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6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017 at 5:40 PM • Posted in HolidayNo comments yet

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kansas City! Love is in the air, but not all of us “love” the conventional holiday. Instead of going the “anti-Valentine’s Day” route, Sarah, our Mom Squad Ambassador, has some great tips to be a bit unconventional this holiday. Check it out…

6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine's Day

6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine’s Day

 

In my single days, I can remember having to push people out of the way in order to avoid the Valentine’s cards, physically gag when I saw yet another couple holding hands at the movies and restaurants being so busy there was no way to even get in the door!

I attended my share of ͞Anti-Valentine’s Day͟ parties and badmouthed the opposite sex with my friends while we drank women empowering drinks and sang men bashing songs. I won’t lie it was pretty nice when my now husband and I first got together and I was the one that was rushing for reservations at our favorite restaurant or planning a romantic dinner with wine and candles. The history of Valentine’s Day and it’s patron Saint Valentine is shrouded in death and destruction and it is obvious by the number of ideas for anti-valentine’s day parties on Pinterest that the theme (although not literal death) is still quite dark and dramatic.

So yes, for many people the thought of an anti-Valentine’s celebration is attractive and many will still partake, however; why not squelch the idea of hate and anger we hear so often these days and try a few of these alternate ideas?

The Valentine’s I remember in elementary school the first time that we were encouraged to give a valentine to each student in our class; today this isn’t given as a choice—you give a card to EVERY CHILD. I did enjoy going to the store and finding my favorite character cards, filling out each one (maybe secretly kissing the one that went to my crush) and then the terrible taste of the envelope glue as I carefully sealed each one. I took my girls last week and realized the two or three choices I used to have are now filled with aisles and aisles! It took much longer than it should have because there were so many of my daughter’s favorite characters that they wanted two or three boxes; you may think you are popular, Miss 4 year-old but not 75 cards worth!

#1 Skip the Candy

From a mom that is still finding candy in the pantry from Halloween circa 2014, look to the non-candy options. Don’t be a statistic! Over 1 billion Valentine’s cards are sent every year!

 

#2 Go the boxed card route

If you do decide to go the card route—buy! You can’t beat $2.48 per box, and you certainly can’t make them!

 

#3 Make it a day of kindness

Valentine’s Day is for lovers, right?  Make it about sharing your love with everyone around you by smiling at that lone person in the street, make some cookies for the customer service group at work or bring doughnuts for the school office staff. You have no idea how much this means to them and you really have no idea how happy and loved it will make you feel too.

 

#4 Spruce up the goodness of home.

At home– sure, make a nice meal if you have time, give extra hugs and kisses and say ͞I love you͟ more than you ever have, but make a promise to yourself to do this more and more everyday not just on February 14th.

#5 One is the Loneliest Number – Not Really

Well maybe. I am an only child and secret be told, I love being alone. Not just because of everything that I do now; running around two kids, making sure the new dog has enough exercise and working on keeping my marriage running smoothly. I really liked being alone when I was younger; I just may not have realized it. So here’s an idea for all you single people; go to that movie that you have been waiting to see but go by yourself, put on something other than sweats and head to a nice restaurant, sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with someone. Or just enjoy the day shopping and exploring how you want to. If that is a little too much and you are breaking out in hives just thinking about the stares and sad looks that you will get, then head to the grocery store and splurge on whatever you want for dinner—whether that is crab legs or just cereal!

 

#6 Think outside the box of gifts…

The Gifts Oh the gifts! Raise your hand if you are still paying off Christmas gifts! And here we have to turn right around and buy something else that is either going in a drawer somewhere or head straight to our bellies that we are still trying to shrink from the overeating at Christmas! I won’t turn this into a rant on how Valentine’s is a conspiracy to boost the economy, just think wisely about gift giving. Yes I love to get gifts, just like all of you probably do, but I also purchased a purse from the 75% off sale last week so let’s be honest—maybe that was my Valentine’s gift. So this year just take a step back, take a deep breath. Realize that maybe this holiday is needed to remind us of all the love we have around us whether that be from a significant other, a child, a neighbor, or a friend who lives 3 hours away (I miss you!).

