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Throwing a Fabulous DIY Summer: A How To Guide

Despite unseasonably cooler temperatures this week, summertime is in full swing here in the metro area and we’re excited for all the DIY Summer fun in store for your family this season. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team is sharing her ideas for fabulous summer parties today on the blog. Take a look…

diy summer fun

Throwing a Fabulous DIY Summer: A How To Guide

Summer time can mean a lot of things. Swimming pools, drive ins, picnics and more. One of my favorite things to do is throw and attend parties. Just fun, let’s celebrate summer and have a great time party! So why not hit up your local dollar store or Target and put on a great party.

Here are a few ideas you can easily throw together AND entertain a large crowd for the low!

DIY Summer

Build a Hot Dog Bar

Who doesn’t love a good weenie roast?! Hot dogs are a great way to feed a crowd without spending too much. A simple hot dog bar doesn’t require much, grab some ketchup, mustard and all your favorite fixin’s and you are good go to go.

diy summer

Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Take your love of ice cream to the next level with insane toppings! Gather all your favorite candies, nuts and sauces and let everyone build their own sundae. Don’t forget the root beer to make sundae floats too!

DIY SUmmer

Movie Party

This is probably the easiest way to entertain a crowd. Pick a cult classic of fave family movie, pop some popcorn, add a variety of pops and salty snacks and you are ready for an evening under the stars or your living room full of people in their pjs!

DIY Summer

Taco Party

Another fun way to feed a crowd is a taco party. Much like the hot dog bar or sundae bar, you and your guests can grab a bag of chips or shells and then add all their favorite toppings. Tacos are always a favorite among most people so this would definitely be a great way to celebrate Taco Tuesday!

DIY Summer

Carnival Party

A friend of mine through a summer carnival party two years ago and it was AMAZING! Popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs and of course carnival games! She even had a face painter or strong man there to entertain! A circus or carnival party can be done in so many ways that everyone will have a great time.

DIY Summer

Camping Party

Camping is one of my favorite past times. Fires at night, s’mores and ghost stories. The summer is the perfect time to have a camping party. Grab some stuff for s’mores and a sleeping bag for a late night.

DIY Summer

Luau Party

Luau parties are always fun too. Bright colors, grass skirts and pineapples! Grab some bright table cloths, throw some Hawaiian dogs on the grill (wrapped with bacon and pineapple) and get ready to dance the night away. You could also throw in some great games like a hula hoop competition or limbo.

DIY Summer

Southern Belle Tea Party

Want a more chic party? Throw a Southern Belle party. Have your guests dress in their Sunday bests, throw on some lace gloves and get ready for a variety of teas. Have your guests bring their favorite tea (preferably already brewed) and sip while eating bonbons or pecan pie.

DIY Summer

Beach Party

What better way to celebrate summer than a beach themed party? Head to the dollar store and grab some floaties, noodles and beach balls. Have everyone pot luck style their favorite food or make a spread of your favorite picnic foods. Don’t forget the pools! Get a blowup pool or have some bring theirs!

I hope these ideas were enough to spark your summer party planning adventures!

From iFamily to yours,


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,


10 Super Fun Staycation Ideas For Kansas City This Summer

Howdy Kansas City! The school year is probably wrapping up for many of the kiddos, it’s time to start looking for some fun activities for the family. Summer doesn’t have to mean expensive vacations and extended amounts of traveling. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great ideas for for a staycation here in the Kansas City metro. Check it out!

10 Super Fun Staycation Ideas For Kansas City This Summer


10 Super Fun Staycation Ideas For
Kansas City This Summer


Can y’all believe it will be summer soon!? No school, stores are open late and one of the best things ever created… VACATION! Who doesn’t love that?! We rarely take a summer vacation in our house because we take a long one in the Fall (10 days, so worth it!). So we try our best to do our very own family staycation! If you are unfamiliar with a staycation, it is basically vacationing at home but you do special things you wouldn’t normally do during the year.

