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The little book with BIG resources!

Lee’s Summit Downtown Days

By: Holli Ann

One of the great things about the Kansas City metropolitan area is that all of the surrounding smaller cities each have their own unique traditions and sense of community. Lee’s Summit is no exception. I was able to attend one of their town traditions, Downtown Days, earlier this month. This event, as well as many others like it, are a great way to get to know some of the local businesses (like iFamilyKC) and try some great “fair food” and drink (BBQ, brats, fried everything, and my favorite Root Beer).


Lee’s Summit Downtown Days featured music at different stages, a beer garden, a car show, as well as inflatables, games and rides for kids. It truly is fun for all ages and offers something for just about anyone. I enjoyed the Lee’s Summit Downtown Days so much that I wanted to share some other great events just like it coming up in the area. Take a look:


28th Annual Waterfest, Excelsior Springs, MO – June 28 – 30

KC Riverfest – Berkley Riverfront Park, KCMO – July 4

Johnson County (MO) Fair – Warrensburg, MO – July 10 thru July 13

Cass County Fair, Pleasant Hill, MO – July 16 thru July 21

Amelia Earhart Festival – Atchison, KS – July 19 and July 20

Miami County Fair, Paola, KS – July 20 thru July 27

Platte County Fair, Platte City, MO – July 23 thru July 27

5th Annual Midwest Kids Fest, Overland Park, KS – July 27 and 28, Overland Park Trade Center

Wyandotte County Fair, Kansas City, KS – July 23 thru July 27

Douglas County Fair, Lawrence, KS – July 31 thru August 3

Johnson County Fair, Gardner, KS – August 6 thru August 10

Missouri State Fair, Sedalia, MO – August 8 thru August 18

Leavenworth County Fair, Tonganoxie, KS – July 30 thru August 3

Trails West!, St. Joseph, MO – August 16 thru August 18

Parkville Days Riverfest, Parkville, MO – August 23 thru August 25

Santa-Cali-Gon Days, Independence, MO – August 29 thru September 2

Kansas City Irish Fest, Kansas August 30 thru September 1

iFamilyKC blogger Holli Ann also writes It’s An Ordinary Blog, which documents her journey through life and parenting. To stay up to date on all of her posts, “like” the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook fan page.

Just For Her Expo

By: Holli Ann

June always seems to be a busy month here in the Kansas City area. From the annual Color Run to events like the Just For Her Expo, Downtown Days, and the Highland Games, there’s always something going on in the metro. If you had the chance to stop by the Just For Her Expo a couple of weeks ago, iFamilyKC was there giving away movie posters, screening passes, and Schlitterbahn tickets. In case you missed the show, mark your calendars for May 30-June 1, 2014. If this is your first time hearing about this annual event for women, The Just For Her Expo is a great way to spend an afternoon with your gal pals connecting with local businesses that help make your life better.

I had the opportunity to walk through the event and my absolute favorite part of the entire thing wasn’t the fabulous vendors who were offering great products or the cooking demo that Saturday afternoon, but the Midwest Women’s Care Health & Wellness Expo that was going on during the entire event. All too often, as mothers, we have the tendency to put the needs of everyone else above our own. Not only was Just For Her aimed at encouraging you to pamper yourself a little bit but there was also a strong focus on keeping you at your best. What more could we ask for than a long, healthy, happy life?!

Midwest Women’s Care invited attendees to play a little game…called Life. Each station was set up to encourage women’s health by performing breast self-exams (not in public, of course), check your sleep habits, keep your heart healthy, and so much more. Most importantly, they encouraged visitors to keep those lines of communication with your doctor open. Without good health, it isn’t possible to enjoy all of the other wonderful things that the Just For Her Expo showcased.

During the event, I was handed a booklet with some great pork recipes and wanted to conclude this little write up by sharing one of those with you. Visit the Just For Her website for more information about next year’s event.

Pulled Pork Tostadas

30 Minute Prep Time | Makes 6 Servings

You’ll Need:

  1. 1 lb Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
  2. 3-4 Limes
  3. 2 tbsp. canola oil
  4. 8 c. finely shredded cabbage
  5. ¾ c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  6. ¼ thinly sliced red onion
  7. Salt
  8. 1 c. sour cream
  9. ½ chipotle pepper
  10. 6 8-inch or 12 4-inch tostadas
  11. 2 diced tomatoes
  12. 3 wedged radishes

Halve and squeeze 1 or 2 of the limes to yield 2 tbsp. of juice. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice and oil. Add cabbage, onion and cilantro. Toss to mix. Add salt to taste. Cut the remaining limes into wedges and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream and chipotle pepper.

