The little book with BIG resources!

Fun Things To Do When Your Little One Is Sick

Having a sick kid is never fun!  Ruth, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shows us how with a little creativity and a lot of TLC you can make sick time for your little one a little easier for everyone.  Take a look…

fun things to do when your little one is sick

Fun things to do when your little one is sick

It can be a challenge to keep a sick toddler happy when they aren’t feeling well. Short from the usual chicken soup and a movie, what else can you do? You could pull out a board game but it probably won’t hold attention long. You could teach them to write a sonnet, but that’s probably a bit too hard.  What about buying them a pile of snacks and gifts? That isn’t really practical and will appease them for about 5 minutes.

Here are a few ideas to keep your kiddos happy when they’re not feeling their best!

In our house crafts are a winner.  They don’t really care what kind. Hand them a piece of paper and water colors or crayons. Anything they can create with works well. Kids love making their own projects. ALL BY THEM SELF! The best part is they will come up with their own plan, no directions needed.

Another option is a sing-a-long dance party if they are up for it. We love to dance around and sing in the living room. I will play a variety of songs and we have a great time. It’s fun and exercise for Mommy too!

Play dough is always a huge hit. If the prepackaged stuff is dried out, or you simply don’t have any..there is an alternative. You can make some homemade dough.  There are many recipes online but I prefer recipes that are baby safe since we all know kids like to put things in their mouths. I found a recipe on the website powerfulmothering.com that has a great recipe for cloud dough that is edible for little ones. The ingredients are simple, flour and cooking oil. I switched mine up for texture and with a sensory component using coconut oil and sprinkles for fun. Then we mix it all together and it becomes very malleable so they can mold with cookie cutters or containers with lots of fun! If you want to see the full recipe check out HERE.

Options for keeping you little one happy at home are pretty much endless with the click of the internet. These ideas can get you started. What else have you tried at home?

From iFamily To Yours,

 


6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

When it comes to potty training success, timing and preparation are key!  If you think your little one is ready for the task it’s time to get started!  Erin, from our iFamily Mom Squad is here to help with her 6 easy potty training tips!

Potty Training

6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

I am excited to share with you guys that my youngest son, who is 2 1/2, is fully potty trained!! No more diapers in this house! Yes!!! Still wiping bottoms? Yes, BUT we are going to be saving quite a bit of money by not using diapers AND the overflowing landfills will thank us!  I wanted to share with you a few things I learned along the way that will hopefully help you when it comes time to train your little one.

Wait until they show signs of readiness

If there is one thing you take away from this post, THIS is it.  Trust me, it will be much easier and faster to potty train a little guy or gal who wants to do it!  So, how do you know they are ready?  If they stay dry for 2 hours or longer, show interest in you going to the bathroom or start talking about going in their diaper or letting you know they have to go.

Use underwear

You may want to skip pull ups and go straight to underwear unless they are in the swimming pool.  In my opinion, underwear worked better for us because when he has an accident, he feels that “yucky” feeling and hopefully doesn’t want to feel that again.  With pull ups, they might just want to keep going potty as if they were wearing a diaper.  Also, you take into account the cost of pull ups versus underwear. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

Pro tip:Get them EXCITED about potty training by taking them to pick out their favorite character underwear or color/design!  Little Joey won’t want to pee or poop on Thomas the Train!!

Rewards  

Set your child up for success! Small rewards such as stickers or small candies right after they go in the potty is an excellent motivator for 2 and 3 year olds.  We made a sticker chart and if he went potty a certain number of times with few accidents, at the end of the week we took him to the toy store to pick out something special.

Don’t expect perfection  

They are still young and learning. There WILL still be accidents.  Don’t make a huge deal or punish your kid if he has an accident. Focus on rewarding the times he makes it to the potty.

Preparation is key

When your child gets up in the morning or a nap, take them straight to the potty.  Don’t ask them if they need to go just take them to the potty every 2 hours or so. The asking part can come later.  Before you leave the house, pack an extra change of clothes, underwear, socks, wipes, and a plastic bag to put wet clothes in. Also, right before you leave, sit your child on the potty.

