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The little book with BIG resources!

Growing a Reader: How to Begin Healthy Reading Habits at Home

Happy Monday, Kansas City! One of the best activities to focus on in this winter months is reading. I’m sure a lot of us want to help our kiddos develop healthy reading habits, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great tips to start those habits today. Check it out!

Growing a Reader: How to Begin Healthy Reading Habits at Home


How to Begin Healthy Reading Habits at Home


One of my main resolutions for 2017 is to read more! Reading takes you to far off places without ever having to leave your living room! Reading expands our knowledge of the world around us. Reading is the foundation of learning and education. And it is just plain fun! I love to read and I definitely have not been doing near enough. Life just gets in the way sometimes! I’m currently participating in the MCPL Winter Reading Challenge for adults and that is motivating me to keep reading! The love of reading really does start at home. I’d like to share a few tips on healthy reading habits that work for my family and they will probably work for yours too!


Start early

Babies love interactive touch and feel board books, flap books, colorful books, and books with faces and black and white patterns. Reading to your baby is a great way to spend time together. They will love hearing your voice while you read aloud and extra cuddle time is nice too!


Visit the library weekly

I have taken my kids to the library since they were around 6 months old, every week or so. The library is a fantastic resource in our community! MCPL offers weekly story time for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families. They have numerous branches around the KC area. And what is better than FREE books? My family loves coming home with armfuls of books!


Notice your child’s interests

Have your child pick out books that interest them. They will be more inclined to read if it is a topic or character of their own choosing. It only makes sense. As adults we too would get bored or uninterested easily if we chose a book we didn’t really like.

Set an example for your children

Show him that reading is important. If your child sees you reading, they will want to do the same.


Create a cozy space for reading time in your home

My kids and I usually all pile in my bed 3-4 times a week and read together. Everyone gets their own pillows and blankets and it seems to create a calming effect for my wild monkeys!


Read aloud to your children no matter what age they are

This is a big one! Reading aloud is one of the most important things you can do to improve your child’s literacy. It introduces them to new, more challenging words. Children who are read to become better listeners. Reading aloud also gives you a chance to bond with your older child and opens the door to new subjects (possibly tough ones) that they may not have chosen to read about themselves.


Turn the TV off and put your phone down

This may be difficult but it can be done! We have a constant need to be connected to the outside world every minute of the day. However, our kids need us to connect with them. So, turn off the TVs, phones, tablets and connect to a whole new world inside of a book!


How to foster good reading habits in your home? We’d love to hear in the comments!

From iFamily to Yours,






Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

Happy Weekend, Kansas City! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great advice on the necessity of having a mentor. I think a lot of us can agree that life really does take a village, and Sarah has some great ideas on not only why we need a mentor, but how to find one. Check it out…

Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One.


Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One


Do you ever wonder how someone else would handle this situation? What other parents would do to combat the crying child in Target? Maybe you just want to bounce ideas off another person at work; someone who won’t judge or criticize you for badmouthing the guy who keeps stealing your lunch! I think about these things all the time. With my best friend 3 hours away and my Mom, Aunt, cousins and other wonderful women a phone call away, it is really hard to get that much needed face time with them; unless you actually use Facetime, which we all know can sometimes freeze if we go into bad reception!

The human resource department in my office is always about us getting this person that we can talk with; the biz calls these people mentors. As I was listening to another presentation about how we all need one of these I started thinking about all the “mentors” in my life and the fact that I have needed several and at different stages.

To begin, let’s define what a mentor is so we are all on the same page. According to the dictionary a mentor is 1. Experienced advisor and supporter, usually older and more experienced who advises and guides a younger person. A counselor, guide, or teacher. 2. A trainer, a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague. So why is it that we need mentors…?

…At age 20?


What an age! Think about it you are going through so much. It could be college and then getting a job, finding love and having babies. And that isn’t even the order most of us go in! Those 10 years of your 20’s are so dynamic. And you can argue with me till you are blue in the face but everyone is going to change during this time. What a perfect time to have a person that maybe has been there before, or someone going through the same things that you are.

…At age 30?