Arrange tortillas on plates. Top with pork, slaw, sour cream mixture and tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!

*For more information on the Pulled Pork Tostada recipe, search online at PorkBeInspired.com

iFamilyKC blogger Holli Ann also writes It’s An Ordinary Blog, which documents her journey through life and parenting. To stay up to date on all of her posts, “like” the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook fan page.

Door to Door Organics


by Keri Nichol


As moms we want to feed our children healthy. I see information on television all the time about the importance of organic produce and I think how nice it would be to purchase that if it was reasonable. When I go into the grocery store with my three children I don’t have time to browse the produce isles or look for the healthy alternative. Every minute I spend in those stores equates to another $10 of junk food groceries that my children have bribed out of me for their good behavior.

My strategy was always making a list before I go and then sticking to it. Because we are on a tight budget with me being a stay at home mom now we have to make every penny count. However, every time I leave the store I am shocked at the total price and there are always last min. items that have snuck their way into my cart.

Because of all this, I have found that the best option for us is for me to shop at home. Now I do shop the weekly ads. I only buy groceries that we will eat, mostly meats that are on sale. I know that $2.38/lb. if hamburger isn’t that great of a deal. So I wait until it gets down to 1.99/ lb. and then I stock up. They have these kinds of sales at least once every 3 months or so. This is also how I purchases cheeses and frozen veggies.

Because I am trying to feed my children healthily, I don’t go into the center isles. The only things I buy from them are canned veggies. In addition, I have found my best bet is to make a DETAILED list and then have my husband stop on his way home from work. This is because he will stick to the list religiously since he don’t cook the meals and so he don’t have other meal ideas in the store and he won’t have the kids tagging along. The only draw back to this is sending him into the produce isle. During a $50 little grocery trip he will call at least 3 times with no idea what a product is, where to find it or to ask about an incredibly minor change up. However, send him into the produce isle and he will use our entire month of allowed cell phone minutes in that one grocery visit.

What I have begun doing is shopping online for produce and other local healthy foods through Door to Door Organics. What is great about them is that they deliver directly to your door and you are able to purchase organic produce that is local. In addition to local produce you can get local meats, cheeses, milk, etc. Because I save lots of money shopping ads in the stores, I am able to splurge a little bit and get the healthy, local products that Door to Door Organics offers. There website also offers recipes for great ideas on how to prepare their produce. Now their meat is very expensive in my opinion but it is local and much healthier. I normally only get my seafood from them. Especially things like their salmon and halibut. I have purchased these things at Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, Sun Fresh, Wal Mart, etc. and none of these stores can sell seafood that compares to Door to Door Organics quality. It is delicious and really not much more expensive. Plus you don’t have to go anywhere.

Obviously you could save lots of money if you can head out to the local farmers market and get these items. However, we don’t have time to hit those markets. Most of the times we spend the weekends out of town and besides that, it can be hard taking three kids out in the heat and having them pack groceries. Plus, some of them are crowded and it’s hard to keep track of your kids. I still do go down to the river market every once in a while but when I can’t get there and I need another option, Door to Door Organics is a great one for us.

Door to Door Organic Website https://kc.doortodoororganics.com/organic-produce-delivery

A quick internet search will give you a promo code that will save you $10 off your first order. If you can’t find one then email them and ask.

Lake Safety

By: Keri Nichol


It’s almost summer time and the kids are getting really anxious about getting out in the water. Now I am no expert but I do have lots of experience with my own children near the water. We have a lake house at the Lake of the Ozarks and we spend most of our weekends on our dock either swimming, on the boat, or taking turns getting rides on the Seadoo. Some people don’t realize that going swimming in the lakes are much different than the swimming pools. Here are some lake safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. 1.     Not all floating devices are created equal. When swimming off a dock or boat, you have no idea how deep that water is. Remember that the same lifejackets you use at the pool may not be ones that are permitted for boating. Also remember that arm floats and other fun floats should only be used in addition to a life jacket when in a lake.
  2. 2.     Don’t forget your sunscreen. It doesn’t have to be too hot to get that sunburn. The sun rays reflect off the water just like at the pool. In addition, time flies when you’re having fun so be sure to reapply after getting out of the water or after being in the sun for more than about 80 min. All sunscreens are a little different so be sure to read their recommendations.
  3. 3.     Boats cause waves. If you are swimming off a shore line or a dock, it is different than a beach. Boats may be driving faster and they do not have “no wake” zones to abide by. Because of this you have to be extra careful that waves don’t come that either goes over your children’s head or pushes them into deeper waters. Also make sure you do not allow your children to explore too far out into the lake where the boats and Seadoo’s may not see them.
  4. 4.     Water snakes and other water dangers. I am just as big of a chicken as the next person about what is in the water. Although most things will not hurt us, we do need to keep an eye out for things around shore lines and docks that can, like water snakes, fishing hooks, broken glass, etc.
  5. 5.     Parents are the only lifeguards.  We get to the lake and sometimes we want to kick back and have a couple drinks and relax but we must not compromise our judgment when we have our little ones around the water. Out in the middle of a lake or off a dock parents are the only lifeguards. We are the ones looking out for the safety of our children and it is important not to get so wrapped up in the fun and activities that we take our eyes off of them because we all know it doesn’t take any time at all for water accidents to happen.

