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5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

April 18, 2017 at 7:17 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

Spring is in the air, Kansas City! And with spring comes house and yard work. If your home is needing a little TLC or an update…or two, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas on how to update your home this weekend that won’t break the bank! Take a look…

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

 

It is finally spring…at least for the past week or so it has been! Last weekend I ventured outside, raised my hand to block my eyes from the sun that I haven’t seen in months and immediately started sneezing! Allergies from the lawns being mowed and the trees in full bloom. As I ran inside for an allergy pill I realized the outside of our house, like my tan, could use a little refresh! We aren’t trying to sell or anything but it is always nice to not be the house on the block that gets pointed at while the neighbors are walking their dogs. So I did what anyone would do in this situation; I grabbed a lawn chair, a diet Dr. Pepper and googled ͞”How to update my house”…for cheap!͟ After a quick nap from all that googling—I ran to the home improvement store and came out with enough projects to last until Fall.

 

#1 Update your Curb appeal

Even if you aren’t selling, it’s important for your own sanity to keep your house up with the trends and do some quick updates when needed. When we bought our house 3 years ago, it was a foreclosure—great for the price and the fact that there were lots of updates made before we even signed our paychecks away. However one of the ͞updates͟ was painting the front of the house. Yes, for three years, the front of my house was a slightly different color than the other three sides! No one could really notice but once you walked around to the back you could! So we knew that the house needed to be painted, a friend of ours gave us a name and within the next week we were getting a new paint job. So much for planning! Regardless, the house looks so much fresher and cleaner with a fresh coat (of all the same color) paint. Perhaps a little expensive for a quick update, but paint can be used other places.

 

#2 Look to your front door.

The first thing people see when they visit your home; it should be inviting, warm and bright and accent the front of your home. Keep that in mind when choosing a color; you want to accent and not take away; although bright red is a trendy color, you don’t want it looking like your front porch is constantly on fire!

 

#3 Think about the whole picture too

Actually go out into the street and imagine what your neighbors are going to have to see every day! Look at the landscaping, decorations, window treatments inside the house—all add to the whole picture of the front of your home. Landscaping can add 7-15% to a home’s value This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.

 

#4 Stock up on plants & flowers when they’re on sale.

Plants and flowers are probably going to be on sale right now in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, so stock up while you can. I am awful at plants and flowers; I am really good at realizing we are having a barbeque tonight and running to the nearest plant store to buy an already blooming hanging basket. When my mom comments on how beautiful it is and great job on keeping it alive, I nod and agree! Not too bad for a backup plan either; but this year I thought I would try to grow my own again. If you are like me, stick with easy, drought tolerant, dog and kid tolerant, ͞oh I thought those were weeds!͟ tolerant type flowers and shrubs. I am getting a little better; a few plants I planted last year came up again this year—I consider that progress! In any case get ideas first on landscaping before you head to the store. This will help the wallet and your stability once your get your hands in the dirt! I see the light! And it ain’t pretty If the only change that you have had to the front door or garage door lighting is the light bulb then it is probably due for a little update.

 

#5 Take advantage of a sale on light fixtures

This is kind of like the earrings you would wear with that great new blouse; yeah they are fine on their own but you look so much more put together when you wear them both. If you find that new fixtures just aren’t in your budget right now, just get out the old spray paint! Okay preferably not old spray paint but it is amazing how many colors and styles of spray paint there are now. Metallic and bronze are really popular for outdoor lighting and a simple coat will do wonders with only a few bucks. I love landscaping lighting but because of that previous statement of kids and dogs and rogue lawnmowers I really don’t see them working right now. However this is a really nice way to add some night lighting for added security and ͞landscaping͟ when you can’t see the landscaping at night!

 

#6 When it’s not broke…just paint it!

So as you are painting the light fixtures you are going to want to use every drop of that paint, so you will start looking for other things to paint as well. Think plastic chairs and tables and even floors and paving stones! I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to soon! There is a small patio beside our deck that I struggle with a use for it because most people just stay on the deck. I think this year I am going to try and paint it, perhaps making it a checkerboard pattern and making a giant game board. Or maybe just painting a few paver stones, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I have seen tons of ideas on painting deck flooring in fun and bright colors; again it is a quick and easy update that can be done for a fraction of what it would cost to build a new one. However, this is a great place to spend some money; new deck chairs, tables, fire pits and outdoor play areas are going to add more value, in terms of family time ,than you know. If you want to wait until the fall; this is when most of these items go on clearance. You just have to shop around and wait for the right deal. And if you don’t find what you are looking for—there is always paint for that!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

April 6, 2017 at 8:23 AM • Posted in Educational Fun for KidsComments Off on 10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

Howdy, Kansas City! It can be easy to get complacent in learning with the kiddos. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette (and homeschooling mom extraordinaire) has some great ideas to have fun AND facilitate learning at home. Check it out..

