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3 Apps That Will Help You Explore the Outdoors

Take your next outdoor adventure to the next level with these 3 apps that will help you explore the outdoors!

3 Apps That Will Help You Explore the Outdoors

Looking for a great way to get you and family outside to explore your community and to make some new adventures? Download an app! My boys love their devices.  Finding new ways to allow them to enjoy technology and get them in out of the house is a challenge. Enrolling them in sports is great, but it fun to have experiences the entire family can enjoy. Here are my three favorite apps that will help you and your family get you out and about:

SkyView

This has my go to app for years when helping my boys see the constellations in the night sky. Skyview turns your device into a a virtual telescope allowing you to identify planets, nebula, moon phases and more.

Geocaching

This app allows you to Join the world’s largest treasure hunt which started in 2000. With the app you can Search for hidden containers within your community or hide your own message or trinket for others to find.

PokemonGo

The hype about This app has died down, but you can deny the fact that this a great game in the fact you have to leave your home to play it. When you explore the world around you, you can discover new Pokemon, search for helpful items and take on gym leaders.

Before you download any app, be sure you are downloading it from a safe, trusted source, and that it is the correct version. Sometimes, if a game is popular, fake versions are released to the public that designed to steal your data. Always use the official app store. Apple devices use the Apple App Store, Android devices use Google Play Store. Check the app rating and reviews. Reading the reviews will let you know if an app is legitimate or not.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

 

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


40 Fall Bucket List Ideas Your Family Will LOVE

Fall is a great time for making memories!  Apple picking, pumpkin patches, baking and snuggling up with some warm apple cider and just a few of our favorites!  Liz, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares some fall bucket list ideas for your family to enjoy this fall!  Take a look…

fall bucket list

40 Fall Bucket List Ideas Your Family Will LOVE

Now that the season of pumpkin spice is here, I have compiled a family bucket list to make this fall the best ever!

  • Roast marshmallows, either outside or use an indoor fireplace
  • Carve pumpkins together
  • Take a hayrack ride
  • Visit an area fall festival
  • Go camping in your backyard
  • Enjoy a foggy morning walk together
  • Create your Halloween costumes together
  • Bake Halloween treats
  • Go apple picking at a local orchard
  • Snuggle up and eat chili
  • Decorate your porch with fall flair
  • Visit a local pumpkin patch together
  • DIY fall crafts together
  • Get lost in a corn maze
  • Sit outside with hot chocolate while telling spooky stories and telling funny jokes
  • Have a slumber party on the living room floor while watching Halloween movies
  • Open the windows to let in the crisp fall air in
  • Make pumpkin bread, pumpkin dip and caramel apples
  • Discover a new place to explore for colorful full leaves
  • Walk or run in a local race together
  • Tailgate together at a local football game
  • Get spooked in a haunted house together
  • Trick or Treat as a family
  • Celebrate Oktoberfest with sausages and German food
  • Host a potluck Halloween party
  • Do a nature scavenger hunt together
  • Sip on apple cider
  • Bake a pumpkin and an apple pie
  • Jump in a pile of leaves
  • Host a family trunk or treat in your neighbor
  • Decorate the inside and outside of the house for Halloween
  • Check out fall and Halloween books from the library
  • Decorate and send out Halloween cards
  • Make a festive fall wreath
  • Create a countdown to Halloween
  • Go star gazing
  • Donate to a food bank or food pantry
  • Host a family garage sale
  • Rake a neighbor’s yard
  • Visit a local farmers market

Take some time to search around for more ideas around your area to do for the next few weeks. Look up easy recipes and craft projects for your family to do together. When in doubt, grab a pumpkin spice latte sure and refer back to this list to keep your family’s fall season full of fun!

From iFamily to Yours,


Measuring Wellness: Why Scales Aren’t Always the Best Way to Track

We all know the battle with the scale!  We watch as the number creeps up and the number creeps down.  But, is the good old scale really the best way to track your wellness?  Connie, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad gives us her take on why scales aren’t always the best way!

measuring wellness

Measuring Wellness:

Why Scales Aren’t Always the Best Way to Track

Scales are evil.  I almost threw mine out of the window this week.  I got a very harsh reality check from the scale.  One that I needed.  I am of the mindset that life is too short to be crazy strict with your diet.  If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie.  I just generally try not to eat 5 cookies when I want one.  Everything in moderation.