Thirties stink! And I would have never said that in my 20’s. I was positive that when I got to the big 3-0 that everything would change. My colleagues at work would start to treat me as an adult instead of a crazy, drinking-all-night, coming into work hung-over 29 year old. I would be married by 30, have kids at 31 and 33 and we would be a perfect family. Ha! I am not too concerned with the timing of everything; it is how all of those things changed me yet again. Living with someone who saw me pluck my eyebrows and bleach my upper lip was a huge thing to get used to. Pretty sure I wore makeup to bed the first few months of our marriage. I won’t go into how kids changed me (we will save that for another article!). Work was still the same, only now I had this pressure of what I was going to do in 5 years and I had no way of knowing. This is when I was blessed with a wonderful boss who actually realized before me that I was floundering and talked to me about it. I hated crying in her office; but it was a breakthrough. She became my mentor that I still talk to today about everything. And she still has the best advice and “open door” policy. Does it matter that she is in an entirely different point in her life? No! She has been through what I am going through, she has had the arguments and heard the comments from the corner office, she has been at the point of force-feeding her kids (not really, but close!) and I get all the benefit from it! I get it, you still know it all in your 20’s so you don’t need someone to help you through; but take this advice—get a mentor in your 30’s!

…At age 40?


Made it through! A few more wrinkles, maybe a little extra weight that creeps in, a strange ache in your head after just one glass of wine—welcome to “over the hill”! If you have kids they are probably doing things on their own now or at least spending he majority of their time in their rooms! In any case you have a little more time on your hands. Maybe work takes up a little more of that time; and now that you have the time to devote are the options still there? This mentor (and maybe it is a totally different person than at age 30) will come in handy to have those conversations with about a possible reentering of the workforce. In your 40’s you are starting to get to that place in your life where you are taking care of two generations and possibly under the same roof! You still may have kids in the house but as parents get older they are going to need a caretaker as well. This is going to require some counseling and support from someone who has been through it before.

…at age 50?


Welcome to an empty nest! Oh yeah and for women that amazing time of body changing called puberty in your 50’s aka Menopause. And for men, these changes that are coming with this full 180 are going to change him as well! Kids are probably out of, or close to being out of, the house and now it’s just you and your spouse. You have been dreaming about this for years and what you would do! But on day one you are sitting on the couch just staring at each other! Most will run and hide, some may find a hobby, those still in the workforce start burying themselves in work. All these activities may seem to help for a while but it isn’t going to last long term and in actuality most people don’t want it to. Start having coffee once a week with your mentor and talk these things out. It gets you out of the house and gives some direction to the changes going on in your life.

So here are some of the things that I am sure you are thinking.


“I don’t need a ‘mentor’ I just need to talk to my best friend.”


Ever heard the term “It takes a village?” We need mentors (counselors, guides, teachers—whatever you want to call them) at every point in our lives. Best friends are great and are needed just as much, but they know what happened in the village before it became a village. In other words, they are too close to the situation in some cases. A true mentoring partnership typically is someone older who has been there and can be that unbiased opinion.

“No one is calling to mentor me!”


“I checked my email, made sure my cell was on and still no one is calling me to ask to mentor me!” Yeah because it is up to you to make your village! No one is going to probably knock down the walls to try and get in and vice versa. You are going to have to ask to let people in. Trust me, this gives me more anxiety than anything, but a great place to find these people? At school drop-offs, playdates, at work cafeterias or PTA meetings, you have a room of men and women who are there just like you with shut doors so they can’t get away! I would have to guess that most will be more than happy to talk with you. I probably would advise not starting too in depth but eventually getting up to that point. In the long run this relationship and friendship will be worthwhile.


From iFamily to Yours,






How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

Hello, Kansas City! We here at iFamilyKC are always looking for ways to save money for our readers. One of the simplest ways to do that is to cut cable. With the wide array of streaming services available, it’s hard to justify cable much anymore, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky gives some tips of how to get rid of it for good and what you can replace it with. Take a look…

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good
(and What to Replace it With)


Fun fact: The average cable bill jumped to over $100/month last year. That’s $1200 a year. That’s, that’s, that’s a big chunk of change.

Four years ago my husband and I decided to drop our cable and we haven’t looked back since. For us, it was less about the money (although at that time we just had our 2nd child, so all savings were appreciated) and more about the fact that we realized we were wasting our time watching a bunch of junk (hellllloooo reality shows).