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

As a homeschooling parent, curriculums, supplies and everything that goes along with it can really start to add up! So when my husband and I decided to homeschool, I scoured the internet for affordable curriculums and how I could easily keep the kids interested. Then I headed to the Dollar Tree and compiled lists of items that I could use to pair with lessons or just to use for added practice.
These are some of our favorite learning activities that we have done our first year of homeschooling.

 

#1 Rice tray letter

 

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

Place a small amount of rice/sand/sprinkles on a small tray. You can point to letters on a poster like I do, write the letters down or print off flash cards. Have your child write each letter in the rice to practice their hand writing and letter recognition.

#2 Dot game

 

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

A classic game that uses pure brain power! On a sheet of paper, create a grid of dots using a marker or pen. Then if you have younger kiddos, demonstrate how they each take turns connection lines so that they are the one to make a square. It took my 5 year old a few tries and given squares to fully get the hang of it. However, this keeps my older two busy for hours!

#3 Healthy food collage

 

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

Physical and Health is very important in school curriculums. One of the kid’s favorite things to do is projects. So instead of letting those weekly ads go to waste, let them look through and find items that cover the selected topic and use them to make collages!

#4 Lego maze

This is great for practicing STEM. Grab a marble and all those Legos! Measure the width of the marble and have your child create a maze for the marble to roam through! Make it challenging by requiring so many “turns” of the base. Check out this example.

#5 Popsicle sentence structure

 

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

This is one of my favorite games. It has helped Baltimore easily create full sentences. Grab a piece of paper and colored Popsicle sticks. Then on the paper, take 4 different color markers and write who, what, where and when. Then on the colored Popsicle sticks write a who, what, where and when on the corresponding colored sticks. Then pick one from each color and lay them in the same order as the WWWW.

#6 Make 10

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

This game only requires a deck of cards! Taking out the face cards and jokers, pass out four cards face up. Have your child look at the cards and see which two or three cards add up to 10. If they can add up tp 10, set the cards aside in a new pile and deal out new cards to replace the ones that made 10. If they can’t make 10, let them hand you one card, place it at the bottom of the deck and deal a new card. This is also great for helping with quick adding and memorizing fact families!

#7 Kaboom

Grab some more popsicle sticks! 29 to be exact. On each stick write a letter until you have reached all 26. Then on the last three write the word KABOOM. Place the sticks letter/word side down and mix them up. Take turns drawing a stick and reading the letter and saying a word that starts with that letter. When someone grabs the KABOOM stick, all their sticks must go back into the jar and they have to start all over again. First one to get the most letters (when 3 kabooms left) wins!

#8 Shape sticks

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

As you can see we use a lot of these lol! You can get 100 for $1 so why not lol. Take the sticks and write the shape and number of sides. Then have your kiddo sort through the sticks and place them in place to make shapes!

#9 Straw maze

10 Super Fun & Easy DIY Learning Activities

 

Like the Lego maze, this is great to practice many things but this time, the straws add a special element. The straws are longer and cannot be manipulated the same way as a Lego. This will get their brains churning with ideas on how they can manipulate them!

#10 State trading cards

These are always cool when learning about the US and even other countries! You can print these off  or make your own!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

February 23, 2017 at 3:00 PM • Posted in Creative FunComments Off on Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

Howdy, Kansas City! Spring is almost in the air and while you’re prepping for some more of the weather we had earlier in the week, maybe try out this fun craft from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy. Her kiddos and her made these awesome DIY Bird Feeders. Great for a fun activity or adorable gift on Mother’s Day. Take a look…

 

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

 

When that groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter, he must not have meant Kansas City. The weather lately has been gorgeous! We all keep talking about it, and I will keep talking about it because although it is February, it feels downright spring-like and I am giddy for spring!

February is National Bird Feeding month. I’ll be honest, I am not generally thinking about birds in February. This year though, my family has been spending a ton of time outdoors. It has been great because it has us really thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in our yard this spring. One thing we all would enjoy is some lovely bird watching. I knew I wanted to add some bird feeders to the yard, and I really wanted it to be a fun craft the whole family could get in on. When I looked up DIY birdhouses and feeders though, there was a lot to be desired. Many were way too tough for my kids, or only involved painting a premade house. I ended up working together a couple examples I found, and I think our bird feeders turned out fantastic!

