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Tips to Surviving the First Week Back At School

Summer has come and gone and Back to School time is here once again!  Getting back into the routine of begining a school day can be a little chaotic that first few weeks… Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here with some tips on Surviving the First Week Back to School!

Back To School

TIPS TO SURVIVING THE FIRST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL

The lazy days of summer are fading away and the mornings will now be filled with school runs, finding lost shoes and attempting to get out the door on time.  Thankfully, it does not have to be as stressful as it could be.

Here are a few tips on surviving the first week back at school!

Make Ahead Dinners

One of my favorite things to do to add ease to our evening is freeze dinners ahead of time! Take time to make your families favorite meals or make extra portions in the days leading up to school. Cooking dinner will be one thing you can check off of your to do list!

Plan Lunches

Plan your child’s lunches for the week ahead and stock the fridge accordingly, eliminating any unnecessary shopping trips. Even better, have your kiddos help you with your list (with guidelines, of course). If buying lunch is an option, give them a chance to choose a “special day” to buy lunch.

Plan your outfits the night before

…even for you mom! It seems so easy, but I think we forget how this little step can make the morning routine a breeze.

Give your kiddos a to-do list in the morning!

Make a chart that will make it fun getting all tasks their completed. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and gathering up their jacket, lunch and book bag!

Homework Space

Make a dedicated homework space so your child knows exactly where they should do their school work each day. This should be an area separate from the TV or any other distractions. Another idea is to set them up in the kitchen next to you while you are reheating your freezer dinner or making lunches for school tomorrow, because you are on top of it mom!

Start the first days of school with a positive outlook!

You could make your kiddo their favorite breakfast while talking with them about their first days of school. Take advantage of this time and ask them about what they are looking forward to about their day. Also, make sure to check in at the end of the day and ask specific questions about school. This also helps out in case you need to make any changes in their routines.

Whether your kiddo is starting a whole new school or just jumping up a grade we need to remind our kids that everything is going to be ok and we have their backs.  Give them your time, attention and extra hugs this week.  I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration for starting school on the right foot.   Have a great first week back to school!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Fun Things To Do When Your Little One Is Sick

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

fun things to do when your little one is sick

Fun things to do when your little one is sick

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

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

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

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

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

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

From iFamily To Yours,

 


What Is A Solar Eclipse?

Have you been wondering what all this Eclipse talk is about?  If you’re like to rest of us, you may not know exactly what to expect!  Bridgette, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here to give us the scoop on the Eclipse of the century!  Check it out…

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

I’m sure these past few weeks, maybe even months, you have heard that something big was coming and to plan for it! But just incase you haven’t, this year, on Monday, August 21st a spectacular event known as a total solar eclipse will be seen all throughout North America.

What is a solar eclipse? I will give you a hint, it doesn’t have to do with any Twilight Sagas lol, just kidding. But honestly what is a total solar eclipse? Well according to NASA, a total solar eclipse is the “path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona”. Sounds exciting right?!  Being able to look up in the middle of the day only to see the sun covered by the moon! Awesome!

Who can see it? Pretty much everyone in North America and some regions of South America will be able to experience at least a partial solar eclipse. However, according to NASA, only 14 states throughout the US will actually be able to see it in totality. Want to make sure you can see it in totality? Check out this interactive map to see where you can see it https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html !

How can you keep safe? We all know one should never directly look into the sun, even when it is partially covered. Nasa recommend that you use what they call sun filtering glasses. The protect your eyes from looking at the sun so you can enjoy the entire occasion. While it is ok to look directly at the sun during total eclipse, you’ll want to have some with you the entire time.

Where to watch in KC?

There are several places around the metro area where you can attend a viewing party and get some free shades! Check out this list below of places that are giving away free solar eclipse glasses while supplies last!

  • Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark – August 19, 20.
  • Kansas City T-Bones – August 19, 20.
  • Sporting KC – August 19.
  • Cabela’s – August 21.
  • Richard Petty Driving Experience – August 19, 20.
  • All Wyandotte County Museums – August 19, 20.
  • Rowe Ridge Vineyard & Winery – August 21.
  • Legends Outlets Kansas City (Management or Security Office) – August 19-21.
  • Science City – August 20
  • Independence Square– August 18-21

Are you ready to experience this awesome event? We know we are!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


This Weekend In The Box Office: Annabelle Creation

While this movie review isn’t suitable for the kiddos, this would be a great date night for Mom and Dad!  Erin, From the iFamily Mom Squad, had a chance to preview Annabelle and is here to give us her thoughts!  Take a look…

Annabelle: Creation

Release Date: 11 August 2017

Run Time: 109 minutes

MPAA Rating: R (for horror, violence, and terror)

Director: David F. Sandberg

Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman

Annabelle: Creation is the prequel to the 2014 movie Annabelle and a spin-off of The Conjuring series. In this installment, a toymaker and his wife tragically lose their 7 year old daughter. Several years later, still grieving, they invite a nun and a group of orphans to their home hoping to provide help to those in need and to lift their own spirits. Unbeknownst to the nun and the children, a haunted doll lives in the house and is out for blood.

Children are the main focus of this movie but it is absolutely NOT for children to see! However if you are not a child and you’re a fan of The Conjuring movies, I would highly recommend you check this flick out!  As a huge fan of The Conjuring movies, I thought this movie was very well written and contained the perfect amount of creep factor!  Honestly it was one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.  Some horror movies are just full of blood and sickening gore with no actual plot or reasoning to any of it.  Annabelle: Creation was definitely full of plenty of that but it had some substance and a story that connects pieces of The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle.  Scary moments that made the whole audience scream, jump and hilariously talking to the girls on screen warning them not to do that!  That might be my favorite part about seeing scary movies in a theater. It lightens the mood a tad and creates a whole cinematic experience if someone is behind you saying “Don’t open that door!” or “Runnnn!” or “Nope!” If you’re looking for a fantastically scary, edge of your seat horror story with plenty of shocking scenes, this is it!  Perfect date night or girls night out movie! In theaters, August 11th!

From iFamily to Yours,


Road Tripping With Kids

Summer’s coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to squeeze in a last minute mini vacay!  Gabrielle, from our iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips for road tripping with kids close to home!  Take a look…

Road Tripping

Road Tripping

A full-fledged family vacation was not in the cards for us this year.  It doesn’t matter how many times I crunched the numbers, or how deep the discounted airline tickets were, we couldn’t make the budget work.  So I decided to plan a last minute road trip.

Luckily, here in Kansas City, there are lots of places to visit within driving distance.   Every parent needs to personally determine how long they can continuously be in the car with their kids BEFORE planning a road trip.  A few of my family members drove for 22 hours to California a couple of weeks ago.  They are saints.  My family and I have a 3-4 hour maximum for car rides, mainly because we have a toddler.  Our choices are a bit more limited because of that.  Even in that short amount of time, we have multiple options in various states.

Here are a few options:

St. Louis, Missouri – In about 4 hours, you can drive to the largest city in the state of Missouri.  Family friendly attractions  include the St. Louis Zoo, the Gateway Arch, and the St. Louis Science Center.  There are plenty of outdoor spaces to explore, when the weather permits.  St. Louis is also home to one of 17 of the Six Flags theme parks in the United States.   There are plans to open other parks in China and the United Arab Emirates in the near future.

Branson, Missouri – This family friendly destination is home to another popular amusement park, Silver Dollar City.  There are several museums to visit, and lots of live entertainment.  There is also a popular outlet mall.  It might be a good time to buy some summer clothes on clearance. The Branson Scenic Railway is a must see while you’re there!

Omaha, Nebraska-The Henry Doorly Zoo is a popular destination for many road trippers from Kansas City.  While the zoo might be the most popular attraction, do not make the mistake of thinking there is nothing else to do in this Midwestern town.  The Omaha Children’s museum hosts several permanent exhibits that are sure to hold your children’s attention for a couple of hours.

