The little book with BIG resources!

Tips For Flying With An Infant

Flying with an infant can be stressful, but with a little planning ahead you can make sure your trip runs smoothly.  Check out these 8 tips from Liz, from our iFamily Mom Squad on how to make flying with an infant easy!

Tips For Flying With An Infant This Summer

With summer vacation in full swing right now, it’s important to know what to expect when heading to the airport with your little babe. I recently traveled with my 10 week old infant on a  non-stop flight on Southwest.  These are my biggest take-aways that I learned!

1. When flying with your baby (2 and under), make sure to have a copy of their birth certificate.

2. The stroller and car seat do not count against your 2 free bags! Yay!

3. The baby can  ride in the stroller all the way to the gate.

4. When going through security, an adult carries the  baby while the stroller and car seat go through the X Ray machine or patted down manually.

5. If bringing breast milk and formula through security, allow time for extra screening.

6. Any ice pack that is used to keep your milk cold MUST be frozen while going through security.

7. Stroller and car seats are not allowed on the plane, (unless you have purchased a seat for your baby, then a car seat is allowed). Before actually boarding the plane, leave the stroller and car seat at the end of the jetway.  It will be safety loaded under the plane.  When de-planing, the stroller and car seat will be on the jetway for you to pick up.

8. During take off and descending, ease your baby’s ear pressure by nursing or giving a bottle (swallowing helps relieve the pressure).

When flying an airline other than Southwest, make sure to check your airlines website and the TSA guides regarding traveling with a baby.

Don’t stress at all about the thought of flying with an infant. You can maintain your sanity just by being prepared.  Honestly, flying with a young baby is super easy given you don’t have the extra baggage of toys and snacks yet.  Give your baby a good feeding during take off and enjoy the snuggles flying high.

From iFamily to Yours,

Play Unrestricted: Another Way Of Learning

This week we are welcoming Ruth to the iFamily Mom Squad team!  Ruth is sharing with us how unrestricted play time can help our kids to learn and develop creativity!

Take a look…

 

Unrestricted Play

Play unrestricted: another way of learning

You don’t need a workbook, a teacher or a camp to keep kids learning and exploring. All you need is a little imagination and your child of course. Actually, the imagination doesn’t even have to be yours! Let your child be the creator, the inventor and the visionary. All you need are household items and let your child take care of the rest. Most of us have seen how small children can be entertained by tissue paper, cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Believe it or not, kids can create out of almost anything. Give it a try for an afternoon. Put away all the play dough (an obsession in my home), toys, coloring books and definitely the electronic devices. Give them a bunch of random things and give them a topic or choose on their own and see where it goes. Maybe they will start a band, turn a laundry basket into a car or turn your plastic storage containers into a train.

There is no wrong answer

While they are creating, they are learning. Kids don’t need fancy toys to have fun and imagination is something often lost as we get older. The best part is that they are learning. Yes, exploration with spoons, boxes, tape, chairs, rocks, grass, and string are all things that children can learn from. You don’t need flashcards andworkbooks to boost their education. Actually, flashcards and workbooks do the opposite because they are BORING. Yes, I said it and I am a licensed teacher. Those tools don’t engage kids because children learn best through play.

So what are kids learning when they play?

They learn a lot more than we recognize. When my 3 year old turns our laundry basket into a car, she is not only developing her imagination, but she is fostering her problem solving skills. As my 6 year old is mixing food colors with water, bowls, spoons and cornstarch she is learning about simple chemistry and cooking. When all three of them are together outside in the sand box or in the yard with the sprinkler or with a pile of sticks they are developing their social skills through all their bickering over who does what, but they are learning to work together, share, problem solve and play unrestricted. By Unrestricted Play I mean that they aren’t confined by a box with directions or a game with rules. They learn best because they are developing their own rules as they go and using their mind to become great thinkers.

The truth is it really doesn’t matter what they are playing with (safe items of course), they are always learning. Offering your child many opportunities to play and create unrestricted helps their minds develop. As parents we want our kids to be successful adults, so why not encourage that way of thinking while they are young. They will most likely need those skills when they grow up!