To make these birdfeeders you will need:

  • Rope (pay attention to thickness; you want it to fill the holes in the pots)
  • Drill with masonry drill bit
  • Terra Cotta pots (1 per feeder)
  • Terra Cotta saucers (2 per feeder)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Clear spray sealant
  • Birdseed

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

 

I picked up some pots and saucers from my nearby home improvement store. You can pick whatever size pot you want, but the saucers need to fit the pot well. One for the lid, and one for the dish, large enough for birds to perch on. My large pot was actually an orchid pot and already had three holes around the base, as well as one on the bottom, so I did not need to drill it at all. The other two pots needed holes drilled around the base for the birdseed to come out. Each saucer needs a hole in the center, to string all the parts together.

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

 

After the holes were drilled. I washed and dried all of the pottery to remove any dust. Once dry, it’s time to paint. When looking up bird feeders, I found a lot of examples where people made fountains out of clay pots and they painted and sealed all areas of their pottery. I was worried though about the materials breaking down over time and what that may do to the birds, so we did not paint, nor spray sealer, anywhere the seeds would be. So, we only painted the outside of the pot, the top of the lid and the bottom of the dish. I put a bit of tape on the areas we did not want paint to help the kids to remember. After the paint dries completely, spray with sealant outside. I did a couple light coats, and the pieces were ready to handle in just 30 minutes.

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

 

The kids and I worked together to string all of the pieces onto a rope. At the bottom I tied a knot using the same technique I use on the girls’ bead necklaces. I made a loop and wrapped the end three times through the loop before pulling it tight. Allow enough rope on top to tie to the tree. If your rope isn’t thick enough and the pieces are too wobbly, or the seed falls out, fill with some hot glue (not the lid).

 

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

 

DO NOT FILL WITH BIRDSEED UNTIL YOU HAVE HUNG IT UP. These are not super sturdy and took two people to fill. I held the pot level while my daughter lifted the lip and poured in the birdseed. I’m hoping the fact that they’re a little precarious will keep squirrels and my cats off of them. I don’t think the little birds we usually have around will weigh enough to disturb the pot. I will keep you posted though!

Crafting for Spring: Check Out This DIY Bird Feeder

These were very fun to make and are so cute in the tree. I love that they were easy to make (it only took one afternoon) and they are easy to refill. If you don’t have time to make these for National Bird Feeding Month, they would still make a fun Earth Day activity or a very cute Mother’s Day or Grandparent’s Day gift. I am planning how to paint my next one already!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

October 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Creative Fun, Food, HolidayComments Off on Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

Hellllllooooo, Kansas City! October 31st is literally days away, and with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it can be hard to figure out what to eat on Halloween night. While our kiddos, I’m sure, would love to stuff themselves to the brim with sugary goodness, we know we should actually get something “real” in their bellies too! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great options for easy (and yummy) Halloween dinner. Take a look…

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

 

 

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

 

 

Many of us look at Halloween as one of those holidays that it is perfectly normal to order a pizza before loading up on all that candy at the end of the night. And I know telling you to plan a Halloween dinner sounds just like a horror movie—kids too excited to eat because they want to go trick or treating, you working all day and then making a four course feast like it was any other night, husband just wanting to watch Monday Night Football in peace—no thank you! But before you reach for the phone (or the app) let’s throw some ideas around that will be easy to do and plan, guaranteed to get everyone together—table is optional!

If Halloween night is anything like it is in my house it means running in the door, changing clothes and doing last minute touch ups on the costumes or face make-up because those fall parties at school are brutal! How can a Cinderella dress lose so much tulle and it just happened that four butterflies fell off?! I mean they are just sitting in a classroom and maybe walking down the hall! Dinner, back to dinner! So there isn’t a lot of time to braise the meat and whip up some homemade mashed potatoes. The night before, which luckily this year is a Sunday so ideally we would have time to do this, do all your prep.

 

Sandwich Bar

Think about a sandwich bar—it’s quick and in most cases on the go. Buy all the lunchmeat and cheese your family likes and have it laying out on a tray or plate so you can grab it from the fridge. Lay out the bread as well; sometimes you can find bread in different colors for the seasons which would be a fun twist! If the kids are just too excited about getting out, grab a baggie and make a sandwich to go because you know about six houses in they are going to start asking to dip into the candy early!

 

Chili Bar

Another quick and easy “bar” food is chili. Some kids aren’t fans– like mine– but for them I always make sure to have a package of hot dogs cooking as well. That they will always eat, especially if you cut one end of the cooked hot dog into quarters, it will fold up making a friendly ghost to get them in the Halloween spirit! Chili is one of those brilliant things that can simmer in the crockpot all day, help yourself to a bowl before trick or treating, have it simmer a little more and then help yourself to another bowl when you get back! Plus it’s a wonderful pairing to a 3 Musketeers!