Love comes in many forms and should be celebrated as such. So I choose to teach my girls to spend Valentine’s Day just being happy, spending time with their friends, so hopefully, one day, if they don’t have anyone to spend the day with and they start to feel those dark and dramatic anti-Valentine’s day thoughts coming through—look at something beautiful; trees, artwork, or just take a glance in the mirror! It’s still just a day, you probably will gag at the hearts and hand holding but keep this in mind—Reese’s Hearts, the perfect amount of chocolate and peanut butter, come around just once a year!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday Party for Your Kid’s Classroom

February 13, 2017 at 11:32 AM • Posted in HolidayNo comments yet

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve, Kansas City! A lot of parents will be running around, running classroom parties, and treatin’ the kiddos to something special. For those of you getting last minute details for the classroom party together, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great tips to help those holiday party plans along. Check it out!

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

4 Tips to Planning a Fun & Simple Holiday School Party

 

Are you planning a class party for your child’s classroom? I’d like to share some ideas with you to make it a super fun and unforgettable party! When I was in school, we had “room mothers” that planned all of our holiday parties. Some of the best memories of elementary school I have, include all the awesome parties we had throughout the years! And now here I am planning my own child’s parties. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assisting or leading a party:

 

#1 Keep it simple

Most schools only have a short time allotted for a party. Our school allows 30 minutes for a snack, craft, and a game. There are so many fabulous ideas on Pinterest but definitely keep in mind that you might not have much time to do the intricate projects that Pinterest is known for. Kids are simple. They will appreciate a fun, easy craft, game and snack.

 

#2 Divide into small groups & stations

Divide children into small groups and rotate through different stations. Have someone watch the clock or set a timer to let everyone know when it’s time to rotate. This helps things run smoothly and easily.

 

#3 Keep clear communication lines open

Communicate with your child’s teacher and other parents. Don’t try to take on all the duties of the party yourself. You can use an online signup sheet like Signup Genius to keep track of who’s bringing what. Delegate responsibility and ask for volunteers to help purchase supplies, decorate and run the different stations. Let the teacher know the specifics of the party. She may have some supplies on hand that can be used. I like to have at least 4 parent volunteers, including myself, to help out at the party and that usually allows the teacher to wander around and take a little break from running the show.

 

#4 Plan details ahead of time

Plan small and big details ahead of time. Make a note of how many students are in the class, how many small groups you’ll have and how many children are in each group. Make sure the parent volunteers know exactly how to make the craft and how the game is played. Gather all of the supplies together and make sure you’re not missing anything for each station.

My Party Plan:

Candy Hearts Relay Race

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

 

You’ll need: 4 plastic cups, 2 plastic spoons, a bag or two of conversation hearts.
How to play: Divide the group into two teams. Fill two cups with candy hearts at one end of the area and leave twos cups empty on the other end. Children will take turns putting candy hearts on spoons and racing to the other cup to fill it up. The team who has the most hearts in the cup at the end of one minute WINS!

 

Hot Pink Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

 

Super simple to make! Stir pink or red food coloring in your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and bake! You can add the special Valentine M&M’s in the mix for more fun!

 

Picture Frame Magnet Craft

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

I purchased these cute little owl picture frame craft kits from Oriental Trading. You could also make your own heart cut outs if you have more time. I took individual pictures of the students a week before the party and cut them to size. The kits come with foam stickers to assemble the magnets together. No mess! Super easy!

 

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! The kids will have great memories of their class parties for a long time!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care

February 1, 2017 at 6:31 PM • Posted in Creative Fun, HolidayComments Off on 28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care

It’s officially February and love is in the air. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may be scrambling for ideas of what to do for your honey. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, has some great ideas of how to make your significant other feel special this time of year. Check it out…

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care

#1 Have a stay-in date night

You could Netflix a romantic comedy, grab the air mattress and put it in the living room, make a huge fort, light candles, have a pillow fight, look at photo albums together , pull out items you may have collected of places you have went together over the years,etc.