Pro tip:If you have an area outside your main bathroom that you hang out such as your living room or family room, place a little potty chair in that room so that when he has to go, he doesn’t have to go running upstairs or down a long hall.

Don’t stress

It’s going to be ok.  It’s only going to make it more stressful on you and your child if you try to rush into potty training and stress over it. I promise you, this too shall pass.  Your child won’t be 22 and pooping in his pants!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,



6 Things to Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Autumn is right around the corner here in the metro area and, like you, many parents are looking for fun activities to enroll their kids in for the upcoming school year. If gymnastics is your child’s preferred sport for the upcoming school year, you’re in for a treat today. We have a guest post submitted by our friend at Champions Gymnastics Academy on six things you should expect to see and experience on your first day at gymnastics. Take a look…

 

Things To Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a fun, dynamic sport that lets kids feed their dreams to let their inner circus performer, daredevil or Olympian shine. Pro Tips highlights 6 key things to know when beginning gymnastics.

How do they do that? Watching gymnasts hurl their bodies through the air while twisting and spinning, all the while under complete control, is an awe-inspiring thing. Being able to do it is another. While spunky students may, indeed, try to launch themselves in the air during that first class, the goal of the coach or instructor is to teach kids the fundamentals and have fun, so they will fall in love with the sport and therefore further develop their skills.

Don’t expect any Yurchenkos or full-in back-outs on day one. Use this guide to prepare your child, find out what to expect and pick up a few tips on making this a rewarding experience for all of you. Let’s get tumbling!

#1 Sights, Sounds, & Smells!

When you first walk into a gymnastics facility, it can be overwhelming and exciting. Something you may notice right away is a lot more equipment than when you watch a gymnastics competition on TV.  Do not be surprised to see mats shaped like over-sized building blocks — wedges, cylinders, bridges, rectangles — or even a “pit” filled with foam blocks.

Sound

The overall murmur of a gym filled with multiple classes taking place, punctuated by athletes punching off of beatboards, may feel like chaos. However, there is order to the rotations of gymnasts moving from event to event, activity to activity. If your child is easily overwhelmed, it may be helpful to have them watch a class or two before signing up to ensure they are excited about the opportunity and are able to deal with the environment.

Smell

Another thing you may notice is the somewhat “locker room” smell. Gymnasts at all levels work hard and a facility training athlete will often remind you of this the moment you enter.  Kids usually are not fazed, and for former gymnasts, that smell is the smell of “home.” So, whether you personally thrive on that aroma or not, just don’t be taken aback.

Sight

If the classes you have decided to enroll in take place at a community center or school gym, you may encounter a slightly different set up. For example, folding mats might replace a full floor exercise.

Equipment may need to be set up and broke down for each class or might be a bit sparser due to sharing the space with other activities. Generally, fewer classes take place simultaneously at any given time, and your class may be the only one happening in that window. This does not mean the instruction you receive will be better or worse than that of a dedicated gymnastics facility. The coach’s style and philosophy, how many students are enrolled and what works best for your own child’s temperament are what should drive your choice when you are just starting out.

#2 Down to the Basics

Much of an introductory-level class session will focus on developing strength and flexibility, as well as good listening skills. It will also help youngsters become comfortable with the gym equipment — and the often-discombobulating sensation of being upside down!

The types of skills taught can vary based on the age of the children in the class. For example, older students are able to understand complex instruction better than 2-4-year old’s. An experienced coach will tailor the instruction to the age group.

Generally, the class will start with a warm-up that often includes stretches and other exercises. Gymnastics for both men and women requires flexibility, and this is something that even elite competitors work on constantly. Many programs will make warm-ups a set routine so that eventually students can take turns leading the warm-up. After, the class typically moves on to instruction and practice.

