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How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

January 26, 2017 at 3:09 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

Hello, Kansas City! We here at iFamilyKC are always looking for ways to save money for our readers. One of the simplest ways to do that is to cut cable. With the wide array of streaming services available, it’s hard to justify cable much anymore, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky gives some tips of how to get rid of it for good and what you can replace it with. Take a look…

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good
(and What to Replace it With)

 

Fun fact: The average cable bill jumped to over $100/month last year. That’s $1200 a year. That’s, that’s, that’s a big chunk of change.

Four years ago my husband and I decided to drop our cable and we haven’t looked back since. For us, it was less about the money (although at that time we just had our 2nd child, so all savings were appreciated) and more about the fact that we realized we were wasting our time watching a bunch of junk (hellllloooo reality shows).

The good and bad with cable is that there is always something to watch. I was watching The Real Housewives like I was going to be tested on it. My husband should have earned some kind of badge for his loyalty to Whale Wars, Gold Rush Alaska and Pawn Stars. We were out of control. It had to stop. We had human beings to raise. If you’re thinking about cutting the cord, set yourself up with success first:

 

#1 Get a high-def antenna

Giving up cable doesn’t mean giving up TV. With a high-def TV and antenna, you’ll still get all the networks crystal clear. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, WB and more.

 

#2 Get a TIVO

Like I said, you’ll still have plenty to watch, but not every time you feel like watching. Record the shows you want to watch and then sit down to watch them when you want to watch TV, not when the TV wants you to watch it.

 

#3 Get a Netflix or Amazon Prime Subscription

Both of these are great fillers when network shows are on hiatus and your stash in your TIVO is low. It’s also a great way to watch binge-watch cable shows.

 

Honestly, the only time we wished we did have cable was when the Royal’s were in the playoffs which was aired on cable only. But can I tell you how exciting it was refreshing an app on our phones for stats while listening to the game on the radio? It wasn’t. BUT, that was a few weeks. We made it through. And with our $1200 savings each year, we can also make it to a beach in Mexico. Olé!

 

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

January 24, 2017 at 12:43 PM • Posted in Educational Fun for Kids, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

All of us are back to school, and hopefully, find some sort of groove as we find ourselves at the end of January (can you believe that?!) However, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great tips for easing back into a schedule after winter break for homeschoolers. Take a look!

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

Since summer 2016, I have seemed to ask myself daily many questions that I have yet to answer. How long should we focus on one subject? Are they lacking in one subject? Is this too easy or too hard? All of these questions and more are constantly swimming around in my head when I start to think of our home school progress. But one question seemed to literally pop in my head during my kids “winter break”. How do we prepare to get back in the swing of things after winter break?! My eldest daughter still attends traditional school and when my youngest were in school they all just kind of got thrown back into the lion’s den. I knew how it went! So we had a routine, the day before would be a lot similar to the very first day. We would lay out clothes, pack lunches, do hair and make sure they were in their beds on time! But now that we home school, there really is no rip off the Band-Aid approach. There is no prep day, butterflies or first day excitement to worry about.

 

 

So after an hour+ rummage through Pinterest, I found that there was no guide, step by step or tips for going back to school after winter break. NOTHING! I was so lost and worried at the same time. I didn’t want to throw them back into fact fluency and tests on properties and matter after they just had a great time off. My goal was to allow them to adjust themselves back into our routine as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t feel over whelmed or get the “back to school blues”. The truth is when you home school, a lot of the “rules” seem to go out the window. Unless you choose to stay on a strict daily schedule, you find yourself moving times, shifting lessons and even taking an unplanned day off for you and your kids sanity.

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

So, as our first, first day back from winter break as a home school family I have learned this. There are no great expectations, there are no ways to really get prepared and there are really only a few complaints. Once I told the kids they would start back on a certain day, they grumbled of course and a few times before starting our first round of lessons. I found even a change of scenery made it a lot more comforting. So, instead of logging in and getting to work, we headed downstairs to our loft’s business center and set up stations. One was on a computer and the other two were working in their books. Plus our residence has a coffee bar down stairs which includes hot cocoa so…. Yea they were happy!

