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The Holidays Come Alive at Union Station: FREE Santa Holiday Train!

The holidays are a time to enjoy celebrated traditions and the company of loved ones. Our friends over at Union Station in downtown KC invite you to enjoy the holidays as they come alive this season. Your family can enjoy a FREE annual event that has been enjoyed for 17 years and running. Take a look…

holidays at union station

The Holidays Come Alive at Union Station: FREE Santa Holiday Train!

A Kansas City favorite, the FREE Holiday tradition returns with Santa and his elves. Unlike any other train, the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train is led by Kansas City’s Southern Belle and includes a smiling tank car Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer, and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; the elves’ workshop; a reindeer stable; and a little red caboose.

You’ll enjoy a magical walk-through experience on this one-of-a-kind train that the little ones will never forget!
This year – enjoy FREE admission to the Astro Botanical sculpture garden in Haverty Family Yards.

Experience the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train during the below days and times:

  • Friday, December 15: 2pm-5pm
  • Saturday, December 16: 10am-8pm
  • Sunday, December 17: 10am-8pm
  • Monday, December 18: 11am-8pm
  • Tuesday, December 19 : 11am-5pm

holidays at union station

PLEASE NOTE: The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train cannot accommodate strollers or wheelchairs. However, stroller parking will be available outside of the entrance to the train. Those utilizing wheelchairs will still be able to view Rudy, the boxcar with reindeer and Santa’s sleigh as well as visit with Santa inside Union Station. If assistance is required to walk through the carriages, please notify one of the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train elves and they will help board and assist with movement through the train carriages.


Your Guide to Holiday Lights in Kansas City: 2017 Edition!

Happy December, Kansas City! If you’re in the market for family fun for the holidays, we’ve got your yearly round-up for fun holiday lights and winter activities right here on the blog. Whether you’re looking for fantastic family photo opportunities around Kansas City or you’re looking to pop the family in the car and drive around to take in KC area light displays, you can find details here. This guide is broken up into different sections, so no matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. Take a look…

Here’s how the guide is made:

Our team here at iFamilyKC has been working hard to bring you all the details on the beautiful Christmas lights in Kansas City that your family can enjoy. We’re crowdsourcing (and we need YOUR HELP!) to find the best and the brightest displays around town. Keep in mind that we can’t drive around to each and every location to verify that the lights are on this season, if someone sends us a spot to add to the list, we’ll do it and what some people find worth the drive, others might not so please understand this as you head out this season.

**Spots with a double asterisk are verified locations meaning that either an iFamilyKC team member or friend of an iFamilyKC team member has seen the lights with their own eyes this year.

Spots with no asterisk have not been verified this year but have previously had displays. If you’ve been to one of these spots, let us know so we can keep this post updated!

Do you know of a great spot in the KC area that we can add to this list?! Drop us a comment and let us know so we can add it in! 

holiday lights kansas city

 

Where to see Christmas Lights around Kansas City {2017 Edition}

Christmas Lights Driving Map with 64 Christmas Light locations and growing:

Holiday Trees

#1 **Legends Christmas Tree:

When: Now thru Christmas

Where: 1843 Village West Parkway, KCK

legends Outlets near the Kansas Motor Speedway and Sporting Kansas City offers a fabulous 45-foot tree that features lights synchronized to holiday music. It’s the perfect backdrop for a fun photo by the tree!

#2 **Lee’s Summit Magic Tree

holiday lights kansas city

When: Daily 5:00pm-1:00am now thru Christmas

Where: i470 and View High Dr.

The Lee’s Summit Magic Tree is the ideal complement to your visit through the park and makes for wonderful photo opportunities for the family. Lit with glowing lights in an assortment of colors, the tree is a fun way to celebrate the holidays. Donations collected during the season go to support local families in need.

#3 Deanna Rose Ultimate Holiday Tree

When: Daily 5:00pm-10:00pm now thru January 5th

Where: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park

Animation, effects, and fun holiday messages are all in store for you when you visit The Ultimate Holiday Tree at Deanna Rose this year. This flat panel “tree” is a 30-minute light display that your whole family will enjoy.

#4 **Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center

When: Now thru Christmas

Where: 2450 Grand Blvd KCMO

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center is a beautiful sight to see. Standing at nearly 100 feet tall, the tree is the perfect spot to grab pictures for the holiday season. And – bonus – your kiddos are going to LOVE the sweet wooden playground at the base!