 

Decorate Your Own Pizza

I have always wanted to try, but never have, the decorate your own pizza dinner. For this little gem however, you will need one member of the household (preferably over the age of 18) to volunteer to hand out candy and man the stove while everyone else goes out trick or treating. First, gather everything needed to create the perfect personal pizza. No fighting over what toppings because everyone gets their own mini pizza to decorate. By the way, store bought crusts are perfectly acceptable here and try and bring in the Halloween theme– make it a pumpkin or a Frankenstein face or a moon with halved black olives for bats! Create your Halloween masterpiece, cook while TOT (trick or treating), and enjoy when you get home.

Let’s face it, the best laid plans usually get a plan B which includes me stopping at McDonald’s, rushing home to fix the costume (seriously though—how?!) eating quickly, getting out the door for trick or treating, coming home and putting their chocolate covered faces to bed while husband and I raid the candy bags for our favorite candy bar! You know what? That is a perfectly scary good Halloween meal as well! And I won’t tell anyone!

 

What are some of your go-to recipes for Halloween dinner? Share in the comments!

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,

ifam_sarah
 

 

 


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8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

October 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on 8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

Can you believe it, Kansas City? Halloween is only 4 days away! If that puts you in a panic, trying to figure out what costume your kiddos will parade around in on Monday, no worries! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a great list of easy last minute costume ideas that are guaranteed to steal the show. Check it out!

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

 

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute

Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

It is nearly here! That dark and spooky evening where sugar-riddled skeletons and hero-dressed hoodlums parade the streets packing away whatever candy and treats homeowners haven’t already eaten. There are many ways parents find themselves realizing this week that they don’t have the costumes they need. Maybe someone changed their mind last minute, or just decided they DO want to go out that night, or maybe you were so busy running around to practices and games that super popular costume never got picked up and now is sold out. Whatever happened- we’ve got you covered! (Punny- get it?) And if you have this costume thing all figured out, you could still scroll through because some of these are too cute!

 

Sky dancers

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

You have seen these advertising cell phones, tires and cars and kids love them. This is a fun costume and looks pretty easy to make.

                

What I would do: Take an old play tunnel and cut holes for the arms (be sure to measure where they need to be for your child). Cut another hole for the mouth/space for the kids to peek out. Make eyes out of paper and tape on. Lastly, borrow a shirt from dad that matches the tube and shimmy the night away!

 

 Hot Air Balloon/Weather Girl

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

This is a super cute costume, and a bonus as the balloon should make it fairly easy to spot your kid. Add some a thermometer and some charts and turn your tourist into a weather girl or boy.

What I would do: A striped tee and a scarf for a touristy look, or a button down shirt/professional attire for a wearther person. An old laundry basket or one from the dollar store with the bottom cut out tied to an oversized balloon from a party store.

 

Ace Ventura

 

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

 

Your kids may not know what you’re talking about here- but come on! This is adorable!!!

What I would do: Borrow sister’s tutu and daddy’s mousse. Get ready to play some football!

 

Wind-Up Toy

 

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

This seems to be popular for girls, but you could do this for boys too.

What I would do: Pick out a pretty outfit and put some lipstick circles on their cheeks. Cut a key shape out of a cardboard box. Spray paint it gold or silver and staple on elastic bands for the child to put their arms through (backpack style).

 

Art

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

If you have an aspiring artist who wants to do something a little different, this may be perfect.

What I would do: Cut out a large palette and paint it white then let it dry. Using poster board or foam board make a circular crown. Cut the bristles off a broom and hot glue gun them on. Paint the colors on the large palette and have your child dress in black.

 

Fantastic Mr. Fox (or Just a Fancy Fox)

 

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

This cute and very easy. Some fall clothes a mask, you’re out the door!

What I would do: There are a lot of free templates online for making fox masks. I know because my daughter had a woodland birthday party this year. Print out the template, and put the mask together as directed.

 

Care Bears

 

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

If you live in the Midwest- you are used to having to adapt costumes to cold weather. Ones like this make it easy to layer and add padding if necessary.

What I would do: Using felt cut out ears and design your belly badge. I’d use safety pins to attach everything to the sweats so you can wear them again.

 

Ghost

8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

 

A classic ghost is the epitome of a last minute costume. If your kid isn’t buying it- tell him he’s going as Snapchat. 🙂

 

What are some of your genius last minute costumes? We’d love to hear in the comments!

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdDarcyv2


8 Fun and Creative Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

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9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

October 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on 9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

It’s about that time, Kansas City. Time to bust out the costumes, candy, and jack-0-lanterns for a spooky time. For those of you that are scrambling for ideas on trunk or treating decorating ideas, never fear, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy has you covered. Take a look!