You can expect skills such as rolls, handstands, bridges, cartwheels, as well as leaps and jumps, to be covered. If your child desperately wants to learn how to “flip,” let them know that the skills they are learning now are the foundation to build up to that skill. Before you can land a back tuck, you need to learn a backwards tuck roll. Before you go for an aerial, you must master the cartwheel. Each skill is a building block towards a more advanced skill. They should not try advanced skills on their own until their coach lets them know they are ready

#3 Come Prepared

This sounds a bit like stating the obvious, however coaches will tell you it is worth repeating: it starts with arriving on time. Being late may mean the athlete will not have had the time to warm up properly, not to mention the disruption to the other students when someone joins in late.

Bring your child to class clean, dressed and ready to participate.  Wear fitted clothes. Kids will be going upside down. You do not want them trying to hold their shirt down when they should be focused on their form and the safe execution of the skill at hand. For girls, a leotard and compression shorts are recommended. Avoid tights as the footing can be slippery. Leggings and footless tights are generally fine. For boys, a compression shirt or t-shirt which can tuck in and athletic shorts or compression shorts should work. Gymnasts may wear socks; if they find them slippery, they can be easily removed. At the beginner stage, special accessories such as grips or beam shoes are not necessary unless specifically directed by your coach.

  • No Jewelry

    If ears are newly pierced and earrings cannot be taken out, they must be low-profile studs. Rings, necklaces, bracelets (excluding medical) and dangling earrings should be left at home.

  • Pull Hair Back

    Since kids will be rolling, they may find a bun to be an obstacle on their head. Some kids prefer a braid so that on twisting moves their hair does not whip them in the face. Your child will quickly find what styles work best for them, but most kids will be fine with a simple pony tail or pig tails. The key is to keep it out of the face so it is not a distraction or something they need to swipe aside when they finish a skill. Elastic headbands can be another help here, so long as they have enough grip to not fly off when practicing.

  • Eat Long Before Class

    As stated before, kids will be going upside down. Upset tummies lead to a mess for the instructor, so ensure your child has had proper time to digest their meal before class starts.

  • Bring Water

    Even if the class is only 30-45 minutes, it sets a good habit for your child on the importance of hydration as an athlete.

  • Bathroom Before Class

    Finally, have them use the bathroom before class. Especially with the youngest students, when one kid has to go during class, suddenly they all need to go!

#4 On Spotting

Gymnastics is a sport that requires a great deal of hands-on help from the coach. And this is a literal hands-on. Spotting can range from nudging the gymnast to completely carrying the gymnast through the motion. Most of the time, in order to best support a child and be there in case they bobble or fall, the coach will guide the athlete at their midsection — sides, stomach, back and shoulders. The arms and legs are also spotted to help move a gymnast through a new skill. This not only helps the athlete feel the proper form and technique, it also helps provide a safer experience as new skills are being developed.

#5 What Parents Can Expect 

Many gymnastics facilities will have an area set aside for parents to hang out while class is in session. It is important to stay within these designated areas.

For some little ones, an audience is a big distraction. If they are constantly looking over to see if mom or dad are watching, instead of focusing on what the instructor is saying or what skills they are doing, you may want to consider using class time to run an errand or two.

At any age, avoid gesturing to the child to pay attention, or stepping in when the child is nervous about a skill. Well-meaning parents can quickly become a distraction for the coach, as well as the kids. If the coach does need your assistance, they will reach out and ask.

Generally, programs without viewing areas will offer specific days in the session to observe, typically the first, middle and final class. This way, parents can see progress and gymnasts can show-off what they have learned.

The rules and philosophies vary by gym, so ask questions if you are unsure of proper protocols.

#6 Be Prepared for Fun

Gymnastics should be fun from the beginning, filled with new friends and new experiences. And while there may be challenging moments as the gymnast progresses and the skills become more difficult, it’s hard to top that feeling when you learn — then master — something new!

Fair warning: the fun usually does not end at the gym. Many a parent has been dismayed to find the arm of a couch being used as a vault, the bed a perfect crash pad and walls filled with feet marks from “spotting” handstands. The whirling dervish of arms and legs going every which way is just a tell-tale sign that your son or daughter has fallen for gymnastics!