There are so many fun things you can do during a staycation. Kansas City is a very family friendly city and there is always something for everyone to enjoy. So, get out your planner, pens, highlighters or whatever you use and start planning your family staycation.


1. Amusement parks

Take a day and visit one of Kansas City’s parks! Check out Worlds of Fun for exciting rides and games, Oceans of Fun, Schlitterbahn and Paradise Park are a few!

2. Museums

Kansas City is rich in history and art. Plan a day or week to venture off to see various museums for all ages and interests. There is the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Negro League Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, National WWI Museum and MORE!

3. Downtown Restaurants

Living Downtown gives you an advantage when it comes to exploring. Everywhere you go you are seeing something new. The are so many amazing restaurants downtown, I know everyone will be happy! Start with a family favorite like Chipotle or Jason’s Deli. Fritz’s or Crayola Cafe at Crown Center. Or you could venture a little further south towards the Plaza for Seasons 52 or Fogo de Chao!

4. Exhibits

Exhibits are always fun because they are only around for a limited time. This really makes you feel like you are on vacation lol. Union Station has different exhibits throughout the year. Currently they have a Pompeii exhibit (ending soon) but starting June 23, you can explore real mummies from around the world!

5. Campouts

Plan a campout in your very own backyard! Pitch a tent, fire up a grill or fire and enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your own home.

6. Movie under the Stars

Throughout the summer, Crown Center and other suburbs around the metro area host movie nights outside. You can plan to head out to a free show, the drive in or if able, watch one in your own yard!

7. Water Park DIY

Sometimes, it’s just too hot to go anywhere, wait in lines and really just leave the house. So turn your backyard into your own water park! Using pools, hoses and a few other miscellaneous items, you can bring the party to you! Check out Pinterest for some super easy ideas for all ages.

8. Parents Night Out

A lot of places around town offer parents night out. From churches to rec centers, theses are becoming more popular for both parents and kids. So why not finally take them up on that offer and plan a night out with your spouse and go dancing, eat at a fancy restaurant or meet up with friends! Parents Night Out usually lasts for about 3-4 hours so take a breather and enjoy some adult time!

9. Go Hiking/Biking

Nothing beats free during the summer time. With so many trails and parks around the metro area, got for a hike or ride through some trails. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and plenty of water!

10. Spend the night in a hotel

Just because you are not leaving your area doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the comfort of a nice hotel. Check out the rates of some of your favorite ones and enjoy a night away from the house. *Pro tip, make sure your hotel offers free wifi and breakfast to avoid extra costs*

I hope these ideas are enough to get you in the zone for planning your family staycation. I know my kiddos and I are already packing out our calendar!

From iFamily to Yours,







End of the Summer Bucket List : Worlds of Fun

Hello, Kansas City! As we all get back into the swing of things, as August winds down, there are still a ton of fun places to go in the metro. Check out our Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie’s, final check off her Summer Bucket List – Worlds of Fun! Of course you can check out the theme park at any time, and with the temperature slowly falling down, it would be the perfect place. Check it out…
End of Summer Bucket List: Worlds of Fun

End of the Summer Bucket List : Worlds of Fun

I don’t know about you all, but growing up in KC, I looked forward to my mom taking my to World’s of Fun every summer. While I’m personally terrified of roller coasters, I still wanted to take my 2 older kiddos this summer even though they are only 5 and 6 years old. My husband and I decided to go on a day where the weather wasn’t quite so miserably hot, which meant it was a little busier than I was hoping for, but still a really fun time!
To be honest, its been YEARS since I’ve been to World’s of Fun… and there are so many new rides and attractions. The best part is the Camp Snoopy area that is perfect for little kids. They have tons of rides, booths, and concessions all over the entire park. We spent the day grabbing lunch at the little diner inside the park and riding all sorts of rides I thought for sure my kids would be terrified of! (My 5 year old is TERRIFIED of heights… yet she just HAD to go on the ferris wheel. Of course we stopped at the very top and she said “I’m not even scared right now!” while I’m holding on to the bar for dear life!)
The kids are already asking when we can go back to “that place with the rides” and I’m already planning our next trip there! Even though the summer is coming to an end quickly (I still can’t believe its time to do all the back to school shopping!) I’d like to take the kids to Oceans of Fun. There is so much to do around KC and so little time to do it before the kids go back to school. I still have a few more fun places on our list for this summer and I’d love to hear your ideas of places you have been or are going to before the school year starts.
From iFamily to Yours,

