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Winter Break With Kids, What To Do!

Winter Break is nearly here and our iFamily Squad has got some fun things planned!  Take a look at this great holiday fun guide from Erin!…

winter break

Winter Break With Kids, What To Do!

Before we know it, the kids will be home from school for 10+ days!  If you’re like me, you are already trying to figure out what to do during winter break and planning fun stuff to do when bored at home!  Here’s a list of 10 fun things to do at home to beat the winter blues!  What’s on your winter bucket list?  Be sure to let us know in the comments what winter break activities your family has planned!

#1 Pajama & Movie Party

Put on your coziest pair of pjs, pop some popcorn, and watch family Christmas movies! We’ve got your holiday movie guide, broken down by age group, ready to go for you so be sure to check that out as you plan to watch your favorite family Christmas movies this season.

#2 Bake cookies!

Before Christmas, I love to get my kids together and bake cut out sugar cookies and decorate them!  They never turn out “magazine perfect” but my kids LOVE doing it and they are perfect in my eyes!  Here’s the recipe I use to our Christmas cut out cookies:

  • 1cup butter softened
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1large egg
  • 1/2cups all-purpose flour
  • 2tablespoons orange juice
  • 1tablespoon vanilla
  • 1teaspoon baking powder

Combine 1 cup butter, sugar, and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds; wrap in each plastic food wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 400°. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-third at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

#3 Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

I hear we are supposed to get around 2 feet of total snow in KC this year! If the forecast rings true, it sounds like we’ll have plenty of opportunity to get out and play in the snow! Sledding, snowboarding, snowball fights, and snowman building are all things I’m going to add to our winter to do list!  Snow ice cream, anyone?  Check out this simple recipe for snow ice cream:

10-12 cups of snow

1 tsp of vanilla extract

10 oz of condensed milk

Mix together and enjoy!

#4 Host a Classic Board Game Night

Invite some friends over and bring out the classic family board games and compete against each other! Our Squad loves to host game nights at home and we’ve got your guide for fun games the whole family can enjoy. Let us know what your favorites are!

#5 Start a Book Series

Start a new book series to read aloud with your kids! Choose a series above their reading level to challenge them a bit!

#6 Make Your Own Fun

Make slime/goop/floam! There are so many recipes out there so the possibilities are endless!  Here’s a recipe we made recently called “Frozen Silly Putty”

1 bottle of Clear School Glue (147ml)

The same amount of water (147 ml)

1/2 teaspoon of Borax

1/2 cup hot water

A few sprinkles of silver & blue glitter

A few drops of blue food coloring

#7 Make Ornaments 

Homemade ornaments are such a wonderful gift idea for parents and grandparents. We made some super cute trees out of salt dough with food coloring and dipped their fingers in shiny paint to resemble lights on the tree!  You could also do handprint salt dough ornaments.

#8 Make a Winter “I Spy”

Create your own winter themed “I Spy” sheet with clip art images that the kids can find inside or outside the house!  See who can complete their list the fastest!

#9 Declutter the House

Make room for new toys and clothes and clean out closets/rooms.  Donate unused toys and clothes to charity.

#10 Get a Head Start on 2018

Work on your “Summer Family Bucket list” and come up with a list of ideas to do when school is out for the summer!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 


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

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

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

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

Welcome to Loose Park!

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

Loose Park Guide

A bit about Loose Park

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

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

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

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

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

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

Loose Park Guide - Kanas City, Missouri

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

Loose Park Guide - Kansas City, Missouri

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

Tips for Your Trip from other Parents

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

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

Do you have tips or questions about the park?!

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

From iFamily to Yours,


A Great Spot for a Day Hike in Kansas City

One of our favorite weekend activities is to explore the various hiking trails around Kansas City. This last week we went back out to Cave Springs in Raytown.  This is one of our favorite places to hike. It has a lot of “attractions” that make it fun for the kids and allows for multiple destinations. That is one of the more difficult parts about hiking in Missouri.  It seems like there are no destinations to the hikes. Missouri day hiking doesn’t offer the breathless views at the summit. The following are our favorite destinations on this hike.