For more information on Champions Gymnastics’ incredible programs, camps, and classes, visit them online at cgakc.com or call (816) 360-9879. 

 


One Easy Way To Prevent Disaster At Home

According to the American Red Cross 36 people are injured (7 fatally) by house fires every single day here in the United States. Of the 60,000+ disasters that their response teams aide with each year, a large majority of them are house fires. Today, on the blog, Marge Padgitt, owner of HearthMasters, Inc., is here to share one simple thing you can do to prevent a fire in your home. Take a look…

One Easy Way to Prevent Disaster at Home

Did you know that only 25% of the lint from your dryer is trapped by the screenings that you clear out when you do laundry? One of the leading causes of house fires is easily prevented with the regular cleaning of your dryer vents. The science is simple: Fires are caused when extreme heat that has been trapped inside your dryer vent comes into contact with flammable lint trapped inside.

So how exactly do you prevent that from happening? It is important to clean out your dryer vents every six months, on average. This requires cleaning the connector, the vent itself, and inside the dryer (all accessible through the back panel of the unit). Note: Some vents are very short with easy access while others are longer and more difficult (especially for dryers located on upper levels or in an apartment or condo).

Gas or Electric?

Vent fires don’t discriminate – both electric and gas dryers are prone to catching fire under the right conditions.  However, a clogged gas dryer poses a greater danger to your family because it causes a backup of toxic Carbon Monoxide in the home addition to the risk of fire.

How Does It Happen?

Over time, lint builds up inside the vent, eventually closing it off so much that the dryer does not function properly, or trapping heat inside so a fire starts. A fire can start without flames, only heat is required to ignite lint.

What Can You Do?

Installing a Lint Alert Alarm can warn homeowners when it is time to clean a dryer vent. This takes the guesswork out of it. HearthMasters not only services your dryer vents but also installs the Lint Alert Alarm for you to take the guess work out of it.

Our technicians often run across vents that have not been cleaned for years. This is very risky and a fire hazard. Some homeowners have even replaced their dryers, believing that the dryer stopped working, but it was actually the clogged vent that prevented the dryers from functioning properly.  Be sure to clean vents out on a regular basis.

See more information on our website at www.chimkc.com or at the Chimney Safety Institute at www.csia.org.

 


Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Thinking back to your own childhood, what were some of your favorite foods that you always looked forward to when your mom made a delicious treat? Foods can bring back incredible memories that would otherwise be long forgotten. Today, we invite you to try out a classic recipe that has been enjoyed by generations. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her recipe for simple banana pudding that your kids are going to be begging you to make time and time again. Take a look…

Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Summer time and the living is easy-  At least it should be.  I do absolutely everything I can to avoid turning on the oven when the temperature is above 90 degrees.  So when I was asked to bring a dessert to a family gathering a few weeks ago, I immediately thought of no-bake options.  This one is inexpensive and quick.  It also has the benefit of being a real crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • Two packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 Bananas (less can be used depending on how much your audience loves bananas)
  • Milk (or milk substitues)
  • Vanilla wafers or shortbread cookies ( I love using Girl Scout cookies or Voortman Chessmen)
  • Whipped topping
  • Cream cheese (softened)
  • Trifle bowl (if you’re feeling fancy)

Directions:

Step One:

Mix pudding according to package directions.  Most use a couple of cups of milk with pudding mix for a couple of minutes.  This can be done with whole milk or milk substitutes.

Pro-Tip: For an extra hint of sweetness, you can use condensed milk.   Blend in cream cheese until smooth.

Step Two:

Place a layer of cookies in the trifle dish, or serving bowl.

Step Three:

Cover with about 1/3 of the pudding.

Step Four:

Slice and layer bananas.

Step Five:

Cover with another layer of pudding.

Step Six:

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping.

Step Seven:

Repeat layers until trifle dish or serving bowl is almost full, finishing with a layer of whipped topping.  Top can be garnished with crushed cookies for extra flair.