There are a number of other cities that are just a short drive away.  Both the Kansas and Missouri State Fairs our just a few hours away, (and both are coming up pretty quickly if you’re interested.) Our fair city is centrally located and there are major tourist attractions in just about any direction you decide to drive.

So fill up the tank, pack up the kids and be on your merry way.  Adventure awaits.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


This The Weekend In The Box Office: The Nut Job 2

Happy Weekend Kansas City!  If you’re looking for something to do this weekend as you’re getting into ‘Back to School’ mode, check out The Nut Job 2!  Erin, from our iFamily Mom Squad, had a chance at a sneak peek and shares her thoughts with us below. Take a look…

“The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature”

Release Date:  11 August 2017

Run Time:  95 minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG (for mild action and rude humor)

Director:  Cal Brunker

Cast:  Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan

Surly and his crazy crew from The Nut Job are back at it again in The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. After their current home, the nut factory, goes up in a puff of smoke, they go in search of a new home.  They find the perfect home in a beautiful park.  Unfortunately, they are up against the evil money hungry Mayor of Oakton City!  He plans to bulldoze the park and build a gigantic rundown amusement park in it’s place.  The animals join together to try to save their beloved home.  There are a few new characters are introduced in this sequel to the 2014 movie.  A sweet-looking but tough little mouse, Mr. Feng, voiced by the hilarious comedic Kung Fu legend, Jackie Chan.

My kids, ages 2 and 7, enjoyed the movie and the wild and crazy antics of the animals provided some laughs!  At 1 1/2 hours, it was the perfect length to keep their attention.  I think children over 10 might be a bit bored with the simplistic plot.  To be honest, maybe waiting for a Netflix release might not be a terrible idea for anyone older than 8.  We saw the first one in theaters 3 years ago and honestly I don’t remember much of it and neither did my oldest child.  Even so, the kids wanted to check out the sequel and you don’t really need to see the first one to understand this one. Might be the perfect movie to check out at the drive in for a double feature before school starts!  In theaters August 11th!

From iFamily to Yours,


The Funny Things Kids Say… and The Mom Workout

Kids say the darnedest things, the say… just not always at the right moment!  Ruth, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share with us some of the funny, and embarrassing things that her kids have said and done!

 

The Funny Things Kids Say

Sitting at the table the other day with my kids proved to be a bit humorous. This happens often as I have three at varying ages of 9, 6 and 3.  It just so happened on this day we were splitting a pepperoni pizza for lunch; a staple item in our house but usually not a topic of discussion. Today was different. After a few random topics of discussion, I stumbled upon a rare moment where my son also my oldest decided to educate his sister’s about the origin of pepperoni.

Now before I move ahead…

Let me say that this was funny because my 6 year old daughter seems to think she is a comedian lately and decided to show him up. My son relayed and I quote, “Do you know where pepperoni comes from?” My daughter said no, and he proceeded to tell her in the most serious of voices….”Pepperoni grows on a pepperoni plant. People pick it, cut it and put it on their pizza.” I had stepped out of the room to refill drinks and happened to walk in at this moment. Looking dumbfounded, I asked him, “What? Who told you that?”. To which he replied, “I thought because it had pepper in it, it grows off a pepper plant”.  I proceeded to tell him that pepperoni is a sausage and I threw out there, “Where does sausage come from?” My little comedian chimed in, “Oink, Oink!”

This just happens to be one of those embarrassing moments for my kids that I choose to remember.

It is a funny memory from a couple weeks ago that will be fun to remind him of when he starts dating! I have a special place to store these funny memories and it is known as an app called Little Hoots. This app is a fun discovery that I stumbled upon during the Turn the page KC event last month at The Sprint Center. If you want to know more about that event, be sure to look it up! It was free and the kids had a great time! Anyway, while walking around talking to vendors, I found a table sponsored by Little Hoots. The founder Lacey Ellis created this app as a way to help keep track of all the silly things her kids said. In this app, parents are able to record memories, modify design, font and color and save them on their device. This app became available to others so other families could have a safe way to store memories and connect them to social media as well. If you would like to learn more about Little Hoots, check out the app on your device (free) or check out their Facebook page!