Lately, I have let moderation go and have been overindulging.  It was this that led to the nightmare weigh in this week.  In the past, a rough weigh in would have led me to excuses.  I would have blamed a lack of exercise or too much water, or my thyroid issues and the fact that I was stressed all summer.  But this time I decided to take a completely different approach to my nightmare weigh in.

I’m using it as motivation.

I needed a reminder to eat better and get back to life in moderation.

If our weight was determined by only the amount of exercise we get, I would be thin as a rail.  I love the gym, and the feeling of a good workout.  Unfortunately, there is a whole lot more that goes into it than that.  Not only is healthy eating important for weight loss, its vital.  It’s more important than working out.  And it is hard.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  Cookies are delicious.  As are cupcakes and candy bars and chicken nachos (don’t even get me started on chicken nachos).

It used to be that a bad weigh in would send me reeling.  I would start beating myself up for eating anything other than veggies and chicken.  I would go on some harsh fad diet that I wouldn’t be able to stick to and throw my metabolism all out of whack.  Once I even decided I would only eat one meal a day until I lost 20 pounds.  You can guess how that turned out.

It took me a long time to figure out that the scale didn’t define me.  I have stuck with my workouts and possibly even over trained a little bit.  I am as fit as I have ever been, and stronger and more muscular.  All of these things are what is important.

Fit looks different on everyone

Did I need the scale to remind me to stay on track with my eating?  I did.  But I didn’t need it to tell me whether or not I am healthy.  I am healthy and active and constantly improving.  I am not perfect when it comes to my diet or anything else for that matter, but I am always working.

Often, I also have to remind myself that while this weight is higher than its been in a long time.  It looks so much different than the last time the scale read this high.  There is more muscle involved, less fat.  More workouts and less nights out.

There are changes coming.  I am back to tracking my food, making sure I eat something every 3 hours and eating more whole foods.  Hopefully these changes will create the change on the scale that I would like.  But even if they don’t, and for whatever reason I am stuck here for a bit, I am okay with that.  I am healthy, and I am happy and I am comfortable in my own skin.  So, take that Scale!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Five Easy Ways To Make Learning Fun This Fall

Leaves are beginning to change and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere!  It’s officially fall!  Ruth, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad has some fun activities for making learning fun for your family this fall!  Take a look…

fall learning fun

Five Easy Ways To Make Learning Fun This Fall

Fall has finally arrived and it is, by far, my favorite time of year. I love everything from the new colors in the leaves to all the neat activities that you can do in the area and of course, Halloween! Fall is also a great learning opportunity because there are so many things that you can discover with your kids. I have compiled a fun list of things you can do this season with your family.

Go For a Walk 

As the leaves change color, you can find your favorite trail or even discover a new one. You can take a walk, collect leaves for crafts, count animal tracks, listen and discover all the animal sounds. This would be a great time for a fall scavenger hunt! Pinterest has some great printables for your family to share.

Rake Those Leaves  

Yes, I did suggest what could be a chore but it can be fun too! Get the whole family outside with this activity and be sure everyone has a job. Even the tiniest helpers can hold the bag, pick up leaves or join in the leaf pile jumping fun! If you want to stay productive, you can buy those nifty Halloween leaf bags to decorate your yard like pumpkins or you can use some old clothes to make a scarecrow. All the while your kids are learning about team work and developing those motor and creative skills! This YouTube video gives you scarecrow directions:

Attend a Learning Activity 

You can find a fun family fall workshop where your kids can have fun and learn something too! Munchkins Programs is hosting a Jack O’ Lantern Bash on October 7th from 2-4 pm. Each month they hold a family friendly activity geared toward sensory friendly fun. Kids with special needs are always welcome! October will feature all things pumpkin including crafts, a spooky play house, games, mini painting and the opportunity to learn and explore in pumpkin guts! For more information you can find the events link on their Facebook page.

Visit a Corn or Hay Maze 

Another important skill to practice is problem solving. At School we see this a lot in worksheets (not developmentally appropriate for young children) and in other learning activities. There are ways to practice these skills outside of the classroom in a fun way with your family. A family favorite of ours is to visit a large scale maze where our whole family can try to figure out who can get out the fastest! Here are a few locations that you can check out. Maybe you can make a family challenge to visit as many locations as possible.