Summer time is full of exciting activities like those at the lakes. I just wanted to give people a heads up for dangers that we notice when we are out having fun. Just remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I have included some great websites with even more safety tips.

Boating and Children Safety– http://www.discoverboating.com/kids.aspx or http://www.americanboating.org/safety-vid-tips-for-kids.asp

Infant and Toddler Water Safety- –http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/child-safety/CC00045 or http://www.safekids.org/tip/water-safety-home-tips


Parents as Teachers Program

By: Keri Nichol

In the past 9 years I have participated in the Parents as Teachers Programs with all of three of my children. These programs have been dramatically different in all the districts we have lived in but every one of them was super beneficial to me and my child. We have been enrolled in Harrisonville, Hickman Mills, Center, and now in Independence School districts. The one that offered the most comprehensive program was Hickman Mills in 2006-2008. They offered free classes in baby sign language, Gymboree, Music and Me, etc. People from these different companies would come to the Early Education center and all the participants of P.A.T were invited to come to the center and join in the free classes. My daughter learned a lot. They would also have story days where they would read books and then make little crafts and easy snacks. Not only did she learn a lot from the activities but she was able to socialize with other children in her age group. At that time they had a connection with US Toy where every month my daughter would get a $50 gift certificate from the P.A.T. program to go spend on educational toys at U.S. Toy.

I have had people ask me why I participate in this program since I was a lead early education teacher myself. There is a conception that P.A.T is for parents that don’t know what they are doing and need help and advice in raising the child. It is true that I have an Associates in a related Early Education Field and I have a Bachelor’s in Family and Child Welfare so I have studied child development and am very aware of the stages that my children are going through. However, I think that having an unbiased opinion on your child’s development milestones is critical. As parents, there are lots of things we tend to overlook with our own children or things that we are used to and therefore don’t really click as an issue. P.A.T instructor come to your home and they assess your child in eye sight, speech, vocabulary, gross motor, fine motor, etc. You are given the opportunity to challenge your child with activities that you hadn’t considered. But most importantly for me, is it gives the opportunity to discuss the child and issues or concerns you are having with someone else that is educated in that field. Sure, you can ask your doctor but I know I get overwhelmed and feel rushed when I see the doctor. I always have a lot of questions and forget to ask half.

A few years ago, when the economy had gotten bad, Missouri cut funding for Parents as Teachers programs and they suffered dramatically. Independence is now beginning to rebuild theirs after these cuts were made. I encourage all parents and soon to be parents to enroll in the program. It is absolutely free of charge and only benefits you and your child. Call your local early childhood center and ask for the Parents as Teachers department to get signed up.

Here are some websites for more information:

General Info: www.parentsasteachers.org/‎

Olathe: http://www.olatheschools.com/students-families/parent-resources/parents-as-teachers

Lee’s Summit: http://pat.leesummit.k12.mo.us/

Hickman Mills: http://www.hickmanmills.org/domain/229

Independence: http://www.isdschools.org/programs-services/early-education/

Liberty: http://pat.liberty.k12.mo.us/

Center: http://www.center.k12.mo.us/gen/center_generated_pages/PAT_m55.html

Pampers Splashers Review

By: Keri Nichol

So Memorial weekend was just here and we headed to the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks with the family. Although the water was a little on the chilly side we couldn’t kick off the summer right without swimming. I dug out the Splashers that I had left over from my daughters when they were little and figured they would work for my 10 month old baby boy since no one at the lake would care (or see) that he had Dora the Explorer on his diaper.  After getting him all dressed in his swim suit he sat with his Papa while we got the girls ready for the day and after about 10 min. Papa said that his shirt was wet. He swore that Jacksyn, my little boy, had peed on him. But how could that be, I had just put him in a brand new Splashers so I thought maybe it was a spilling Sippy. So we get into the car and get to the dock where we swim and carrying Jacksyn on my hip I became soaking wet. He had peed through that Splashers all over my side as if he was in nothing but underwear.