 

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

 

#2 Recreate your favorite restaurant in your own home… have the kids be your “servers/ waiters”, have them hand write the menus, use their art work for place mates, light candles, have the whole family dress up, play romantic music or make a play list of “your songs”, slow dance, and exchange homemade cards.

#3 Make your partner breakfast or dinner in bed- Who wouldn’t like that?

#4 Drop off your partner and or kids their favorite meal at their work / school- make sure you include a heartfelt note <3.

#5 Make a scrapbook filled with photos and memorabilia

#6 Print out screenshots of your cutest text messages they probably forgot about- You could either make a book out of them, or hang them up around the house for them to find.

#7 Surprise them with an indoor picnic

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#8 Leave surprise notes in their car along with some of their favorite snacks

#9 Fill up their gas tank – You could clean out their car for them too!

#10 Make or order a heart-shaped pizza

#11 Send them a flirtatious text or email

#12 Wear their favorite outfit and send them a picture of you wearing it- say something like, “I am so lucky to have you. I can’t wait to see you tonight.” Or “You make our lives better. Thank you for everything you do for us.”

#13 Take a bath or shower together – or join them while they are in the shower… 😉

#14 Re-create your first date- I personally would melt if someone did this for me!

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#15 Make them a list of all the reasons why you love them- make it very detailed and include things you may not say to them all of them. Don’t just say I love your humor…. Tell them why or how they make you laugh… Include specific examples

#16 Take a whole day without being on your phone! Just be in the moment….

#17 Make them their favorite dessert

#18 Mail your in laws a card and tell them what you love about their son / daughter… thank them for raising such a great man/ woman.

#19 Have the whole family make each other cards and include what you love about each other

#20 Complete another “chore” your partner usually tackles

#21 Book a couple’s massage

#22 Have their favorite take-out delivered to the office, and pre-pay, of course.

#23 Hire a maid to come and clean the house.

#24 Surprise them with tickets to their favorite band, sports team, or movie they have been wanting to go to.

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#25 Take their car to have it serviced – get the oil changed, have it detailed, get new tires, etc.

#26 Book them a visit to the spa or their favorite hair dresser.

#27 Plan an outing with them and their closest friends while you stay at home and watch the kids.

#28 Grab them for no reason at all and kiss them passionately.

 

To learn more about Leah or follow her – please check out

http://www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Year Reflection from a Kansas City Mom

January 1, 2017 at 8:53 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on A New Year Reflection from a Kansas City Mom

Well, it is finally here, Kansas City! 2017 has shown up at our doorstep. We here at iFamilyKC are so excited for a new year and grateful for all of you that continue to support us year after year. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, reflects on the challenges that 2016 brought and the goals she and her family have going forward. Check it out (and Happy New Year!)

A New Year Reflection from a Kansas City Mom

A New Year Reflection from a Kansas City Mom

 

A New Year is here and I, for one, am very ready for the calendar to change. Much like my type A brain relishes a clean new notebook, an empty drawer or an organized email inbox, a New Year feels like a clean slate. I like to empty my mind and heart of old sorrows and recalibrate.

2016 was a year of immense change for me, and while most of those changes have been for the better- stress is stress. My oldest started Kindergarten, we moved in with my sister’s family while we were between houses, my husband switched jobs, I began working again, we got a new cat, a new fish, two chickens and a tractor! Our new home is incredibly unique and brings all sorts of challenges. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all! Which is exactly why I am happy to let go of the anxiety change can bring and adjust to the way things are now.

2017, for me, is going to be about living in my new normal. Renovating our house, building up a farm and seeing my youngest off to Kindergarten are all on my new agenda. Family time is going to be my biggest priority. With everything going on last year, my children were often handed iPads or crayons and told to entertain themselves while my husband and I talked and planned and worked. This year I want us to be working on things together. Part of the reason we wanted to get some land was to give our daughters the opportunity to explore and play and appreciate nature. All of us seem so much happier when we spend more time outdoors. So, while plenty of time will be spent riding bikes and having picnics, some of the time will also be spent building chicken coops and planting gardens as a family.

