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Family Valentines Day Activities: Ways to Give Back & Spread Love

Looking for a few ways to enjoy family Valentine’s activities AND give back to others at the same time? We’ve got the scoop on five things your family can do this year that will spread love and help you get the most out of the holiday. Take a look…

Family Valentines Day Activities: Ways to Give Back & Spread Love

valentine's day activities

Usually when we think of this holiday, we think of love in relationships but there are other things that we can consider. Love for one another is a great facet and a love for members of the community is even better! Thus, I have dedicated this blog to a list of great ways that you can share your love for others both near and far. Celebrating differences and showing love and care for those in need or those that could use a little cheerfulness to their Valentine’s Day!

#1 Surprise Your Family With Gala Tickets

Charlie’s Ball, a family gala, is coming up at Science City (inside Union Station) at the end of the month. What better surprise for Valentine’s Day than to get tickets for your family. Not only would you be gifting your family a post-V-Day celebration but you’re also supporting an amazing cause that helps save lives so other families can celebrate special moments and holidays with their kids.

#2 Share a Handmade Valentine

Enjoy some family time and share a handmade Valentine’s day card by attending a community outreach program to benefit sick kids and elderly that are spending Valentine’s Day in the hospital. This year, you can pariticpate in an annual card shower at Once upon a child in Lees Summit, MO on Monday February 12th at 5:30pm. You can stop by and make Valentine’s on site for kids or donate some handmade cards from home.

#3 Send a Hand-Written Letter to a Child with Special Needs

Kids with Special Needs is seeking Monthly Magical Buddies to befriend a child with special needs or a chronic illness and send them a letter, card or gift once a month. You and your family can volunteer a little time and energy to creating a special experience and bond with another child in the country. There is no fee to sign up, just the cost of a stamp and whatever you decide to send each month.


#4 Participate in the Run 4 Love 5k and 10k

This virtual run can be done anywhere you live so no traveling but you get a bit of exercise! Should you choose to take on this adventure, 15% of the proceeds will benefit Heart to Heart International which is an organization that helps communities gain health access, providing humanitarian development and administering crisis relief worldwide. Your virtual race can take place any time in the month of February, so what have you got to lose, except maybe a few pounds?

#5 Do a Random Act of Kindness

They say to “spread kindness around like confetti” and we couldn’t agree more. What better way to celebrate a day of love than by doing kind things for others randomly throughout the day. Need some inspiration? You could…

  • buy a stranger a coffee.
  • give someone on the street a Valentine’s Day card.
  • dole out kisses (of the Hershey variety) to people you run into throughout the day.
  • hold the door open for people at the store.
  • offer to help someone carry something heavy.

From iFamily to Yours,


5 Great Family Valentines Day Activities the Kids Will Love

The Colorful Displays at my local Target tell me that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner here in the metro area and, just to be safe, I checked the calendar. How is it already the end of January? That doesn’t even seem possible. But here we are…February 14th will be here in a flash. We want to encourage you to spend some quality family time together this year with 5 great family Valentine’s Day activities that your kids will love this year. Take a look…
 valentines day activities

5 Great Family Valentines Day Activities the Kids Will Love

Valentine’s Day is not just about flowers and boxes of heart shaped candies, romantic dates and extravagant dinners, it can also be about sharing your love and appreciation for loved ones and enjoying family time. There are many ways to show your family how much you love them that don’t even require gifts. Spending time together and creating memories is the best way to show them how much you care. If you want to give gifts that are more meaningful then avoid the commercialized items that you can buy in the store. Think about what the person would really enjoy or a special item that comes straight from the heart. I have created a list of valentines day activities that help bring a whole to meaning to family Valentines and turn it into a celebration.

#1 A Day of Surprise Fun- “We love to be a Family Day”

Make it a day of little surprises with fun activities that the family can enjoy. Elicit some help with the planning your valentines day activities from your older children or spouse and create a fun day together. It doesn’t even need to be on Valentine’s Day. Family time on a Saturday will do just fine.