Chill for at least 30 minutes.  Then the dish is ready to serve.

 

From iFamily to yours,

Gabrielle


Your Ultimate Guide To Surviving The End Of Summer

Oh how we all anxiously await the sweet days of summer!  Pool days, picnics, family vacations!  But as much as well all love summer, there comes the day when we begin anxiously awaiting the first day of school just as much!  Erin, from our iFamily mom squad is here with some tips on surviving the final days of summer!

A Mom’s End of Summer Survival Guide

 

So, I’m already seeing Back to School ads everywhere but there is still PLENTY of summer left in my opinion. 3 weeks for us! That’s leaves plenty of time for me to lose my mind before the big yellow bus is in view. The days are long and the years are short, am I right moms??  You LOVE your kids and would do anything and everything for them but hands up if you need a break from the crazy, chaotic days of never ending questions, fights between siblings, constant need to be entertained, and my goodness let’s not forget the snacks!  Here’s a few things to help you survive the rest of these summer days and keeping your sanity intact!

Get out of the house.

Seriously. I know it’s hot as the devil’s armpit out there but go to a spray park or go for a short walk or bike ride and bring lots of water!

Call or text a mom friend.

Ok, so maybe you can’t always get together on a whim but I love having a mom friend or two I can send a quick text or call during nap time and vent about my day.  She understands the struggle.

Have your kids help with housework.

It is a TON of work for one person to do housework and pick up after 4 people! My kids are 2 and 7 and they are learning very quickly this summer how to pick up their own rooms, wash windows, sweep, load and unload the dishwasher and conquering the mountain of laundry.  Yes, they will probably whine and not be to happy about it. But, hey,when they whine, I wine!  And they will get over it.

Wind down.

Give yourself a few hours after the kids go to bed to take care of yourself.  Take a bath, drink a glass of wine, read a book, Netflix and chill with your significant other.  8:30 and me are BFFs!  My kids NEVER STOP during the day and I will stay up late just to get that me time in.

Hey Dads this is for you.  

Give your wife a break. Take the kids somewhere for 4-6 hours or tell her “I’ve got this!” and send her on her way to do as she pleases. I have been a working mom and let me tell you there is NO job more rewarding AND more difficult than being a stay at home parent. She needs time to rejuvenate so she can continue being the best mom she can be.

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Gearing Up For Working Out: Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Whether you’re working out daily or a few times a week, most of us struggle with stocking up on clothes and accessories for the gym that are comfortable and functional. Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, tackles the issue in this week’s Work It Wednesdays. Take a look…

Work It Wednesdays working out

Gearing Up For Working Out

Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Alright all, I am a gym rat and I am proud of it.  But when I workout two and three times a day, that also means I change clothes at least that many times a day.  Since laundry is not my favorite chore, I needed to find some good workout gear that didn’t break my budget.  Here are some of my favorite options:

Scheels 

Scheels in Overland Park truly is a one stop shop for just about everything you could need for working out, spending time outdoors, or playing sports. And they have fudge (it’s all about balance, right?!). One of the best things, as a mom, about shopping there is that they’ve got activities (Ferris Wheel, mini bowling, indoor playground) for the kids so I can take my time picking out the right items to fit my workout needs.

Walmart

Believe it or not, they have some great workout clothes!  And they are super budget friendly!  I’m talking workout leggings for $13 a pair and tanks for as little as $5.  I like their Danskin brand leggings, as well as the Avia leggings.  There are tons of fun prints and different fabrics to choose from.  They have recently started carrying workout tanks and shirts from Athletic Gear.  At just $4.96, and with tons of colors and fun sayings, you can’t go wrong.

Target

Their C9 line of workout clothes are reasonably priced (more expensive than Walmart, but not insanely high) and the styles are constantly changing.  They offer sports bras in several different impact levels, along with leggings, shorts, capris and tops.  Their sports bras are some of my favorites.  They are comfortable while providing enough support for even my high impact workouts during the week.  Watch their ads for special sales or check the Cartwheel app.