Along a similar vein, I asked my kids and husband if this year we could make a family resolution. We all agreed to spend less on ‘things’ and more on ‘experiences.’ This means everyone is taking a break from buying clothes unless necessary (I’ll miss you Madewell!) and toys (only one toy per kid for birthdays and holidays). The money we save can be put towards family outings and hopefully a vacation too! I eyeballed the children while giving my cutting back speech, but I actually think it will be the toughest for me. My husband had a pretty sweet holiday haul so he seems happy. Hopefully this will help make family time a bit easier and more fun.

All in all, I am pretty darn excited about 2017! I hope you all feel the same. Happy New Year!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

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5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

December 30, 2016 at 12:23 PM • Posted in Holiday, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

Good morning, Kansas City! As we say goodbye to 2016, many of us are looking forward with goals for the new year. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great strategies to set your 2017 year up for success. Check it out (and have a great and SAFE New Year!)

5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year's Goals

 

5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

 

It’s no surprise that when the New Year rolls around, everyone will have their resolutions underway, or they are setting their goals in place. But one thing about the New Year is for sure. How you start it will set a tone for the remainder of the year!

When I start thinking of the upcoming year, I like to think about all the things that went wrong, went right or I didn’t get to do! In case you don’t know me, lists are like my little mind saving, stress reliving life saver! I make lists for just about everything, so why not for the upcoming year?!

 

#1 Find a Calendar

When I start planning, the first thing I do is find a super cute calendar! In my mind, if it’s pretty it will keep your attention lol. I find a cute calendar that I can place in my “mommy binder” (how I keep my #momlife in order), and I fill it with our set in stone dates i.e. birthdays, Holy Days, anniversary and so on. Knowing the dates and seeing those written keeps me from double booking our days and allows me to work other schedules around them!

 

#2 Set Goals for Yourself

Second, I set my goals for ME. I set my weight loss goals by dates, my blogging and promoting times and anything else that I need to take care of that are for me, (hair, threading, girls night etc). Once I have those dates marked down, it gives me some peace of mind knowing that no matter how crazy or hectic my life is, I can plan my “escape” and enjoy a little me time! I’m sure you also get wrapped up in what your families have going on and often forget or neglect time for yourself. I chose to put my dates second because I know that they are needed and if I put them in last or after my family’s dates, my calendar will fill up without me!

 

#3 Add plans from the other people in your family/life

Third, I add everything dealing with my kids and husband. We home school so most of what I plan for them are school dates, field trips and fun days to kind of get them out of their routine and have a little extra “school free” time. I also add in appointments for the Dr. Office, dentist and I make little notes to ask for referrals for specialists so I won’t forget!

 

#4 Reflect on areas of improvement from the past year

Fourth, I think about all the things that went wrong during the year, my short comings or things that I need to get better at. Once I know what those are, I hit up Pinterest for a little motivation. Pinterest has great motivational articles, pictures and tips.. so go crazy! I have two boards specifically for motivating me as a mom and wife and they truly have helped me more than I would have thought.

 

#5 Set the Tone

Fifth, I set the tone! I tell myself that the upcoming year will be great! I remind myself of all the things that I want to accomplish in my home or in my business and I burn it into my brain! My husband and I sit literally for an hour or so and talk about how things are going to get better or change for us in the New Year. The more I talk about the things I want to change or accomplish the easier they become to achieve them!

 

I hope you had a great year and I hope your 2017 is even better!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

brigettev8

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

December 24, 2016 at 11:56 AM • Posted in Coping, Holiday, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Christmas Eve is upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably frantically getting in those last minute errands that you’ve been putting off forgotten about, baking holiday treats, and cleaning the house in anticipation of loved ones later this evening (or in my case, first thing tomorrow morning). It’s okay, we can all be superheroes from time to time, right?! Don’t stress out, it’s all going to be fine…right? RIGHT? Thankfully, our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Leah shares her 25 tips for managing holiday stress with us right here on the blog. Take a look…

25 Ways to manage holiday stress

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

If you are anything like me you are guilty of trying to do a thousand things at once. I find myself being  pulled between trying to locate the “perfect gift”, attempting to stay on budget, pull money out of thin air, working more hours to afford “the perfect gift”, ordering things online, and trying to create time to wrap gifts all while trying to balance my daily tasks. Needless to say this momma is wore out.

