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KC Holiday Activities Guide for Your Child with Special Needs

For many special needs families, the holiday’s can be stressful and overwhelming.  If you’re looking for help planning some holiday fun, Ruth from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad has created a list of holiday activities the whole family can enjoy!  Take a look…KC Holiday Activities Guide for Your Child with Special Needs

KC Holiday Activities Guide for Your Child with Special Needs

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner – They’ll be here quickly and, for parents who have special needs kids, that can mean more opportunities for melt downs and anxiety. Fortunately, the metro area has an amazing Special Need community that is gaining steam with more activities for kids with exceptionalities in Kansas City. I’ve been digging around to put together a list of Holiday 2017 activities that special needs parents can bring the kiddos to this holiday season. Whether you’re wanting to attend a holiday movie or just enjoy the holidays around town in general, this guide is for you!

#1 FREE Autism Friendly Santa Event

When: Saturday, December 9th 10am-1pm

Where: ACI Learning Centers in Overland Park

Parenting a child with special needs on the spectrum? This event is for you. ACI is offering free photos with Santa and family friendly activities designed for children that find the traditional mall Santa to be too overwhelming. They’ll have snacks, craft activities, and a play area open during the free event.

#2 AMC Theaters Sensory Friendly Holiday Movie Showings

When: 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month

Where: AMC in Olathe, in the Northland, and in Independence

AMC opens their doors to special needs kids on the 2nd and 4th Saturday each month to offer current releases in a sensory friendly atmosphere where kids are allowed to get up, dance, walk, and sing during the show. Their partnership with the Autism Society enables them to provide these unique showings where the lights are turned up and the volume is turned down.

#3 Special Needs Kids Winter Camps 

When: December 21-22, December 26-29, and January 2nd

Where: We Rock the Spectrum Kansas City

The location in our area have daily open play, birthday party packages, special events, holiday camps and special activities. Their sensory friendly play environment is open to families of kids with special needs and without. They offer an additional quiet calming space for those that need it.

#4 C.H.A.S.E Sensory Friendly Events & Workshops

When: Ongoing throughout the year.

C.H.A.S.E offers sensory friendly opportunities, workshops and community education for families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

#5 Sensory Friendly Jump Time for Special Needs Kids 

When: 2nd Saturday of the Month

Where: Sky Zone Kansas City

Sky Zone Kansas City offers sensory friendly jump time the second Saturday of each month where individuals with special needs and disabilities can jump and to learn new skills in a safe, controlled environment. 60 Minute Jump passes $11.99/jumper (plus one helper allowed).

No matter what you decide to do with your kiddos this holiday season, there are resources available around Kansas City for you. Do you have other ideas for activities we can add to the list? Comment below! Also, be sure to check out our calendar of family events around Kansas City online!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Simple Comfort Food Recipes for the Healthy Soul

You don’t have to sacrifice your health or extra holiday calories to have scrumptious comfort food all season long!  Liz shares 3 of her favorite curl up and cozy soup recipes which are perfect for those chili evenings.  Easy to prep, great for leftovers, perfect to freeze for later and easy on the waistline!  Take a look at these simple comfort food recipes for the healthy soul…

comfort food recipes

Simple Comfort Food Recipes for the Healthy Soul

I am certainly in the spirit of curling up in big sweaters, holiday smells and hearty comfort food.

There is nothing I enjoy more this time of year than walking in my house with soup in the crockpot and that amazing smell that one may think I spent the entire day in the kitchen.  With a baby and toddler at home I need to make my life as simple as can be, especially when it comes to meals so I’ve got some easy recipes to share with you today.

Just substituting a couple ingredients will give you a healthier version of these traditional comfort soups without losing any flavor! Enjoy!

potato soup

SKINNY LOADED POTATO SOUP

Ingredients: Serves 6-8

  • 6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 40 ounces low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon parisien bonnes herb, or a blend of chives, French tarragon, basil and dill
  • 1 ½ cups of fat-free half and half
  • 1 ½ cups low-fat cheese, cheddar works well
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For Garnish:

  • Low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-pound turnkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, thinly sliced or chives, chopped

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray and set your temperature to HIGH. Add in diced potatoes, chicken stock, salt, pepper and red pepper.