To be fair, I chalked this up to the idea that I had used my daughters old Splashers which are girls. I assumed the idea of boy/girl Splashers were related to the design of either Dora or Diego but just maybe they were made different to. Maybe the absorbency in the girls is more in the bottom and the boys is more absorbent up in front. This is the reasoning I gave for these not working.


When I got home from the lake I looked it up online to see if I was right about my theory with the absorbency location thinking maybe I could get by with turning the Splashers backward to still work for my  son since I still had a large package left and didn’t want to waste them. I was super surprised by what statements I found online from the company.

If you go their website and read the customer reviews you see that there were several issues with sizing and also people complaining about the absorbency (and yes they were using the correct sex diaper). The part that shocked me was that they say the diapers were designed to help children in the pool and not to swell like ordinary diapers when wet. They are not to be worn like ordinary disposable diapers. However, what is the point in putting a diaper on a child if they are going to have urine running down their leg the first time they potty. Doesn’t that mean that that urine is getting into our swimming pools? I could save myself $10 and just let my baby go in the nude.  And, just for the record, nothing I found distinguished anything different between the girl/boy Splashers other than the printed design. It doesn’t appear to be made different at all. I also found that many people recommended the use of Huggies swim diapers over Pampers even when they normally prefer Pampers disposable diapers on a regular basis. Maybe that will be an upcoming review as well.

Under the sea! Crown Center’s Sea Life Aquarium

We had the opportunity to visit the new turtle shelter exhibit at Crown Center’s Sea Life Aquarium last week.  This large attraction is located at the south side of Crown Center Square at 25th and Grand Blvd.  It shares a building with the Legoland exhibit.  We parked in the main Crown Center parking garage and wandered aimlessly a bit before figuring out where it was and heading over.  We were greeted warmly by the staff, they graciously offered to validate our parking, gave our daughter a turtle crown (which she loved) and they took our picture in front of a green screen.  At the end of the experience you have the opportunity to purchase the picture which has a sea life background superimposed behind it.  These small touches were very nice and create a more personal experience.


Our two-year old daughter really enjoyed what the aquarium had to offer.  She especially enjoyed the interactive exhibit where she was able to touch sea urchins and starfish, and the tunnel which had stingrays and sharks swimming right above us.  The sea turtles were the stars of the show.  The staff had one out and about and allowed children and guests to take pictures with him.  Our daughter was very interested but was too nervous to get very close by herself.  She eventually agreed to take a picture with daddy a few feet away from the turtle.  They also had a video which discussed the challenges and dangers that sea turtles face.


At the end of the exhibit was a surprise playground which our daughter enjoyed immensely.  The playground was great in that it offered enough to do to entertain bigger kids, but also had padded stairs and a slide that were perfect for toddlers.  Too often these types of playgrounds are either too difficult and dangerous for two year olds, or too boring and lame for six year olds, but this one found a good middle ground.


Finally there was the gift shop where you get to see your aforementioned green screen picture, and the other sea life related goodies that they have to offer.  We bought a reasonably priced turtle necklace for our little one and she couldn’t have been more excited.  It will be a nice reminder of a great experience.

Overall, the turtle shelter exhibit at the SeaLife Aquarium is a great option if you are seeking some indoor fun.  I definitely recommend it for those summer days that are just too hot and miserable to spend outside. For more information on the new Turtle Shelter Exhibit, head on over to the Sea Life Aquarium website.


This article was written by mom blogger Holli Ann from It’s An Ordinary Blog. Pictures from this event can be found on the blog’s Facebook fan page. Connect with Holli via Facebook or Twitter for more posts about life, parenting, and adventures with a toddler.

Variety Joins Standees

         Variety The Children’s Charity of the United States has spent the last eighty years empowering the lives of children with special needs.  Variety is partnering with Standees Entertainment Eatery so that local kids ages birth through high school will also benefit from this children’s charity!

Standees Entertainment Eatery will have its grand opening on Friday May 24th.  Standees Eatery is geared toward adults however their philanthropic mission is to the children with special needs in their area.  Standees is proud to be a Variety supporter as well as a supporter of DeLaSalle Education Center and Operation Breakthrough.  Standees will be donating their time and resources to ensure that children with special needs in our area can continue to look forward to new and exciting challenges.

Located in the Prairie Village shopping center Standees Entertainment Eatery combines the concept of casual dining and then a movie. This is a great place for adults to catch up and unwind, with cocktails, appetizers and a menu that will be sure to please a variety of palates.  The three theatres are equipped with comfortable seating that allows you to take your food and drinks right into the movie.