The holidays tend to add so much stress and chaos to our already over packed lives. Yet, their intention is to the opposite. This year I am determined to approach things differently. I don’t want my son to judge holidays based around how well I may or may not handle stress. We all know that kids see everything even when we think otherwise. I want to make sure he sees me handle things with grace. After all I cannot expect him to if I don’t.

It really is my goal to learn how to master stress so it does not master me. I know that I will not be able to completely avoid stress. However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot try to handle it better when it arrives. I have found some pretty simple ways to help make your holidays a little less hectic. I hope that you can find one or two them useful.

#1 Take an Epson Salt bath – for an added stress relief add essential  oils

#2 Create a daily gratitude journal- use this to remind yourself what you are grateful for in yourself and others

#3 Go outside for a walk or run- being around the sunlight can improve your mood

#4 Instead of stressing out over dinner give yourself permission to order out

#5 Turn on some good music

#6 Have a glass of wine

#7 Have a cup of tea- there are so many teas out there to help you relax

#8 Give your partner a massage then have them return the favor ( or just book an appointment at a salon)

#9 Go get your hair done… I always feel better after a good hair cut

#10 Set a budget and stick with it

#11 Schedule a lunch date with a friend  and share a good laugh

#12 Turn off your phone so you can get stuff done without being distracted

#13 Try to give out “group gifts” when you have to buy for a family. This will help you stay on budget. You can buy them a movie, popcorn, snacks, etc. Plus this encourages them to do something as a family.

#14 Pace yourself- you do not have to do everything in one day. I find it useful to break my to do list down to a daily list instead. This also helps me feel less overwhelmed.

#15 Take a break and go do something fun as family

#16 Go see some Christmas lights and get yourself back into the Christmas spirit

#17 Light some candles around the house

#18 Meditate – this is an amazing stress reliever

#19 Go to the gym

#20 Call a friend or a family member that puts you in a good mood

#21 Get some sleep

#22 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

#23 Don’t sweat the small stuff

#24 Remind yourself that if something does not get done there is always tomorrow

#25 Listen to yourself- only you know your limits

To follow Leah further please go to her page at  www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

From iFamily to yours,

Leah

leah_ifamilykc_momsquad25 tips for managing holiday stress

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5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

December 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on 5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Happy Friday, Kansas City! We know many of you may be scrambling to gather the last minute presents for friends, family, and neighbors, so our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, came up with a quick (and easy) list of gifts you can purchase from the comfort of your own home. No need to battle the crowds and traffic, just a couple of clicks and you’re taken care of. Take a look…

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

For your favorite family

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

 

Friends of the KC Zoo Family Membership — By far the best deal for families in the city. For just $109 ($169 if you live outside of Jackson County), your family can get 15 months of zoo access PLUS unlimited rides of the train, tram, carousel, boat and sky rides.

 

For your favorite kids

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Surprise Ride Subscription — This box has a different theme each month and comes packed with fun and educational activities to keep your kids busy. My three kids shared a box and we were still able to milk the content over two evenings. $28/month.

 

For your favorite gal

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Fair Trade Friday — This is my favorite go-to gift when I want to give something unique. The Fair Trade Friday box includes 3-4 items that are fairly traded and provide employment and empowerment to impoverished women all over the world. Items include things like jewelry, soaps and coffee. Prices vary.

For your favorite guy

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

SprezzaBox Subscription — Don’t worry about fit, this box is full of one-size-fits all stylish fun for dudes like sunglasses, socks, grooming products and ties. It’s just $28/month and is guaranteed to have over $100 in products.

 

For a stranger

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Kindness Cards — KindCraft KC started this trend and I love it. Make (or buy) Kindness Cards and pair each one with $5 to give to friends and family so they can enjoy bringing joy to a stranger’s day: Pay for a drive-thru order, tape some money to a vending machine, etc. It’s a gift you’ll both feel great about.