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

Trunk or Treating seems to be gaining in popularity every year. It is a great option for families who may not want or be able to trick or treat in their neighborhoods. It is also a great option if you just want to maximize costume/candy time. We recently published an article about where to find trunk or treat locations. Many schools and churches host these as well and you may find yourself signed up as a trunk! There are so many cute ideas to decorate your vehicle and despite spending plenty of time on Pinterest looking at ideas, I always show up and am blown away by the creative ideas my friends and neighbors come up with. Don’t be intimidated though! After all, the kids are mainly into the candy.

 

One of the easiest ways to get inspiration for your trunk is if your family is dressing up as a group. Then you have a theme to work with. Here are some of my favorite themed options.

 

Safari Group

Are the kids going as animals? Especially for tots, there are usually a ton of adorable elephant and lion costumes around. Parents can dress as animals too, or as explorers. Bring some houseplants, fake snakes and a few stuffed animals to decorate your trunk. Bonus points for playing some animal sounds! There are some free apps you can download to play these. Sleep Pillow app is a favorite of ours when we travel (to drown out the late night people stumbling down the hotel hall) and they have an awesome Jungle/animal noises playlist, but it costs $5.99. You could also make a killer playlist with songs that take you to someplace warmer. Think Toto’s ‘Africa’, Glass Animal’s ‘Pools’, and Kool & the Gang’s ‘Jungle Boogie’ to get you started.

 

 

Hotel Transylvania

 

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

 

I haven’t seen this used yet, so maybe you could be the first! My kids love the Hotel Transylvania films and this gives a fresh spin to that vampire costume you probably have left over somewhere. There are a lot of characters, so it should be fairly easy to flush out who’s going to be whom. This is also easy to decorate. Standard Halloween decorations- bats, spiders, spider webs with a bed in the trunk (a hotel room, get it?) Be sure to make a sign for your hotel and maybe a no vacancy one too!

 

 

Monsters, Inc.

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

 

This is an old one, but a good one. Lots of little kids still like dressing up like Boo and Halloween always brings this movie back into circulation. My friends did this a few years ago and won the trunk or treat contest! Bonus points for making this board! Here it was used at a college, but I think it would be cute to have kids pick a door and get a candy from inside. If it’s too difficult to pass candy that way, maybe just put in a picture of the wrapper, and they get whatever type of candy they find.

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

Kansas City

I’ve moved around a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered city pride like I have in KC. It’s another level of love and I am so happy to be a part of it. Along that idea, I’m sure there will be a few Royals and Chiefs players out there. There are a lot of creative ideas to make this work for you, but here a couple of my favorites. You could make a small diamond or football field out of paper for kids to run around and put up for favorite banners in the trunk like they did here (ignore the Yankees).

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

Or pay homage to the city as a whole by dressing up as some of your favorite famous Kansas Citians and make a cardboard skyline. Bonus points for adding twinkly lights.

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

It’s not always easy to get everyone on the same page for costumes and so if you have a mixture of characters with you, here are some ideas for a more generic take on trunk or treating.

 

Spider Attack

Spider webs are everywhere this time of year, pick up a few bags and go wild. You can wrap them around the car, inside the trunk, be as bold as you want to. Sprinkle plastic spiders through the webbing. This is a cheap and easy option. Bonus points for putting a giant inflatable spider on top of your car.

 

Pirate Booty

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

A treasure chest makes an obvious choice to hold the candy for the kiddos. Nearly everyone has had a pirate themed party at some point, here’s a nice chance to reuse those decorations. Bonus points for a life-sized skeleton dressed up as a pirate.

 

Giant Mouth

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

Giant teeth, two eyes and you’re done! This is a pretty basic and classic option. It’s always a good choice.

 

Yellow Brick Road

 

9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

This is a classic Kansas reference and easy to put together. You can do this one as a theme and dress as characters from the movie or it can stand-alone. I couldn’t find a picture, but I think there’s something that could be done with a house, some ruby slippers and stockings stuffed with tissue to look like legs…

 

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins

 

There are a couple different ways to play this. I think it would be cute (and easy) to simply transfer the pumkpins and décor from your front porch and set it up here. Add some rocking chairs and make it look like kids are still going up to a porch. Bonus for a light fixture and fake fence. The other option is to look like a pumpkin patch. Put a green blanket out with some pumpkins. You can add a pumpkin patch sign and maybe even a little Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin.

 

No matter what, have fun. You can go as big as you want to. As long as you don’t forget the candy, the kids will like it. In fact, if you really want to impress, skip the decorations and just get king-sized candy bars.

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2


9 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treating

 

 

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How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

October 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

Heya, Kansas City! Halloween is less than 2 weeks away, can you believe it? Well, if you’ve been insanely busy and haven’t had a chance to plan that Halloween party you’ve been dying to throw — our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has some great tips to help you throw it together. Take a look!