Sauté sliced carrots in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes.  Add diced onions to the carrots and cook on medium-high until onion is translucent.  Add minced garlic and sauté 30 more seconds.  Add sautéed carrots, onion and garlic to the potato broth mixture.

Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or until potatoes have softened. Using a potato masher, mash part of the cooked vegetables while they are still in the slow cooker. Only mash down on the vegetables 3-4 times.  Add herbs, half-and-half, cheese and chives. Mix well.  Once cheese has melted, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream, turkey bacon, extra cheese and chives.

turkey chili

TURKEY CHILI

Ingredients: 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained

For topping: cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro and plain greek yogurt (healthier version of sour cream)

ON THE STOVETOP:

Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.

Next add in tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Garnish with anything you’d like.

CROCKPOT:

Reduce the chicken broth to 1/2 cup and brown the turkey and onions before adding to the slow cooker. This is an awesome tailgating or football party recipe!

 

chicken noodle

EASY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Ingredients:  6 servings

  • 1 ½ lbs., cubed chicken breast
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 teaspoon, dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon, dried thyme
  • 4-6 cups, low sodium organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • 8 ounces of egg noodles

Dump all ingredients except the parsley and noodles into crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours. Cook noodles according to directions, add noodles and parsley to crockpot about 20 minutes or so before serving. Turn crockpot off to avoid overcooked or mushy noodles.

Enjoy!

From iFamily to Yours,


What to do When Your Child Doesn’t Believe in Santa

The Christmas season has arrived in Kansas City and, like many of us, you’re likely already feeling the pressure that comes with the holiday season. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some helpful hints for what to do when your child doesn’t believe in Santa AND how to handle it when your child asks if Santa exists. Take a look…

child doesn't believe

What to do When Your Child Doesn’t Believe in Santa

…and how to handle it when your child asks if Santa exists…

A couple of weeks ago we had to give our kids the annual “Don’t Ruin Christmas” speech.  For most parents, that might mean reminding the kids how to act appropriately in public, encouraging them to mind their manners, and to remind them that Santa Claus is always watching. That’s not the case at our house.

My husband and I decided before we even had children that we didn’t want our kids to believe in Santa.  At the time, we both had bad jobs with really terrible hours and lousy pay.  We decided that we worked too hard to provide for ourselves to give credit to jolly Old St. Nick, who basically only works one day a year, for any gifts we gave each other or our future off-spring. Fast forward a few years.

None of our children have ever taken the obligatory annual picture with Santa.

We don’t mail letters or post cards to the North Pole.

Our kids make a list and post it on the refrigerator, and then mommy and daddy decide what we want them to have from that list. Doing this with the first kid was easy.  She caught on fairly quickly that her parents and grandparents were buying all the presents and we could enjoy the Christmas movies, the season, and the spirit without the man in the red suit.

The second kid was more of a challenge.  I’m not sure if all the Disney channel stuff got to him, but he actually tried to argue with us that Santa was real.  He wasn’t sad or heartbroken…but he did go on a mission to tell all the other kids in his class at school, and the other kids at church that Santa and the tooth fairy were both fakes…which brings me back to our car ride from a couple weeks ago. Here’s how our conversation went down:

Me: “Son, we don’t ruin the magic of Christmas for other kids.  We let their parents tell them about Santa Claus when their ready.  Sometimes kids figure it out on their own.  But it is not our job to tell them about Santa.”

Him: “These people need to know.  Their parents are out there lying to them.”

What do you do when your child stops believing in Santa?

  • Help your child understand that all families celebrate the holidays a little differently. Some families do lots of gifts for each other while others only do a few gifts for the children. Some families celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve while others wait until the morning. Each family has their own special, and personal, tradition that works for them.  Explain to your child that it’s not okay for them to disrupt how someone else celebrates the holidays.
  • Help your child understand that Santa Claus embodies the spirit of Christmas and we can all take a part in ‘playing Santa’ around the holidays. Some families play Santa by giving gifts to another family in need, some play Santa by wrapping fun gifts and placing them under the tree, and some play Santa simply by spreading joy around the Christmas season. Santa doesn’t have to be one single person, it can be an idea that brings happy memories and fun experiences to us all in different ways throughout the season.
Pro-Tip:

Your family can honor the Spirit of Santa by giving to a worthy organization like Charlie’s House, which provides free safety products for families all across the country or by donating to Wayside Waifs, an organization that houses our homeless four legged friends until they’ve found their forever homes.