 

 

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

 

 

 

 

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How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

December 17, 2016 at 10:36 PM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

Now that we’re into the final week before Christmas shows it’s face, how about getting your friends and family together for a little holiday gingerbread house party? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has some great tips for throwing an easy and fun gingerbread house party this weekend. Take a look!

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party 

 

Last weekend I hosted a Gingerbread House party.

 

Picture it: 20+ kids. 20+ gingerbread houses arriving in parts and pieces. An unsupervised room full of every kind of candy you can imagine. Bags and jars of icing everywhere you look. A 3-year-old dumping an entire jar of white glittery sugar on his house. (Where was that kid’s mother?! Oh yeah, that was MY kid.)

 

This was by far the BEST WORST idea I’ve had yet. It was crazy, the kids will be on a sugar high for the rest of the week, our Elf on the Shelf was traumatized, but it was FUN. Not only that, but it was probably the easiest party I’ve ever thrown in my life. I was literally walking around my house a good 15 minutes before the party started to see if there was anything else I needed to do. THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

 

Want to know my secrets on how to throw a stress-free gingerbread house party?

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

Get off Pinterest and follow these rules:

 

Don’t make the Gingerbread houses yourself. For a hot minute this was going to be my plan before I did the math on how painful that would be.

Do have every child bring their own gingerbread house kit with them to the party.

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

Don’t shop for all the candy yourself.

Do make it a candy potluck. I had every parent bring one bag of candy per kid.

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

Don’t leave the candy selection up to chance. Assortment is key!

Do create a digital sign-up. A sample from our list: M&Ms, mini M&Ms, peppermints, gum drops, Skittles, Starbursts, Hershey Kisses, mini marshmallows, Twizzlers, Lifesavers, bubble gum, Hot Tamales, Mike & Ike’s, pretzels, red hots and jelly beans

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

Don’t just invite the kids. (Good GOD, no.)

Do invite the entire family. The more adults on deck to help construct and assist with decorating, the smoother things will go. It also provides the parents a chance to tag team between their kids’ gingerbread houses and a beer.

 

Do set up lots of tables (including shorter ones to accommodate the little ones) for ample work spaces.

Don’t set up chairs. They take up a lot of space and you can fit more kids around a table without them.

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

Don’t try to construct your own children’s gingerbread houses once the party starts because you’ll be busy welcoming guests.

Do construct your kids’ houses ahead of time, buy the pre-assembled one from Costco, or cheat like I did with these plastic reusable houses.

 

Don’t offer drinks in cups. Can you image the number of spills and flooded houses?

Do provide plenty of juice boxes with straws.

 

Don’t serve food that requires you to be prepping in the kitchen or paying attention to oven timers during the party.

Do serve chili (that’s been simmering since early afternoon), hot dogs (that cook themselves—thank you hot dog roller!) and order some pizza for the kids.

 

How to host a Unique & Fun Gingerbread House Party

 

Don’t go crazy with the pizza. I’m a big fan of over ordering, but trust me.

Do consider that all the kids will be stuffed with candy by the time they go for a slice.

 

Don’t worry about the sprinkles, the icing, the hundreds of pieces of candy on your floor.

Do remember it’s just sugar and it all cleans up quite easily. (Exception: NEVER host this party if you only have carpeted rooms.)

 

 

I just knew when I was sending out invitations for this party it was either going to be a one-time event or a tradition my family would share with our friends for years to come. Oh yes, this party is definitely a keeper.

 

Pro Tips

 

  • Sprees and Starbursts won “Designers’ Choice” at our party.
  • This party is the perfect use for your kids’ leftover Halloween candy.
  • Sugar ice cream cones make great trees for the gingerbread houses.
  • Putting tablecloths on all the tables makes clean up so much easier.
  • There’s no need to unwrap any of the individually wrapped candy. Trust me, no kid needs help in this area.
  • Plan the party close to your trash day. You’ll have a ton of boxes to recycle.
  • Smaller tubs of icing with plastic knives work way better than the more expensive squeezable tubes of icing.
  • Beware of the houses sold at Trader Joe’s which have powered sugar you have to mix to make the icing. (What is this, the year 1800? Ain’t nobody got time for that.)
  • Invite your dear mom so she can help your kids during the party while you concentrate on hosting (or drinking wine, whatever).