I’m sure as our years continue with home schooling things will change, I will become more confident and the kids will be a lot more use to how things work. So to all you homeschoolers out there, remember this. As long as you and your kids are growing in love and knowledge, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

emailsignupforblog3

 

 

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

emailsignupforblog3

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

September 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

Helllooooo, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but I am ALWAYS looking for easy (and cheap) ways to get organized. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a fantastic calendar that has helped her reign in the chaos of every day life. Check it out!

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this
Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Fall is always a time of change. School is back, sports are in full swing, the holidays are on the horizon and wardrobes need to be adjusted. I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me awhile to get used to my family’s new schedule. Having young ones in the house makes it a bit tougher. My kids are too little to read a calendar, and anyway their sense of time isn’t the best. (My littlest says everything, from her latest nap to her last birthday, happened “yesteryear”.)

 

Around the time I was getting dizzy explaining when gymnastics was (tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow) our French teacher gifted the girls with a train depicting the days on the week. (Merci, Madame Zoé.) It was large, with each car the size of a sheet of paper, and the kids and I dutifully colored it and hung it on the wall. Staring at it, inspiration hit and I decided it could help me keep the kids (and me) aware of our schedule.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

I went online and found free clip art that worked for our activities. We had a girl with a backpack for school days, girls doing gymnastics, an Eiffel Tower for French class and we even found an elderly couple for when grandparents were coming to visit. (Not that you are in any way elderly Mom and Dad!) I also printed of a sun, which symbolized ‘today’.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Every morning my kids move the sun and they can see what they have going on. If they want to know how far away something is, they can count the train cars. It has worked out AMAZINGLY for us. Granted, it only represents a week, but my kids don’t really understand more than that.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

The best thing about this is it is FREE and totally customizable. Do a theme, size and activities that work for you. We keep our spare clip art in an envelope and I update the train as needed. Also, now that my eldest is learning to read, we have labeled some things, to help her learn. What do you think? Could this help in your home?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

 


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Gotta Catch ‘Em All: What You Need To Know About Pokémon Go

August 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM • Posted in Family Events & Activities, Organizing Family Chaos, Safety TipsComments Off on Gotta Catch ‘Em All: What You Need To Know About Pokémon Go

If you are a 90’s baby like me, or even if you just loved the show, chances are you spent a lot of time watching the Pokémon cartoon and movies, trading cards, battling on your Gameboy, or were involved in make believe games with your friends on a quest to be the very best. Chances are high that you now have Pokémon Go downloaded on your phone. Or maybe your children do. I’m here to share helpful information and tips on the game that everyone is talking about. Take a look…

pokemon_go_logo

About  The Game:

Pokémon Go is a game you can download on Android and IOS. The player is on a quest to “catch ’em all” as they explore the world around them. Pokémon Go requires the player to have the application open and uses GPS and data services. The player walks around his community, explores parks and monuments, and tracks pokémon around them. The player can catch these pokémon. Future updates are rumored to allow trading and battling between other players. As players explore the world around them and gain experience, they will reach higher levels in the game. Once a player is on level 5, they will select a team to join and can battle at the various gyms around them. Players can collect eggs to hatch random pokémon, visit Pokestops to collect helpful items. Pokémon Go is free to download and play, but players have the option to purchase items within the app. The recommended age for this game is 10+.

How To Play:

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will be prompted to register and select a username. Please take caution in selecting your username. It is important to select a name that does not provide personal information because if you take over a gym, your username will be displayed for any player around the gym to see. You will then be able to customize your character and begin the game. You will begin by catching a starter pokémon. Pokémon will appear at random as you are walking around. You can tap on that pokémon if you’d like to catch it. Once you’ve selected the Pokémon, you will be on a screen that shows you a pokeball. You will hold down the pokeball and flick it in the direction of the Pokémon. It is important to pay attention to the target ring around the Pokémon. Ideally, the ring will be green. This indicates that the Pokémon is easier to catch. Orange rings mean harder and red is the hardest. You will want to flick the Pokéball towards the ring when it is smaller in size. Information about the Pokémon can be found if you tap on it. You can see how strong the Pokémon is by its CP (combat power). The higher the number, the stronger the Pokémon. This means the Pokémon can be a good advantage in the gym once you begin battling. After you have thrown the pokeball, the ball will shake. If the ball shakes three times, you have successfully caught the Pokémon. Sometimes they escape and other times they run away. At higher levels, the Pokémon get stronger and harder to catch. In the backpack icon, you can select items to help you catch them, such as a raspberry. In order to level up, you have to gain experience points. Points are earned by catching pokémon, evolving pokemon, or visiting Pokestops.

