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Check Out These Cheap Ways to Enjoy Movies This Summer

Summer is just around the corner (even though the weather may be saying otherwise), and that means some of you may be looking for some budget-friendly activities for the family. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has some great ideas for cheap ways to enjoy movies this summer. Take a look!

Check Out These Cheap Ways to Enjoy Movies This Summer


Check Out These Cheap Ways to Enjoy Movies This Summer


If you’re like us, your family was way too busy during the school year to stop and go to the movies. This summer, several places are making it easy (on you and your wallet) for your family to enjoy some movies on the big screen. From passes to pools, this is the ultimate guide for family-friendly movies in KC this summer.

Watching on the big screen

See some new-ish favorites on the big screen without paying a big price.

B&B Theatres Summer Kids Series (Northland, Lee’s Summit, Overland Park, Shawnee): $3 movies (or just $2 for Backstage Members) Tuesdays through Thursdays (June 6-July 27) at 10am and 12:30pm.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse Merriam: $1 movies Mondays through Thursdays (June 5-August 10) at 10am and noon. Or buy a 10-movie pass for $5 while supplies last.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse Palace on the Plaza: $1 movies Wednesdays (June 7-August 9) at 10am. Or buy a 10-movie pass for $5 while supplies last.


See some real stars

Enjoy a movie under the stars this summer with these outdoor movie events.

Johnson County Libraries: Movies in the Park
Free. May 19, June 10, July 8 and August 12. Locations vary. Family-friendly classics. Local concerts start at 8pm, movie starts at dusk.

Moonlight Movie on the Square (Independence)
Free movies every Thursday (June-early August) at 9pm in the Pharaoh Theater parking lot.

Legacy Park Amphitheater (Lee’s Summit)
Free movies the first Thursday of each month in June, July and August. Gates open at 7pm, movies begin around dark (8:45pm). No outside food or beverages but concessions will be available.

WeekEnder (Crown Center)
Free. July 7, 14, 21 & 28, August 4
Enjoy local bands and food trucks starting at 6pm. Movies start about 9pm. No outside alcohol.


Make a splash

Watch a movie with your feet in the water or the sand.

Dive-In Movie: Moana (Fairway)
$3 per person. July 22, 2017.
Bring your own floatie. Plenty of pool furniture available. Free popcorn included. Doors open at 8:30pm, movie begins at dark.

Sand Cinema (Long View Lake Beach)
$5 per car. June 23 and July 21. Gates open at 7:30pm, movies begin around dark (8:45pm). Bring your own blanket or chairs for beach seating. No outside food or beverages but concessions will be available.


Pro Tips:

• Arrive early for best seats, especially if you’re going in a large group

• For outdoor movies, pack blankets, chairs and plenty of pillows

• For evening movies, dress your kiddos in PJs ahead of time so you can easily get them to bed when you get home

• Create your own movie memories for your family and friends by hosting your own backyard movie night.


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


From iFamily to Yours,






10 Creative Gifts Teachers Will Love on the Last Day of School

Good Morning, Kansas City! The end of the school year is approaching and it’s time for us parents to show the teachers in our (and our kids’) lives some appreciation. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, gives us a great list of 10 gifts you might give. Check it out!

10 Creative Gifts Teachers Will Love on the Last Day of School


10 Creative Gifts Teachers Will Love on the
Last Day of School


The last days of school can be such an emotional time for parents, students and teachers. Another year of learning, friendships, struggles all seem to get wrapped up into a whirlwind of emotions! I know I was a mess on my kids last day of public school simply because I loved their teachers and I knew what big adjustment was in the near future! And even though throughout the year you thank them, cooperate with them and help out on field trips or in the class room, there is still something about a gift from the heart that teachers love!
So, here are 20 simple, yet meaningful gifts you and your child(ren) can give to their teacher at the end of this year!


#1 Punny Thank You Notes

I’m sure you have seen these all over Pinterest! A super cute note attached to candy, gift cards or school supplies. These are always a cute Idea! Most of the time you just have to cut and paste and then you are good to go! This is one of my favorite resources for Punny Thank Yous!

#2 Personalized cups/mugs

First off, who doesn’t love a good mug!? You can head off to your local Big Lots or Ross and find monogrammed mugs or cups! If you are a crafty person, you can go a little further and put one of their favorite quotes or even a picture on one! Shutterfly (my favorite) can even do it for you!

#3 Pictures

Teachers always remember their students and a picture is worth a thousand words. Grab a plain frame from the Dollar Tree and have your kid decorate it then place their school picture inside. Bonus if they have one with their teacher! Make sure you put their info on the back!

#4 Gift bags

A gift bag can really go a long way. Fill a bag with some of their teacher’s favorite things. If they collect something like post cards, you can theme the bag around that collection by adding in stamps, pencils and blank post cards.

#5 Handmade shirts

When I was little, we made hand print shirts all the time! You can either outline your kids hand with fabric puff paint or have them cover their palm with paint and print it on a shirt or blanket. This would be a great classroom project for everyone!

#6 Gift Cards

Sometimes people say gift cards are so “impersonal” or that they aren’t from the heart. I beg to differ! Gift cards are one of the best gifts you can give to someone! You can buy one from their favorite store or load a visa gift card so they can use it on whatever they would like. A lot of times, teachers use their own money to buy items for the class room so a gift card is a great way to give them back some of that money.