Drive Around Light Displays

#5 **Plaza Lights

When: Now thru the Middle of January

Where:  Country Club Plaza

Songs have been written about the beauty of the holiday lights at Country Club Plaza and now it’s time o see them for yourself. Drive through and see them now through the middle of January and be sure to stop and shop or eat while you’re there.

#6 Zona Rosa

When: Throughout the holidays

Where: i29 & Barry Road

Now through Christmas, you can see the lights at Zona Rosa while you shop and dine in the outdoor shopping mall.

#7 Liberty Lights

When: Now through January 1st

Where: 1600 N. 291 in Liberty

Enjoy the free light display with synchronized music from Pleasant Valley Church.

 #8 Stagecoach Park

When: Daily 5:30-10:00pm (Friday-Sunday they’re open an extra HOUR!)

Where: 1205 E Kansas City Road in Olathe

Drive through an animated light show at Stagecoach Park in Olathe.

#9 **Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake Park

holiday lights kansas city

When: Daily 5:30-10pm (Open late, until 11pm, Friday & Saturday)

Where: i470 & View High Drive

Christmas in the Park is one of the most anticipated holiday lights displays in Kansas City each year. Your family can drive through the park and take in the beautiful light show this year.

#10 Vince & Associates Lights

When: Now thru Christmas

Where: 101st & Metcalf in Overland Park

Don’t miss the Vince & Associates annual lights display. They put on a fantastic display of animated lights which are set to fun holiday music.

Walk Around Light Displays in KC

 #11 **Winterfest at World’s of Fun

holiday lights kansas city

When: Now through December 30th

Where: World’s of Fun

Live shows, sparkling lights, tons of activities are all in store for you at Worlds of Fun this year for Winterfest. You have GOT to check out all that’s in store for you this year!

 #11 Festival of Lights

When: Weekends through January 7th

Where: Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens combines fantastic lights with beautiful botanical themes to create a fun Christmas festival of lights.

#12 **Holiday Luminary Walk

When: December 9th & 10th

Where: Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

With over 2 miles of candlelit paths and light displays, your family is going to love the Holiday Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum this year. Plus, you can enjoy special music, wagon rides, and a visit with Santa at the Depot.

#13 Winter Solstice Hike

When: December 13th 5-6:30pm

Where: George Owens Nature Park in Independence, MO

Enjoy a hike down a beautiful woodland path lit by torches at the Winter Solstice celebration. Bring your cameras for photo shoots by the ice sleigh and enjoy the winter evening.

#14 Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park

When: Now through January 8th

Where: 14907 W 87th St. Pkwy, Lenexa

Lenexa’s Sar-Ko-Par park offers a dazzling lights display each season with fun lights around the Rose Pond.

Neighborhood Light Displays:

Johnson County:

Overland Park- 

  • 13800 Switzer Road, Overland Park, KS 66221
  • 11308 Mackey Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66210
  • 8911 W 131st Place, Overland Park, Kansas 66213
  • 11619 Lucille street, Overland Park, Kansas 66210
  • 8500 West 129th Terrace, Overland Park, Kansas 66213
  • 12253 W 105th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66215
  • 7515 Hemlock Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66203
  • 9508 West 117th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
  • 9606 West 117th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
  • 13812 Bradshaw, Overland Park, Kansas 66221
  • 7716 West 98th Terrace, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
  • 9319 Goddard Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66214
  • 9622 West 117th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
  • 7608 West 115th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66210
  • 131st Pl (west of Antioch Road), Overland Park, KS
  • 6600 West 131st Street, Overland Park, KS

Shawnee-

  • 21324 West 58th Street, Shawnee, Kansas 66218
  • 6321 Millbrook Avenue, Shawnee, Kansas 66218
  • 6800 Maurer Road, Shawnee, Kansas 66217
  • 12612 West 70th Terrace, Shawnee, Kansas 66216
  • 13089 W 70th Terrace, Shawnee, Kansas 66216

Leawood-

  • 13020 Ash Street, Leawood, Kansas 66209
  • 2801 West 127th Street, Leawood, Kansas 66209
  • 9717 Lee Boulevard, Leawood, Kansas 66206
  • 13201 Granada Drive, Leawood, Kansas 66209
  • Roe & East 132nd Street, Leawood, KS

Lenexa-

  • 9025 Alden Street, Lenexa, Kansas 66220
  • 8358 Oakview Circle, Lenexa, Kansas 66215
  • 14907 West 87th Street Pkwy, Lenexa, Kansas 66215
  • 10150 Walker Street, Lenexa, Kansas 66220
  • 8007 West Haskins Street, Lenexa, Kansas 66215
  • 13916 W 110th Terrace, Lenexa, Kansas 66215