Pokemon Go

Pokestops:

As you walk around town, you will find Pokestops. These are indicated on your map. Once you are in range, you can select the pokestop and spin the coin. At the pokestop, you will gather pokeballs and other items, such as eggs or raspberries. You will also gain experience points each time you visit. You can revisit about every 10-15 minutes. Pay attention to your map when you are searching for Pokestops. Pokestops that are surrounded by hearts have a lure attached to it. Lures are used by players to attract pokémon to the area. Any player can take advantage of this if they see a pokestop with a lure. Lures last for 30 minutes. Certain areas attract more players because of the amount of pokestops. Hot areas around town include the Independence Square, Zona Rosa, Nelson Atkins art museum, and the Plaza. These are usually loaded with pokestops and Lures.

Items and Equipment:

There are several items you can collect or buy in the game that serve a useful purpose.

*Incense: attract pokémon to you for 30 minutes.

*Lucky Egg: gives you double XP for 30 minutes.

*Eggs: hatch into potentially rare pokémon after you walk around for a specified distance.

*Egg Incubator: must be used to hatch an egg.

Pokémon

Pokémon are found as you explore the world around you. You will have a map indicating pokémon near by in the right hand corner. Underneath each pokémon are footprints. These indicate the distance away from you. One footprint indicates the closest pokémon. If you haven’t caught, evolved, or hatched the Pokémon to register it in your pokedex (that tracks all your pokémon), a gray silhouette will appear on the map instead of a picture on the map like the ones you have caught. You can tap on the Pokémon to target it. Pokémon are evolved and can be powered up after you have caught them by using stardust and candies. Stardust is collected every time you catch a pokémon. You will have to collect stardust to power up the Pokémon. Candies are collected through catching pokémon and transferring them. These candies are specific to each pokémon. For example, a Charmander can only use Charmander candies to evolve or power up. You will typically earn three candies each time you catch that pokémon. You will earn one candy for transferring it. You want to keep the Pokémon with the  highest CP and transfer the duplicates. Your pokémon can even be named!

Gyms

Once you have reached level 5,you can battle in the gyms. Gyms are found at various locations like pokestops. You will select a team from the following: Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (red), and team Instinct (yellow.)  At rival gyms, you can battle the Pokémon left to defend it in order to capture the gym for your team. You will attack by tapping on the screen. Special attacks can be made after the blue bar is completely filled. You will simply hold one finger down on the screen. You can also dodge attacks by swiping left or right. If you capture the gym for your team, it will turn to the color of your team and you will leave a pokémon there to defend it. At friendly gyms, you will train your pokémon and gain prestige for your team’s gym. This will level up the gym to make it harder to take over.

Tips and Tricks :

*Watch for rustling leaves on the screen. This indicates a pokémon near by.

*Pokestops that are more popular, such as the Independence square, will benefit you more.

*Collect pokémon in their “natural” environment. For example, water pokémon will be found near lakes or rivers. Electric pokémon can be found near transformers or gas stations. Ghost pokémon can be found  near graveyards. Always remember to be respectful of the areas you are in. Please pick up after yourself and don’t wander into someone’s backyard without permission.

*Try drawing a circle around the pokeball before you throw it in order to have a curveball.

*Join the same team as your friends to help each other secure gyms.

*Utilize the power saving tool in the settings. Your battery will drain quickly if you use the game frequently. It might be wise to invest in a portable charger if you plan on playing for long periods of time.

*Don’t play and drive. Be aware of your surroundings. Eggs won’t hatch at high speeds and it is incredibly dangerous. Rumors in different areas indicate that some users are being placed on a soft ban for a few hours if they are traveling too fast.

*Always remember to be safe, cautious, and have fun! And please… Try not to get too mad when the servers are down. 😉  

As you go out to play the game, please be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t travel onto private property, make safe choices, and never travel alone after dark or in dangerous areas.

