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The little book with BIG resources!

Frugal and Convenient Recipe

By Keri Nichol


Our schedule is so chaotic sometimes that finding time to make a meal is a real chore. Not to mention, the fact that you want it to be something more than a can of cold ravioli’s. I have been trying to get into making foods up in advance and freezing them for convenient foods that we will love and will fill our bellies.

For us, though, the trick is making foods that we all like and that are cheap to make. It’s hard enough to stay on a food budget day to day, let alone trying to plan ahead. However, I found one recipe that seems to be a hit in our family: breakfast burritos.

We always have potatoes and eggs. And once every month or two one of the local grocery stores will have a four day breakfast sale where you can get rolls of sausage for $.99 and the same with shredded cheese. So, I wait for these sales and then buy them up. I will find sales on 12 inch tortilla and buy what’s on sale also. I have used plain whites, wheat and even Chipotle.

So when my potatoes start to get soft and I know I need to get them used up I will slice them all up real small. I normally leave the peeling on because my hands cramp from peeling them and besides that skin is supposed to be healthy, right. I fry up the sausage and then pull the crumbles out and put them on a plate. I leave the grease from the sausage to cook the potatoes in. I then add the potatoes to the pan and also a diced onion. I slowly fry the potatoes until they are very soft and mushy. This usually takes a while and is the key in a good burrito. Then I make a well in the middle of the pan, pushing the potatoes to the edges. I whisk up my eggs and pour them into the well. Make sure the heat is very low at this point. I don’t mix the potatoes in with the raw egg. I wait until the eggs are mostly cooked stirring them in the well and then I combine them with the potatoes. When the egg is thoroughly cooked I add the sausage back in and also some cheese and mix well. Then I put large spoonful of the mix into a tortilla and wrap it up. I like to wrap the tortilla in some aluminum foil. This way I can pull them straight out of a freezer bag and pop them into the oven. Plus it helps hold them together.

In my last batch I used 5 lbs. of potatoes, one whole onion, 5 sausage patties (leftovers), 1 lb. roll of sausage, 8 oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese and 8 large eggs. The best part of this idea is that you use what you have. You can change the type of meats and cheeses you use to suit what you have, what’s on sale or what’s been left over in the frig that week. This is a way to reuse foods and use them up without letting them go bad but still making a great meal. The last batch that I made – made 19 big burritos. We have had these for a fast breakfast, lunch and even a dinner on the go. The kids usually split one since they are so filling.


Sea Life Aquarium Crown Center

My first bit of advice upon entering the Sea Life museum is to purchase tickets before hand online.  We went on a snowy, wet day and there were lots of people waiting in line, which is partially outside. Once your in, the walk through the museum is rather short…so we made it a point to go to all the talk times so to spend a couple of hours there.  The stingrays must have been having a good day because they were a big hit.

If you didn’t have to wait in line for tickets…you’ll probably have to wait in line to have your pictures taken. The pictures can be picked up in the gift shop if you choose to buy them.  The kids get a quiz that they can complete and turn in for a prize at the gift shop as well.  The quiz was fun for my girls…all the answers could be found on the walls!  The prize was a nice souvenir of their trip!

The sea life website was useful in planning our visit but not necessary. We still found ourselves going back and forth to make show times…talk times can easily be figured out upon arrival.  Ray talk seemed very popular with all ages.  The tank was full of a variety of stingrays and they were so cute.  The octopus is very cool as well!  Ocean Explorer talk was an interactive discussion with a talking turtle.  The turtle spoke directly to the kids in the audience and they were so excited to be called on to answer questions about the ocean!  I suggest this talk time for fun game show like family entertainment!

The touch pool was another big hit for kids and adults!  The tank is very colorful and the kids can touch the starfish and hold the crabs.  I think my girls thought they were at the beach for a minute!  This tank gets lots of kudos!  Elsewhere, everyone loved seeing the sharks, jellyfish, octopus, clown fish, stingrays, seahorses, and starfish, just to name a few.