  • Help your child understand the joy of make believe. In one of the last chapters of the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry is standing near platform 9 ¾ when he sees Dumbledore, who passed away earlier in the series. Harry asks him, “Is this real or has this been happening inside my head?” Dumbledore replies, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?” You see, there is magic in make believe and that magic can be enjoyed by all ages throughout the holiday season.

How do you handle it when your child asks if Santa doesn’t exist?

It’s the dreaded question we all know we’ll eventually get when your child grows up believing in Santa. So, what are you supposed to do when your child asks you if Santa is real?

  • Open the door up for conversation. Ask your child what qualities they most appreciate about Santa, aside from the fact that he delivers gifts. Is it that he’s kind? Or that he works hard to spread happiness? Ask your child how the idea of Santa inspires others to have similar qualities around the holiday season. The qualities that define Santa can be found all around us, which makes it more real than ever.
  • Ask your child, point blank, what they want to believe. You’ll be surprised to discover how maturely your child will handle it when the decision is left up to them.
  • Allow them to start playing the Santa role in your household. Once your child stops believing in the man in the big red coat, invite them to be part of the tradition and to play the Santa role. The transition from believing in Santa to being a Santa helps to avoid any issues with sharing the news with other kids who aren’t ready to hear it.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


5 Fun Ways to Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

The first week of December is well known for being a time to kick off the holiday season. Did you know that December 6th is a day when many celebrate a special, early visit from St. Nicholas? You, too, can take part in this celebrated family tradition with five fun ways to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Take a look…

celebrate st nicholas day

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

Holiday customs are celebrated around the world and there are many ways to honor the upcoming season throughout the month of December. Each year, on the 6th of the month, we kick off the season with an early visit from the Patron Saint of Children. St. Nicholas is known for his gracious and selfless nature and the holiday is a great way to get in the spirit of giving for the upcoming season.

The tradition around St. Nicholas day is centered on children leaving their shoes or stockings out on the night before (December 5th). In the morning children can wake to find some simple gifts waiting for them such as fruits, candies or treats. This day is also celebrated in many places in America near the beginning of the season of Advent and preludes what we now refer to as Santa Claus.

This day is a great time to discuss the season of giving with your kids and the true meaning of Christmas. There are many ways to partake in St. Nicholas day. I have created a list of five ideas to share.

#1 Celebrate the Spirit of Giving

Teach your kids the spirit of giving by sharing thoughtful gifts with others. You can do this anonymously in the spirit of St. Nicholas by creating giving bags to the needy. Blessing bags, which you can create on your own, are a great way to help the homeless in Kansas City.

#2 Celebrate the Custom of the Shoes

Talk with your kids about the history of Saint Nicholas and allow them to leave their shoes out on the night of December 5th so they can find gifts the next morning. They should place their shoes on the window sill or front stoop along with a letter to the child Jesus. It can contain gift requests to be taken to heaven, or I would recommend, a prayer for others.

#3 Celebrate with Recipes

Try your hand at some holiday themed recipes from around the world. The St. Nicholas Center website has an extensive list of great holiday recipes that your family can try out to celebrate the season.

#4 Celebrate by Putting on a Play

You can learn a lot, and teach a lot, about St. Nicholas day by performing a play with your family. From single person plays that you can put on for your kids to large group options for the whole family to get involved, the St. Nicholas Center has tons of great options to put on a family play at home.

#5 Make a St. Nicholas Miter Headband

Crafts are always fun to do with kids and it makes a great conversation starter. There are tons of great FREE Christmas craft ideas online. The St. Nicholas Miter Headband from Teachers Pay Teachers is an easy printable that your child can make. You can wear it or use it as a centerpiece.