The Cave

This is always our first stop when we come because when you go to a park named Cave Springs it just seems right that the cave is your first stop. While the cave is not much to look at and could probably only fit five adults, it is the perfect cave to spark intrigue and imagination in kids. It allows them to test their courage by entering the cave with no real threat that comes with more traditional spelunking. My oldest daughter gets a little bit braver with each visit, making it the perfect Goldilocks challenge.

The Cascades

I am not totally sure what the true definition of a cascade is or if this would qualify. The name and the pictures on the internet make one think they are going to witness a real piece of grandeur. However, I do think this “waterfall” destination is dependent on the weather. We have seen the stream and fall at several different levels. Don’t get me wrong it is a beautiful landscape and makes for great pictures in the morning. It is similar to the cave in that in the mind of a child it is just big enough. It offers those perfect challenges that nature is so great at providing. The challenge being to walk up the stream on top of rocks so that your mom can get a picture. The fun and imagination keeps building with the next destination.

The Chimneys

While this last stop is not one made by nature but rather man, it is no less intriguing. As you walk up the trail you start see chimneys in the woods of to the sides of the trail until you come to a clearing that is full of old brick chimneys, the houses long gone. If your little explorer’s imagination isn’t sparked to life by the ruins am not sure what it would take. We read the sign to our daughters and they decided to memorize that, so they haven’t come up with crazy stories to explain the strange chimneys. This is where we usually do snack. You cannot take little people on a hike and not pack some snacks, it would be mutiny for sure.

Bonus

There is a Scout Camp with a tree house right before the above-mentioned cave, but we have never gone to play on it. Or at least that is what it looks like from the trail. This could also be a highlight destination along the hike. But like I said I don’t know much about it as we have never ventured over to it.

The other bonus that is really fun about this hike is “Raytown Rocks”.  These are painted rocks that are hidden along the trail. If you find one you are supposed to carry it with you and re-hide as you hike.  Or at least that is what we do. The kids love this because it is like a treasure hunt.  They get to try and find a good hiding spot before we leave. We always go and check the spot when we come back to see if the rock is still there. This is a lot of fun for the kids!

This is a great place if you are new to hiking because it is close to town, it is one of the cleanest trails in the metro that we have been on, and it is a series of loops (so if you walk long enough you will always end up back at your car!) Seasoned hikers will also find this to be a fun hike because the trails loop and cross enough that you could put together a substantial hike and not have seen the same scenery over and over. Getting kids outside and on trails is a must in my book, the fresh air does amazing things to their personality and they get so many opportunities to test their courage and strengthens their decision-making skills for the rest of their lives. What are your favorite trails or hacks for taking small children out into nature?

From iFamily to Yours,


Work It Wednesday: 5 Ways to Prevent Over Training

Some signs of overtraining are obvious, while others you might not notice right away—muscle fatigue, persistent soreness, depression, elevated resting heart rate, loss of appetite, injury and insomnia are just a few of the warning signs. Luckily overtraining can be easily solved.  Connie, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares some tips on how you can prevent over training.  Take a look!

prevent over training

5 Ways to Prevent Over Training

I work out for a living.  It’s my job, it’s my passion, and it’s what keeps me sane.  But it is also something that I tend to do too much of.  There most definitely is too much of a good thing.  Working out too much or too hard can lead to injury, metabolism issues, and burn out.  It can cause fatigue.  You can make yourself sick. The dictionary states, “Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. It occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness.”

It is easy, especially if you are focused on a weight loss or muscle mass goal or a race, to lose sight of your need to rest.  Your body needs time to recover from a hard workout, rebuild itself and rejuvenate.  How much rest you need definitely varies from person to person.  Certainly, the better shape you are in, the easier the more intense workouts seem, and then it seems logical to think that you need less rest.  But that is not the case.  All fitness levels, body types, etc. need rest to recover.