Overall this was a nice outing that only took a couple hours.  Sea Life Aquarium is small enough that going to both the aquarium and Lego Land in one afternoon is very doable for even a large group.  There is an option to purchase both aquarium and Lego Land tickets together online for a nine dollar savings.  Not a bad saving for a day of inquiry and hands on fun!

Working from Home? Get out of the slippers~

by Haute Weekly’s Fashionista: Jennifer Hermon

If you work outside the home it’s probably just the weekends where you chill in your comfie clothes around the house. For those of us who work from home…every day tempts you to make it a slippers and PJs day. However…it’s easy to step it up just a bit to feel like you are “dressed for work” even when that work doesn’t take you out of the house (says she who is still in uber comfie clothes).

Plan to, each day,  to look put together enough so that if the school calls because your kid just puked and you have to run to pick him up, you won’t look like a hobo.  For these cold winter months it’s easy.  Have a few long sweaters that can be worn with leggings.  Or a warm duster you can throw over a plain tee.  Put on some boots and a smear of lipstick and you can pass for someone who may appear to have showered this morning.

As the weather warms a lightweight jacket is key.  A jacket looks great with, and slightly dresses up, jeans.  Even with a t-shirt!  If you just do the minimum to have a solid color (unwrinkled) tee on with jeans, you can quickly look put together with a jacket, scarf or even both.  (jacket shown from macys.com)

One tip to be ready is to store your scarves on the hanger with the jacket it matches.  No, I don’t do this, I’m just the idea lady.  But I do try to hang jackets next to tops that go well with them so that in a rush, I don’t have to think much.  Just grab, dress and go.

What tips can you share for slightly upgraded at-home work attire?



Color Me Crazy About Paint, Glaze, & Fire Ceramics

By: Mom Squad member Holli Conklin-Ellison


Some of the best memories I have from my teenage years are the times I spent decorating ceramic pieces at a local shop in North Carolina. So, when I heard that iFamilyKC was hosting an event at Paint, Glaze, & Fire Ceramics in Overland Park, I was thrilled for the chance to start making these kind of memories with my own daughter. All too often, as a parent, I find myself having to pick and choose which of my daughter’s masterpieces will make it into the family scrapbook, which will be shipped off to Grandma and Grandpa, and which will have to suffer their inevitable fate of resting in peace in the recycling bin.

I think that’s what draws me to places like Paint, Glaze, & Fire. It’s an out of the box way to express creativity and take home a precious keepsake in the meantime. One of the things that caught my attention when we first arrived was that Paint, Glaze, & Fire has coupled pottery decorating with a coffee shop. Now that’s just brilliant. What parent wouldn’t want to sip on a nice, hot cup of caffeinated bliss while their child enjoys some relaxing (hopefully quiet) time immersed in artwork?!

In case you’ve never been, Paint, Glaze, & Fire has got a lot to offer. Not only do they have a huge selection of ceramic pieces but they also have tons of paint colors and ready tubes that make decorating a breeze. Since my daughter is only two, we kept things simple, but I was impressed at the amount of stencils, stickers, and other tools available to help decorators fulfill their ceramic dreams.


A locally owned and operated business, the Paint, Glaze, & Fire studio can hold between 30 and 40 painters at any time. They offer birthday parties, girl’s night out, corporate events for the community, and a summer camp for kids. The iFamilyKC event was a blast. Take a look:

Interested in hearing more about how Holli Ann’s family expresses their creativity?

Head on over to It’s An Ordinary Blog or visit her blog’s Facebook page.






Raising Bilingual Kids With 10 Minutes a Day


Raising bilingual children starts with a few small steps a few minutes per day. Using every day activities to teach a language is key. Our goal is to provide you with 10 minute activities that you can fit into your weekly routine.


10 minute activities to help your child become bilingual. One for each day of the week!