As for me, I am going to go back to storing memories in Little Hoots and stocking up embarrassing moments for when my kids start dating…in hopefully no less than another 20 years! A mom can dream right?

And Then There Was… The Mom Workout

Last week I got this brilliant idea to start working out as part of my daily routine.

I am not talking about chunking out 30 plus minutes of my day to take a class or miserably fail at a yoga DVD, I am talking about building it into what I am already doing at home or out and about in my daily life. I decided that it would be easy and fun to do lunges in the hallway while putting away laundry,  squats while microwaving lunch and crunches during commercials.  This plan seemed fool proof and simple. I am sure I am not the only one to come to this conclusion either. So with an unknown success rate and a bit of motivation I decided to give it a try. Let me tell ya, the motivation DID NOT LAST. However, it did lead to a funny story.

I am sure many of you decided to check out the 59 cent pancake deal at IHOP on July 18th. Well…our family joined the parade, got a big table and started downing pancake meals. Despite taking my youngest to the potty right before dinner, she decided that she needed to go again when I was about 5 bites from finishing my short stack. Being a dedicated Mom, we ran to the bathroom as fast as we could. Thinking that this would be a quick visit, I helped her settle on the potty and then she proclaimed that she needed to pee and poop! In my head I am thinking, “Great…” but I tell her, “Okay honey, go ahead”. It was a small stall and I had nothing better to do for at least the next ten minutes, so I decided that it would be the perfect time for a mini workout.

It was wall push up time!

I straddled my legs, leaned forward and began doing pushups on the wall. It wasn’t the most sanitary of activities, but what was a Mom to do besides smell her daughter’s poo? I tried two handed and single handed. Not too difficult. My daughter, curious as always asked, “What are you doing?” “Exercise, sweetie.”, I said. I explained a bit more while trying to coach her to finish going potty. I did manage to get a bit of an arm workout and then finally she was done! It was my turn to take a tinkle. I sit down and my daughter starts doing her own version of pushups on the wall with her pants still down! Only, they don’t look like pushups. She is bopping her hips back and forth singing, “Poopy town, poopy town, poopy town!”, just as someone else walks in. Meanwhile I am trying to convince her to finish pulling up her pants and shhh so we can leave. She of course being my little stinker thinks that she is hilarious and keeps right on singing. I finish up and yoink her pants up so we can wash our hands. All the while, the mystery person in the bathroom is snickering in the stall next to us. Embarrassed, I hoist her up on the sink to wash her hands and get the heck out of there. The last thing I want is to see this person face to face. Needless to say, I haven’t gone back to that workout routine.

Have you had a funny or embarrassing moment with your kids?

Share it with us!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Dear Hostess with the Mostest

We all know one.  The picture perfect version of what a mom is “supposed to be”.  So, why is it that so many of us have a hard time relating to ‘that’ mom?  Here’s Gabrielle, from the iFamily Mom Squad with the question we all want to ask… “Have you ever made an adult version of that party punch?”

 

Dear Hostess with the Mostest:

Those cupcakes you made for your daughter’s birthday were divine, and you decorated them perfectly.  Who would have ever thought to arrange all the cupcakes in the shape of a tiara?  Everything was picture perfect.  You are so effortlessly creative.  I have no idea how you manage to pull all these ideas together.   I would  ask you what your secret is, but I have a secret of my own.  My secret is that I don’t care.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love attending your parties.  Your “party punch” is legendary .  The food is always delicious, and the decorations make all your guests feel like royalty.  The truth is, I could never be the hostess that you are.  The truth is I would never try.