 

 

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

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Get Creative With the Santa Present: Host a “Santa Wrapping” Party!

December 15, 2016 at 10:55 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on Get Creative With the Santa Present: Host a “Santa Wrapping” Party!

Well folks, Christmas is right around the corner, and we’re sure you’re busy getting your presents bought and wrapped for the big day. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, had the BRILLIANT idea of hosting a Santa Wrap party to help make those Santa gifts not so obvious. Check it out!

Get Creative With the Santa Present: Host a "Santa Wrapping" Party!

Get Creative With the Santa Present:

Host a “Santa Wrapping” Party!

 

For a couple years now I’ve been pitching this idea of a ‘Santa wrapping’ party to my friends, but hadn’t had any takers. I maintain this is a good idea and lucky for me- this year a few others on the Mom Squad agreed with me! Let me explain this to all of you who are rubbing your head thinking I’m out of my mind. A couple years past my daughter found me using some gift wrap I had left over from the year prior. “That’s Santa’s wrap!” she yelled and then gave me a very suspicious look. “Ah, so it is!” I stammered, “he must have sent an elf to Target.” I giggled nervously. (I am seriously the worst at this Santa business). Graciously, she let me off the hook and walked away, but I still wonder if I am fooling her. A year after that, I realized that buying paper from Costco was a mistake as I will be using this damn wrap on my grandchildren’s gifts one year. It may be some magical paper. It never runs out! Do I have Santa’s gift wrap???

So back to the point, I reached out to some fellow mom friends and said, “Hey, what about a wrapping paper swap party thing for Santa?” They looked at me like I was nuts. I get that look a lot. And here’s my pitch: Every mom (or dad) brings the gifts they have that are from Santa, some scissors and tape and a roll of gift wrap or two. (Don’t bring a bike- just stick a bow on that or you can buy a roll to use up yourself.) Break out some wine, cocoa, snacks, whatever and trade your paper with someone else. That way, everyone has some untraceable paper to use. I’d also appreciate it if someone else could write out the names on the gifts because I’m pretty sure the miniature detective will be able to recognize my left hand penmanship soon. It’s up to you if you want to bring tags and bows or get them yourself (maybe make sure you find people that gift wrap at your OCD artistic level).

As I said, I have finally convinced some lovely ladies to help me out with this and we will be doing our own little Santa Wrap party here soon. I promise to give an update on how this all works out! Maybe during the party we can figure up an official name for this. I’m sure it’s going to be huge and you heard it here first! What do you readers think? What are your stealth tips for this sneaky time of year?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

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Check Out this List of Holiday Movies by Age Group!

December 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on Check Out this List of Holiday Movies by Age Group!

Howdy, Kansas City! Can you believe it? We’re down to the last two weeks before the holidays come rolling around again, and I know one my family’s favorite traditions is watching holiday movies. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, gives us a great list, categorized by age group, of some great films to keep you cozy on these cold, winter nights. Enjoy!

Check Out this List of Holiday Movies by Age Group!

Christmas is just around the corner! My kids and I have been watching Christmas movies for the last week or so and we are definitely in the Christmas spirit now! I can’t possibly think of a better way to spend winter break with my kids than with a big bowl of popcorn, Christmas cookies and a holiday movie. There are so many fantastic movies old and new to check out! Here are a list of our favorites broken down by age group, but use your discretion as your child might be ready for any or all of these!

 

Ages 2 and up

Charlie Brown Christmas

Shrek the Halls

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Frosty the Snowman

The Snowman

Merry Madagascar

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas

 

Ages 5 and up

A Christmas Carol

The Nightmare Before Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Prep and Landing

The Polar Express

Santa Buddies

 

Ages 7 and up

Home Alone

One Magic Christmas

The Santa Clause

Miracle of 34th Street

Elf

 

Ages 10 and up

It’s a Wonderful Life

White Christmas

Christmas with the Kranks

Christmas Story

 

Ages 14 and up

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Scrooged

Bad Santa

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

Four Christmases

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdErinV2

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