  1. Sunday: Nature walk- Draw  up a quick check list of items your child can easily find outdoors. (Flower, tree, rock, car, dog, bird, grass, bush) Go on a short walk through your neighborhood and check off the items as you find them making sure to review and repeat as you go.
  2. Monday: Songs on the go- Listen to a few songs in the target language on the way to school. Before you know it they´ll be singing right along with.
  3. Tuesday: Play their favorite game- Let your child pick their favorite game and try to teach them a few new words to use as you play.
  4. Wednesday: Story time- Read your child`s favorite story book in the target language during breakfast.
  5. Thursday: Grocery shopping- Let your child help write the grocery list in the target language. As you make your way through the aisles, name and explain the items as you place them in the cart. Your child can check them off the list.
  6. Friday: Cook together- Children LOVE helping with cooking. Have them repeat all the names of fruit or other ingredients in a meal. Not only with they learn food items but you can talk about colors, work on counting and take pride in making a meal with you!
  7. Saturday: Cartoons – Change the language of your child’s favorite cartoon to Spanish. You´ll be surprised just how much they can follow! If you don´t have the capabilities to change the language, try finding a short cartoon on youtube.


What fun activities do you do to practice a new language at home?


Adventure’s at the Kansas State Capitol

10 Reasons to Visit the State Capitol! 

By: Shari Jacobs, iFamilyKC Mom Squad Member

  1. Did you know that a visit to the State Capitol is absolutely free?  The link below provides a printable map of the capital & hours of tours.


2.Want a guided tour?  No problem there are free guided tours available and reservations are highly recommended! Make sure to know the state song, “Home on the Range” just in case you get lucky enough to have a singing tour guide!

3.Educational!  The wonderful artwork reflects the historical past of Kansas. Be sure to check out the Lewis and Clark mural! Also check out the American Aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart and author, William Allen White statues. These and many more are sure to stimulate the mind!

4.Did you know that Dwight D Eisenhower was the 34th president and Kansas was the 34th state?  Make a day out of your visit to the  Capital and visit the Kansas Historical Museum just ten minutes away. (There is an admittance fee for this one)

5.Take a ride in the “Cage” elevator built in 1923 this hand operated elevator is sure to please!

6. Check it out!  The Kansas warrior on the top of the capital building got his name Ad Astra from the state motto; Ad Astra per Aspera, “To the stars through difficulty”.  While outside the building don’t forget to get a picture on the steps of the capitol!

7.Shhhhhh, quiet voices in the library! After being closed for several years the library in the capital is now open to the public. This is a must see with glass floors and a super cool spiral staircase!

8.Governor Sam Brownback’s office is on the second floor, if your lucky you will get to see him in passing! If not make sure to check out John Curry’s mural “Tragic Prelude” just across from his office!

9.From the third floor balconies explore the Senate, and the House of Representatives!

10.No matter what the age, there will be something interesting for everyone. Make sure to print out the scavenger hunt printable to get both the little kids and the big kids ready for their fun learning adventure!



State Capitol Topeka

300 SW 10th Ave.

Topeka Ks. 66612









The Perfect Smile, A Story of Braces

Growing up, I never had braces. My teeth were far from perfect but they were straight and that was good enough. Today’s world is so set on perfection that perfect teeth are a necessity. I don’t want to teach my children to be vain about their looks. However, people judge you based on your smile. It can make or break first impressions socially, romantically, and even professionally. With so many things that I can’t control, when it comes to what I passed down genetically, this I can. I want to do whatever I need to- to help my girls feel good about themselves and to set them up for a bright future.

Before Braces

I was shocked to discover how many dental plans had no ortho coverage for braces. The very few that do, are expensive and have a $1500 lifetime max. My daughter is now eight years old and is in phase one for braces. This phase is 12-15 months long and costs approx. $2500 which includes her retainer when the braces come off. Right now we are straightening her four upper and four lower center permanent front teeth and fixing a cross bite. My hope is that once these are off, we don’t need phase two in a couple of years.