The good and bad with cable is that there is always something to watch. I was watching The Real Housewives like I was going to be tested on it. My husband should have earned some kind of badge for his loyalty to Whale Wars, Gold Rush Alaska and Pawn Stars. We were out of control. It had to stop. We had human beings to raise. If you’re thinking about cutting the cord, set yourself up with success first:


#1 Get a high-def antenna

Giving up cable doesn’t mean giving up TV. With a high-def TV and antenna, you’ll still get all the networks crystal clear. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, WB and more.


#2 Get a TIVO

Like I said, you’ll still have plenty to watch, but not every time you feel like watching. Record the shows you want to watch and then sit down to watch them when you want to watch TV, not when the TV wants you to watch it.


#3 Get a Netflix or Amazon Prime Subscription

Both of these are great fillers when network shows are on hiatus and your stash in your TIVO is low. It’s also a great way to watch binge-watch cable shows.


Honestly, the only time we wished we did have cable was when the Royal’s were in the playoffs which was aired on cable only. But can I tell you how exciting it was refreshing an app on our phones for stats while listening to the game on the radio? It wasn’t. BUT, that was a few weeks. We made it through. And with our $1200 savings each year, we can also make it to a beach in Mexico. Olé!


Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three, and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,






How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

All of us are back to school, and hopefully, find some sort of groove as we find ourselves at the end of January (can you believe that?!) However, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great tips for easing back into a schedule after winter break for homeschoolers. Take a look!


How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition


Since summer 2016, I have seemed to ask myself daily many questions that I have yet to answer. How long should we focus on one subject? Are they lacking in one subject? Is this too easy or too hard? All of these questions and more are constantly swimming around in my head when I start to think of our home school progress. But one question seemed to literally pop in my head during my kids “winter break”. How do we prepare to get back in the swing of things after winter break?! My eldest daughter still attends traditional school and when my youngest were in school they all just kind of got thrown back into the lion’s den. I knew how it went! So we had a routine, the day before would be a lot similar to the very first day. We would lay out clothes, pack lunches, do hair and make sure they were in their beds on time! But now that we home school, there really is no rip off the Band-Aid approach. There is no prep day, butterflies or first day excitement to worry about.



So after an hour+ rummage through Pinterest, I found that there was no guide, step by step or tips for going back to school after winter break. NOTHING! I was so lost and worried at the same time. I didn’t want to throw them back into fact fluency and tests on properties and matter after they just had a great time off. My goal was to allow them to adjust themselves back into our routine as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t feel over whelmed or get the “back to school blues”. The truth is when you home school, a lot of the “rules” seem to go out the window. Unless you choose to stay on a strict daily schedule, you find yourself moving times, shifting lessons and even taking an unplanned day off for you and your kids sanity.


How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition


So, as our first, first day back from winter break as a home school family I have learned this. There are no great expectations, there are no ways to really get prepared and there are really only a few complaints. Once I told the kids they would start back on a certain day, they grumbled of course and a few times before starting our first round of lessons. I found even a change of scenery made it a lot more comforting. So, instead of logging in and getting to work, we headed downstairs to our loft’s business center and set up stations. One was on a computer and the other two were working in their books. Plus our residence has a coffee bar down stairs which includes hot cocoa so…. Yea they were happy!

I’m sure as our years continue with home schooling things will change, I will become more confident and the kids will be a lot more use to how things work. So to all you homeschoolers out there, remember this. As long as you and your kids are growing in love and knowledge, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT!


From iFamily to Yours,







This Weekend at the Box Office: Split

This weekend brings us a chance to get out of the house and maybe break up the monotony of winter. If you decide to take a trip to the movies, consider checking out Split. While this one won’t be appropriate for the kiddos, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, definitely think it’s worth seeing for the adults! Check out her low down on the film below…

This Weekend at the Box Office: Split

Release Date: 20 January 2017

Run Time: 117 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for dramatic thematic content and behavior, violence and some language)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula


From the mastermind writer and director who brought us the unusual and plot twisting movies The Sixth Sense, The Village, Devil and The Visit, comes a new film from M. Night Shyamalan, Split. Split stars James McAvoy who plays a man who has 23 distinctly different personalities. In the beginning of the film, he kidnaps 3 teenage girls and holds them captive. Throughout the film we are introduced to many of his (super creepy) personalities as the girls try to find a way to escape. They try to relate to some of his personalities as a plan to break free. His therapist tries to bring out certain personalities to help understand him more, unbeknownst to her, he has captured the girls. M. Night ties in a previous film to this one in an interesting twist.