I have a Pinterest account, but I’ve never attempted a single thing on any of the 5 personalized boards I’ve created.  I have seen pictures of those epic Pinterest fails, and I truly believe I could top every single one of them.   I see a soufflé that didn’t quite rise, and I think, “That’s still  better than the premixed cookie dough that I burned to a crisp last month.”

I did not get the baking gene, or the decorating gene.( I do, however, make a decent party punch.) I am more than happy to have all of my  parties catered by the closest pizza chain.  Our cupcakes come from the bakery at our favorite grocery store and if I buy any decorations at all, they are probably coming from the dollar store around the corner.

Because our kids are the same age, we will probably be touring the birthday circuit together.  I appreciate your attention to detail at your own kid’s party, but please don’t point out that the race car birthday banner doesn’t really match the ninja- themed plates at someone else’s party.  Instead, just try to enjoy your lukewarm pizza served on plain white Styrofoam and the not quite cold soda served in the matching cup.  The birthday parties are for the kids, and if we put enough ketchup on the Styrofoam, they’d eat that and be happy, as long as they are with their friends.

Friends is the operative word here.  We all want to be friends with you…and not just so we can have your award-winning chicken salad at the next party.  There should be more to our relationship than critiquing each other’s party themes and recipe ideas, but there is one recipe all of us have been wanting to ask you about…

Have you ever made an adult version of that party punch?

Sincerely,

Pizza Party Moms everywhere

Gabrielle


Popcorn And Other Fun Things To Do In The Car

Gabrielle, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some great tips for fun car games that will encourage communication with your kiddos!  Take a look…

 

Popcorn and Other Fun Things to Do in the Car

“How was your day?” I’d ask from behind the steering wheel.

My daughter would always have a story about something  that happened that day, but I noticed that my son tended  to be a bit less talkative than his sister.  I found an article that said in order to encourage communication, that I should stop asking that question, as it generally elicits a one or two word response.  The article suggested asking questions that would require a different answer every day.

“What did you have for lunch?”

“What was the best (or worst) thing that happened at school today?

I took those ideas and ran with them.  We made up games to play in the car that required better communication skills.  Here are a few you might want to play with your family.

Popcorn

In elementary school, we used to play this game during read aloud time.  We’d all sit in a circle with the same book.  The teacher would call on someone to read. At any given moment that student could stop reading, say “Popcorn” and call on another student to continue the story.  It was a good way to see who was actually paying attention.

We modify the game by making up the story as we go along, and once a person says popcorn, they give up their rights to the story.  The best thing about this game is that it requires everyone to listen first, and speak second.

Besties

This game is one of my favorites.  In this game, we ask the rest of our family to answer questions about ourselves. We ask things like “What’s my favorite color?”  or “What’s my favorite restaurant?” Sometimes the answers are downright comical.  Other times, you’ll be surprised at the accuracy of the answers you get.  Your children are watching more closely than you think.   It’s also a great way to  figure out what makes your kids tick, without having to ask directly. A word of caution.  Do not ask your kids when your birthday is.  Depending on how old they are, they may not get it right.   A mad mommy pretty much sucks all the fun out of that game.

Would You Rather

This game teaches children to compare and contrast.  It also teaches them decision-making.    One person asks everyone else in the car would they rather do one thing or the other.  The rest of us make our choices and sometimes we debate the merits of those choices.  For instance, a common question is:  “Would you rather have chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream?”  The questions can get repetitive.  My toddler says the same thing every time she gets to pose a question.  But every now and then, the kids are hit with a creative burst, and all of us are caught off guard.

My son is no longer the quietest person in the car.  In fact, he’s usually the one asking to play one of the games.  The games created a fun and safe way for him to express himself.  They teach him skills he will use the rest of his life. They have also provided the rest of us with hours of family entertainment.  I hope they will do the same for you.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

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

Potty Training

6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

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

Wait until they show signs of readiness

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

Use underwear

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

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

Rewards  

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

Don’t expect perfection  

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

Preparation is key

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

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

Don’t stress

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,