Station is your place to be. They’re hosting a day of festivities leading up to their lighting celebration at 6:30pm. While you’re at it, why not check out their newest exhibit, Pompeii, as well? Nothing says the holidays like Union Station!

 

Watch the Holidays Come Alive at Union Station

 

Join us Saturday, November 19th for the magic of Kansas City’s grandest holiday tradition. Holidays come alive at Union Station with a spectacular day of fun activities and performances for the whole family.

Write a letter to Santa, get your face painted, create something cool in the Holiday Maker Village and so much more! All beginning at 10a.m.

Let It Snow will play in the Planetarium and Pompeii: The Exhibition will be celebrating its grand opening!

Explore your internationally award-winning Science City and catch a movie on the region’s biggest movie screen- Extreme Screen

Then at 6:30pm, daylight will give way to the most magical holiday kickoff imaginable with Kansas City’s largest indoor lighting ceremony and a breathtaking new holiday performance by Quixotic.  Free for everyone!

Don’t miss this once-a-year celebration of holiday sights, sounds and family sensations this Saturday, November 19th! Plan to have fun all day long at Kansas City’s home for the holidays, Union station. 

For complete details, visit Union Station


This Weekend at the Box Office: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Happy Friday, Kansas City! For those of us who are massive, unashamed Harry Potter nerds, we have been waiting for this day. Today, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy had a chance at a sneak peek, and gives us all the goods. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This Weekend at the Box Office:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18, 2016
Run Time: 133 min
Rating: PG-13
Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston

 

If you had gleefully enjoyed eight years of entering Hogwarts via your local movie theater and their completion left you in a melancholy no number of trips to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter could quite eradicate, then you are in luck! You surely know J.K. Rowlings is back at it again with a series that predates the Harry Potter ones. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens this Friday and we muggles are transported back to a land of magic. However, you will find this land/film much changed.

 

Fantastic Beasts is set in 1920’s New York. During this time Witches and Wizards are pretty much under ground as the no-majs (American for muggle) are beginning to suspect that magic may exist. Witches and Wizards live in strict secrecy and are not allowed to fraternize with no-majs. Under the same reasoning, nearly all magical beasts have been exterminated to near extinction as the magic folks fear their discovery. This being said, the beginning of the film has very little magic to be found. Viewers that have enjoyed being transported to such a fantastical world may find themselves, like me, disappointed as the minutes plug by without much excitement from the setting, or even from Eddie Redmayne who leads this film, but has very few lines in the first half.

 

Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who travels the globe saving and studying magical creatures. He is an oddity in his world and that combined with the fact that he’s brimming with liberal ideals have kept him fairly isolated from other wizards and witches. He manages, however, to catch the eye of an Auror (Investigator) whom is trying to prove her value to the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the Untied States). She thus drags a reluctant Newt into a magical mystery and some serious drama.

 

The cast boasts a lot of big names, more than I had realized. Many of them had somewhat small roles hinting at things to come as the series progresses. I read that there are 5 films planned. Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) are two of my favorite characters and bring a lot of heart and humor to the film, but true to J.K. Rowlings’ style, there are many interesting and well-developed characters. If you’d like to learn more about the characters and film, and even download some free posters, you can do so here.

 

I enjoyed the movie. It was fun and imaginative. The effects are amazing (again- you’ll be waiting awhile to get to them). And yet it doesn’t feel overly Harry Potterish with the change in setting and older characters (none of the main cast is in school any longer). However, many fans of Potter were a similar age as the books and films came out and thus grew up with Harry. If this is you, you will once again be nearly the same age as the main characters. This being the first film of the series, it did spend a lot of time acclimating the audience to a new framework for a new story, so although Fantastic Beasts seemed a little slow to get off the ground, I think it was just a matter of it being the first installment. Many film-goers at the screening turned out in Hogwarts robes and yelled magical phrases throughout the film. If you want to avoid this crowd, maybe don’t hit this film on opening weekend, but I do recommend going to see this movie. It was truly an enjoyable and fun film.

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

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