From iFamily to Yours,


4 Devices That Will Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Considering buying new technology for your kids this holiday season?  You’ll want to check out these 4 devices that will help keep your kids safe online!

Getting Your Kids New Technology for The Holidays?

4 Devices That Will Keep Your Kids Safe Online

 

Hey Everyone!

It’s hard to believe we’re at the start of another Holiday Season.  If you’re a parent who is thinking of purchasing a new Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, then you probably want to set up parental controls and content filtering on the device to prevent your child from being exposed to undesirable content on the Internet. Smart devices make great gifts, but there are things on the Internet that I’m sure you don’t want your kids to see.

There are many web sites promoting violence, hate, and pornography. There is also the threat of online predators and cyber bullies. You can’t supervise every moment that they’re surfing the Web.  With the help of parental control devices, you can filter out unwanted content, limit screen time, and in some cases, monitor social media accounts. Before you get your kid a smart device for the holidays, consider these devices:

Kurio Brand of Products 

From tablets to smartphones to smartwatches, Kurio has you covered.  With devices that offer your kids the flexibility to play games, watch video, make their own movies and create documents with Microsoft Office. Parents get the peace of mind with Kurio products because these devices have built in parental controls that allow you to control what apps your kids use and what places they visit on the Internet. Our boys have Kurio tablets and they enjoy them.

Kindle Fire Kids Addition 

 Everyone loves Kindle Fire and now Amazon has their Kid’s addition Fire.  The latest version of the Fire promises robust parental controls while still offering your kids the flexibility to download the hottest apps. The tablet comes with a protective case that keeps it safe if your child drops it.  Amazon also offers 2 worry free guarantees.  Your kid damages the tablet, they will replace it for free.

Circle with Disney 

Circle easily connects to your home wi-fi and allows you to control all of your kid’s connected devices. Once it’s installed, you can limit screen time, filter content, and set a bedtime for every device in the home.  The accompanying app, allows you to create unique profiles for each of your children.

TeenSafe 

 The app made by parents for parents.  TeenSafe offers comprehensive coverage for your kid’s devices.  It allows you to monitor such things such as social media interactions, phone messages, text messages and even their location. If your teen gets out of line and isn’t using their phone or tablet appropriately, you can block everything except basic features.

Check Your Devices Settings

If you don’t want to shell out extra money for child safe devices or for parental control apps, you can manually modify your smart devices to keep your kids safe.

Android Parental Controls 

Android devices allow you to set up restricted profiles to limit what content your kids can access.  To set up one, do the following:  First, open the Settings menu of your device, then Scroll down and tap “Users”, then tap ‘Add a restricted user profile’, next name the profile., finally select apps to enable for the profile, finally,

iOS Parental Controls 

You can use restrictions as parental control on iOS devices. To set up Restrictions on your iPhone, touch “Settings,” choose “General,” and then select “Restrictions.” You’ll be prompted for a PIN that gives you access to enable or disable “Restrictions.” There you can turn off any features you want — for example, Siri. Then scroll down to the section “Allowed Content.” This is the place to choose individual limits on what types of content can be downloaded

Parents, apps and technology can protect your kids from a lot of the harmful stuff out there, but parental control can’t catch everything. You ultimately have to be the one who makes sure they are staying safe on the Internet. The biggest threat on the Internet today is parents that do not get involved in their children’s use of technology. Put your hands on your kid’s devices to verify they are being responsible with them.  Never allow devices to stay in kid’s rooms overnight and put limits on daily technology use.  30 mins a day is the recommended use.

How else can you keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’. There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business.

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


Top Five Reasons to Visit the Santa Train Near Kansas City!

Are you on the lookout for the opportunity for wonderful Santa visits around Kansas City?! Our friends over at Midland Railway offer an annual Santa train that you’re not going to want to miss! You can save $3 per ticket now through December 10th when you use the code iFKC2017 at MidlandRailway.org when you grab your tickets. But hurry! These tickets sell out FAST! Want to know what all is included in your trip aboard the train?!  Take a look…

Save $3 Per Ticket Using the Code IFKC2017

santa train

Top Five Reasons to Visit the Santa Train Near Kansas City!