From iFamily to Yours,

Emily

EmilyM_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

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Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

July 17, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Hello, Kansas City! Half the summer has already flown by, can you believe it? And not only does that mean we need to get as many BBQs, ball games, and swimming pools in as we can — it also means moving season for a lot of us. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, recently went through a family move and has a few tips to share with you. Take a look…

 

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

 

My husband and I recently bought a new home for our family.  We are finally settled after a few bumps in the road, along the way.  We have two young children and the very thought of moving our family of four, from packing to moving day, was extremely overwhelming!   So I thought I’d share some ideas that helped us make a smooth transition to our new home.

 

Before packing

  • Sort through every room and find things you don’t need, don’t fit, toys your kids have outgrown and donate them. Many thrift stores are happy to accept your gently used stuff and it is tax deductible.
  • If you have time, organize everything specific to that room. I have a happy little toddler that likes to carry things from room to room.  So if you happen to find the hairbrush in the dishwasher or the toilet wand in the living room, return those things to their proper spot before packing up.
  • Gather newspaper, black sharpies, and boxes. You’ll need more of those materials than you think you will.

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Packing

  • Try your best to pack one room at a time. Leave only the essentials unpacked (Think paper products, bath needs, a few outfits).
  • Label the boxes for which room they belong to.  Involve your kids in the process! After we were done packing my daughter’s room, I had her label every box with her name on it.
  • Pack a suitcase for every member of the family for the first few nights just like you would for a vacation.  Include a favorite lovey or blanket for comforting your kids since they won’t be used to the new house yet.

 

Moving day

  • If you have young children, I would recommend if at all possible to find a babysitter for the day.  It can be a very stressful environment for all involved and you will probably get more done with the kids off to grandma’s house.
  • Involve the older ones in the process.  Allow them to help put things on the truck and make sure they get rest breaks with water and snacks.
  • Plan to have a “campout” in the new house the first night.  Everyone can sleep in the same room and get to know your new home.

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Other tips

  • Take time to say goodbye to the house you are leaving.  I’m sure your family has had lots of wonderful memories of your current home and it is a bittersweet time, especially for children.  It may be sad for them, but reassure them that it is okay to be sad. Remind them you will be creating some special memories in your new home as well.
  • Try to get the kids’ beds and rooms set up as soon as possible so they can get used to their new rooms.  Having their things available soon will help them feel more comfortable with their new surroundings.
  • After you are all settled, introduce yourselves to your neighbors and if your kids are changing schools, drive by the new school. If the school is open, see if you can take a tour when you enroll. We drove by my daughter’s school and were pleasantly surprised to see swings! Her old school didn’t have that.  So you may find some fun surprises by doing so.

 

Have you moved recently with your family? What things helped your family make an easier transition?  Feel free to comment with your ideas!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

 

 


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The (Sort Of) Tech Free Family: Thoughts On Scaling Back

May 10, 2016 at 9:38 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on The (Sort Of) Tech Free Family: Thoughts On Scaling Back

Good Evening, Friends!

I am so excited to share tonight’s blog post with each of you because it’s a topic that’s very near and dear to my own heart. About four years ago, when my daughter was still fairly little, we made the decision to get rid of the television in our living room and seriously cut back on the amount of technology we were using on a daily basis. We cut out cable, started making different choices with how to use our time, and have never looked back. We’re not an entirely tech free family (we still have internet and Netflix) but we’ve scaled back a lot compared to where we were just five years ago. Tonight, iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Stephanie shares her thoughts on scaling back on technology use in her life. I can’t wait to follow Stephanie and her family on their journey of cutting back on tech. Take a look…

tech free family

Tech Free Family?!

I’ve been thinking lately about the amount of time I spend with technology – with computers, cell phone, and television. I must admit – I’m a bit embarrassed! I was talking with a coworker the other day about television shows I watch and as I was listing all my favorites (and trust me, it is quite a bit!) I realized I probably sound like I spend all of my free time watching TV!

This got me thinking about the amount of time I spend on the computer as well. Often times, I find myself on my computer WHILE watching TV. Now, don’t get me wrong, I honestly need my computer to do homework, e-mail, connect with work, etc. What I don’t need to do is constantly check Facebook or spend countless hours on Pinterest finding things I’ll never cook/make/do!