I am a HUGE fan of Shyamalan’s work! Since The Sixth Sense, I have been hooked on his movies! I admit not every one has been my absolute favorite but he is by far my favorite screenwriter and director. His style is uniquely is own and Split did not disappoint! His camera work draws you in and gives a very distinctive and satisfying look into the world of filmmaking.


I give Split a solid 8 out of a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. Intense, creepy and crazy exciting, true to Shyamalan’s style. There is a definite turning point in the film that I almost couldn’t believe my eyes and had to look away! And I have to agree with the film’s PG-13 rating and actually thought it could have easily earned an R rating. It is better suited for a more mature audience. If you’re looking for a thrilling, edge of your seat horror movie, check this one out! Split is in theaters January 20th.


From iFamily to Yours,




Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique Baby Shower Game

It’s Friday, Kansas City! Do any of you have a pregnant friend or family member in your life? Maybe you’re planning a shower for them in the upcoming months. Well, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has a great baby shower game that puts a little spin on the traditional shower game. Take a look!

Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique Baby Shower Game // iFamilyKC Blog

Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique
Baby Shower Game



As much as we all groan at the thought of baby shower games, they do serve a good purpose. In a room full of people who don’t always know each other, a game is a good icebreaker and adds something to the agenda besides just opening gifts.


When my husband’s cousins and I threw a baby shower last weekend for our cousin-in-law (is that an official family tree title?), I was nominated to come up with a game. Challenge accepted.


Most of our friends have had kids by now so I’ve been to my fair share of showers (including my own), so I’m very familiar with some of the more popular baby shower games that are on heavy rotation in the baby shower world, so I really wanted to bring something new to the party and (spoiler alert..) mix things up.


I was inspired by the fact that the parents-to-be did not know the sex of their baby yet. So I decided we would play a game where we not only revealed the baby’s sex, also but got to sneak a peek of what this baby would look like.


Here’s what you’ll need


Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique Baby Shower Game // iFamilyKC Blog


Pink and blue construction paper

Tape and scissors

Headshot of mom-to-be

Headshot of dad-to-be

Headshot of the “milkman” who looks nothing like the dad-to-be (optional)

Rent a Prize Wheel


How to prepare ahead of time


Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique Baby Shower Game // iFamilyKC Blog


  • Cut the headshots horizontally nearly all the way so facial features (hair, forehead, eyes, nose, lips and chin) can all be easily separated.


  • Alternate the mom-to-be and dad-to-be names on the prize wheel. For extra fun, make one section “Milkman.”

How to play


Mix Up Tradition with This Fun & Unique Baby Shower Game // iFamilyKC Blog


Starting with hair and working down to chin, have a host announce a facial feature and have the mom-to-be spin the wheel to see whose feature the baby will have, mom’s, dad’s or the milkman’s.


Once the baby’s face has been built, spin one last time to see what sex the baby will be and use the construction paper to create a blanket around the “baby’s” head.


This game provided lots of laughs and lots of fun as we all got a sneak peek at the baby.


Pro Tips:


The Prize Wheel makes a great conversation topic at the party and gives the game a very fun Price Is Right feel, but if you don’t want to rent one, you can still play this game by rolling dice (pre-selecting numbers for mom and dad) or simply drawing names from a hat.


Get the dad-to-be to hook you up with headshots of them both before the party. This couple had amazing shots of their wedding but it would work just as well for them to send you shots taken on their phones.


Send mom home with the picture of her “baby” as a fun memory for her baby book.


Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,





The World War I Museum Wants to Know Which Poster Would You Choose?

Happy Thursday, Kansas City! The National World War I Museum is looking for your input for their Posters as Munitions contest. They are looking to YOU to choose which poster should be alongside the upcoming Posters as Munitions, 1917 exhibit. Voting concludes on January 31st, so get those votes in. Details below!

The World War I Museum Wants to Know Which Poster Would You Choose?

The World War I Museum Wants to Know Which Poster Would You Choose?