#1 Get Away From The City for a Few Hours

Nestled in the beautiful Kansas countryside, Baldwin City is just a hop, skip, and a jump outside of the metro area. From I-35 South, you can arrive at the depot platform from Olathe in around a half an hour. With the simple commute, it’s the ideal distance away from the city to feel like you’re on fantastic a day-trip from Kansas City without the hassle of packing the overnight bag.  Midland Railway offers seasonal excursions for perfect for families including the annual Easter Train, Day Out With Thomas, Maple Leaf Train, and (what we’re going to talk about today) the Santa Claus Express Train.

santa train

#2 Create FUN Family Memories

Among the many benefits of riding aboard Midland Railway is the opportunity to create lasting memories with your family. The Santa Claus Express Train, simply put, is FUN. The excitment begins the moment you arrive at the depot. Guests are invited to await the train inside the rustic, historic building where a beautiful Christmas tree and holiday film (they played The Polar Express when we visited) help to get you into the Christmas spirit.

santa train

Once aboard the train, your family will enjoy seasonal beverages (hot apple cider or cocoa) and in the comfortable cars where you’ll spend most of your time on your journey. First class passengers (I highly suggest the upgraded ticket when you book) sit inside the 1940’s Belle Train cars which include four top table settings during the excursion. Your first class ticket includes a beverage, cookie, coloring book, a keepsake ornament, and (of course) all of the entertainment during the trip. On the journey, your family will enjoy Christmas storytime, carolers, and the visit with Santa.

#3 Skip the Santa Lines

Let’s face it, waiting in line for an hour (or more) at the mall is tough with little ones. Midland Railway does a phenomenal job at managing the timing of visits with Santa so that nobody feels like they’re waiting to see the man in the big red coat. Passengers are escorted car by car (row by row) throughout the ride so that, by the time you get to the car where Santa and Mrs. Claus are waiting, you don’t feel like you’ve ever waited in a line to see them.

#4 Enjoy a More Personalized Santa Visit

Santa is wonderful, always, but he’s even more magical during the Express train. Your child will spend a few minutes chatting with Santa and Mrs. Claus about the upcoming Christmas holiday and will take time to capture some wonderful keepsake photos on your trip, too. Part of the benefit to how they do things at Midland Railway is that you truly feel like your visit with Santa was special.

santa train

#5 Support an Incredible Organization

Midland Railway is amazing. Their team of volunteers (which they all are) are on a mission to keep the history of railroading alive for Kansas City area families. When you purchase a ticket aboard any of their trains, your dollars go directly to support their cause and to preserving a part of history that children and their parents and grandparents enjoy year after year. I encourage you to discover more about Midland Railway online. Be sure to carve out time for your visit this year, your family is going to love it!

Midland Railway, Baldwin City

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From iFamily to Yours,


“Coco” A Movie in Review

Disney Pixar’s new film Coco, which opened in theaters nationwide for Thanksgiving, is sure to capture your families’ heart this holiday season. The music transports you into a new world of colorful fantasy. We sent Liz, from our Mom Squad team, along with several of you who did our movie pass enter to win to see an advanced screening of the film before it was released in theaters. Check out what Liz has to say about the movie today on the blog. Take a look…

coco movie review

CoCo: A Movie In Review

Colorful, vibrant, charming and feel good magic! My heart was completely filled with excitement after seeing this movie and I could not wait to share my thoughts on this movie with everyone!

About the Movie

The film starts with young Miguel who has aspirations to play the guitar like his music hero Ernesto de la Cruz.  Because of a family curse he is forbidden to have any part of music. Family traditions are an utmost importance in this film especially the Day of the Dead, where families gather in cemeteries to celebrate their deceased relatives. On this day, Miguel sneaks out of the house to compete in a local talent show but instead ends up in the Land of the Dead!

In the upcoming events Miguel is surrounded by his late ancestors as he sets out  to find his musical legend Ernesto in hopes he will bless his ambitions and send him back to the living. Miguel’s journey takes him around the vibrant Land of the Dead with his cute dog, breaking into energetic Spanish songs and teaming up with a new friend Hector as mysteries of his family are revealed.