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

 

I don’t know about you, but October has been crazy busy for us! Halloween will be here before you know it. My daughter has been planning a Halloween get-together for her friends. She is four- so not all ideas are realistic, and I know I won’t be able to work on this until the day before. Here are some ideas to help a time-challenged family whip up a party.

Have guests make their own treats

This works especially well for children, but adults can get in on the fun too. Not only does this save you time, it doubles as a fun activity! Examples include popcorn witch hands, spider Oreos, caramel apples, monster cookies and of course s’mores.

 

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

 

Classic games are classic for a reason

There are a lot of low-cost last minute games that are a ton of fun. Think of generations past for some inspiration. Bobbing for apples, toilet paper mummies, flashlight tag and even good old ghost stories. My kids LOVE bingo. You can find some free Halloween themed bingo cards to print off and use candy corn for markers. Nearly any age can play along.

 

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

 

Let someone else cook

I love cooking. There are so many themed food options on Pinterest, you could spend days digging through them all. It can get easy to get overwhelmed though and you may not have time to buy candy eyes, or pull apart 30 string cheeses. However, there are lots of spooky options out there to just pick up! Papa Murphy has an adorable “Frightfully Fun Jack-O-Lantern” and lets be honest, even if you get the sour cream spider web exactly right- most kids will turn up their noses anyway.

 

Swap Costumes

Costumes are a lot of fun. But if you’re tight on time, thrift store searching may not be an option. And if you are tight on money, costume stores may not be one either. Ask a friend if you can borrow or trade theirs from last year. This goes for kids too. There’s even a National Costume Swap Day (the second Saturday of October) and your fellow mom or friend may be just as relieved as you to not have to figure something new out.

 

Decorate using things you have

 

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

 

Usually, I love to decorate for Halloween. In fact I have totes upon totes dedicated to Halloween décor. This year though, we just moved and we are in the middle of a lot of renovations. Putting anymore clutter out seems like utter madness to me. Luckily, there are a few easy alternatives. First- pumpkins. A few on the porch are good enough for me. My kids were bored- so I sent them to pick up sticks in the yard. We used some twine to tie some little ones to the end of a big one. Voilà! A witch’s broom! All that themed art work your kids bring home- hang it up! They will be happy to contribute. And lastly, free pintables. There are food labels, spooky sayings, book covers and fun pictures galore online all to print for free. Tape on the food labels to things you already have and swap out some of your framed photos (sorry last year’s school picture) for a spooky saying.

 

I hope these ideas help you have a howling good time at your Halloween festivities! If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please comment below.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2


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How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

October 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Creative FunComments Off on How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

There are few things better than October, in my opinion! It’s a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has some great tips to throwing an outdoor movie night! Grab some blankets, a projector, and movie of you choice and enjoy your family and neighbors this weekend!

 

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night 

 

The days are shorter. The nights are cooler. The bugs are gone. There is no better time of year to host a backyard movie night in Kansas City than October. It’s one of the easiest parties to host and it’s fun for all ages so it’s perfect for a neighborhood hang. Bonus: You don’t have to clean your house. 

 

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Here’s what you need (and some things you don’t, but why not?):

 

A projector

If you don’t own a projector, hopefully there is someone on your invite list who you can borrow one from. If not, check CraigsList. You can find one that’s plenty good for this once-a-year event for about $100. If you’re ready to make the investment, The Wire Cutter has a good review on the best cheap projectors.

 

Laptop or DVD player

If you’re streaming your movie (test your Wi-Fi signal out in the yard ahead of time) or downloaded the movie, you’ll want to hook the projector to a laptop. If you’ve got a DVD, you can bypass the laptop with a DVD player.

 

Speakers

We actually put old speakers in our Goodwill pile and pulled them out when we realized they would be perfect to keep around for our outdoor movie nights. You can be as high-tech as you want to be, but we had great sound with just speakers on either side of the screen and a center one below the projector.

 

Screen

This can be as simple as the side of a house or garage, or an ironed bed sheet that you hang off the deck. Since outdoor movie night is a tradition we want to keep up, we bought our own 144” screen that folds up flat and can be stored easily the rest of the year.

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Movie

To appeal to both kids and adults I suggest going with a classic family movie from the 80s. To be fair, my answer to everything is the 80s, but if it’s new for the kids and a great throwback for adults, how can you go wrong? Our pick was E.T.

 

Tables, plates and napkins

Save your recipes for another party. Have everyone bring an app, side dish or dessert to share. Done!

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Chairs, blankets and pillows

Have everyone bring their own. There’s no such thing as too many covers and pillows so bring out as many as you have.