The National World War I Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of Great War objects and documents in the world and its internally curated exhibitions are based on this expansive collection.


One of the most encompassing elements – and among the most popular with visitors – is the Museum’s collection of war posters from World War I. For the upcoming special exhibition Posters as Munitions, 1917, Museum Senior Curator Doran Cart faced the unenviable task of determining which posters to include among the hundreds in the collection.


This task eventually yielded a question applicable to anyone in the world: which poster would you choose?Starting today through Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Museum is offering the opportunity for the public throughout the world to vote to choose a poster to be featured alongside the upcoming exhibition.


“This organization was founded because of the greater Kansas City community and it also relies on the generosity of patrons across the world, so it makes perfect sense to engage the public and offer this unique opportunity to choose a poster featured alongside the Posters as Munitions, 1917 exhibition,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.


People can choose among five vivid, intriguing posters, all circulated in 1917:


  • French Bastille Day commemoration of the French Revolution
  • Great Britain Blue Cross Fund for wounded horses
  • French exposition of propaganda materials about German war crimes
  • U.S. Navy recruiting
  • French “One last effort and we will get them” showing the French/Allies climbing to pull down the German Eagle


Voting takes place at this link:


Each valid email address can contribute one vote and voting concludes at 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The winning poster will be announced upon the completion of the contest and will be featured in the Posters as Munitions, 1917 special exhibition.


About Posters as Munitions, 1917

Feb. 21, 2017 – Feb. 18, 2018

Soon after the outset of World War I, the poster, previously the successful medium of commercial advertising was recognized as a means of spreading national propaganda with unlimited possibilities. Its value as an educational or stimulating influence was more and more appreciated. The poster could impress an idea quickly, vividly and lastingly. Posters as Munitions, 1917 showcases the depth and breadth of the collection through a series of works on exhibition for the first time at the Museum. Posters from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the United States and more are featured, providing a sense of the global nature of this form of communication.


About the National World War I Museum and Memorial

The National World War I Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National World War I Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.


From iFamily to Yours,
Your iFamilyKC Team

Check Out 18 of the Best Children’s Books by Age Group

Hello, Kansas City! With all the time spent indoors during the winter, it’s an excellent time to reignite a love of reading in our kiddos. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has a great list to get you started of great books for children from very young to teen. Take a look!

Check Out 18 of the Best Children's Books by Age Group

Check Out 18 of the Best Children’s Books by Age Group


My topic this week is supposed to be 18 of the best children’s books. But what does that mean? Most popular? Of all time? For ages 3-5, newborn, (ugh!) teens? Honestly, I was lost and didn’t know where to start. So where do you go if you need answers…yes first I went to Google but then went back to my roots and actually went to the library! Yep! An honest to goodness brick and mortar with windows and doors library. When I walked in, a very nice woman introduced herself as a librarian and said that she could help me find what I needed. I thanked her and tried to remember her name so I could send her a fruit basket later and headed to the children’s section.

I’m joking—at least about the library part. I am actually a passionate advocate for reading and the library is one of my girls’ and mine more popular date spots! But I was still lost about the topic, so here is my attempt of a list of the best books for kids. Some I did find on lists of well-respected journalists and papers, some from those in the “biz” of teaching kids and some I just had from my own list of loves. I am by no means an expert and I haven’t even come close to reading every book on the planet. But one thing I do know, I am a passionate reader and I want to instill that in my kids. I would much rather build their personal libraries than give them gifts and hope that one day they will appreciate that. Hopefully you can take this list and add it to your own families’ reading list.


Younger kids


Check Out 18 of the Best Children's Books by Age Group // iFamilyKC Blog


#1 Owl Moon by: Jane Yolen

When I was a kid, I thought it would be the coolest thing to go out on a snowy night with my parents. I can just imagine the cool air and the quiet. Now that I am older it seems this could be the thing of nightmares! What if I freeze? What if I come across a serial killer or a rabid wolf? Still, it’s a beautiful book—and a classic!


#2 The Giving Tree by: Shel Silverstein

ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES! And no one understands why. I think because the relationship between the boy and the tree can be taken so many different ways. Is the tree taking care of the boy? Or should the tree have told the boy to go out, get a job, and figure out how to do things for himself? It’s up for interpretation, but such a great quick read!