Check out my Munchkins Page.

From iFamily to Yours,


Back To School Crockpot Meals

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

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

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

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

Cheesesteak sandwiches

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

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

Classic Pot Roast

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

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

Chicken Fajitas

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

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

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

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

Ingredients:

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

BBQ Chicken

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

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

Cheesy Chicken Penne

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

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

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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

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

Chicken Teriyaki

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

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

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

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

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

Chicken Cacciatore

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

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

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,



6 Things to Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

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

 

Things To Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

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

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

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

#1 Sights, Sounds, & Smells!

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

Sound

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

Smell

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

Sight

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

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

#2 Down to the Basics

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

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

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

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

#3 Come Prepared

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

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

  • No Jewelry

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

  • Pull Hair Back

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

  • Eat Long Before Class

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

  • Bring Water

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

  • Bathroom Before Class

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

#4 On Spotting

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

#5 What Parents Can Expect 

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

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

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

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

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

#6 Be Prepared for Fun

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

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

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

 


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,

 


One Easy Way To Prevent Disaster At Home

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

One Easy Way to Prevent Disaster at Home

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

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

Gas or Electric?

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

How Does It Happen?

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

What Can You Do?

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

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

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

 


Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

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

Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

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

Ingredients

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

Directions:

Step One:

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

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

Step Two:

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

Step Three:

Cover with about 1/3 of the pudding.

Step Four:

Slice and layer bananas.

Step Five:

Cover with another layer of pudding.

Step Six:

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping.

Step Seven:

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

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

 

From iFamily to yours,

Gabrielle


Your Ultimate Guide To Surviving The End Of Summer

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

A Mom’s End of Summer Survival Guide

 

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

Get out of the house.

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

Call or text a mom friend.

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

Have your kids help with housework.

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

Wind down.

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

Hey Dads this is for you.  

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Shopping Tips: What Eight Things Should You Be Buying Right Now?!

Back to school shopping is on everyone’s minds as summer comes to and end… but what are some other deals to be on the look out for this time of year?!  Sarah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some of her great shopping tips with us!  Take a look…

8 Things You Should Buy Right Now 

I always like looking for the best deal, and on most things I can usually find it. But when a major hit came to our budget recently I quickly turned into my mother—deal shopping became super charged deal shopping and only looking at something if there was a 70% off sign above it. This complete mind alteration made me think; last article I listed out where to find the cheapest back to school items, while looking in the latest shopping ads I realized there are a lot of other items on sale right now which I don’t need for my kindergartner but could use for the family!

Bedding

Primarily targeted at those going off to college, but sheets (especially twin sheets) bed décor, rugs and lamps are all on super sale right now. If you were thinking of updating a room in the house look at some of these items; just one or two pieces can drastically change a room.

Clothes and Shoes

This is an obvious one to update the kid’s wardrobe but think about you as well. A lot of places are marking down basic summer items right now and just because it is September doesn’t mean it is turning cold; and a lot of basic items can be worn under cardigans and jackets. Shoe stores are running BOGO events too. When you buy the new shoes for the kids throw in an additional pair for yourself. Bonus points if you can find something on clearance which becomes even cheaper as part of the BOGO! (Channeling my mom on that one!)

Backpacks

Yeah I know, we aren’t shopping for school supplies but hear me out! I was of the mindset that after I got rid of my diaper bag if it didn’t fit in my purse (which is about the size of said diaper bag) then the kids didn’t need it. Then I bought my great, very adult, expensive but on sale, pre-budget- blowup backpack and took it on our latest trip to the zoo. I AM IN LOVE! I still had both hands free and room enough to carry everything from snacks to wipes to my husband’s wallet and still had room for more! This being said, maybe it is time to look for one that is on sale, while not all of them are Trolls or Peppa Pig, some are basic in color and tailored to adults—and on sale!

Sandwich bags and lunch box supplies

Even if my kindergartener decides to take her lunch to school she still eats lunchables, applesauce, and cereal at home, so I will be stocking up on these items when they are on sale in a few weeks. Sandwich bags can always be used in my house; from breakfast carriers in the morning to leftovers, a surplus of these will be much appreciated. Clear out a place on a shelf in the garage to put all of these items.