We found a place called Comfort Dental here in Independence who offers a great deal on braces. We didn’t need any down payment and there is no interest. You pay monthly for the term the braces are on for. The cost is $139 per month and then $400 for a retainer which has to be paid in full before braces come off. I adjusted my monthly payment to $180 per month so that both are covered.

At first this seemed like a lot of money for us to fork out. But the reward in seeing my daughter’s beautiful smile, and her blossoming confidence where she didn’t have it before makes it all worth it. The changes are seen very quickly and I know this 12 month sacrifice that our family is making will be a gift to her for a lifetime.

1st Week of Braces
3 Months
6 Months

By iFamilyKC Mom Squad member, Keri Nichol


Celebrate Science with Sid the Science Kid Event at Kansas City’s Union Station!

Visit Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City, this Saturday, March 30th, for a special Celebrate Science with Sid the Science Kid event. Science City is partnering with NCircle Entertainment to present this exclusive program. Young scientists are invited to join us for a fun-filled day of experimentation and innovation. Ignite curiosities with hands-on learning activities, live science demonstrations, a magic show and more!

Special screenings of Sid the Science Kid: The Movie will be shown Saturday on the H&R Block City Stage at 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Admission to one showing is free with each paid admission to Science City. Offer is good Saturday, March 30 only. Tickets are limited to the first 200 ticket holders for each show. Admission to Science City and tickets to the special Sid the Science Kid: The Movie screenings must be purchased at the Union Station Kansas City, Inc. box office Saturday.

Union Station members can attend the screenings for free, but must go to Union Station’s ticket office on March 30 to get a ticket for the film, due to limited seating for each showing.

In addition to the movie screenings, the following activities will be offered exclusively for our visiting young scientists (pre-K through first grade):

10 a.m. –        Let’s Make Goo!
11 a.m. –        Reggie Regg the Magic Man (live show in Maze Park)
Noon –            Make and Take Your Own Baggie Garden
1 p.m. –           All About Rainbows
2 p.m. –           Bubble Science & Art
3 p.m. –           Fun with Marshmallows
4 p.m. –           Science Story & Painting Time

It is sure to be an exciting day packed full of science fun and learning! What a great way to welcome Spring! www.UnionStation.org

A Success Story from All Things Are Possible Education


Everybody at Camp Genius liked Steve. Handsome. Charismatic. Good guy. Likable. Great work ethic. Athletic. The girls all had crushes on him. The boys all wanted to be like him. Shoot, I liked Steve, too. Steve was tested by Dr. Cates, the same doctor who trained me to get great test results.

Prior to meeting Dr. Cates, I had my master’s degree and had hundreds of hours of training in the latest and greatest strategies and curriculum but I didn’t really know how to individualize curriculum with any kind of accuracy. It was more of a hit and miss approach. I’d teach until I got some kind of breakthrough with even the toughest kids. The average burnout rate for my field was a year and a half. I not only beat the odds but I received local television and state recognition. So, I could hold my own in the classroom, but what I accomplished then was nothing compared to what I learned from Dr. Cates.

I met him when I took a 4th grade student to be tested and have a program designed. She was non-verbal until age five and didn’t learn to read fluently until the end of third grade. After I started teaching her using Dr. Cate’s method, she read series of novels by her favorite authors, graduated from high school a semester early, worked her way through college and landed a really impressive job with a major pharmaceutical company.

Everything that worked for her I started using with kids who were wired like she was. Pretty soon I began to see patterns in the way children processed new information. I was able to design curriculum around their learning styles. I was getting incredible results—my students averaged two year’s gain in standardized testing in nine months of attendance. Dr. Cates told me, “Modeling after me is the best form of flattery as long as you give me credit.” So here I am giving Dr. Cates the credit he is due.