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How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List

Hello, Kansas City! Temperatures have been excruciating lately, but summer fun is still around. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie created a bucket list at the beginning of the summer of things she’d like to experience with her family. Sit back, cool down, and check out Stephanie’s adventure to the splash park with the kiddos.

How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List

How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List

At the beginning of summer, I made a list of about 20 things I wanted to do with the kids. Every couple days, I try to complete one of the items on my list. This summer, we’ve been to the library a few times, bowling, played at the park, and yesterday, we finally ventured to the splash park in Independence!


How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List


After visiting the library to drop off some library books, we decided to take the kids to cool down at McCoy Park. While this park has the typical swing sets, jungle gym-type stuff–they also have an area with sprinklers and buckets that fill with water and pour down on you. The kids were having such a good time! I definitely recommend taking your kids. The best thing about this splash park is it has something for the really young kids as well as the older kids.


How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List


After playing at the splash park, we really worked up an appetite. As usual, we all were craving something different. Chinese, pizza, fried chicken. So, we had to compromise. We decided on Pizza Ranch which has really yummy pizza and amazing friend chicken! Everything but Chinese, so we had to make a promise to do Chinese the next time. 


How to Check Off a Fun Family Summer Bucket List


After all of our running around, the kids were exhausted. We came home, got the kiddos cleaned up and in bed. After everyone was in bed, my husband and I decided to have a movie night, and talk about plans for the remainder of the week.  


From iFamily to Yours,


Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Secret Life of Pets

Summer is a great time for animated films, and this summer is nothing different.  The Secret Life of Pets comes out this weekend, and it is not to be missed. With it’s quirky characters, fun writing, and silly story, it is sure to be an all-around fun movie for the family. Our very own Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie shares her review of it below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Secret Life of Pets

“The Secret Life of Pets”

Release Date: July 8th, 2016
Director: Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud
Rated: PG
Running Time: 90 min

If you haven’t seen previews for The Secret Life of Pets – you are missing out. This movie is super cute and I bet you’ll love it!

My husband and I had the opportunity to take the big kids out to see the new movie, The Secret Life of Pets, after they have been begging me for weeks after seeing the previews! The movie takes place in Manhattan where a dog named Max lives with his owner. Every day, Max (and the other animals in the apartment complex) wait for their owners to come home by spending the day doing silly stuff around the apartment (getting into the refrigerator and eating the owner’s food, jamming out to music, and watching soap operas).

One day, Max’s owner brings home a new dog – which is NOT okay with Max. He hates sharing his owner’s time with the new dog, Duke, and they get into a fight. During the fight, both dogs lose their collars and end up roaming the streets trying to find their way back to their apartment.

Unfortunately, the local dog catchers snatch them up and start to take them to the pound! Another dog is also locked up in the back of the dog catcher’s van who happens to be part of a secret club of abandoned pets looking for revenge on humans. The other abandoned pets come to their friends rescue and break Max and Duke free – under the assumption they are abandoned as well.

When the abandoned pets learn that Max and Duke are actually owned by a human, they are not happy!. The other pets from the apartment complex come together to try and save Max and Duke from the abandoned pets and tons of silly shenanigans happen!

The kids laughed a ton throughout the movie and of course there were even parts my husband and I found funny. Overall, this is a really cute movie I’m sure your kiddos (and you!) will love!