Create a family bucket list 

Choose some activities that you and your family want to try this fall and check off each activity as you complete it or a family challenge. In our family we decided that we would watch then entire Goosebumps series and the movie by Halloween. Whatever you decide, you can make it fun and educational. As we are watching the series we take time to talk about some of the things we see such as nice/not nice behavior, real vs fake and we make predictions about what may happen next. Each episode can be its own learning opportunity if you take the time. An expansion could be to also read books relating to certain episodes and comparing their similarities and differences while practicing literacy skills.

Whatever you decide, make sure it is fun for everyone. Happy Fall everyone!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 


5 Spooktacular Ideas For Celebrating Halloween in the Classroom

 Halloween is going to be here before we know it!  Here is Ruth, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad with some spooky ideas for celebrating Halloween in the classroom!

celebrating halloween

5 Spooktacular Ideas For Celebrating Halloween in the Classroom

Halloween comes around once a year, and there are a lot of ways to make it special without adding lots of sugar and hyper kids into the mix. Many of you are already planning out ways to help your child’s classroom celebrate this year. Here are a few ideas that are great for the classroom!

#1 Do-It-Yourself Games & Activities 

DIY games are a great way to celebrate parties at school. Most of the time they are cheap and use items that you can find at home such as ghost bowling.

Items: bowling pins or empty water bottles, crepe or toilet paper, googly eyes or black paper and a small ball. The kids can even help prepare the activity. For directions and other DIY party games check out this link from Good Housekeeping.

#2 Skip the Sweets 

Non-candy Halloween treats are a delicious and healthy idea for the classroom party. There are a lot of fun and healthy alternatives that can be made at home and sent in without giving every child a sugar buzz. Mini mummy pizzas, ghost bananas and spider crackers are just a few ideas to get you started. Listotic.com has 64 ideas to choose from.

#3 Get a Little Crafty 

Crafts are usually a winner with kids. They love things that are hands on and it’s also the best way to teach young ones new skills. Parents.com has some fun ideas for party crafts that kids can create at school as well as some other fun ideas for costumes and decorations. These ideas are simple to create and there are video tutorials for some of them as well!

#4 Don’t Be Too Scared to Keep it Fit 

Make it a fit Halloween by adding in some themed movement activities. You can do a Halloween dance party, do story yoga, spider parachute toss, zombie tag or a variety of other exercises that will be fun to get them up and moving. These activities are geared toward PE teachers but they would work well out on the playground too! GopherSport.com has some great ideas for Halloween!

#5 Every Good Ghoul and Goblin Loves to Read 

Get those kids reading with Halloween themed books and songs.  Fortunately, there are books out there for all ages at the school library or book fair. You can do buddy reading or a group story time. You can make it more fun with puppets, finger plays, or let kids act it out and tell the story to each other. The more participation that is included, the more fun it will be for everyone. Here are some fun book ideas for younger elementary kids from StorytimeKatie.com.

I hope you find some of these ideas useful for this year’s Halloween party!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Football Season Party Dip Recipe

Football season is upon us here in Kansas City and with that, comes the need to know some new recipes to wow your fellow tailgaters. You don’t want to take that same tired dish that you bring every time. Food is meant to be enjoyed…not to be a reputation!  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares one of his favs with us!

Football Season Party Dip Recipe

Just like the pros use the pre-season to work out the kinks and see what will work, I use the pre-season tailgates to test out some new recipes. My wife and I enjoy taking our girls to the Chiefs pre-season games because they are a bit more low-key, but we get to start the indoctrination process early.

Pre-season brings some unique difficulties to the tailgating process. First, these games are typically on weeknights meaning that most people that are at the tailgate not only have to work the next day but they also likely just came from work as well. This makes it more difficult to have an impressive spread and means that someone else will inevitably swing through their local Hy-Vee to get some roll-ups and a couple bags of chips. While this is certainly the easier route to take, I’d like to think that there is a compromise to be had between store bought snacks and a full-on BBQ spread.

That compromise comes in the form of DIPS. Who doesn’t love a good dip?! For this pre-season tailgate, I made an Enchilada Dip from our leftover ingredients earlier that week. I was in a bit of a bind because I didn’t have the time to go to the store and we had already promised to bring something to the tailgate. The following is the recipe that I can up with and I highly encourage you to use this more as a guide so that you can change it to your specific preference. Like I said, I used ingredients that I already had on hand to make this.