#7 Wine

Ok, obviously you are not going to send a bottle of Rosé to school with your kid lol. But if you have the time yourself (after school hours) drop off a wine basket along with chocolates! If you don’t have the time to stop by yourself, there are tons of wine clubs and deals on Groupon that will deliver right to their door.

#8 Cards

Just about every teacher loves to get notes and cards from their students, you can buy a piece of fancy cardstock and have your child write a sweet memory, a poem or really anything that they want.

#9 Spa bag

After school ends, I’m sure your child’s teacher will want to pamper themselves after completing another long year. So, why not make them a spa bag? Add in some scented lotions, nail polish, face masks and a beautiful candle!

#10 Cash

Ok, who doesn’t just love cold hard cash?! You can tuck it in an envelope or get with the other parents in the class and all take up a collection. You can have all the kids and parents present their teacher with a gift of moolah. Most classes are pretty big these days, so if everyone puts in a little, you will surely receive a lot more than just one person!


I hope these ideas gave you some inspiration for your child(rens) end of school gift for their teacher this year. They do a lot and spend so much time with your kids, I know that anything or a sign of gratitude will be enough!

From iFamily to Yours,







5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email

5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email


5 Reasons Not to Use Your Work E-mail as
Your Personal E-Mail


Most jobs come with an email address, but just because it has your name on it, that doesn’t mean it’s yours. It’s tempting to use your work email everywhere, but it’s not a good idea. Here are some reasons not to use your work email as a personal mail account:


#1 Your email address is the gateway into your personal life

You use your email address to sign into social media accounts, financial accounts and a host of other accounts that contain your personal information. Why would you sign up for online services for an account you don’t own? If your work email is tied to your social accounts and financial accounts and someone gains access to your company mail account, they could use that access to gain control of your personal accounts.


#2 Your boss can see your company emails

If your company has a reason to look through your company email, they probably can. You’d never even know. You don’t want your boss knowing where you shop or what you do on your free time.

#3 If you leave your job, it can be difficult to recover an account

You may eventually decide to leave your current job. When that happens, you will lose access to your work email account. If you’ve used it to sign up for a site like Amazon, you may find that if you forget your password, you might have a difficult time recovering. Many password reset requests go to your registered email account.


#4 Your emails may be subject to Freedom of Information Act Requests

Private individuals could have their email become part of a corporate lawsuit. If you work for the government, your emails are potentially public record. If a citizen files a FOIA request, they would possibly be able to see your private correspondence as well as what accounts you have set up online. The same goes for a private individual with a corporate email address. If the company gets sued, your email could become part of the discovery process in the lawsuit. That means that your private emails could be turned over to attorneys and become part of a public record. That could be pretty embarrassing.


#5 Corporate email accounts are easy targets for spam and viruses

Corporate email addresses are easy to find. They are usually listed right on the company website. Scammers and hackers gather these email addresses and try to exploit them. They try to hack your password or send phishing attempts that will expose your email account to the hacker. From there, they have access to your personal data.

Keeping a private, anonymous email address through Microsoft’s Outlook.com or Google’s Gmail is the best way to keep your work life and your personal life separate. Your boss can’t see your private emails, hackers are less likely to come across your address randomly, and you’ll keep ownership of the account.


Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

Work It Wednesdays: How This Mom Embraced Her Swimsuit Body

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! Although the weather says otherwise, swimsuit season is upon us. Just the thought of it might make your stomach turn, but our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie shares how she embraced her swimsuit body on her recent vacation. So, while you’re dreaming for warmer weather, take a look!

Work It Wednesdays: How This Mom Embraced Her Swimsuit Body

So I just got back from a 10 day long cruise to the Caribbean. And it was absolutely every bit as fantastic as I thought it was going to be. When you take one vacation every 8 years, its bound to be great, right? So, anyway, I found myself, as a lot of us do, sort of dreading the whole swimsuit part of being on a cruise.

I have come to peace with my body in recent years, but swimsuits are just something I am not naturally comfortable in. My large muscular thighs, nicknamed Thelma and Louise, are way too good of friends and chat with each other all day, which makes chaffing an issue. And then my smallish chest for my build, again something I have come to accept and even love, makes it hard to find the right fit. The swimsuit struggle is real. So I ordered some suits that I loved from Amazon and packed a couple of my old ones from last summer, and took my overly exhausted, desperately in need of a break self to Puerto Rico and got on a boat.

I love warm weather and I love the water. I love hanging out on a beach with my feet in the sand and a good book. This is my idea of heaven. And my idea of heaven includes swimsuits. Ironic? Yes. But there you have it. I have always admired people who have the confidence to rock suits that I never would. Tiny bikinis, one piece suits with tons of cut outs, you get the idea. I have also always admired people who had the confidence to take pictures in their swimsuits. I am the self-proclaimed queen of the selfie, but full body pictures fully clothed are not always my jam, let alone in a swimsuit. I tend to take lots of pictures of the view from my beach chair, or pool chair and then a festive selfie that at most shows off my shoulders with a fun caption like “Summer has arrived!” Now my love of selfies doesn’t necessarily stem from a lack of body confidence, but more of a “I know the best angle from which to take a picture” sort of mentality.