KCK-

  • 2309 South 49th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66106
  • 2303 South 48th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66106
  • 5806 Quiver Road, Shawnee, KS 66216

Gardner-

  • 215 North Center, Gardner, Kansas 66030
  • 6007 East Richard’s Drive, Shawnee, Kansas 66216
  • 5536 County Line Rd, Kansas City, Kansas 66106

Merriam-

  • 9900 Johnson Drive, Merriam, Kansas 66203

Prairie Village-

  • 7900 Outlook Lane, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208

Olathe-

  • 15904 West 152nd Place, Olathe, Kansas 66062
  • 1533 West Dartmouth Street, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  • 16617 Indian Creek Parkway, Olathe, Kansas 66062
  • West of Mur-Len at 162nd Street Olathe, KS 66062
  • 1549 West Dartmouth Street, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  • Frontier & Ridgeview, Olathe, Kansas

Jackson County:

Blue Springs-

  • **S Bradford Ln, Blue Springs, MO 64015

Independence-

  • **Hiram Young Park, Independence MO 64050

holiday lights kansas city

  • **3510 S. Crysler Avenue Independence MO

Platte County:

Clay County:

  • **N Bellaire Ave & NE Gunn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64119

Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, get out and enjoy the beautiful Christmas scenery!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Psssst! Look {Inside} for a FUN GIVEAWAY!

We’re now *officially* less than 75 days away from Christmas 2017 (not that we’re counting or anything!) and our team here at iFamilyKC is excited to share some wonderful ideas, tips, and tricks for your family over the next few months. To kick things off, we’ve got some no-toy holiday gift ideas to keep the magic of the holidays alive even after the New Year. And, BONUS, we’ve got a giveaway RIGHT in this post! Take a look…


holiday gift ideas

No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

There was a time in my life when I thought my family might want to explore living in a larger house. Why?! Simply put, we thought we needed more space. Life was feeling a little crowded and it wasn’t until we realized we just have too much stuff that we made the decision that more square footage wasn’t going to solve the problem in the long run – it would just make it worse with time. So we went on a mission (a long road that we’re still on, to be honest) to simplify life and get rid of all the excess stuff. Now that the holidays are approaching, we’re exploring new ideas for holiday gift giving that don’t involve toys.

We’ve got a few go-to ideas that we typically fall back on but were ready for some fresh concepts for Christmas 2017. So, we took to our brand new Community Group on Facebook (shameless plug– have you joined the iFamilyKC Kansas City parent group yet?!) to ask you for your ideas on no-toy gifts you can give the kiddos (or adults!) in your life this year. Here are some of our favorites:

#1 Books

It’s always a good time for learning and I am a huge fan of gifting books for special occasions (and normally give them for kid’s birthdays, too). Reading provides children with the opportunity to use their imagination and dive deep into other worlds.

“A reader lives a thousand lifetimes…” -George R.R. Martin 

With hundreds of thousands of different titles to select from, the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to gifting stories for the holidays. If the special person in your life has a Kindle, tablet, or other e-reader, you could give them a gift card to purchase books onto their device. Depending on the age and reading level of your recipient, a book series can provide hours and hours of entertainment.

Some of my suggestions include:

  • Classic Children’s Books (all ages)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama Books (toddler)
  • Pete The Cat Books (preschool)
  • Ivy & Bean Books (school aged)
  • Judy Moody Books (school aged)
  • Harry Potter Series (preteen)

#2 Experience Gifts {We’ve Got a GIVEAWAY!}

Over the last few years, my family has become really big into giving experiences as gifts (mostly to each other) and, in addition to being incredibly fun for both the giver and the receiver, they also help to bring your family closer together in ways that you might not expect (#FamilyBonding).

Each year for my daughter’s birthday, we gift her a membership to somewhere in the Kansas City area and, because KC is so full of amazing options for families, it’s awarded us with the chance to check out some fun spots across the metro over the years. We’ve done memberships to the zoo, the local botanical gardens, and to Union Station in the past and each has given us the chance to spend time together as a family – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Many places that you can get memberships to here in the greater KC area offer tax deductions along with your purchase so you can consider that a little gift to yourself, too.

{Bonus!} Giveaway! 

We want to give YOU a head start on your gift giving this year and have a family four pack of tickets to the newly remodeled Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium ($28 Value!) AND a family four pack of tickets to Science City ($32 Value!) both at Union Station in downtown Kansas City.