So now, back to Steve, he was in high school and finished with Dr. Cate’s programming when I met his mother. Steve wanted to get into medical school and was struggling in a certain section of the test. Steve had already tried the only curriculum I knew that addressed his issue, with disappointing results. “Steve, did you complete the whole book?” I asked. Sure enough he had only gotten three quarters of the way through. “Steve, I have an idea. I’ll hire you to work at Camp Genius teaching the very same curriculum to a student with challenging social skills.” Since Steve was so popular I hoped that he would help this student be accepted more readily, and that Steve would learn what he needed by teaching.

Steve far exceeded my expectations; he took this freshman under his wing, taught him, visited him in the hospital and turned into the best camp counselor. If you asked the campers what they loved about camp, they would enthusiastically reply, “Steve and the massive water wars on the Fourth of July!” My high school and college counselors bought out every water toy and water balloon in town.

Most of the kids don’t remember that they gained two, three, and four years in standardized testing during a six week camp. They remember Steve, the friends that they made and the water games that turned the football field into a slurpy mud hole. They walked away from camp with academic confidence they never had before. Only two percent of the students ever needed my services again, they were at or above grade level and I’d worked myself out of a job. Sure, I would run into parents at the grocery store asking for advice, “What should I do? I paid you to teach my son to read and now he’s up past his bedtime, hiding his novel and flashlight under his covers.” (That student went from being a slow reader to earning a full college scholarship)

What about Steve? I ran into him a few years back at the mall. He introduced me to his beautiful and sweet fiancé. He was finishing up his dental residency. I guess he got what he needed on his test scores. I got more than I could have hoped for that summer–a young man who made a lasting impression on every child he met!

I did not change the names or the stories. If this story resembles you or triggers any camp memories, contact me at www.atapedu.com
with your side of the story!


Karen Marie M.Ed.SPEC, Educational Therapist, director of Camp Genius, and owner of All Things Are Possible Education; improving class rank and standardized test scores in individual and small group sessions.


Raising Money Wise Children


At one time, not long ago, my husband and I managed a full time job, and a part time job each. With a six and eight year old girl, I found myself spoiling them rotten. I knew I was doing it in the process but I was normally too exhausted and feeling too guilty to tell them “no” too much.

This meant 5-$10 each at every store we went to for items they “had to have”. Why? Well, of course it was to avoid the dreaded, “You never buy me anything” or” So and so’s mom bought them one”…or whatever other guilt driven line that hurt my feeling and caused me to cave. The thing was that nothing was ever enough and I began to see I was only creating monsters who were acting entitled. They didn’t have an appreciation for the item because they never actually done anything to earn it or realized what I had to do to earn the money to buy it.

When our family went to one income changes had to be made and I felt this was a very important one. I made up work charts with things like vacuuming, dusting, laundry, trash, cleaning out the car, poop scooping the yard, etc. These items paid between $.10 and $.50 each. Every Saturday was set as payday and there were NO advances on payday. We told the girls we supplied a home, clothing, food and love but extras were on them unless it was a holiday. For example: This meant that if were out for the day and they were hungry or thirsty and we stopped at McDonalds well they would get the same things we did. We would order off the dollar menu and get ice waters for drinks. If they wanted a happy meal, cookies or a coke then they had to buy it out of their own money.

We have been implementing this for seven months now and the results have been fantastic. We’re working toward raising money wise children. When we go to a store the girls don’t mindlessly grab things and beg for them. They see if it’s in their budget and then they determine if it’s worth spending their money on it. I have also seen them put their money together for higher priced items. It has saved us lots and lots of money in knick knack toys, candy and other junk that adds up fast. . It has taught them budgeting skills, problem solving, math, taxes and about appreciation for things they work hard for. They have come to understand that money isn’t just given but is earned.

I can’t say that the process was an easy adjustment. The first month was very tough but with consistency and not giving in every week got better. For the past 4-5 months the whining and the entitlement arguments are over. Now I can say that I am preparing my kids by teaching them valuable life lessons in earning, saving and that money doesn’t grow on trees.

By Keri Nichol