Football Dip Recipe

-1lb browned hamburger meat

-1cup enchilada sauce

-1cup shredded cheese

-1/2cup rice

-1 can black beans

-3tblspn taco seasoning

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown and season the meat with taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. You will need to cook your rice while you’re browning the meat. Once both are cooked, simply dump the ingredients into an oven safe bowl. Pop it into the oven until it’s warm. I heated it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  If needed you can turn up the heat if you need it to be done sooner.

This pre-season dish is perfect for the regular season, too, or any other entertaining that you have to o throughout the year. It’s a perfect complement to your homemade guac and salsa for taco night, too!

From iFamily to Yours,


Keep Your Family Healthy & Happy With These 5 Simple Tips

Keeping your family happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge with all the chaos going on in your life.  Ruth, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad gives us 5 simple tips to help you keep your family happy and healthy!

family healthy

Keep Your Family Healthy & Happy With These Simple Tips

If you have multiple children, you may struggle with this even more while shifting from activity to activity in addition to the hustle and bustle of school and work.  So what can you do to help relieve the daily stresses? Here are some tips to get you started.

Self-Care Is Necessary

Remember that it IS OKAY to take a little time for yourself every now and then. That may be a 30-minute bath/shower without while your significant other helps supervise the kids or it could be a weekly hobby that you enjoy or just time to focus on something you care about. The point is that even parents deserve a break sometimes!

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Share the load at home. Household chores can’t be covered all by one person when both parents are working and even if only one parent works, it can be stressful to do alone. Splitting child rearing responsibilities is key to a successful family. I am sure you have heard that it takes a village, right? When you share the home responsibilities it helps to prevent some stresses and burn out.

Flexibility is a Good Thing

Kids thrive on routine and families need some for stability. However, your family deserves a little flexibility too! Remember that routines are good as long as they are not so rigid that you miss out on life. It is okay to change things up now and then. You nor your child will be harmed by staying up a little later to read …one…more…story…past their bed time or by eating dessert first! Memories are too precious to waste.

Things Are Better When You’re Together

Get outside and explore or go on an adventure. Do something regularly as a family. Choose something that you all will enjoy. It should be an activity to encourage family bonding with only parents and kids. You can have other activities later that include friends and other relatives. As a family, it is important to share some memories alone. It can be something simple like a picnic and playtime at the park or a family vacation. Just spend time together, doing something that makes everyone happy!

Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them

Pick your battles, change your plan and reduce the stress. Some things are worth worrying about and others are not. If you are chronically struggling with something at home, find a new approach. Avoid fighting the same battle over and over again. Change your routine if you’re always running late.  If your child can’t seem to remember their spelling words, try having them sing and spell. If you have tried one strategy over and over…it’s time to move on.

It takes team work to build a family and a team to keep it going! It only takes one unhappy person to rock the boat. Remember work together, stay together and be happy together!

From iFamily to Yours,


5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

Erin, with the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares with us 5 of KC Parks for you to FALL in love with this Autumn season!

kc parks

5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

Fall is the perfect time to check out a new park or visit an old favorite!  I love October for many reasons but one reason being in KC you can get away with picnics and outdoor parties at the park with beautiful weather! There are so many awesome parks in our awesome city! We’re counting down the 5 best parks in the KC area! Which one is your family’s favorite?

Variety KC Parks

Several park locations in KC are adapted so that children of all abilities have a safe place to play.  Smooth surfaces, adaptive swings, fencing, ramps on the play equipment, stainless steel slides and roller slides, sensory activities involving musical chimes and drums.  Located in Independence, Leawood, Olathe and Tiffany Springs,

McCoy Park

Nice park with shelters for rent, playgrounds, spray ground, tennis courts, horseshoe pits. Located in Independence, MO. across from the Truman Library.

Loose Park

Well known park in KC with 75 acres of beautiful and historic land.  Fantastic rose garden, picnic areas, large shelter house for parties and events, and a playground with a sand pit the kids will love to dive in to! Spray ground open May 27th-September 4th. Located on Wornall Rd.

Shawnee Mission Park

1600 acre park includes 120 acre lake with boating, fishing, swimming, sail boarding, a giant off-leash dog park with 53 acres of land for your furry friend to run, picnic areas, shelters, playgrounds, Theater in the Park, archery and disc golf. You can even rent paddle boats, canoes and fishing boats!  What more could you ask for? Located in Shawnee Mission, KS.

Drum roll please…..

The number one park in KC has to be Penguin Park!

Kids LOVE the gigantic animals including a penguin, giraffe, kangaroo, and an elephant.  They have a separate area for the little ones to play and tucked away behind the park are some great walking/biking trails with a pond for fishing and watching geese. Located on Vivion Rd in Kansas City North.