Take a rest day or two 

Training 5-6 days a week can produce great results, but you will see even better results when you allow yourself to rest at least one-two days a week.  Take a break from the gym and let your muscles recover.  Go back refreshed, refocused and ready to take on a hard workout.

Vary your training

If you are lifting weights, change up the muscles you are working every day.  If you lift chest and biceps Monday, move on to triceps and back Tuesday and then legs on Wednesday.  Continue rotating and that will allow your muscles to recover from a tough workout.

Make sure you are eating enough 

Proper calorie intake can make or break a workout routine.  You have to take in enough calories to support your body through your tough workouts.  If you are trying to cut weight, you still have to eat to keep your metabolism revved and your body nourished.  It’s when you are not eating enough that your body starts to stress and hold on to what little fat and calories it is getting, leading to weight gain and a sluggish metabolism.

Foam rollers and stretching 

Roll out some of your soreness using a foam roller.  This helps relieve the soreness and tightness of overtraining.  Make sure to stretch—muscles tend to get tight after a tough workout, leading to prolonged soreness and loss of flexibility.

Take a break 

If you are really starting to feel fatigued and rest days aren’t helping, there is nothing wrong with taking some time off.  Stay away from the gym for a week.  Or if you have been doing cardio, lighten it to just walking for a week.  Put down the weights and take up jogging for a week.  Just give yourself a break.  Let your muscles recover.  Let yourself relax.  The gym will still be there when you are ready to come back.

Overtraining is a hard topic for me.  I tend to do too much all the time.  Between teaching classes, trying to get in the weight lifting I want to everyday and then getting in my cardio, I am working out sometimes two and three times a day.  And I am the worst injured person you will ever meet.  I do not do well with being injured or sick, as both take me out of my routine.  I have to remind myself that while exercise is good for me and what I enjoy, my body also needs rest.

Taking a rest day will not cause me to lose all my muscle mass.   If I miss one run or one stair stepper session I will not lose my cardio endurance .  I have to constantly tell myself to give it a rest and let myself recover.  I can’t teach when I am injured and I’m not a very good instructor if I am overly tired, so I am learning to find the balance there.

From iFamily to Yours,

 


5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

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

kc parks

5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

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

Variety KC Parks

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

McCoy Park

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

Loose Park

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

Shawnee Mission Park

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

Drum roll please…..

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

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

Also worth mentioning:

Fleming Park

English Landing Park

Antioch Park

Dagg Park

Waterfall Park

The “Castle” and “Pirate” parks

Little Mill Creek Park North

 

Happy Park Hunting!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 


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. 

 


Planning Fun Family Outings With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps

Is planning a fun family outing a chore in your household?  Today Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips on how you can eliminate the chaos and put the FUN back into planning those FUN family outings!  Take a look…

Family Outings

Planning An Outing With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps:

 

The splash pads of Kansas City are some of the easiest and fun places to take your kiddos this summer! Here are 7 tips I have found that help make this summer outing a success.

1- Avoid morning chaos by packing the night before. That seems so easy but that one extra step saves much time and frustration in the morning when everything is ready to go out the door.

2- Beat the heat! A great time To head out is around 9 am before the mid- summer sun hits its peak. Also, it’s not as crowded giving you the option to choose your bench or table in the shade. The same goes for the later in the afternoon when the sun starts to fade.

3- Timing is everything! Allow enough time to play & splash before you head home for lunch and the littles need their naps.

4- The best news, splash pads are free! Just in case things don’t go as planned you will not feel guilty spending any money.

5- Give a good pep talk. I have found with my toddler, getting her to jump up out of bed in the morning is easy when I tell her we are headed to the splash pad! She is so much more cooperative In the process of heading out the door.  She also enjoys knowing what’s going on ahead of time. I let her know where we are going, how long we will stay, what I’m bringing for snacks and what else she can expect from the morning there. In turn I let her know what I expect from her.