I’m getting to the point of this post, I promise. Day three of our cruise we got to spend the day in gorgeous, breathtaking, awe inspiring St. Lucia. Our excursion for the day included a tour on a speed boat and a day at the beach with lunch and rum punch provided. While we were enjoying our rum punch on this gorgeous beach with the Pietans in the background, a man rowed up in a canoe filled with fresh fruit he had picked himself that morning. Now, blame it on the rum punch or on the thrill of vacation, but as the day went on, and after I had purchased not one, but two delicious fresh fruit and rum smoothies from said fruit man, I asked if I could have my picture taken with him.

And I was in my swimsuit!

Gasp—shock—awe—what?!?!? And then, without even a second thought, thanks to free wifi on the beach, I posted that picture. A full length shot of me in a swimsuit standing next to a man who easily could have won physique competitions. Now, in years past, I would have looked at that picture and decided that my legs looked too big or it was from an unflattering angle or that I looked sad and out of shape next to a man with that physique. This time, I posted it! On Facebook! For people to see!

And do you know what happened next? Nothing. Well, not nothing. People commented about the caption about the beautiful man and his cancer fighting fruit smoothies and the rum involved. Not one comment about my suit and how I shouldn’t be posing in it, or what I looked like in it. And it was liberating. I didn’t overanalyze, I didn’t question, I just posted. I was enjoying my vacation and wanted the world to know. I was not a model in a suit, but I was me, in a suit on a stunning beach in St. Lucia. And I looked happy. I looked relaxed. Thelma is out there in front, showing off her muscles and her strength, but instead of cringing or wondering if I looked too big, I smiled and thought “I love this place!”

I am not saying I will spend my entire summer taking full length swimsuit shots for the world to see, but I am telling you that I am done obsessing over how I look in pictures and what I look like in a swimsuit. My body is mine, and its been through a fair share of battles and surgeries and yo yo diets and sizes. But its stuck with me so far. 15 years from now, I’m going to wish I had the body I have today. I’m not going to spend the next 15 years wishing it away, or hiding it. I am healthy and I am happy and that is what I see when I look at this picture. And what I see is really all that matters. It took a lot of time to get here, but I have arrived!

From iFamily to Yours,





35 Awesome Camps to Sign Your Kids Up for This Summer

Howdy, Kansas City! Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. With summer comes extra time for the kiddos, and if you’re looking for camps and activities — you’ve come to the right place. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has a list of some great camps to get your kids involved in this summer. Check it out!

35 Awesome Summer Camps in Kansas City

35 Awesome Camps to Sign Your Kids Up for This Summer

Can you believe we are already talking about SUMMER?! It seems like we were just getting ready for spring cleaning and clear skies. But yes, it is that time already! Summer camps are already preparing for a slew of kids and anxious parents around the Kansas City metro area and iFamily has THE premier list of awesome camps for you to think about this summer! I know my kids have been constantly talking about camp since last December (lol).
So, get ready to dive into a wide variety of activities, places and camps for your kids to experience!

1. Cub Creek Science camp

You kid can learn, explore and experience animal adventures! They are a sleep away camp and are located in Rolla Mo. Check them out, enroll here or call them at 573-458-2125.

2. Engineering for Kids South Kansas City

This summer camp introduces your child to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through project based learning! For more information you can request info from southkc@engineeringforkids.net.

3. Horizon Academy

Located in Roeland Park, Kansas, hey offer academic tutoring for students with Add/Adhd, dyslexia and specific learning disorders.

4. i9 Sports of Johnson County

Located in Lenexa, Kansas, i9 offers a wide variety of sports for boys and girls! Focusing on new sports and sportsmanship while having fun!

Sign up early for Autumn and save $10 on registration using our exclusive offer! 

5. J Camp at the Jewish Community Center

This day camp also has a wide variety of activities for your child including swimming, drama, sports, culinary, tennis and more!

6. Theater of the Imagination

Located in Overland Park, Kansas, kids can act, sing and make movies! Plus when you enroll, mention iFamilyKC for $10 OFF! 

7. Sky Camp at Sky Zone

Located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, kids can jump around either for a full day or half day and this cool facility!

8. The Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art

Who said camp was only for kids? The Nelson Atkins Museum of art has summer art classes for kids and adults!

9. Sion Summer Spectacular at Notre Dame de Sion School

Your kids can participate in Art, Stem, Fitness and health enrichment.

10. Jacomo Summer Camp

Your kids can spend their summer, swimming, fishing, hiking, canoeing and more! Located at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center in Jackson County, Missouri! To request more information, contact organizers at 816-229-8980.

kansas city summer camp guide

There are so many camps to choose from this summer! These are just a few that my family have shown interest in, but trust me…there is something for everyone! If you are looking for a complete directory of awesome summer camps in your area or throughout the Kansas City Metropolitan area, pick up your copy of the iFamilyKC magazine or scroll down below for a more complete list. You can find us at your local, daycare, schools, libraries, Crown Center and my family’s favorite, Kaleidoscope!