#3 The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by: Jon Scieszka

My girls love this book. Every night this is on our list. And I think I like it too because of the different viewpoint—from the Wolf. He just needed a simple cup of sugar for his dear granny’s birthday cake! There is always two sides to a story!


#4 Harold and the Purple Crayon by: Crockett Johnson



#5 Make Way for Ducklings by: Robery McCloskey

I always remember this one from school and I am not sure why, the simple story of a family of ducks in a Boston park and their journey to find a new home that is safe to raise a family. What was kind of cool is when I visited Boston last year for work, I took a whole bunch of pictures of the same park (they have a statue for the ducks and everything) and then made kind of a photo album out of the book and my real pictures for my girls, they thought this was so cool!


#6 The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Back by: Drew Daywatt


#7 There’s a Giraffe in my Soup by: Ross Burach


Just a fun read. And really great for those younger kids because they can interact with the story by naming the animals and making the animal sounds.

#8 The Paper Bag Princess by: Robert Munsch


If you have a daughter or if you just need a reminder that we are strong independent women then give this one a read. Just another view of the typical princess story and gives a fun interpretation. Definitely on my list of favorites.


#9 School’s First Day of School by: Adam Rex

#10 Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by: Virginia Lee Burton


A classic that still speaks to modern themes. Industrialism, new machines and technology taking over for older models. If you find a copy it is guaranteed to have that old book smell, but worth it!


#11 Bedtime for Frances by: Russell Hoban


Young Adult


Check Out 18 of the Best Children's Books by Age Group // iFamilyKC Blog


#12 Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by: Astrid Lindgren

From the author of Pippi Longstocking, this is a good one for those aged 8-12, again it’s an oldie but a goodie. A wild-haired girl, a forbidden friendship and a war just to top it all off. Great, quick read for a book report if you teachers want something that maybe hasn’t been done over and over again!

#13 Inspector Flytrap by: Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell

A really cute series for ages 6-9 years old. It’s got everything, humor, mystery but still silly enough to be interesting to younger kids. I have heard from several kids in this age group that these are just “awesome!”

#14 The Wild Robot by: Peter Brown


#15 The Serpent King by: Jeff Zentner



Check Out 18 of the Best Children's Books by Age Group // iFamilyKC Blog

#16 The Girl from Everywhere by: Heidi Heilig

Leave an anonymous note to your teen to check out this book. This is the first in a series about a time- traveling sixteen year old who travels the globe and has to fight for everything, including her very own existence. It may even get your teens interested in history again.


#17 Outrun the Moon by: Stacey Lee


#18 The First Time she Drowned by: Kerry Kletter


I found this one on a “Teen” list but warning: it deals with some pretty heavy topics including mental health and family issues. I suppose I can’t be that naïve to think that teens don’t go through this every day! It is a beautifully written story about an eighteen year old just trying to control the demons of her present to untangle the past. I would recommend, reading this too; could be an eye opener to how we interact with our own teenagers!

What are some of your family’s favorite books? Please, share in the comments!

From iFamily to Yours,






10 Simple & Fun Date Night Ideas For This Weekend

As most of us are gearing up for the Chiefs game and staying in to wait out the ice storm, you may be planning your next outing with your significant other. Our Mom Squad Ambassador has a great list of easy and fun date night ideas to blow that cabin fever away. Check it out…


10 Simple & Fun Date Night Ideas For This Weekend


10 Simple & Fun Date Night Ideas For This Weekend


Date nights can be kind of stressful. You may have kids to plan around, work schedules that may have you running around for more than 12 hours a day and just a lot of things that seem to happen at the worst time. So when you plan your next date night, try these simple ideas to avoid the added stress of planning!

#1 Date at Home

I know this probably doesn’t seem like a “go to” idea, but when the kids are out of the house, it is perfect! You can still dress up, get amazing takeout and enjoy each other’s time. Plus you can stay up late and not have to worry about commuting back home.

#2 Museums

Museums are a great place for a date. You can explore new and old treasures, get to know each other while walking around plus they are FREE!

#3 Sip &Paint

Sip and paints are the latest craze in outings. These are classes allow you drink and paint in light friendly atmosphere. Plus, it gives you a gift to give each other at the end of the night!