Finally, I can’t forget about my cell phone. If you ask my close friends and family, you will know I’m addicted to this silly game and I’m constantly playing it or waiting for my lives to recharge! Just typing all this stuff makes me cringe! I seriously need an intervention.

This week is finals week for my Master’s program and I’ve already determined I’ll be spending every spare minute working on the various online projects, online discussions, etc. I’ve decided I will be cutting WAY back on my technology usage after this week– for not just myself, but everyone around me. I know I have a technology problem and the only person who can fix it is me!

I can only imagine how much I’m missing because I’ve constantly got my face in front of one screen or another. I plan to spend this extra time with my family, friends, and creating fun ideas for summer (which is coming up WAY too fast!) I can’t wait to share with you all about my ideas I come up with! For those of you who are shaking your heads and thinking “omg, this is so me!” I hope you’ll consider making this change with me and see what positive changes you can make by limiting your technology usage and becoming a more tech free family. 

From iFamily to Yours,

Stephanie

Stephanie_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

An Insider Look At The Non-Traditional Family (That Will Make You Think!)

April 21, 2016 at 7:18 AM • Posted in Organizing Family Chaos2 Comments

I ran across one of those quotes a few years ago, the kind that just sticks with you. It was next to the image of a woman and her daughter and said, “Normal?! Don’t worry, honey, that’s just a setting on the dryer.” If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the last several years, especially since becoming a parent myself, it’s that families come in all different sizes and structures and it’s okay to be the “non-traditional family”. This morning, here on the blog, one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team members, Stephanie, is sharing her family’s journey with us. Take a look…

It’s Okay To Be The Non-Traditional Family

Non-Traditional Family

This week’s blog post topic is more personal in nature but it something I want to share with you all in case it’s something you have thought about! I think in order to fully understand everything I need to start at the beginning.

My husband and I met in college and have been together ever since. We’ve always agreed that we both wanted a big family with lots of kids but had never really sat down and thought about the specifics…you know, the expensive childcare, numerous activities the kids would be involved in, the list goes on and on.

My husband has always worked for a company that has offered great insurance/benefits but would work very long hours. I can’t tell you how many family activities, soccer games, etc. that he has missed because of his crazy work schedule. However, because of his work schedule, I’ve always been able to do what I wanted! I’ve done the whole stay at home mom bit. I’ve worked part time so I could be home with the kids more, and I’ve been a full time student – all because of his hard work and dedication.

Now that I’ve gotten into a career that allows me to properly provide for my family, we finally had the talk about making some major family changes. For those who don’t know, I’m a registered nurse and I work night shifts. Working long 12+ hour nights and racing home to relieve the babysitter from our 4 children (all under the age of 6) is exhausting! There were many days I would come home exhausted from work only to get a couple hours of sleep just to wake up and take care of the kids all day and return to work that night to take care of very sick patients. Needless to say, no one was getting me at 100% and I wasn’t happy.

When I first started nursing school a few years ago, we decided my husband would be a stay at home dad once I became a nurse. Well, during my time in nursing school and our family living on one income, we racked up some debt and we just couldn’t afford to have a stay at home parent. Now that it’s been a few years and we’ve worked really hard to pay off debt, we’re finally in a place where we can go back to our original plan of having my husband be a stay at home dad.

When people ask what my husband does and I say he is a stay at home dad, I’ll admit I get “the look” and the “you don’t think that will actually last, do you?” Yes, yes I do! We’ve worked really hard to make this happen and we couldn’t be happier! We’ve had to make some changes with the way we save and spend money, but these changes have made our family much happier!

Don’t get me wrong, there are some drawbacks – some we knew would happen and others we didn’t anticipate. The major issue we had to work with was that we would no longer be covered by his insurance. We’ve had to research different insurance companies and find an alternative to employer-provided insurance. We’ve also had to cut back on our eating out. We still go out and have fun, just not as often. A personal issue is that I struggle with wanting to stay awake to spend time with just my husband while the kids are at school/day care when I know I should be sleeping to prepare for my night shifts. These things will take time to get used to but it’s nothing we can’t handle!