Want to get in on the action?!

We’ll randomly select TWO winners (one getting Science City tickets and the other getting Planetarium tickets) on Wednesday, October 25th!

#3 Gift Cards

I’ll admit, until recently, I’d never been big into gift cards for the holidays but, now that my daughter is getting older, I am starting to see the value in all that they provide. Charlotte, who is six, absolutely LOVES shopping at the little boutique jewelry (and hair accessory, hat, makeup, toy, etc) shop in the mall. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the one I’m talking about, it’s been around since most of us were kids. Ever since I took Charlotte to get her ears pierced over the summer, she’s been obsessed with going into the store. I can understand why, it’s every little girl’s dream to have fun costume jewelry and adorable accessories all in one place.

The joy she gets in shopping for earrings, “makeup” (relax, it’s just lip gloss…we’re not there yet), and other little things that the kids enjoy these days is really special. When you give a child a gift card, you’re giving them the freedom to explore, to discover what they really enjoy, and the entertainment of shopping.

Here are a few places I suggest for gift cards:

  • Claires (they often have ‘Buy 3 Get 3 FREE’ sales so your gift card can go further.)
  • Five Below (with everything in the store UNDER $5, a little bit can go a long way.)
  • The bookstore (See #1 for more details)

#4 Subscriptions

One of the moms on our Community Group offered up a suggestion that I hadn’t thought of before. As adults, many of us enjoy subscription boxes that come once a month or once a quarter. Why not give that as a gift for the kids?! There are several great options for subscription services specifically designed with children in mind and many of them give you the flexibility of deciding how frequently you want to send the boxes (read: how much you’re willing to budget for).

We found some options that you might be interested in exploring as gift for this year (please note that we have not used these ourselves and, as such, do not provide our endorsement for any of the following) online:

  • Little Passports
  • Kiwi Crate
  • Doodle Crate
  • SproutKin

#5 A “Yes” Day

I recently read an article that discussed how utterly exhausted (and beyond happy) actress Jennifer Garner was after successfully completing a “yes day” with her kids. It’s a concept I’ve never heard of but is apparently based on the book with the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The idea is simple, spend a day with your kids and let them take the reins in planning what they want to do. You set limits (budget, time, etc) and rules for the day and then allow your kids to call the shots. If it sounds as exciting to you as it does to me, check out the book from your local Mid-Continent Public Library branch and consider giving it to your child this Christmas.

We’ll have an in depth listing of resources available to your family this season in our Annual Holiday Guide. You can pick a copy up starting November 1st in any of our 1,000 drop spots across the metro area or access it online. Also, be sure to join the discussion on the iFamilyKC Kansas City Parent Community Group on Facebook!

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Four Simple Ways To Enjoy Independence Day

Independence Day is just around the corner and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably trying to think of simple ways your family can have an enjoyable holiday this year. Look no further! Our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger has put together four ways you can enjoy the fourth this year. Take a look…

4 tips for a fabulous fourth

Four Simple Ways To Enjoy Independence Day

I love the Fourth of July. When I was a kid it meant fireworks and “God Bless the USA” on repeat, hot dogs and apple pie and as I have grown older not much has changed. I now find myself yelling at my kids not to run with the punks and don’t stand over the firework—something I am pretty sure I did more than once including the one year that I got so brave as to launch the bottle rocket from my hand! I really don’t know how I survived!

But if you are anything like my family, your summers are sometimes even busier than during the school year! We have one daughter’s birthday right before and the other daughter shortly after the holiday. Of course birthday’s in my house take precedence over ANYTHING so we always try and make it bit lower key. Here are my four easy steps to a fabulous fourth!

#1 The Food

You gotta eat right? But everyone in the neighborhood is going to have the typical hot dogs and hamburgers, which is just fine but maybe spice them up a little. The fresh meat counter at the grocery store may have something that could help there! Our family LOVES brat burgers (basically the ground up brat formed into a patty) they always have great flavors and you can make some great toppings to go one them. Instead of just a plain mayo, why not make it a spicy mayo or add some chopped up pineapple or mango salsa to really get some good flavors going!

Usually these are just as inexpensive as getting hamburger and you don’t have to make the patties yourself! Chips and dip are table staples at fourth parties, but again take a look around your local grocery and think about an additional out of the box dip. Hummus for instance or create an easy Mexican flair dip with sour cream and taco seasoning, cut up some tortillas and serve with some pico de gallo or salsa. And don’t feel like you have to do everything just because you are hosting; have your friends bring the sides or something for their kids if they have the picky eaters!