Movie Candy

You can get movie-sized candy at the dollar store. Prepackage an assortment of candy for each family to hand out before the movie starts. If you can, do a theme with the snacks. Reece’s Pieces would have been really fun to hand out, but we avoided anything with peanuts due to allergies.

 

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Glow Necklaces

These are a big hit with the kids but the reason why I like them is because they make it easy to keep tabs on any little ones who may get up and wander slightly in the backyard before they settle back into their seats.

 

Hot Chocolate

Our neighbor brought this and it was a great addition for the chilly night. She even had coffee lids which worked out perfectly for the kids to drink without spilling while bundled in their blankets.

 

Hotdog roller

This is a really easy way to turn a movie into dinner and a movie. No need for someone to man a grill all night. This baby can feed a crowd quickly, cooking 30 hotdogs at a time in a matter of minutes and keeping them warm until you need them.

 

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Popcorn cart

Popcorn is essential to any movie night. You can pop it all ahead and bag it. We did that last year and it took forever. This year, we have our popcorn cart that not only pops a ton for each batch, but the sight, sounds and smell of having the cart in the backyard add to the ambiance of movie night.

 

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

Cotton candy cart 

Why not? I’m pretty strict about sugar with my kids but at this point it’s like Christmas in October, so pile it on.

 

E.T. Movie Review

 

I last saw E.T. when it was released in theaters in 1982 so I was fuzzy on just how scary or sad it really was to today’s standards. I prepped my kids (6, 4 and 3) for it by talking about the premise ahead of time: A friendly but scared alien was accidentally left on earth. The kids became friends with him and wanted to help him, while the adults were afraid of him and not very nice to him because he was different (there’s a life lesson in there).

How to Throw an Awesome Outdoor Movie Night

 

We also watched the trailer on YouTube together a few times, so their first exposer to the alien was way less intimating on a much smaller screen and during the day. Outside of a little language (which flew over my kids’ heads) I think E.T. is a great choice for younger and older kids and the PERFECT choice for an October outdoor movie night because the movie takes place in October so the weather in the movie matched the weather in the backyard perfectly.

 

Backyard Movie Night Pro Tips:

 

  • Start the event about an hour before sunset. Plenty of time to eat, run around and socialize before the movie begins.

 

  • Put a kitchen mat over the extension cords running from the speakers to the projector so no one trips on them after dark.

 

  • Dress your kids in their PJs and slip on shoes. The movie will end after bedtime so if they’re already dressed for bed, it makes life just a little bit easier. Slip on shoes help because they are easy to get on and off as they play ahead of time and then bundle in the blankets.

 

  • Include a poll with a few movie choices with your invite and have people vote with their RSVP, revealing the winner the night of the event.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2


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Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!

October 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!

Halloween is right around the corner, can you believe it?! Our newest Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, gives us some great ideas on throwing a Halloween party. So, give her a shout, an air hug, or a just a good ol’ fashioned Kansas City welcome, and take a look!

Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!

 

Throwing a Halloween party in 5 (somewhat) Easy Steps!

So you want to throw a Halloween party? But it can’t just be a bowl of candy sitting on the table and a couple plastic spiders lying around. Oh no! I won’t have that my friends! Forget Martha and The Food Network, I will give you the perfect recipe for a fun, impressive (and inexpensive!) Halloween party in 5 easy steps!

 

First, pick a theme.

This is your cornerstone of the whole thing, what will bring everyone and everything together. Think scary, think kid-friendly, think what are my kids dressing up as this year—all idea starters. Just make sure that you pull this theme throughout the whole party. And how big you go is all up to you, I have thrown some parties that are simple—a kid friendly witch and warlock party and I know some of my neighbors have gone all out to build a crashed UFO in their front yard! (Yeah! Try and compete with that!) So for our interaction here, let’s use the example of a “drive-in” Halloween movie party; mainly because I did this one last year so I know some personal tips and tricks, but also because it was simple. A Halloween “Drive-in” movie party in 5 easy steps!

Next, it’s all about the invites.

This sets the theme in the obvious ways! Let’s do impressive but keep it simple. Pinterest is our friend, repeat, Pinterest is my friend! Search for “drive-in” movie party invites and a ton will pop up. Pick a design you like and then recreate it; but do it on PowerPoint– much cheaper and easier! Make sure you answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why). I like to take a screen shot of the slide and then copy it into email, again much cheaper and easier! If you are so inclined, or if you don’t have everyone’s email, feel free to post on Facebook as well.

Okay now the fun part—Decorations!