#2 Family Time & Dinner Out

Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year and it’s not exactly an ideal time for a celebration. However, you could go check out that family style restaurant that you know and everyone loves or try out a new place that everyone may enjoy. Skip the gifts and splurge on a yummy dessert!

#3 Dinner & A Movie

If you want the best of both a dinner and a movie without staying out too late on a school night, why don’t you try one of the areas dinner and a movie combo locations. It would be great on a weekend too. Here are some are locations where you can do just that. *Tip: be sure to book your tickets early, they may be likely to sell out.

  1. Standees Theater
  2. AMC dine in Studio 28 in Olathe KS
  3. Screenland Armour Theater
  4. Cinetopia Overland Park 18 

#4 Snail Mail Valentines

A fun family tradition that you can do year after year is to write your children or have everyone in the family write each other or create a personalized Valentine. Then you drop it in the mail to be delivered to your home at a later date. Kids enjoy receiving mail and most of the time all we receive are bills. This fun activity can also teach your child how to properly address a letter.

#5 Have a Read & Feed Day at Home

This one might be best reserved for the weekend but it is a great activity none-the-less. Snuggling and reading together is a great way to show your loved ones that you care. There are many children’s books that say ‘I love you’. You can just cuddle and read if your kids are older. You can create some simple snacks or appetizers, lounge around in your comfy clothes with warm blankets and hot cocoa. Relaxing together is a great way to relieve stress too! Plan your day of reading and get ready for some great family time.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope your Valentine’s Day is special!

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,





4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday Party for Your Kid’s Classroom

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve, Kansas City! A lot of parents will be running around, running classroom parties, and treatin’ the kiddos to something special. For those of you getting last minute details for the classroom party together, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great tips to help those holiday party plans along. Check it out!

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

4 Tips to Planning a Fun & Simple Holiday School Party


Are you planning a class party for your child’s classroom? I’d like to share some ideas with you to make it a super fun and unforgettable party! When I was in school, we had “room mothers” that planned all of our holiday parties. Some of the best memories of elementary school I have, include all the awesome parties we had throughout the years! And now here I am planning my own child’s parties. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assisting or leading a party:


#1 Keep it simple

Most schools only have a short time allotted for a party. Our school allows 30 minutes for a snack, craft, and a game. There are so many fabulous ideas on Pinterest but definitely keep in mind that you might not have much time to do the intricate projects that Pinterest is known for. Kids are simple. They will appreciate a fun, easy craft, game and snack.


#2 Divide into small groups & stations

Divide children into small groups and rotate through different stations. Have someone watch the clock or set a timer to let everyone know when it’s time to rotate. This helps things run smoothly and easily.


#3 Keep clear communication lines open

Communicate with your child’s teacher and other parents. Don’t try to take on all the duties of the party yourself. You can use an online signup sheet like Signup Genius to keep track of who’s bringing what. Delegate responsibility and ask for volunteers to help purchase supplies, decorate and run the different stations. Let the teacher know the specifics of the party. She may have some supplies on hand that can be used. I like to have at least 4 parent volunteers, including myself, to help out at the party and that usually allows the teacher to wander around and take a little break from running the show.


#4 Plan details ahead of time

Plan small and big details ahead of time. Make a note of how many students are in the class, how many small groups you’ll have and how many children are in each group. Make sure the parent volunteers know exactly how to make the craft and how the game is played. Gather all of the supplies together and make sure you’re not missing anything for each station.

My Party Plan:

Candy Hearts Relay Race

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party


You’ll need: 4 plastic cups, 2 plastic spoons, a bag or two of conversation hearts.
How to play: Divide the group into two teams. Fill two cups with candy hearts at one end of the area and leave twos cups empty on the other end. Children will take turns putting candy hearts on spoons and racing to the other cup to fill it up. The team who has the most hearts in the cup at the end of one minute WINS!


Hot Pink Chocolate Chip Cookies


4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party


Super simple to make! Stir pink or red food coloring in your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and bake! You can add the special Valentine M&M’s in the mix for more fun!