#2 The “Frinks” (sorry I couldn’t find an F-word for beverages!)

Obviously the only drink of summer is kool-aid but let’s branch out a little more! I cheated and went on Pinterest and found some really neat red, white and blue drinks one in particular I think I am going to try for the kiddos. You take a clear cup (they used milk bottles) pour in a small amount of Cranberry-apple juice, then load up on the ice pour in a little amount of SoBe Pina Colada drink (no alcohol) and then finish by pouring in a little blue Gatorade.

According to my friend on Pinterest it is supposed to work! Basically you are just stacking the drink by sugar content—more sugar goes toward the bottom. I haven’t tested this but will report back! For the adult drinks, if you are making them alcoholic just make sure they aren’t too strong. We need adults on full alert in order to watch for rogue bottle rockets or a tipped over artillery shell container (I know this from experience—sober you right up!). Beer and a nice summer sangria really hits the spot and you can dial down the hard stuff for this night.

#3 The Fireworks

You have to have them! I realize that a lot of communities around the area don’t allow fireworks for understandable reasons; chances are there is a display just a short drive away. If not a city display ask a local fireworks tent if they are planning on doing anything; a lot of them will shoot off their larger fireworks because they know they won’t sell them for this year and obviously can’t save them for next year.

If you are one of the few that can shoot off fireworks make sure you have a sturdy board or table to shoot them from. I would also recommend rigging some sort of holding device for those artillery shell launchers (see above statement) they aren’t made to really withstand much so they can get really tippy which means they are aimed straight at your guests! Putting the launcher inside the hole of a concrete block would help this tremendously!

#4 The Favors

If you have read any of my posts about parties you know that I love party favors! It’s what makes coming over to my house unique. Now is the time to start looking! Target’s dollar spot has tons of glow sticks, head bands, wands, and necklaces that are very affordable so you can buy one for everyone. Plus it looks really neat to see everyone lit up after dark. I also need to mention that it is a really nice tool to keep an eye on your kids; sometimes you can’t see them in the dark but you can see their glow stick bracelet walking ever closer to the firework launching pad! Favors and life-saving all in one package!

Have fun, be safe, and Happy Independence Day!

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


12 Dazzling Fireworks Displays in KC You Can’t Miss This Year!

Independence Day is almost here, Kansas City and we are so excited for all the fun in store for your family here in the metro area. If you’re looking for fun fireworks displays around the metro, we’ve compiled a list of 12 spots you don’t want to miss this year. Take a look…

fireworks displays

12 Fireworks Displays in KC You Can’t Miss This Year!

It’s almost the 4th of July and you know what that means.. FIREWORKS! Fireworks are one of the best things about the 4th of July, and if you have a crowd, they can get expensive and the process of finding the perfect spot to show them off can become tedious.  So, why not go and enjoy a show instead! There are so many places around the metro area that put on great shows for the entire family! Check out this list!

#1 River Fest

Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront Dr., Kansas City, MO 64101 July 4th. You can find ticket information, directions and more online!

#2 Worlds of Fun

4545 Worlds of Fun Ave July 1-4th

#3 Parkville

July 4th Celebration: English Landing Park – Over the Missouri River
8701 Clark Avein Parkville, Missouri 64152.

#4 Olathe Red, White & Blue

Various addresses July 4th. For information on parking locations visit them online.

#5 Gladstone Independence Day Celebration

Oak Grove Park July 4th. This is a free viewing and you can find more information on parking here.

#6 Red, White and Blue Springs

2000 NW Ashton Drive in Blue Springs, Missouri 64015, July 4th.

#7 Platte City Fireworks Display

High School Pirates Stadium 1501 Branch Street in Platte City, Missouri 64079.

#8 Pleasant Hill Fireworks

Skyline Field – 1301 Myrtle in Pleasant Hill, Missouri 64080.

#9 Salute to the Union Fireworks

Merritt Lake, Grant Ave., Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027 July 4th.

#10 OP Fourth of July Celebration

8717 W. 110th St.

Overland Park, KS 66210 July 4th.

#11 Westwood Fireworks Display

St. Agnes Athletic Field MONDAY JULY 3rd.

#12 July 4th Celebration in Gardner, KS 

Live music, food vendors, out of this world bounce houses, face painting, portable zip lines, interactive entertainment and one of the best fireworks displays in the area!