If you are wondering how scary the skeletons are for younger kids I would honestly say not scary at all. The first time the skeletons appeared my daughter was a little taken back but the lively dressed skeletons are such a huge part of the movie you don’t even think twice. The Land of the Dead is a warm, energetic and enchanting.

Final Thoughts

This movie is full of fun and lighthearted humor.  With its focus on family and traditions it is the perfect way to start off the holiday season. I cannot wait to relive this film again!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 


6 Apps to Make Your Holiday Shopping Stress-Free

Tis the season for long lines and crowds of people… But holiday shopping doesn’t have to be stress-full!  Check out these 6 Apps from our tech expert, Burton, that are sure help make your holiday shopping stress-free!

holiday shopping

6 Apps to Make Your Holiday Shopping Stress-Free

I’ve never done the whole Black Friday shopping in KC. I’ve always spent the day after Thanksgiving helping people with their technology. So, I’ve never had the pleasure of standing in line after midnight to fight large crowds trying to get the best bargain on the hottest holiday gifts. Thanks to technology, days of standing in line and fighting crowds may be a thing of the past.  There are some handy apps that can help you find the best deals on the gifts you plan on purchasing this Holiday season.  Here are my recommendations for the best apps to make your holiday shopping in Kansas City easier.

#1 The Coupons App 

This app gives you coupons and online promo codes from over 100,000 retailers. You can search for deals from stores and get notifications when they become available.  You will also get reminders when your saved coupons are about to expire.

#2 Shopular 

Shopular is an app that provides news on deals and coupons based on your location. Downloading the app also puts you in contact with the Shopular community which allows you to swap savings tips.

#3 ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy will keep you up to date with the best deals at a wide range of popular stores.  The app allows you to use your smartphone as a barcode reader to check the prices on products.  Once you you’ve scanned this items in, you can save them to a wish list which will monitor when the price drops.

#4 Flipp 

This app allows you to skip scanning the newspaper advertisements and allows you to get them directly on your smartphone or tablet. You can have access to the circulars from over 800 stores.

#5 Santa’s Bag

Santa’s Bag is a great app that allows you to set and manage budgets for the gifts you are purchasing.  You can also create an archive of gifts so you can keep track of what gifts you’ve purchased for members of your family.

#6 Store Apps 

Once you decide where you’re shopping on Black Friday, download that store’s app. These generally include features such as coupons and customer reviews of products. Some retailers have added maps to their app so shoppers know exactly where Black Friday deals will be located within the store.

How will you shop this year? Will you brave the crowds in the store or will you use technology to do your shopping?

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Want to keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts? Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’ There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business.

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


How to Know if Your Child is at Risk.

We all know that our kids grow up fast, and it seems like childhood flashes by in the blink of an eye. It’s important that we make the most of the time we have with them when they are little and follow their development as they grow. That’s why well check-ups at the doctor and dental appointments are a great resource for making sure our kids are on track and healthy. Despite these appointments, sometimes kids with challenges or exceptionalities get lost in the shuffle because it is hard to catch everything in a short visit. As parents, it’s easy to forget to mention a concern to the doctor or we just aren’t sure what the risk factors are. That’s okay! We are doing the best we can to protect and care for our children.

child at risk

How to Know if Your Child is at Risk

So how do you know if your child is at risk? Maybe you have some concerns, but you aren’t sure if they are valid. Or maybe you just want to make sure that your child is developing normally. Either way, there are some different options, not in any particular order.

  1. Centers for Disease Control

The CDC has a developmental check list that you can look at by your child’s age online and in a printable form. They also have an app and a quick survey to see if your child may be at risk. The survey “Learn the signs. Act early.” materials are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools. It is not a true evaluation of your child but it can get you started.

  1. Your Child’s Pediatrician

Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. Put together all of your concerns and discuss them with your child’s doctor. They can refer you to a local early childhood screening program if they agree with your concerns.

  1. You Child’s School

You can refer your child to your local public school special education department or infant and toddler services.

Early childhood special education programs: What can they do?