Also worth mentioning:

Fleming Park

English Landing Park

Antioch Park

Dagg Park

Waterfall Park

The “Castle” and “Pirate” parks

Little Mill Creek Park North

 

Happy Park Hunting!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 


Kingsman: The Golden Circle” In Review!

Happy Friday, Kansas City! It’s looking like it’s going to be a hot weekend here in the metro area and, like many of you, I’m looking for a few ways to escape the heat during date night with my husband. What better way to relax than inside the air-conditioned theater taking in a brand new box office hit. “Kingsman” was an unexpected blast the first time around but does the sequel live up to its predecessor? We sent Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, to catch an early screening of the film and she shares her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

I was really looking forward to seeing this sequel which stars the original cast Taron Egerton (“Sing”),b Mark Strong (“Imitation Game”), and Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and new characters featuring Channing Tatum (“21 Jump Street”) and Halle Berry (“X-Men”). “Kingsmen” is a modern day James Bond style film with tons of action, plot twists and secret agents.

This sequel starts off in the UK, but when their headquarters are destroyed, the Kingsmen find themselves traveling halfway across the the world to the good ol’ USA. They meet up with their “cousin” allied agency and set out to save the world… again.

As a spy movie, you expect several things, handsome men, beautiful women, bad guys and nice suits. Julianne Moore (“The Big Lebowski”) plays the evil genius that causes havoc on the world in a surprisingly entertaining way.  But one thing about this series that makes me love it is the endless one liners, puns and hilarious jokes. “Kingsman” really is a perfect mix between action and comedy.

While I did feel The Golden Circle was lacking a tad in action scenes compared to the first installment, there are plenty of perfectly choreographed fight segments. I did, however, feel that one scene which contained adult situations, without giving too much info, was totally unnecessary. But they were able to quickly draw away from that with light-hearted jokes and more action.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and I would definitely watch it again. This is definitely not a family movie, but would be a great movie for you and friends to catch. I would rate this installment a 7.5 out of 10.

From iFamily to Yours,

 

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Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

What’s rhymes with workout?…  Playlist!  Well, not really.  But the two definitely go hand in hand.  Connie, From the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad is here with some Workout Wednesday motivation and a new playlist for you!

workout songs

Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

When it comes to working out, there is one thing I can’t do without and that is a good playlist.  I was running one day and my iPod died.  And then I almost died.  My motivation definitely did anyway.  There is nothing better than a solid playlist ringing in my ears to get me pumped up and ready to go.  For the sake of genuine honesty, I wanted to let you all get a glimpse inside my iPod.

Now I am warning you, my taste in music can best be described by some as eclectic. Others may describe it as old lady/pop princess and still others may say I have no taste at all.  But, to that I say, to each her own.  I am going to set my iPod to shuffle and without any editing, I will tell you the first 15 songs that come up.

Give these a whirl on your next workout!

#1 Bill Medley-The Time of my Life from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

#2 Pitbull—Don’t Stop the Party

#3 Flo Rida—I Don’t Like It, I Love it

#4 Beach Boys—Kokomo

#5 Wheatus—Teenage Dirtbag

#6 Meghan Trainor—All About that Bass

#7 Corinne Bailey Rae—Put Your Records On

#8 Nate Dogg and Warren G—Regulators

#9 Brad Paisley—Beat this Summer

#10 Train—Play that Song

#11 Tech N9ne—The Waitress

#12 Jake Owen—Beachin’

#13 Lady Antebellum—Compass

#14 Abba—Waterloo

#15 Eli Young Band—Saltwater Gospel

Now, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this list, no set genre, no set era, no set anything.  And to me, that is the beauty of it.  And also the fun.  As I have learned from experience, it keeps me motivated and on my toes if my music is always changing.  So I update a lot and try to add things to my iPod that aren’t constantly overplayed on the radio.  And I know, some of you reading think I’m super out of touch for still having an iPod, but again, to each his own.  I don’t like to rely on Wi-Fi and cell phone signal to stream my music.  Besides, what Pandora station is going to play this variety for me?

My point is simply this:  Music is Motivating.

And you can’t count on your gym to play good overhead workout music, because, well, let’s just face it, what I think is good may not be what the next person enjoys.  Listen to what motivates and moves you!

Turn it up and get your sweat on!

From iFamily to Yours,

Connie