Before you head out to view the fireworks, check your destinations site to see if there are any rules and guidelines for pets, chairs and beverages you can bring. Some places are located on school and church campuses so glass and alcohol may be restricted. Also, fireworks have gotten louder over the years, make sure you bring noise reduction headphones or earplugs. Don’t forget the snacks and blankets too! Have a great 4th of July!

From iFamily to yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Spring Fun with these FREE Printable Easter Lunch Notes

Can you all believe it, Kansas City? Easter is right around the corner! As the weather finally warms up, and the sun is finally out, we’ve got some fun ideas coming from our Mom Squad. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has a cute (and free!) Easter themed printable to share with you today. Check it out!

Spring Fun with these FREE Printable Easter Lunch Notes

 

Spring Fun with these FREE Printable Easter Lunch Notes

 

Hi guys! Easter is around the corner so I wanted to find something fun to add to the blog this week for your kiddos to look forward to before Easter break! Lunch time was one of my favorite parts of the day in school! My mom used to pack my lunch a few times a week and I looked forward to the notes she would lovingly create and put in my lunch box.

 

I LOVED seeing the notes when I opened my lunch every day, It was a little way for my mom and I to stay connected when we were apart. So, I wanted my daughter to experience the fun and love of lunch box notes just like I did! Now, I am not an artist and I never claimed to be BUT using a computer, I was able to make some pretty cute little notes and I wanted to share them with you! Print them, cut them out and add them to your child’s lunch! They will love it!

 

From iFamily to Yours,


6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kansas City! Love is in the air, but not all of us “love” the conventional holiday. Instead of going the “anti-Valentine’s Day” route, Sarah, our Mom Squad Ambassador, has some great tips to be a bit unconventional this holiday. Check it out…

6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine's Day

6 Ways to Have an Unconventional Valentine’s Day

 

In my single days, I can remember having to push people out of the way in order to avoid the Valentine’s cards, physically gag when I saw yet another couple holding hands at the movies and restaurants being so busy there was no way to even get in the door!

I attended my share of ͞Anti-Valentine’s Day͟ parties and badmouthed the opposite sex with my friends while we drank women empowering drinks and sang men bashing songs. I won’t lie it was pretty nice when my now husband and I first got together and I was the one that was rushing for reservations at our favorite restaurant or planning a romantic dinner with wine and candles. The history of Valentine’s Day and it’s patron Saint Valentine is shrouded in death and destruction and it is obvious by the number of ideas for anti-valentine’s day parties on Pinterest that the theme (although not literal death) is still quite dark and dramatic.

So yes, for many people the thought of an anti-Valentine’s celebration is attractive and many will still partake, however; why not squelch the idea of hate and anger we hear so often these days and try a few of these alternate ideas?

The Valentine’s I remember in elementary school the first time that we were encouraged to give a valentine to each student in our class; today this isn’t given as a choice—you give a card to EVERY CHILD. I did enjoy going to the store and finding my favorite character cards, filling out each one (maybe secretly kissing the one that went to my crush) and then the terrible taste of the envelope glue as I carefully sealed each one. I took my girls last week and realized the two or three choices I used to have are now filled with aisles and aisles! It took much longer than it should have because there were so many of my daughter’s favorite characters that they wanted two or three boxes; you may think you are popular, Miss 4 year-old but not 75 cards worth!

#1 Skip the Candy

From a mom that is still finding candy in the pantry from Halloween circa 2014, look to the non-candy options. Don’t be a statistic! Over 1 billion Valentine’s cards are sent every year!

 

#2 Go the boxed card route

If you do decide to go the card route—buy! You can’t beat $2.48 per box, and you certainly can’t make them!

 

#3 Make it a day of kindness

Valentine’s Day is for lovers, right?  Make it about sharing your love with everyone around you by smiling at that lone person in the street, make some cookies for the customer service group at work or bring doughnuts for the school office staff. You have no idea how much this means to them and you really have no idea how happy and loved it will make you feel too.

 

#4 Spruce up the goodness of home.

At home– sure, make a nice meal if you have time, give extra hugs and kisses and say ͞I love you͟ more than you ever have, but make a promise to yourself to do this more and more everyday not just on February 14th.

#5 One is the Loneliest Number – Not Really

Well maybe. I am an only child and secret be told, I love being alone. Not just because of everything that I do now; running around two kids, making sure the new dog has enough exercise and working on keeping my marriage running smoothly. I really liked being alone when I was younger; I just may not have realized it. So here’s an idea for all you single people; go to that movie that you have been waiting to see but go by yourself, put on something other than sweats and head to a nice restaurant, sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with someone. Or just enjoy the day shopping and exploring how you want to. If that is a little too much and you are breaking out in hives just thinking about the stares and sad looks that you will get, then head to the grocery store and splurge on whatever you want for dinner—whether that is crab legs or just cereal!