11. Champions Gymnastics Academy 

Starting June 5th, from 7am-6pm (Monday thru Friday), you kids can enjoy Summer Day Camps at Champions Gymnastics! Drop in by the hour ($5/hour) or pay $150/week. Call their location in Raytown at (816) 360-9879 to sign up!

BONUS: Save $20 On 1st Month’s Tuition With Our Exclusive Coupon!

12. Lori’s School Of Music Summer Camp Sessions

Give your child a taste of Music with Lori’s School of Music. Group summer classes are only $12 per week and are  a great way to introduce your budding pianist to music. Call for more details (816) 478-4838.

13. We Rock The Spectrum 

At the metro area’s only indoor sensory gym with a focus on Autism, your children will enjoy Rockin’ Friends, arts and crafts, sensory activities, and open play at We Rock The Spectrum Kansas City. They’re offering half and full day camp options in June and July. Grab the details on their website and call (816) 844-9580 to pre-register. Single day camp admission is available!

Bonus: SAVE $25 using our EXCLUSIVE coupon that makes a full day of camp JUST $34!

14. Emerald City Gymnastics

During any of the five sessions to join in on, your young athletes will develop their gymnastics skills, climb the 5,000 sq. foot indoor rock wall, enjoy fun playtime, participate in crafts and games, and get a fun camp shirt! Open to children ages 5 thru 12 with full day, morning, and afternoon sessions available. Grab a spot now!

15. Accelerated Schools of Overland Park 

Students enjoy 90 minutes of creative expression as well as 2 1/4 hours of individualized academic instruction at Accelerated Schools of Overland Park. Open to 4th-8th graders June 5th- July 28th. Call for more info (913) 341-6666.

16. Ceramic Cafe

Fun themes that change with each camp session, their program provides instruction in ceramic art techniques including glass fusing, pottery painting, and hand building with clay. Email ceramiccafekc@gmail.com for more info.

17. Debbie Howard’s Gym

Located in Olathe, Debbie Howard’s Gym offers gymnastics classes, open gyms, birthday parties, and full gym rentals. They aim to teach your kids how to believe in themselves. Call for more info (913) 829-3006.

18. Kanakuk 

Since 1926, Kanakuk has been providing America’s premier summer camp experience for boys and girls ages 6-18. here is no better way to create lifelong friendships and build your child’s character and confidence this summer. Call for more information (417) 266-3000.

19. Paint, Glaze, and Fire Ceramics & Coffee House 

Join Paint, Glaze, and Fire for their 20th camp session! Children will have fun creating ceramic, clay, canvas, and glass fusion projects. Sign up early since class sizes are limited! (913) 645-1966

Bonus: Take 20% off with our exclusive coupon! 

20. Sunset Trails Stables 

Sunset Trails camp fun includes horseback riding, care for animals, outdoor activities, barn games, gardening, fun crafts, and more! Available for kids ages 6 and up in Lee’s Summit. Call (816) 554-7699 for more details.

Bonus: Save $10 With Our Exclusive Coupon!

21. JCPRD Summer Camps 

Friendship, teamwork, and exploration are all in store for your kids at JCPRD’s Summer Camps! They’ve got indoor and outdoor full day and partial day options available. Connect with Johnson County Parks & Rec directly for more information.

22. Kids On Campus KCKCC

Ideal for ages 8 thru 18, KCKCC’s Kids On Campus program provides sports, STEM enrichment, arts, field trips, life skills, and more during their day camp in June and July. Grab more info online and register for your child’s spot now before space fills up.

23. Learning 2 Fly

Learning 2 Fly is the place to be for curious minds and energetic bodies. Their summer camps are a fun way to enjoy aerial fitness and more! Call (913) 262-2600 for more details.

24. Shakespeare Summer Camps 

Camp Shakespeare is a fun and unique summer arts experience you kids will never forget! Taught by theater professionals in a neighborhood near you from Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Grab more info at (816) 531-7728.

25. Kansas City Ballet Summer Programs 

Your performers will enjoy classes, workshops, and ballet camps at Kansas City Ballet this summer for ages 3-18. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your space soon! (816) 931-2299.

26. Kansas City Young Audiences 

Conveniently located in Midtown, Kansas City Young Audiences offers camps and classes all summer long for ages 4 through 18. Schedules and class descriptions are available online.

27. Summit Stables 

Ideal for ages 3 and up, your riders will enjoy an equestrian summer at Summit Stables. Call (816) 607-1440 for more details.

 Bonus: Save $25 Using Our Exclusive Coupon! 

28. Kansas City Zoo 

Zoofari Adventures and Junior Zoologist Camps are now enrolling at the Kansas City Zoo! These camps are an excellent way for your animal enthusiasts to get the inside scoop about the Zoo’s amazing creatures for children between the ages of 4 and 14. Camps start May 30th! (816) 595-1234

29. Summit Lanes Lee’s Summit 

Kids bowl FREE all Summer long at Summit Lanes in Lee’s Summit! Children ages 15 and under can bowl two free games every day in the summer. Pre-register online or call (816) 524-3322 for more info.

BONUS: $20 Bowling is available RIGHT NOW for up to six people

30. Jazz Camp 

Kansas City Community College and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra present Jazz Camp, a summer program for people ages 13 and up. Includes lunch and a camp shirt. Call (913) 228-7503 for more details.