From iFamily to Yours,

Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks for the Pool This Summer

The days are getting hotter in the Kansas City Metro, which inevitably means more days trying to keep cool. With so many neighborhood and city pools offering affordable, cool entertainment for the kiddos, it’s no wonder parents often spend their summer days there. One of our Mom Squad Ambassadors offers us some great tips for packing snacks for the pool, so you can beat the heat and keep the party going as long as possible. Take a look…

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks For the Pool this Summer

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks at the Pool this Summer
My husband and I laugh (cry?) at the fact that we sometimes spend as much time packing FOR the pool, with our three kids in tow, as we actually spend AT the pool. But this summer I’ve vowed to maximize our time at the pool, so I’m getting smarter about what I’m bringing. Fewer toys, more snacks. If you want to stay cool at the pool longer (translation: wear your kids out!), check out these food packing tips.

What to Bring

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks at the Pool this Summer


Invest in a medium-sized cooler. One that you can carry with one hand (you’ll have plenty of pool supplies to carry in the other hand) but is still large enough for snacks for everyone.

• Throw juice boxes in the freezer and use them in your cooler instead of ice to keep food cold. This saves space and lightens your cooler.

Veggies — No, really. When kids are active, they get hungry and are more likely to happily munch on something healthy. The key is to offer veggies first before other snacks. You’ll be surprised at how many carrot and celery sticks they will munch on.

String cheese — Portable and fun, the perfect combo for the pool

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks at the Pool this Summer

Boxes of raisins — easy to throw in the cooler, easy to pass out, sweet and nutritious

Go-GURTS — freeze these ahead of time for an extra cold treat. Bonus, they are less messy when frozen.

Reusable plastic plates — They are not just environmentally friendly but they have extra weight so they won’t blow away as easily as disposable paper and plastic plates.

Wet wipes — Better than napkins to wipe messy hands, faces, tables and chairs.

Bring extra — Inevitably your kids will have or make friends at the pool and you’ll be glad you have extra snacks to share.

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks at the Pool this Summer
What to Avoid

Dips, sauces and other condiments — These not only take up valuable real estate but they can make food prep and eating very messy.

Chocolate treats — a melting mess, not worth it!

Nuts — Nuts can make a mess on the table, in the chairs and on the ground. Be sensitive to others around you (and after you) with nut allergies and leave these at home.

Anything requiring utensils — Again, not worth it. Plus it’s just one more thing to lose at the pool.

10+ Tips for Packing Snacks at the Pool this Summer

From iFamily to Yours,


Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!

Five Reasons to Send Your Child to Summer Camp

Submitted by
Dawn Cox, Guest Blogger

1 – Identity and individuality

At summer camp, your kiddo will not be “brother of” or “son of”, he’s going to be a camper.  He gets to make his own choices, from how much to eat all the way down to which activities he wants to participate in.  Summer camp is a great and safe environment for kids to start spreading those proverbial wings.


2 – New experiences

At Cub Creek Science Camp, campers get to interact with animals at our private zoo.  They can adopt an animal of their choosing for their stay and learn how to properly feed and take care of “their” animal.  Cub Creek has domestic and exotic animals and is licensed by the USDA.  A camper could adopt a sloth, a fox, a camel, a lemur, or yes, even a dog!


3 – Meeting new people

Campers come from all walks of life and all geographical locations.  Here at Cub Creek, we get international campers AND counselors.  It’s so much fun to hear the campers talking about the cultural differences.  We love knowing those kids will become pen-pals and likely remain friends for a long time.  Without the social expectations of school, campers are free to laugh and make friends easily.


4 – Unplug from technology

Technology is such an important part of our lives.  But it’s so important for our children to learn how to unplug and rediscover their own creativity and imagination.  Camp allows campers to engage with each other and their own emotions without the crutch of technology.


5 –   Learning valuable social skills

Coming to camp means campers have to learn not just sharing but cooperation and respect.  Kids have to share chores and compromise when they live in a cabin with each other.  Nothing says cooperation and compromise faster when having to share a bathroom with 8 other girls!


You can check out Cub Creek Science Camp at mosciencecamp.com.  We’re also on Facebook under “Cub Creek Science Camp”.


Lake Safety

By: Keri Nichol


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

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

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

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

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