 

#6 Think outside the box of gifts…

The Gifts Oh the gifts! Raise your hand if you are still paying off Christmas gifts! And here we have to turn right around and buy something else that is either going in a drawer somewhere or head straight to our bellies that we are still trying to shrink from the overeating at Christmas! I won’t turn this into a rant on how Valentine’s is a conspiracy to boost the economy, just think wisely about gift giving. Yes I love to get gifts, just like all of you probably do, but I also purchased a purse from the 75% off sale last week so let’s be honest—maybe that was my Valentine’s gift. So this year just take a step back, take a deep breath. Realize that maybe this holiday is needed to remind us of all the love we have around us whether that be from a significant other, a child, a neighbor, or a friend who lives 3 hours away (I miss you!).

Love comes in many forms and should be celebrated as such. So I choose to teach my girls to spend Valentine’s Day just being happy, spending time with their friends, so hopefully, one day, if they don’t have anyone to spend the day with and they start to feel those dark and dramatic anti-Valentine’s day thoughts coming through—look at something beautiful; trees, artwork, or just take a glance in the mirror! It’s still just a day, you probably will gag at the hearts and hand holding but keep this in mind—Reese’s Hearts, the perfect amount of chocolate and peanut butter, come around just once a year!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 


28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care

It’s officially February and love is in the air. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may be scrambling for ideas of what to do for your honey. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, has some great ideas of how to make your significant other feel special this time of year. Check it out…

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care

#1 Have a stay-in date night

You could Netflix a romantic comedy, grab the air mattress and put it in the living room, make a huge fort, light candles, have a pillow fight, look at photo albums together , pull out items you may have collected of places you have went together over the years,etc.

 

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

 

#2 Recreate your favorite restaurant in your own home… have the kids be your “servers/ waiters”, have them hand write the menus, use their art work for place mates, light candles, have the whole family dress up, play romantic music or make a play list of “your songs”, slow dance, and exchange homemade cards.

#3 Make your partner breakfast or dinner in bed- Who wouldn’t like that?

#4 Drop off your partner and or kids their favorite meal at their work / school- make sure you include a heartfelt note <3.

#5 Make a scrapbook filled with photos and memorabilia

#6 Print out screenshots of your cutest text messages they probably forgot about- You could either make a book out of them, or hang them up around the house for them to find.

#7 Surprise them with an indoor picnic

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#8 Leave surprise notes in their car along with some of their favorite snacks

#9 Fill up their gas tank – You could clean out their car for them too!

#10 Make or order a heart-shaped pizza

#11 Send them a flirtatious text or email

#12 Wear their favorite outfit and send them a picture of you wearing it- say something like, “I am so lucky to have you. I can’t wait to see you tonight.” Or “You make our lives better. Thank you for everything you do for us.”

#13 Take a bath or shower together – or join them while they are in the shower… 😉

#14 Re-create your first date- I personally would melt if someone did this for me!

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#15 Make them a list of all the reasons why you love them- make it very detailed and include things you may not say to them all of them. Don’t just say I love your humor…. Tell them why or how they make you laugh… Include specific examples

#16 Take a whole day without being on your phone! Just be in the moment….

#17 Make them their favorite dessert

#18 Mail your in laws a card and tell them what you love about their son / daughter… thank them for raising such a great man/ woman.

#19 Have the whole family make each other cards and include what you love about each other

#20 Complete another “chore” your partner usually tackles

#21 Book a couple’s massage

#22 Have their favorite take-out delivered to the office, and pre-pay, of course.

#23 Hire a maid to come and clean the house.

#24 Surprise them with tickets to their favorite band, sports team, or movie they have been wanting to go to.

28 Ways to Show Your Valentine You Care // iFamilyKC Blog

#25 Take their car to have it serviced – get the oil changed, have it detailed, get new tires, etc.

#26 Book them a visit to the spa or their favorite hair dresser.

#27 Plan an outing with them and their closest friends while you stay at home and watch the kids.

#28 Grab them for no reason at all and kiss them passionately.