31. Camp Grow

Camp Grow introduces your child to 4-H! Completed projects will be entered into this year’s fair. The program is presented by the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame. Call for more information (913) 721-1075.

32. Crescendo Conservatory

Calling all fairy princesses and rock stars! Join Crescendo Conservatory this year for fairy princess camp and rock star camp. Twirling in tutus though a magical forest or dancing under a mirror ball are all in store for your dancers this summer. Visit online for more information.

33. Xtreme Gymnastics 

Registration is now open for campers at Xtreme Gymnastics! From Day camps to gym warrior camps and gymnastics camps, there’s something for everyone at XGT Kids!

34. Science City 

From June 5th to August 4th, your kids can create, explore, and experiment at Science City’s STEM learning camps! Space is limited to sign up quickly!

35. CYT KC

CYTKC has camps all across the metro area for kids ages 4-12 for musical and non-musical sessions including Disney Around the World, Disney on Broadway, High School Musical, Star Wars Episode II, Lord Of the Rings, and MORE! Learn more and get $10 off using the code IFAMILYNEW at cytkc.org.

BONUS #36 StageWorx 

StageWorx is a theater day camp that offers various sessions for age groups from preschool through high school. They focus on providing excellence in theater performance, depth of personal character, and lasting friendships. Call (816) 536-2840 for more details!

From iFamily to Yours,





5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

Spring is in the air, Kansas City! And with spring comes house and yard work. If your home is needing a little TLC or an update…or two, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas on how to update your home this weekend that won’t break the bank! Take a look…

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend


It is finally spring…at least for the past week or so it has been! Last weekend I ventured outside, raised my hand to block my eyes from the sun that I haven’t seen in months and immediately started sneezing! Allergies from the lawns being mowed and the trees in full bloom. As I ran inside for an allergy pill I realized the outside of our house, like my tan, could use a little refresh! We aren’t trying to sell or anything but it is always nice to not be the house on the block that gets pointed at while the neighbors are walking their dogs. So I did what anyone would do in this situation; I grabbed a lawn chair, a diet Dr. Pepper and googled ͞”How to update my house”…for cheap!͟ After a quick nap from all that googling—I ran to the home improvement store and came out with enough projects to last until Fall.


#1 Update your Curb appeal

Even if you aren’t selling, it’s important for your own sanity to keep your house up with the trends and do some quick updates when needed. When we bought our house 3 years ago, it was a foreclosure—great for the price and the fact that there were lots of updates made before we even signed our paychecks away. However one of the ͞updates͟ was painting the front of the house. Yes, for three years, the front of my house was a slightly different color than the other three sides! No one could really notice but once you walked around to the back you could! So we knew that the house needed to be painted, a friend of ours gave us a name and within the next week we were getting a new paint job. So much for planning! Regardless, the house looks so much fresher and cleaner with a fresh coat (of all the same color) paint. Perhaps a little expensive for a quick update, but paint can be used other places.


#2 Look to your front door.

The first thing people see when they visit your home; it should be inviting, warm and bright and accent the front of your home. Keep that in mind when choosing a color; you want to accent and not take away; although bright red is a trendy color, you don’t want it looking like your front porch is constantly on fire!


#3 Think about the whole picture too

Actually go out into the street and imagine what your neighbors are going to have to see every day! Look at the landscaping, decorations, window treatments inside the house—all add to the whole picture of the front of your home. Landscaping can add 7-15% to a home’s value This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.


#4 Stock up on plants & flowers when they’re on sale.

Plants and flowers are probably going to be on sale right now in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, so stock up while you can. I am awful at plants and flowers; I am really good at realizing we are having a barbeque tonight and running to the nearest plant store to buy an already blooming hanging basket. When my mom comments on how beautiful it is and great job on keeping it alive, I nod and agree! Not too bad for a backup plan either; but this year I thought I would try to grow my own again. If you are like me, stick with easy, drought tolerant, dog and kid tolerant, ͞oh I thought those were weeds!͟ tolerant type flowers and shrubs. I am getting a little better; a few plants I planted last year came up again this year—I consider that progress! In any case get ideas first on landscaping before you head to the store. This will help the wallet and your stability once your get your hands in the dirt! I see the light! And it ain’t pretty If the only change that you have had to the front door or garage door lighting is the light bulb then it is probably due for a little update.


#5 Take advantage of a sale on light fixtures

This is kind of like the earrings you would wear with that great new blouse; yeah they are fine on their own but you look so much more put together when you wear them both. If you find that new fixtures just aren’t in your budget right now, just get out the old spray paint! Okay preferably not old spray paint but it is amazing how many colors and styles of spray paint there are now. Metallic and bronze are really popular for outdoor lighting and a simple coat will do wonders with only a few bucks. I love landscaping lighting but because of that previous statement of kids and dogs and rogue lawnmowers I really don’t see them working right now. However this is a really nice way to add some night lighting for added security and ͞landscaping͟ when you can’t see the landscaping at night!


#6 When it’s not broke…just paint it!