Pinterest is still our friend! It will give you plenty of ideas to take things from around the house to make into decorations. Taking into account the movie theme, you are probably going to show a Halloween themed movie, take ideas from that movie and work them into decorations. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has some great décor. Lots of pumpkins, a big moon, a polka dot sheet or yellow with black chevron stripes for the table cloth will really tie in the Charlie Brown theme. The best part—decorations for Charlie Brown theme parties are everywhere since the movie is celebrating a big anniversary this year. You have to make a pumpkin patch as well; this will tie into the games step later. Place pumpkins on a green plastic table cloth and cover with fake (or real if you want a use for all those in the yard!) leaves to make your patch. If you are feeling really creative, cut a piece of cardboard or poster board to make a fence for the backdrop and a moon to hang above the patch.

As I mentioned before, tie in your decorations with the games or entertainment of the evening. You will be showing a movie as this is a “drive-in” movie night. If you want to go really big, borrow a projector and set up a “drive-in” movie on the garage door using a plain white sheet for the screen. You will find neighbors you have never met pulling up lawn chairs in your front lawn just to watch! Or bring it inside, this is easy and if there is bad weather a no-brainer! I would suggest having that on continuous loop, or show several kid-friendly Halloween movies to mix it up. Your guests will sit down and watch for a little while and then get up and do other things.

I mentioned the pumpkin patch above—great decoration but also the source of some great crafts and games. Use the pumpkins as blank canvases and have the kids or adults glue on decorations to make a spooky pumpkin smile! This will triple as a favor to take home as well! Need a little more convincing to make the pumpkin patch? You can also use it as a photo op! Great memories and a favor to go home with your guests!

At this point, I will go against my cardinal rule and say that we can stray from the theme for a minute because this game is one of the funniest I have ever seen. Tie one end of a string around the hole in a doughnut and the other to a tree or use a shower curtain rod if you are inside. See how fast your guests can eat the doughnut without using their hands—an updated version of bobbing for apples!

Finally, the best part of any party—the food and drink.

Go back to the theme, but use caution about making everything pumpkin! Anyone who walks through the grocery store knows that every food now comes in a pumpkin spice flavor. Stay simple and make a big crock pot of chili with all the toppings and inclusions you can imagine. This can be cooking all day while you are doing everything else and usually is a favorite among most guests. Those that aren’t fans can have a chili dog hold the chili—have those hot dogs warming in another crock pot, too—DO NOT ask your husband to start the grill! (Personal experience, this turns out just as bad as straying from the theme!)

Of course Halloween is nothing without candy and sweet. Play up the pumpkin themed cookies or cupcakes and don’t worry if they are store bought, take them out of the box or container and put them on a plate and no one will ever know! If you find that all the pumpkin cupcakes are gone from the bakery at your local store, no worries just get some plain cupcakes (iced but no décor) and decorate them with candy corn in the shape of pumpkins and a half an Oreo cookie to represent the moon in your Great Pumpkin theme! For drinks, apple cider is a must, have that simmering in another crock pot or on the stove at very low temp—it will double as that great fall scent that will greet your guests as they come in.

There you have it! Planning a Halloween party in 5 (somewhat) easy steps! The most important thing is that you and your guests have a great time; share some laughs and enjoy the season! Happy Halloween!

From iFamily to Yours,
ifam_sarah

 

 


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Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

September 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

Helllooooo, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but I am ALWAYS looking for easy (and cheap) ways to get organized. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a fantastic calendar that has helped her reign in the chaos of every day life. Check it out!

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this
Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Fall is always a time of change. School is back, sports are in full swing, the holidays are on the horizon and wardrobes need to be adjusted. I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me awhile to get used to my family’s new schedule. Having young ones in the house makes it a bit tougher. My kids are too little to read a calendar, and anyway their sense of time isn’t the best. (My littlest says everything, from her latest nap to her last birthday, happened “yesteryear”.)

 

Around the time I was getting dizzy explaining when gymnastics was (tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow) our French teacher gifted the girls with a train depicting the days on the week. (Merci, Madame Zoé.) It was large, with each car the size of a sheet of paper, and the kids and I dutifully colored it and hung it on the wall. Staring at it, inspiration hit and I decided it could help me keep the kids (and me) aware of our schedule.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

I went online and found free clip art that worked for our activities. We had a girl with a backpack for school days, girls doing gymnastics, an Eiffel Tower for French class and we even found an elderly couple for when grandparents were coming to visit. (Not that you are in any way elderly Mom and Dad!) I also printed of a sun, which symbolized ‘today’.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Every morning my kids move the sun and they can see what they have going on. If they want to know how far away something is, they can count the train cars. It has worked out AMAZINGLY for us. Granted, it only represents a week, but my kids don’t really understand more than that.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

The best thing about this is it is FREE and totally customizable. Do a theme, size and activities that work for you. We keep our spare clip art in an envelope and I update the train as needed. Also, now that my eldest is learning to read, we have labeled some things, to help her learn. What do you think? Could this help in your home?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

 


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