 

To learn more about Leah or follow her – please check out

http://www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 


25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Christmas Eve is upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably frantically getting in those last minute errands that you’ve been putting off forgotten about, baking holiday treats, and cleaning the house in anticipation of loved ones later this evening (or in my case, first thing tomorrow morning). It’s okay, we can all be superheroes from time to time, right?! Don’t stress out, it’s all going to be fine…right? RIGHT? Thankfully, our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Leah shares her 25 tips for managing holiday stress with us right here on the blog. Take a look…

25 Ways to manage holiday stress

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

If you are anything like me you are guilty of trying to do a thousand things at once. I find myself being  pulled between trying to locate the “perfect gift”, attempting to stay on budget, pull money out of thin air, working more hours to afford “the perfect gift”, ordering things online, and trying to create time to wrap gifts all while trying to balance my daily tasks. Needless to say this momma is wore out.

The holidays tend to add so much stress and chaos to our already over packed lives. Yet, their intention is to the opposite. This year I am determined to approach things differently. I don’t want my son to judge holidays based around how well I may or may not handle stress. We all know that kids see everything even when we think otherwise. I want to make sure he sees me handle things with grace. After all I cannot expect him to if I don’t.

It really is my goal to learn how to master stress so it does not master me. I know that I will not be able to completely avoid stress. However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot try to handle it better when it arrives. I have found some pretty simple ways to help make your holidays a little less hectic. I hope that you can find one or two them useful.

#1 Take an Epson Salt bath – for an added stress relief add essential  oils

#2 Create a daily gratitude journal- use this to remind yourself what you are grateful for in yourself and others

#3 Go outside for a walk or run- being around the sunlight can improve your mood

#4 Instead of stressing out over dinner give yourself permission to order out

#5 Turn on some good music

#6 Have a glass of wine

#7 Have a cup of tea- there are so many teas out there to help you relax

#8 Give your partner a massage then have them return the favor ( or just book an appointment at a salon)

#9 Go get your hair done… I always feel better after a good hair cut

#10 Set a budget and stick with it

#11 Schedule a lunch date with a friend  and share a good laugh

#12 Turn off your phone so you can get stuff done without being distracted

#13 Try to give out “group gifts” when you have to buy for a family. This will help you stay on budget. You can buy them a movie, popcorn, snacks, etc. Plus this encourages them to do something as a family.

#14 Pace yourself- you do not have to do everything in one day. I find it useful to break my to do list down to a daily list instead. This also helps me feel less overwhelmed.

#15 Take a break and go do something fun as family

#16 Go see some Christmas lights and get yourself back into the Christmas spirit

#17 Light some candles around the house

#18 Meditate – this is an amazing stress reliever

#19 Go to the gym

#20 Call a friend or a family member that puts you in a good mood

#21 Get some sleep

#22 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

#23 Don’t sweat the small stuff

#24 Remind yourself that if something does not get done there is always tomorrow

#25 Listen to yourself- only you know your limits

To follow Leah further please go to her page at  www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

From iFamily to yours,

Leah

leah_ifamilykc_momsquad25 tips for managing holiday stress

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5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Happy Friday, Kansas City! We know many of you may be scrambling to gather the last minute presents for friends, family, and neighbors, so our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, came up with a quick (and easy) list of gifts you can purchase from the comfort of your own home. No need to battle the crowds and traffic, just a couple of clicks and you’re taken care of. Take a look…

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

For your favorite family

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

 

Friends of the KC Zoo Family Membership — By far the best deal for families in the city. For just $109 ($169 if you live outside of Jackson County), your family can get 15 months of zoo access PLUS unlimited rides of the train, tram, carousel, boat and sky rides.

 

For your favorite kids

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Surprise Ride Subscription — This box has a different theme each month and comes packed with fun and educational activities to keep your kids busy. My three kids shared a box and we were still able to milk the content over two evenings. $28/month.

 

For your favorite gal

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Fair Trade Friday — This is my favorite go-to gift when I want to give something unique. The Fair Trade Friday box includes 3-4 items that are fairly traded and provide employment and empowerment to impoverished women all over the world. Items include things like jewelry, soaps and coffee. Prices vary.

For your favorite guy

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

SprezzaBox Subscription — Don’t worry about fit, this box is full of one-size-fits all stylish fun for dudes like sunglasses, socks, grooming products and ties. It’s just $28/month and is guaranteed to have over $100 in products.

 

For a stranger

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Kindness Cards — KindCraft KC started this trend and I love it. Make (or buy) Kindness Cards and pair each one with $5 to give to friends and family so they can enjoy bringing joy to a stranger’s day: Pay for a drive-thru order, tape some money to a vending machine, etc. It’s a gift you’ll both feel great about.

 

 

Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

 

 

 

 

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