So as you are painting the light fixtures you are going to want to use every drop of that paint, so you will start looking for other things to paint as well. Think plastic chairs and tables and even floors and paving stones! I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to soon! There is a small patio beside our deck that I struggle with a use for it because most people just stay on the deck. I think this year I am going to try and paint it, perhaps making it a checkerboard pattern and making a giant game board. Or maybe just painting a few paver stones, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I have seen tons of ideas on painting deck flooring in fun and bright colors; again it is a quick and easy update that can be done for a fraction of what it would cost to build a new one. However, this is a great place to spend some money; new deck chairs, tables, fire pits and outdoor play areas are going to add more value, in terms of family time ,than you know. If you want to wait until the fall; this is when most of these items go on clearance. You just have to shop around and wait for the right deal. And if you don’t find what you are looking for—there is always paint for that!


From iFamily to Yours,







7 Tips to Help You Go Green this Earth Day

Happy Friday, Kansas City! Earth Day is right around the corner, can you believe it?! In honor of it, we have our technology expert, Burton Kelso, back with some tips to help you go green with your technology. Take a look!

7 Tips to Help You Go Green this Earth Day


7 Tips to Help You Go Green this Earth Day

For Earth Day and even after the holiday, there are some steps you can take around your home and in your daily life to conserve energy and help contribute to a healthy environment. Here are some suggestions I have to be “eco-friendly” and help our mother Earth.

#1 Use rechargeable batteries.

To reduce the amount of batteries that wind up in our landfills, consider switching to rechargeable batteries for everything else like flashlights, remote controls and toys. These can be recharged up to a 1000 times and are a much cheaper and eco-friendly alternative.


#2 Use LED lightbulbs.

Not only will LEDs reduce your electric bills, they’re also safer to dispose of and will reduce your carbon footprint. There’s no real excuse not to shift to LEDs already.


#3 Reduce the brightness on your monitors.

Cutting your monitor or laptop’s screen brightness might seem like a minor thing to do, but the energy savings will add up over time. For desktops, this is easily done by lowering brightness with the help of the menu buttons on the monitor. For laptops, you need to use the “Function” buttons on your keyboard.


#4 Don’t use screensavers.

If you use screensavers, disable them and just switch off the monitor instead.


#5 Smartphone power management.

For smartphones, you can cut down on display brightness from the notification area itself. You can also configure your phone’s power management settings to extend battery life. Simply choose the profile you want to use: balanced, performance, or power saving. Some phones provide detailed options within each of these where you can force the device to shut off mobile data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth when the phone is inactive. These tweaks will help in extending your phone’s battery life and reduce energy consumption.

#6 Use programmable timer switches and thermostats.

Ever forgotten to switch off the lights before you’ve left home? Need to have your thermostat turn off at a specific time? If yes, you might want to consider programmable timer switches that can be used to switch appliances ON and OFF at pre-selected times and programmable thermostats that will allow you to control the temperature at home while you’re away.

#7 Dispose of your e-waste responsibly.

Dumping your electronics and gadgets directly in the trash bin is hazardous to the environment. Harmful chemicals from electronics buried in the landfills could seep into ­ and poison ­water systems. You can take your old e-waste to Goodwill or Best Buy to be recycled responsibly. You can consider selling those old gadgets on Amazon for a trade in towards a new device.


Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library

Hello, Kansas City! The weekend is right around the corner and if you’re looking for something new and creative for your family outing, consider checking out First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette and her own squad had some fun and shared it with us below. Check it out!

Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library


Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the
Kansas City Public Library

As you may know over the past few years, Kansas City has hosted a popular trend that is increasingly growing. I’m talking about First Fridays! Art galleries, local restaurants and fellow Kansas Citians enjoy the culture rich Crossroads Art District and downtown Kansas City. But did you know, the Central Library ALSO has a First Friday’s event?! Me neither!
The Central Library is located downtown off 10th and Main st. If you haven’t been there before, they have an excellent kid’s area, stunning interior and enough space to get lost in a good book! The kids and I visit there frequently but never heard of their First Friday event until a few weeks ago, so I thought why not? So the whole family headed off to visit the library!
Since we have never been, we didn’t quite know what to expect. I knew there were going to be activities for the kids, but would there be something to keep the adults entertained too? You bet! As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with local musicians playing their guitar and violin, friendly staff welcoming us and an array of adult satisfying hors d’oeuvres. Plus an open bar with wine and local brew. I knew then, my husband was sold lol.


Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library
Once we grabbed a small glass of wine and a cookie for the kiddos to snack on, we ventured off upstairs to explore the setup for kids! You would have thought they were in Toys R Us they were so excited! The library hosts different exhibits throughout the year and the one that was on display was “Things Come Apart”, a cool display of everyday items completely taken apart. So the kids’ activities were a reflection of that exhibit. They had hands on activities that required nothing else but an imagination.
One station was a marble obstacle course! The kiddos could put together different shaped blocks to make a maze or obstacle course. Once the kids built their structure, they would see if it could get from one side to another without falling off!


Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library
The second station was a really cool one! There were buckets of “straws” and jacks that you could put together and make just about anything you could think of! We built windows, turbines and even a chair. One librarian got super creative and built a structure taller than my little Italy!
The third station required a little more than brain power! It was a build your own vehicle station! There were different length pvc pipes, wheels and notches that kiddos could put together to make their own car, lawnmower or whatever else their minds could fathom!


Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library
And of course no kids’ event is complete without snacks! The library provided more kid friendly snacks along with low sugar juices and water to recharge them from all their creativeness!
My family and I had such a great time we are definitely planning on attending the next one! Just keep in mind this is ONLY THE FIRST FRIDAY OF EVERY OTHER MONTH at the CENTRAL LIBRARY. Also, with each First Friday, they conduct a different set of activities that reflect the current exhibit down the hall!

Friday Night Fun: First Friday at the Kansas City Public Library


From iFamily to Yours,







Fitness Clichés that Actually Ring True, and a Few that Don’t

Happy Hump Day, Kansas City! We’re back with a great Work It Wednesday post from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie. This time she’s tackling fitness cliches — some being true, and some…not so much. If you’re trying to stay fit and need a little extra motivation, she’s got it for you below. Take a look!

Fitness Clichés that Actually Ring True, and a Few that Don’t

Fitness clichés that actually ring true…and a few that don’t.


#1 Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life.

I talked about this in my previous post. Fit is a process. Enjoy the journey. Make it a part of your lifestyle. You can’t workout for a while and then stop and expect the health to stay. You have to make it a way of life.


#2 What you eat in private, you wear in public.

Unfortunately, this one is true. But who hasn’t eaten a cookie in the corner of your kitchen with your back turned so the kids can’t see and then told yourself it didn’t count because no one saw it?!? One cookie won’t kill you, but consistently eating badly will quickly curb those health goals and gains.


#3 The act of getting strong doesn’t start in the gym, it starts in your head.

You have to be mentally strong and positive regardless of what happens in the gym. You have to be able to tell yourself to keep going and that you are doing great, even when you feel like you don’t want to keep going and that you are the least healthy person on the planet. Get it done mentally so you can get it done physically.


#4 Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.

There are so many doubts, so many negative thoughts, so many misconceptions that can keep you from achieving your goals and sticking to a healthier lifestyle. You have to overcome all of those doubts and fears in order to come out on the other side, stronger and healthier. So tackle what scares you head on. Do a workout that you don’t think you can do. Once it is done, you’ll feel like the strongest person alive.


#5 Once you see results, it becomes an addiction.

I feel like this one could go either way. Some people see results and think ‘yay! I’m done! Goal reached!’ and they quit. Guess what? It doesn’t work that way. You have to work to maintain. But there are many people who are very motivated by results. It keeps them wanting more and pushing themselves harder. It makes them gym rats. It makes them healthy.

#6 You can’t out train a bad diet.

Again, sadly, this one is true. Weight is 80% diet, 20% working out. And oh how I wish those numbers were reversed. I would be the thinnest woman alive if they were. Winning in the kitchen is the hardest part of weight loss.


#7 You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.

Unless a bear is chasing you, then you should probably go fast.


#8 The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.

Not true! I have had some really bad workouts. Painful, struggle filled, daunting workouts. Workouts that made me want to cry. (Mostly running on a treadmill—that’s just pure torture!) But the end result is good. The end result is strong. The end result is ‘yes I did do that!’

#9 If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

If you are always doing the same workout or the same weight or the same level, you will see results for a bit, but then your body becomes used to that workout and that movement or weight and it stops changing you. Change your routine up, push yourself a little harder sometimes, try something new. Keep challenging yourself and the results will come.


#10 One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did.

I’m not saying it’s not a great moment. It is a great moment. It’s a great motivational tool. But nothing will compare to the day my kids were born, the day I got married, the day my kids walked for the first time, etc. Those moments, at least for me, will always top physical achievements as great moments. But physical achievements do feel pretty dang good.


#11 Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

What?!?!? That just can’t happen. Once I’m comfortable being uncomfortable, I’m not uncomfortable anymore. I know, too literal an interpretation. This one falls in line with the challenge/change line from above.


#12 Summer bodies are made in the winter.

While this one is probably true, I would LOVE to know when I can start working on my winter body. When does that happen exactly?


From iFamily to Yours,





How to Deal with the Choice of Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Journey

Howdy, Kansas City! Bringing a new baby into the world comes with it’s own set of worries and can be overwhelming. The responsibility of another human being is nerve-racking to say the least, particularly figuring out how to keep them fed. There’s plenty of controversy surrounding feeding a newborn, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, wanted to share her journey through the overwhelm. Check it out!