6- What to pack.  Snacks and more snacks. I swear my daughter is only hungry when she sees other little people around her eating.  In our bag is her swimsuit, water shoes, swim diapers, hat, towel, sunscreen, water, snacks or lunch in a small cooler & an extra change of clothes for the ride home. If you don’t want to carry an exhausted child to the car after the fun than make sure you bring the stroller.

7- What does mom wear? Be comfy, it’s hot out! You can find me in a tank, shorts and flip flops and often taking my turn to cool off in the water.  If you want to wear a suit and jump in with your kiddos, go for it mama!

There are a few great splash pads around the Kansas City area! Find one that’s convenient for your family, cool off and have fun!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


For the Love of the Game: One Mom’s Thoughts On Coaching

Summertime is in full swing here in the metro area and that means that many of you are also super busy with sports and family fun. Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her thoughts today on coaching her kids’ sports teams. Maybe her thoughts will encourage some of you to do the same next season. Take a look…

coaching

For the Love of the Game: One Mom’s Thoughts On Coaching

It’s that time of year when I feel like all of my evenings are spent at the ballpark.  My calendar is completely full of game times and fields.  While this can sometimes be overwhelming, and even a bit exhausting, I love it.  Let me say that one more time: I love the chaos and craziness that is coaching.

Last summer, I coached both my son and my daughter’s t-ball teams.  There’s just something about the little guys that I adore.  So, this summer, when my son moved up to machine pitch and I decided not to coach him any longer. I was looking forward to just being able to watch and enjoy and coach my one team.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I had so many kids I knew coming back, that I am now coaching two t-ball teams and helping run the dugout for my son’s machine pitch team.  This means coordinating three teams schedules, practicing with two teams, making sure my son gets to his practices and lugging around two teams worth of gear in my car all summer.  And I love it.

“There’s just something about the little guys that I adore.”

There are times when a practice gets a little crazy, or when a drill I am trying to run doesn’t go so well when I think “what in the world am I doing?” or “this is like herding cats!”  But then one of those cats comes running over and says “Coach! Did you see what I just did?” and I am sucked right back in.

As a coach of the youngest group of kids that play, I have to constantly remind myself, they are 4-7 year olds, they are not going to be able to make every play.  In fact, some of them may not make a play all season.  My job is to teach them the basics, and make sure they’re having fun.  What I didn’t count on when I started doing this again three summers ago, was how much fun I would have along with them.

“My job is to teach them…and make sure they’re having fun.”

Before I was married and had kids, I coached my step-niece in t-ball for three summers.  It was all girls and it was in my hometown.  We had so much fun.  I taught them to get their gloves in the dirt and keep their elbows up when they swung the bat, and they taught me how to laugh at mistakes and enjoy the chaos.  I was invited to one of those sweet girls 13th birthday party this summer and was so touched that she thought of me and even remembered me.  There was no way I was missing that party.

“…they taught me how to laugh at mistakes and enjoy the chaos.”

Just this past week one of my smallest kids on one of my teams came up to bat and said to me “Coach, I’m going to hit the ball really hard tonight.”  He always has been a very consistent hitter, making good solid contact, but being one of the smaller kids on the team, always got a single. After I checked his stance to make sure he was ready to hit, he swung through and just nailed the ball.  It went past all of the infielders and through the legs of the outfielder.

I was so excited I started jumping up and down and yelling for him to “take two!”  He made it safely to second base and I started dancing at home plate.  I had tears in my eyes and I was still wound up about it at 10:30 that evening.  There is just something magical about seeing a kid succeed and enjoy the game.

Coaching is sometimes totally frustrating.  Kids get tired, and bored and sometimes don’t want to listen.  Some drills don’t work the way I thought they would in my head.  And sometimes I am just tired.  But it is all so worth it.  It’s so worth it to see a kids face light up when they get a good hit or make a good stop.  Its so worth it to hear a kid say “Thanks Coach!”  I am not sure how long I will continue to coach my daughter.  Sometimes I wonder if I don’t just love coaching because I love the little ones.  We will find out eventually, but for the time being, I am going to enjoy every second I get to spend with my crazy t-ball players.

From iFamily to Yours,

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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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