#4 Dance Class

Taking a dance class is something most adults don’t do on a daily basis. So taking a class that lets you take down your hair and loosen up for the night will help you relieve stress from your week and pretty much guarantee a night of laughs.

#5 Walks in the park

This may sound like a typical scene from a RomCom, but there is so much to see in a park. Plus if you are walking you are probably not being distracted with your phone or social media ( unless it’s iFamilyKC then you are ok lol).

#6 PubCrawl

This may sound out there but a good pub crawl is so easy you really only need one plan. When and what time are we meeting? Once you get to where you are, you can check out other places, get some food and hear some music. You don’t have to worry about reservations, dress codes or having to wait for an open table.

#7 Events

Local events are great! You can enjoy music, poets or your favorite sports teams. Plus it will give you plenty to talk about after words too.

#8 Traditional dinner

If you like having something set in stone and not too stressful, make a quick reservation at your favorite place!

#9 Playing Games

Playing games is also a great idea for having date night at home or with a group! There are so many games out there, all you have to do is pick one up or pull out a deck of cards. Have a competitive team game? Try girls vs guys for some friendly competition!

#10 Wine Tasting

Take a tour of a winery and try some out! If you are too busy or tiered to plan something then a wine tasting is perfect! Let the guides do all the talking and planning. You just show up, look around and have a few drinks and snacks! Simple as that.

I hope you find these ideas helpful when planning your next date night!

From iFamily to Yours,







10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night

Hello, Kansas City! As we all prepare for the impending ice storm, many of us will be inside surrounded by our families. To keep you and yours from going completely stir crazy, why not settle in for a good ol’ fashioned family game night? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, gives her family’s 10 top favorite games to play on those nights where you want (or have) to stay in. Check it out!

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


I love a good family game night! Snacks, laughs and memories are always present and a guaranteed fun time! Family game night is a great way to connect and challenge those in your family, especially the younger ones!
I wanted to share with you my top 10 favorite games that I grew up with or that I play with my family! So here they are! (in no particular order lol)


1. Heads Up


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


This game is super fun! You can use the app or buy the box game at most retailers. We use the app (free) and let me tell you this, it gets pretty serious! After you pick a category, the other players on your team will give you clues and you must answer as many as you can before time is up!


2. Spoons


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


This game is another game that gets serious lol. Placing 1 less spoon than there are players in the circle, the dealer passes out 4 cards. Everyone passes one card to the left simultaneously, the dealer draws one card and the person right of the dealer discards one into a separate pile. The goal is to get 4 of a kind (4 aces, 4 queens etc.). Once you have your 4 pick up a spoon or if someone else grabs a spoon quickly grab one! You don’t want to be the last one to grab a spoon!


3. Life

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


My kids love playing Life. Giving them the option to choose their own paths lead to pretty interesting outcomes!


4. Uno


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


Another game that gets serious in my family! Now that I think about we may take games a little too serious lol. Uno is a classic game that just about anyone can play! Just remember this, trust no one in UNO! No alliance is bigger than a draw four!


5. Family Feud


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


You can buy this game at most retailers. We love the show and while this may not be as fun as the show or Steve Harvey, we still have a good time.


6. Mad Gab

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night

This game is guaranteed to get you thinking. Players read cards with random words on them and when they read them out loud, you try to guess what they are saying. Example, “Wander Her Womb Hen” that would sound like Wonder Woman. This game is such a fun one!


7. Catchphrase

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night

This game is very similar to Heads Up. The only thing that is different is going fast so you don’t end up with the device! The team that doesn’t have the device when the timer goes off gets the point!


8. Minute To Win It


10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


This is where you can get really creative! Think of small tasks like trying to get a cookie from your forehead to your mouth with no hands, and try to complete it in less than a minute! This game really has no rules so you can do whatever you want! Just make sure it’s less than a minute.


9. Phase 10

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night

This game is perfect for older kids or for those that like a challenge. This deck comes with a phase list. Each phase has a different requirement. The first one to get all the Phases wins! You can also find this at most retailers.


10.Go Fish

10 Fun Games for a Great Family Game Night


If you have younger kids, this will be one of their favorites! I know my kids love it! Instead of using number cards, opt for the themed ones. Most stores have them for $1!
I hope these games will give you some ideas for your next Family Game Night! What are some of your favorites? Share with us in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,