Cindy Rogers with Variety so humbly explained that its mission is to provide children with developmental disabilities equipment and opportunities for activities and inclusion. Movement can be difficult for children with special needs and Variety’s goal is to make “movement” easier for these children.  Variety’s most recent collaborations have lead to an adaptive baseball field in both Independence and Olathe!  These baseball fields offer opportunities for new friendships to be made as well as personalities to shine.

Variety is a volunteer organization and they are so excited to help families in Kansas City.  Please visit www.varietyKC.org to volunteer.  The long time supporter and very thoughtful Fred Pryor ironically used the Chinese proverb, “A little bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives the rose,” while expressing the importance of helping those who cannot help themselves.

Submitted by Shari Jacobs, iFamily Mom Squad



Lights, Camera, Action!

By: Shari Jacobs

My daughter recently finished a month long theatre class in May called, Circus Hilarious at the Coterie Theatre in Crown Center.  She had so much fun pretending to be a lion tamer, a tight ropewalker, an excited clown, and even a sad, scary, and confused clown! The Coterie Acts Theatre School will be offering more exciting summer theatre classes for grades K – 12 beginning in June. The list of classes being offered is long and class sizes are small so make sure to check out all the opportunities at www.coterietheatre.org and www.pembrokehill.org for Pembroke Hill classes.

This is a great chance for kids to be around other kids their age, make new friends, learn about theatre all while keeping it cool in the hot summer months!  Make sure to check out the class schedule to find out if there is a theatre class that is offered near you.  With a variety of classes and class locations convenience and fun could be just around the corner this summer!

Some of the summer classes offered for the older grades are “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Comedy on Your Feet”, “Advanced Musical Theatre” and even “Fun Effects in Theatrical Makeup”.   For the younger students classes range from titles like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” to “Summer Term at Hogwarts”!

My daughter looked forward to going to her “Circus Hilarious” class every week and the homework that her teacher assigned kept her excited and engaged!  Parents can visit the final class to watch performances. I was so surprised to see how much she learned, there was a big focus on teamwork and self-expression.  I have to say “Circus Hilarious” was definitely hilarious! The teachers at the Coterie Theatre are professionals, very good with kids and great at communicating with the parents.

Union Station & Science City to Unveil New Touring Exhibition, ‘Alien Worlds and Androids’

Open to Public: Friday, May 24

The limited engagement exhibition features scientific and educational content from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA and focuses on the search for alien life within and beyond our solar system.

Union Station will host a special media preview event to unveil the latest addition to Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City – an exciting new touring exhibition, Alien Worlds and Androids. Media are invited to explore the interactive exhibit, interview representatives from GES and USKC, and provide their audience a sneak peek of the out-of-this-world exhibit.

Thursday, May 23, 2013: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Science City entrance, inside of Union Station Kansas City, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108

Produced by Global Experience Specialists Inc, (GES), Alien Worlds and Androids addresses the question that has fascinated man for centuries: “Are We Alone?” Through the use of robots, telescopes, space probes and high-tech laboratories, scientists have been studying the possibilities of life existing beyond Earth and what forms may take depending on the environment. In this interactive exhibition, visitors will join scientists in their search for alien life within and beyond our solar system, discover strange alien-like creatures found here on Earth, and learn about the technologies used to explore remote solar systems and extreme environments found on Earth. Alien Worlds and Androids highlights scientists’ studies and findings in nine areas: Are We Alone?, Looking for Life in Space, Alien Life on Earth, Artificial Intelligence and Robots, Robot Space Explorers, Explore the Solar System, The Robotization of Planet Earth, I-Cyborg and The Human Microbiome. Science City at Union Station is the host of the world premiere of Alien Worlds and Androids.

About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, features Kansas City’s science center, Science City; the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round; new Gottlieb Planetarium, one of the region’s largest screen movie theater, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details.

About GES:
Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES), a Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) company, is a leading marketing agency that produces exhibitions, events, exhibits and retail environments. GES provides a wide range of services, including turnkey official show services, cutting-edge creative and design, marketing and measurement services—all with an unrivaled global reach. GES partners with leading shows and brands, including Spring Fair Birmingham, International Woodworking Fair, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, Bell Helicopter, L’Oreal, Warner Bros., and Simon Property Group. GES’ National Servicenter® has been recognized with certification under the J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Center Program℠ for the past five years, and for the fourth year in a row Ad Age has named GES as one of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” For more information, visit ges.com or the GES blog at defyingconvention.ges.com