Each state and county has a screening process through the public-school district as part of a nationwide program called Child Find. Each district/county/state may set it up a little differently or even use a different title but the program is there to identify kids at risk. These screenings are geared for early childhood age children birth through age 5. The screening is free in our area and it helps to identify whether your child is on track or not. Following that screening, your child may be eligible for a developmental evaluation in one or more areas: social-emotional development, speech and language, fine and gross motor, self-help skills or pre-academics.

Alternatively, if your child passes then they may be eligible to be a peer model in a preschool classroom-depending on your district’s policy. For details about this process in your specific area, contact your local public school district’s special education department for kids ages 3-5 or your local Infant and Toddler Services program for age’s birth to three.

If my child qualifies for special education, does that label them for life?

The simple answer is yes, no and maybe. If your child receives special education services, that does not always mean they will require them for life or for the duration of their education. It really depends on your child and their specific needs. Getting your child help at an early age increases the chances that they won’t need services later on. It’s best not to be shy about asking for help, and act early for the benefit of your child! For any further questions contact your local school district or state department of education. You can also find some information online by state or by district.

From iFamily to Yours,


All About Loose Park – Your Guide to Kansas City Outdoor FUN!

Are you on the hunt for a great, fun park in Kansas City? Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team is sharing some details about a large park off of Wornall Road today on the blog. Take a look…

All About Loose Park – Your Guide to Kansas City Outdoor FUN!

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

Welcome to Loose Park!

Just because it’s Fall, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the great outdoors- And one place you should definitely enjoy this Autumn is Jacob L. Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri. Located off of Wornall Road, you’ve probably driven by this gorgeous park dozens of times in Kansas City (I know I see it all the time). While you can only admire certain attributes from afar, you may not know what lies behind the trees and entrance of this grand park. So, before you head out for a family outing or a leisurely walk, here is a little more information about Loose Park that you may have not known!

Loose Park Guide

A bit about Loose Park

First a little history on Loose Park, it is “ a major site for the Battle of Westport where Confederate forces were routed by Union forces in the area in which the park is now located. It is estimated that 29,000 people were involved in the battle. The property at that time was owned by William Bent, a man who led wagon trains and traded with the Indians.” -KCPARKS.ORG

At just about 75 acres, Loose Park is one of the largest and, in my opinion, one of the best parks in Kansas City for all types of ages and lifestyles. If your family is active, you can enjoy a spacious playground, a volleyball court, tennis court and (in the summer months) a spray ground!

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

My kids love the playground! Especially because of the sand pit and mini rock wall. Not to mention, I enjoy the swings as well. We haven’t had the opportunity to play in the spray ground (pictured above) yet, but it looks perfect for smaller kids! My family is pretty active, especially my son, so the open spaces and hills are perfect for him to burn off his arsenal of energy!

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

If you and your family like to enjoy spending time watching birds, taking in the scenery, or enjoying a leisurely stroll there are plenty of ways to do that, too. You can explore the Kansas City Municipal Rose Garden, walk along park wide trails or sit and look over the lake. There are plenty of benches spread throughout the park. During the Fall, the fountains may not always be on, but it still is a sight to see! Just ask the dog that jumped in to get a fish last week!

Loose Park Guide - Kanas City, Missouri

During these Fall months, Loose Park is ideal for family photos and relaxing picnics as well. I am definitely one of those moms that thinks she is a pro photographer lol. I love taking my camera to the park and snapping photos of my kids. Loose Park is the perfect backdrop for that, especially during the Fall when the trees are at their loveliest.

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

So whether you are looking to get out and play or enjoy the scenery, consider heading to Jacob L. Loose Park! The park is open everyday from 5am to midnight, so you can definitely make a day out of it! Happy trails!

Tips for Your Trip from other Parents

  • Loose Park is a fun place for a picnic in Kansas City!
  • Recycling is NOW available at Loose Park – Be sure to protect the environment during your visit.
  • Shelter rentals at the park are available May through October each year. Book early so you don’t miss out!
  • The park opens at 5am, so if you’re on the hunt for an early morning outdoor jog – Check it out!

Loose Park is located at: 5200 Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64112

Do you have tips or questions about the park?!

Drop us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

From iFamily to Yours,