Fitness Tee Co

This is my favorite find yet!  It’s a little company based out of Colorado and they make a ton of cute and fun workout tops.  They have two styles of tank tops, plus t shirts, all with fun sayings.  There are tons of colors to choose from.  They usually run weekly specials with tanks as low as $6.99.  They do make the shirts to order, so make sure to allow a couple weeks for your order to show up.  I usually order from these guys once a month or so.

Old Navy

I get texts from Old Navy, guys.  It’s a problem.  They have a great line of athletic gear as well.  I love the variety of fits and fabrics they offer in their leggings and capris.  They are always getting new prints and colors as well.  They have high waisted workout capris for those of us who feel the need to have more coverage, as well as some compression crops that make sure everything stays in place while you workout.  Make sure you try things on just to see what style you like best.  And again, Old Navy usually runs pretty frequent sales, so watch for those and stock up when they come around.

Academy Sports

I can almost always find a pair of shoes for $50 or under, depending on what brand I want, and I love their BCG line of clothing.  Prices are comparable to that of Target, and again, there is a ton of variety in the prints and colors they come out with.  They have tops, bras and capris that won’t break the budget.

I probably own more workout gear than one person should ever have, but I always make sure I keep it in my budget and that I find gear that will last.  In general, I never dry any of my workout tanks, just because they do tend to pill after being in the dryer. Oh, and I use a ton of the Downy Unstoppables and several other brands of laundry scent bead, just to help keep my workout gear fresh.

From iFamily to Yours,

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Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City!

We are so excited to share today’s Work It Wednesdays post with you because, like many of you, we each struggle with finding the motivation to get to the gym (or out for a neighborhood walk, or downstairs to hop on the treadmill) on a regular basis. Connie, from our Mom Squad team, is sharing the ugly truth about fitness and heading to the gym with you this morning on the blog because, guess what?! You’re not alone. Take a look…

 

work it wednesdays

Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

I go on and on about how much I love working out, how great I feel after I get a good sweat on, and how centered and calm I feel when I’m ready to face the day.  But let’s be real.  The gym, my fitness journey, working out, all of it is not always sunshine and rainbows.  Some days are just plain hard.  There are times when I feel defeated.  Some mornings it’s the last thing I want to do.  Now, while these days are few and far between for me now, they are definitely still there and should be addressed and talked about.

Sometimes I’m tired.

I get up between 5:00 and 5:30 every morning to get a workout in before my family wakes up and needs me to Mommy.  And most mornings I wake up before the alarm even goes off.  I am ready to get my day started and get my sweat on. And then there are those mornings every 3 weeks or so when I audibly groan when my alarm goes off.  I hit snooze three times and it’s not enough because I am tired and don’t want to leave the warm comfort of my bed and my pillow.  My head feels cloudy and I don’t want to get up.

Sometimes my body is tired.

I work out twice a day 5 days a week.  Some days I work out three times in a day between my own workouts and teaching classes.  And then I teach on a 6th day during the week.  Which leaves Sunday as my rest day.  And I love it. But I’m not 20 anymore.  My 35 year old body desperately wants to be 20 again, but it’s just not.  So sometimes my body is done.

Sometimes I just want to be lazy.

I feel fine physically, I got enough sleep the night before, but I just want to be lazy.  Lay in bed all morning (and by all morning I mean until 7 or so when my kids get up) and then lounge around with them on the couch all day watching cartoons.  I want to be a human slug.

Sometimes, I just need a change.

I get annoyed with someone or something at the gym and I just need a change.  I need to not see that person or do that thing that is annoying me for just a bit.  Just long enough to get over the irritation.

Sometimes the weather makes me want to curl up in a ball and stay under the blankets all day.  I hate cold, so winter is especially hard for me, but I am also not a huge fan of rain.  Dreary days seem to dampen my energy and often times my mood, which can make it hard to get motivated to get done what I need to do.