How to Deal with the Choice of Breastfeeding:  A Mother's Journey


How to Deal with the Choice of Breastfeeding:
A Mother’s Journey

Last week my husband and I took our oldest to Kindergarten round-up. I did surprisingly well, but I was told this is the easy part; you go and listen to a presentation and take some paperwork, none of it is real yet. Kind of reminded me when we first got pregnant with her. We tried for what seemed like so long, we prayed, we planned, and we mapped out cycles and when that stick finally showed that plus sign we couldn’t believe it. I know that shock lasted for about 7 months, that is when we started getting the room ready, buying the hundreds of items that you needed in order to bring this 7 pound little person home and when we started buying for me. I was never one to imagine that anything would go differently than what I planned. Labor would go smoothly and perfectly (which it did except for the 22 hours to get her here!) and then we would have a happy and healthy baby that would start breastfeeding right away. Just to be sure, I made a batch of flax seed muffins two weeks before my due date. I still remember the look on my Dad’s face when he tried one at breakfast one day; which was pretty much that same face I made every morning when I ate one. But with all this preparation I got the pump ready and sterilized and cleaned out the freezer for the containers of breast milk that would start flowing the minute little girl hit the ground!
News to all you new moms out there—don’t make plans ahead of time. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you plan and I know now that this is okay. To be clear I am ProChoice—Breastfeeding ProChoice that is, we will leave politics out of this. I believe that every mom has a right to choose whether or not to breastfeed their child and they shouldn’t be judged either way for this. From that first meeting at the hospital I was urged to breastfeed because of the wonderful benefits it offers. I completely agree; all of the benefits to me and my child let alone the bonding that I would get to do with her while feeding her, and even better was the money that we would save in formula, bottles, etc. I was on board—remember the flax seed muffins? Fast forward to labor and birth, we were blessed, all went just fine and I wasn’t too worried when we had issues latching that first time; this happens, we will bring in the lactation consultant just relax and hold her close. When she latched that first time it wasn’t like a huge relief, if anything it was worse.

When the lactation consultant came in the next day things went from bad to worse; we had tried so many times to get anything to come out I was now bleeding and baby girl didn’t want any part of that- and rightly so! The lactation consultant still tried to get her to latch; tried to get something to come out and at the end of the session said I was dehydrated and my milk just hadn’t come in yet; give it a little more time. By day two—I was in tears, baby girl was still doing fantastic trying to latch but she was still not getting anything if very little. Everyone said that it was still important whatever she could get. At this point it was extreme agony for me to have her latch; but as a mom you work through it. I never could have imagined something so easy to be so difficult—NO ONE warned me about this.

At the end of day two, I was in pain, crying all the time and the lactation consultant kept telling me that I needed to try harder, that I needed to maneuver myself and my babies’ head to make sure she was latching. After trying for a few more times, tears welled up in my eyes. I looked up at her face and all I saw was disgust, she told me if I didn’t try harder that little girl could start to become malnourished and sick; bottle feeding was not an option because it would confuse her. After she left, I was inconsolable. How could someone who worked in this line of work be so mean and heartless when it came to a mom that was obviously having trouble? I felt completely worthless, my husband did everything he could to make things better and our little angel wasn’t even complaining, but I knew she must have been so hungry and I (her mother and provider) couldn’t give her what she needed. We went home three days later; little girl was doing fine she had only lost a little weight and whatever she was getting was moving through her. There were several theories that we had; maybe it was the hospital setting that was making me nervous, maybe it was because baby girl hadn’t cried very much signaling my body to produce. Whatever the reason I was so glad to get away from that consultant who I thought was having a bad day which turned into having a bad week and then by the time we left she had completely given up on me.

Once at home, my doctor and pediatrician said to pump and/or feed every hour and let her cry a little bit. On baby girl’s first pediatrician appointment she had lost some weight; now we needed to look at the pump, maybe it wasn’t strong enough, maybe it wasn’t frequent enough. So back up to the room I went with that terrible sounding machine hooked up to me. At this point I wasn’t spending any time with my baby, let alone my husband who I am sure was stressed out as well. Having a crying wife and baby was probably not his idea of a first week at home! My entire life was pumping to get those few drops of precious fluid. You are probably screaming at this point asking why didn’t I stop? Because I am her mom, my one job is to take care of her, provide her with nourishment and I would not be beat by my bodies’ unexplainable problem. In my head, nothing and no one else could do this.

Then I got a call, from a nurse who happened to be my best friend. She “gave me permission” to stop, she told me I wasn’t a bad mom but I would be if I continued. Why did her words echo differently for me? I knew I didn’t have to pretend with her, she knew what I was like and she knew I wouldn’t stop; it was like an addiction, an addiction to be the best and provide because I thought that if I couldn’t do that simple thing then what else was I going to mess up on?

When I say that I am ProChoice to breastfeeding—this is a stance that I took after having my babies. I was all for the benefits and helping my child grow and prosper but my body had different ideas. The second time around I was more firm, when my milk didn’t come in with my second daughter, we had the lactation consultant come in; and I saw the same look in her eyes of disgust that I couldn’t do this one simple task. I cried one more time and then had an amazing nurse who gave me “off the record” samples of formula that we supplemented right away. I told the lactation consultant that I didn’t want to see her again and came to the reality that my milk didn’t come in, so what move on! And you know, my second daughter didn’t mind at all.

This is only my view and my experience. I am sure there are a hundred moms out there that had amazing experiences and there are lactation consultants who are helpful and take pride in their work—bless you for helping those new mommies. But I know there could be just one mom that needs that friend to tell her to stop! What may be best for your baby may be something entirely different than what you are doing. Think big picture instead of just one little room—what is the best for you and what is the best for baby. You are still a great mom and that baby will soon be sitting at the table refusing to eat her dinner and you know what? It’s okay to stop forcing her—its okay to let her eat when she wants—she came out that way, why would it change!

From iFamily to Yours,