Picture Frame Magnet Craft

4 Tips to Planning a Fun Holiday School Party

I purchased these cute little owl picture frame craft kits from Oriental Trading. You could also make your own heart cut outs if you have more time. I took individual pictures of the students a week before the party and cut them to size. The kits come with foam stickers to assemble the magnets together. No mess! Super easy!


Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! The kids will have great memories of their class parties for a long time!


From iFamily to Yours,

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Space Between Us

Happy Friday, Kansas City! If you have some teens in your household (or like teen movies yourself), The Space Between Us, might be right up your alley to check out this weekend. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, had a chance at a sneak peek and shares her thoughts with us below. Check it out…

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Space Between Us // iFamilyKC Blog

Release Date: 3 February 2017

Run Time: 120 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Chelsom

Cast: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino


This weekend, The Space Between Us hits theaters. It is a charming story about a boy (Gardner) raised on the planet Mars, who desperately wants to go to Earth. Due to brittle bones and an enlarged heart, scientists are not sure that he would survive Earth’s gravity. Gardner’s mother dies shortly after giving birth to him and so he has been raised by scientists and is desperate to have a real connection with other people. That is where Tulsa comes in; a foster kid Gardner meets online and develops a relationship with. It stars Asa Butterfield (from Hugo and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and Britt Robertson (from Tomorrowland and Mother’s Day). Both give good performances, although their characters (especially Robertson’s) do not get all the development they deserve.

Eventually, Gardner makes it to Earth, and to little surprise, sneaks off to find Tulsa. The two of them take off on an adventure and he gets to see some of the most stunning countryside the United States can offer. Perhaps being the mother of young children, I harbored a bit of disbelief that a boy whose body is having difficulties adapting to Earth could do some of the things he did. They must have been giving him a heck of a lot of immunizations on that 7-month trip through space. As he goes through the film, Gardner asks everyone what their favorite thing about Earth is. It’s a charming reminder that often the simplest things are the most meaningful. Eventually his health begins deteriorating and it is clear his time on Earth is coming to an end.

Based on the trailers, I thought this movie was only a teenage romance film, but the story hints at bigger themes with space exploration and the importance of family. And although I didn’t dislike The Space Between Us, I don’t feel like the film reached its full potential. It was directed by Peter Chelsom whose previous movies included Serendipity and Hanna Montana: The Movie. The storyline jumped around at times and it had quite a few plot holes and clichés. If you aren’t looking for anything too serious though, it was still an enjoyable movie. And if your teens are looking for a movie to check out for Valentine’s Day weekend, this may a contender, but I doubt it will get much hype. I think this is a better movie to rent at home. Despite one teen romantic interlude, the film is pretty family friendly (it is rated PG-13). I give The Space Between Us a 3 out of 5.


From iFamily to Yours,

Heart Shaped Valentine’s Day Calzone

These can be customized by the kids. You could change up the filling adding all their favorite pizza toppings or you could make it a dessert calzone by simply adding canned apple pie filling to the center, brushing with an egg wash and sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top. There are lots of possibilities here. BUT the best part is spending one on one quality time doing something your lil one is going to enjoy J

Kids can help:  Filling the dough and crimping edges.

For the dough: 

  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cup white flour
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

For the filling:

  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce
  • Turkey pepperoni

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water and let set for 5 minutes.  Mix remaining ingredients and then add yeast mixture.  Let dough rise, in a warm place, for about 1-2 hours, until double in size.

Roll out a small portion of the dough at a time, cutting two equal sized hearts.  Fill middle with a thin layer of marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and cheese, and then layer the top with another heart and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Set on baking tray.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.  Test to make sure dough is done baking.  Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

iFamily KC Mom Squad Blogger Keri Nichol

Valentine’s Day Books

The typical gift for Valentine’s Day is something cuddly or chocolate. How about changing it up a little bit this year. There are some great books that you can read with your little Valentine to make the day extra special. There is no better gift then that quality time with you. Here are a few at the top of my list:



Valentine’s Day Books
Submitted by Mom Squad Blogger
Keri Nichol