The Solution

What’s the solution (and the point of this post), you ask?  Well, the answer varies.  Sometimes I give in to whatever excuse I have that day.  If I am exhausted and need sleep, I take the day and I sleep in.  I can always hit up the gym later in the day when I am feeling more rested.

If my body is really tired and telling me it needs a break, I listen then too.  I can’t afford to injure myself, not to mention, I am a horrible patient and just basically loathe being sidelined.  If it is just a lazy day, I try to make myself go anyway.  Once I get there I always feel better and shake off the urge to be a slug.  Or I can go home and slug it up after I’ve burned some calories at the gym.  When I need a change, I find a new workout or try some new machines, or a new class.

Luckily I have a membership to multiple gyms just because I am on the staff, so I can move around if I need to.  And the weather issue, that one is tough.  We live in the Midwest, so winter and rain are inevitable.  I try to prepare myself with fun winter workout gear, and remote start on my car for those cold winter mornings.  And I remind myself that the rain doesn’t have to drain me.  In fact, a couple of friends and I finished our outside run the other morning in the rain.  It was fun.

Sometimes I just have to get out of my own head.

Working out is something I love and yet I still sometimes struggle to stay motivated.  What I will not allow to happen again is my lack of motivation for a day or two to turn into a week or two and then into quitting.  I take my rest days, I listen to my body, but I don’t quit.

I’ve quit too many times before and starting all over is the hardest part.  I can’t go there again, so I keep going.  And I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect and get every workout in to be fit.  I can give myself a little grace and a little space to get my head right on the days it doesn’t feel like what I want to do.  I don’t ever want to let a day of feeling defeated completely throw me off track.  So in your own routines, when you find yourself feeling like giving up, or being tired or sore or just plain over it, embrace that feeling, take that day, make whatever change you need to and then get back at it.  You’ll be glad you did.

From iFamily to Yours,

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Eight Easy Ways You Can Prevent Headlice This Summer

Summertime is (officially) here in the metro area and we want to make sure that your family stays safe and healthy this year. We’ve teamed up with our friends over at Combers KC to share eight easy ways you can prevent lice this summer today on the blog. Take a look…

prevent headlice

Eight Easy Ways You Can Prevent Headlice This Summer

When school ends for the summer, a lot of people think head lice ends too. But, kids are just as likely to get headlice in the summer as they are the rest of the year. In fact, summer is our busiest season. So, as your children head off to summer camps, sleepovers, scouts, daycares, etc…  here are some great preventative tips to keep them lice free:

#1 Pre-Check Before Camps

Children should be checked for any indication of head lice before and after summer camps. You want the all clear before they leave, but you also want to make sure they didn’t pick it up while they were away.

#2 Detect Early

Check your child’s head before and after sleepovers as well. Early detection will make lice removal much easier and it will stop the spread to the rest of the family.

#3 Take Preventative Measures

Preventative shampoos, conditioners, and spray shields will help prevent head lice too. Lice do not like these scents, so adding one of these to your packing list for camps and family vacations will assist in lice prevention.

#4 Sleep Head To Foot

Having children sleep head to foot will also help them avoid getting lice. 95% of people contract lice through direct head to head contact, sleeping this way will avoid this.

#5 Send Comfort Items With Kids

Children can take their own pillow and blanket as well, just to be sure there is nothing transferring back and forth.

#6 Keep It Up

Girls, who are more susceptible to getting lice because of their longer hair, can wear their hair up, off the shoulders. Buns, braids, ponytails, and even hats will keep the hair up and make it more difficult for lice to latch on.

#7 No Sharing

Make sure no one is sharing brushes, hats, helmets, or any other hair accessories. If possible, write your child’s name on them so everyone knows who’s is whose and there is no confusion.

#8 Get A Good Comb

A good Nit comb will save every parent a lot of stress and frustration. If you see your child scratching, or just think you see something suspicious in their hair, checking them with a Nit comb will be the easiest way to find traces of head lice.

As always, if you need any help checking or treating for headlice, call Combers KC (913)451-2662

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