Kleenex

Along this same line, Kleenex will be on sale right now because every classroom will have you bring at least two boxes per child. However, did you know that most homes use Kleenex as well! Stock up now for every room in the house and put some on that “supply” shelf in the garage! Come cold and flu season you will be happy you did!

Computers and Cell phones

Technology is all on sale right now, although targeted more toward those going off to college. But you can benefit now as well! If you aren’t thinking about buying right now but have some questions take advantage of stores bringing in more “experts” during this time. There will be someone that can answer your questions now about processors and data plans and then when the budget turns around or when you are ready for an upgrade you will know exactly what to ask for!

Swimsuits

This has nothing to do with school but it happens every year—stores want to clear out for their fall lines and swimsuits just don’t fit in. This is where you can take advantage of some great markdowns. Still scared to look in the mirror? It is proven that people are at their thinnest in the summer months; we are more active, tan and because of all the extra vitamin D we are getting we feel better about ourselves.

Patio furniture

Planning a Labor Day bbq? I know that my daughters’ 3rd birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I would love to have some more outdoor seating. Perfect timing! Everywhere is trying to clear out their patio furniture to either make room for school supplies or dare I say it fall holiday merchandise. Wait until about the end of August to get the really great deals; but don’t shop around too much, with good deals these aren’t going to be around for long!

From iFamily to Yours,


What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

It’s hard to believe that the end of July is sneaking up (quickly, like a tiger) upon us and it’s time to seriously start thinking about back to school shopping for clothes, shoes, supplies, and everything else that the kids need to get through another year. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t! Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad is here to help with some fantastic tips to make your shopping experience a little bit easier this year. Take a look…

 What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

Yes, we are really talking about back to school shopping! Even though we started in the beginning of July (we home school), seeing all these sales really makes the “Back to School” season feel real! All those awesome backpacks, locker decor, and crayons really seem to say summer is over.

So this year as you get ready to pick up all your school essentials, Check out these local places for insane deals and all the things you and your kids will love!

Office Depot

Office Depot has one of the best deals. And by deals, I mean .01 deals! During certain times, they will offer items for only .01! You just have to keep track of the ad. But most of their school supplies is under $5 and backpacks are only $10. You can pick up the paper ad or even see you current stores deals by checking them out online.

Staples

Staples is another great place for cheap Items. Currently, Staples has all of their writing and coloring supplies for .97. They even have Crayola (my family’s fave) Marked down. Compared to 2.50- 4.00, that’s a huge score!

Target

Target was one of my first stops last year! They had almost everything you need for on .50! Notebooks, glue, index cards… you name it! We were able to stock up well into this year with the awesome deals they had. Not to mention, they have a wide variety of colors and package sizes as well.

Dollar Tree

Over the past few years, Dollar Tree has really stepped up their merchandise! Before, I would be hesitant to buy certain things from there because of the quality and also the style as well. But the other day when I was perusing around my local Dollar Tree, I found some of the trendiest notebooks, folders and journals! Perfect for kids of all ages along with more traditional composition notebooks.  Not to mention they have an outstanding teacher corner as well! Plus, you can never really break the bank there because everything is a dollar!

Walmart

Walmart tends to be a lot of people’s go- to store. When I was there last week, they had everything for every grade. Especially some really cool printed notebooks for your trendy teen. I even bought several to have for myself! I mean rose gold foil prints?!?! I’m sold! Not to mention they have a lot of 1.00 or less items as well. Once major steal was a Scotchtape pack of 2 for only $1. That is a pretty good bargain! Plus tons of glue sticks for .25-.50 and folders for only .97!

So, as you get ready to venture out, into the crazy world of back to school shopping, keep these places and deals in mind!  Happy shopping!

Pro-Tip: Check several ads throughout the metro area. Not all cities and counties have the same deals. Last year, I found small price differences that not only saved me money, but saved me time from driving all around!

From iFamily to Yours,

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