What I’m getting at is that every family is different. What works for one family may not work for another – and that’s ok!! I’ve learned there is no such thing as “normal” anymore. Growing up, I thought everyone had happy, mom-dad, two parent homes where both parents worked 9-5 jobs. While that may work for some families… that would not work for us at all!!
So, if you’ve been thinking about making some major family changes, I recommend doing some research about the pros and cons of the change as well as having a serious heart-to-heart with your family. Being honest has been the only way we’ve gotten through this change and it will continue to be the best way to ensure my family is happy and everything is working how it should.  

From iFamily to Yours,

Stephanie

Stephanie_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

Control The Clutter: Basic Organizing Tips For The Everyday Mom

February 16, 2016 at 8:11 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Control The Clutter: Basic Organizing Tips For The Everyday Mom

Good Evening, Friends!

Spring is coming (it seems like springtime weather might already be here) and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve got Spring cleaning on the brain already. With the approaching warmer weather, our team has been thinking about ways that we can control the clutter and tonight I’m excited to share iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Erin’s tips on organizing the chaos with you. Take a look…

ControlTheClutter

Get me out from under the rubble!

Lately I’ve been working on organizing and decluttering my house! It is such a great feeling to know that everything will soon have a place in my home.  I’ve found a lot of helpful tips and methods that are really working for my family! I thought I might share with you some ideas I’ve found to get you going in different areas of your own house.  

  • Bathroom: This one focuses specifically on the bath toys.  My kids toys were spread out all over the counters and floor. The rubber ducks must’ve invited some of their friends to the pond, because before I knew it, they were EVERYWHERE!! So I found a really easy way to organize the toys and the kids are even motivated to pick them up after bath time! Whoa! Now I’ve got you’re attention, huh?  Thankfully, my husband is very handy and with his help, we got to work!  Four dollar store bins, 8 zip ties, and a shower curtain rod is all it took to get our toys beautifully organized. Take a look for yourself!Control The Clutter
  • Kitchen:  The thought of organizing and decluttering my kitchen frightened me, I have to admit.  Once I got in there and started on the junk drawer, the other drawers were easy and I was on a roll! I think every kitchen should have a catchall junk drawer BUT there is a great way to keep it nice and tidy! First, I took everything out of my junk drawer.  What I found was I didn’t NEED half the stuff in it and it was trash! Old owners manuals (why keep these at all when they are online?), expired coupons, shopping lists with no magnetic backs (what is the point of those?).  After happily trashing all of that, I found different sized Tupperware bowls that had sadly lost their lids and I began to sort everything into those bowls. The finished product is fantastic! No more rummaging through the drawer while owners manuals and coupons that expired in 1985 come flying out at me like Doc in his DeLorean! One more side note I’d like to add: if you have more than one set of measure spoons or cups, you do not need them (get rid of them!)
  • School work organization: This last thing is a work in progress of mine that is definitely weighing a lot on my mind! Every day, my kindergartner comes home with beautiful artwork, school papers and flyers.  I cherish these so much and have a hard time parting with any of it.  A mountain of papers is starting to form on my dining room table that needs to be tackled ASAP!  I’ve come up with a system that just might work for me and maybe you too.
  • Go through the backpack each night and sort the papers: artwork, schoolwork, and flyers.  Log the information from the flyers into your phone or wall calendar and THROW the paper away! Easy!
  • Get some sort of a bin with hanging folders and label them (maybe by quarter?). After displaying your future Monet’s pieces for a while, file them away along with any other worksheets or papers you decide on.
  • Another idea I LOVE is to take a picture of the different artwork you are most proud of and create a photo book online.  Shutterfly often has a free 8×8 photo book promo code. It is great way to preserve their precious masterpieces by creating a condensed album that can be shared in the future.

These are just a few random ideas for areas of your house that may need some attention.  I feel so much better after clearing out things we don’t need and giving us a little room to breathe! I’d like to hear what other ideas you’ve come up with in your own house to help your family stay a little more organized and out from under the rubble.

From iFamily to Yours,

Erin

ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

Erin Booth, mother of 2 little ones and 1 big. Grandma to another little one.

(1 year old son, 6 year old daughter, 20 year old stepson, and 9 month old grandbaby girl)