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I have always loved to do leaf rubbings!

Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by the instant 'picture' that was created just by covering a leaf with paper and running a crayon over the top.

As I grew to become a nature lover, I realized that a leaf print is much more than just a pretty picture -- it's also a peek into the science of trees.



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I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


You know when the stars seem to align and a few things just fall into place at the right time.  Well, that’s just what happened when we received our newest Sprint item to review this month.



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This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.


I know, we all dread them -- the annual requests for fundraisers.

Just this past week, I've received notices about the middle school fundraiser, the choir fundraiser, the Senior class fundraiser and a fall fundraiser.

I'm all for helping the schools to raise money but my time is limited and I don't like to continually ask family and friends to support these causes (heck, they all have kids too).

BUT, there is one fundraiser that I can get behind 100% --

because it doesn't cost me any additional money or time

AND the kids can do it all on their own!


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Do you read books from your childhood to your kids?

I think sharing vintage books with kids is an important way to build their love of reading and also share fond memories of how parents and grandparents grew up. 

I've curated a number of book lists sharing classic books for kids over the past year and wanted to bring them all together in one post for easy reference.



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Time with the kids is precious. 

You really begin to understand this as the kids grow up and especially as those long, relaxing days of summer turn into the more busy back-to-school hours that are beginning this month.

When the kids are born, you have approximately 940 Saturdays together before they fly the coop.  Yes, someone somewhere counted up all those days and we get less than a thousand weekends (really not much when you look at it like that, is it).

When they’re young, “The days are long but the years are short” as Gretchen Rubin would say.  Then they get older and both the days and the years fly by quickly.

I only have 55 more Saturdays with my oldest.

And here’s what’s been eating at me lately --- as the kids get older, their schedule becomes full of things (fun things) that they want to do.  BUT (and it’s a big but), they still REALLY need that time with you!


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Wow has summer just flown by or what?!  The kids only have a few more weeks before they start classes here (they are NOT ready to go back) and this is the last topic in our Summer Science series.

If you've missed the previous science projects and booklists, please check out the links at the bottom of the post -- Trisha (Inspiration Laboratories) and I have had such a fun time pulling together hands-ons science and many of the activities can be used year round!



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Summer Science is back and we are exploring chemistry this week!

We've worked our way through geology, biology, astronomy and physics.  If you've missed any of the science activiites we are sharing along with those from our super cool collaborator Inspiration Laboratories, you can find them all linked below for each of the science areas. 

Chemistry is the area of science that focuses on investigating what makes up matter and how these properties change, combine and interact with one another.  One of the most frequent thoughts when you mention 'chemistry' is some type of bubbling liquid or an explosion in a lab (ahh, the days of high school science class :)  But in today's activity, we are actually going to focus on one of the 'invisible' areas of chemistry!


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So many kids love sensory activities!  Touching, squishing and running their fingers through all types of items helps to extend their learning.

But I know it's not always possible to have messy play as an option.  And sometimes, you want to keep the kids guessing with an activity -- they do love surprises.

This game mixes sensory play with logical reasoning skills -- and it can be a fun way for some not-so-messy sensory fun too!


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Welcome back to our Summer Science series hosted by Edventures with Kids and Inspiration Laboratories

So far, we've covered biology {books about plants, animals & humans}, geology {rock, volcano and fossil activities} and astronomy {marshmallow constellations}. 

This week, we're focusing on physics and boy, was it hard to narrow down what we wanted to do!  There are so many areas of our lives that are governed by the principles of physics -- like the fact that we don't all just float away due to gravity ;)


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I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating

There were two things uttered almost immediately when we opened the box for the newest phone review in the Sprint Ambassador program and saw the Kyocera Hydro Vibe Smartphone --

The first was "Man, I wish we had this when my phone went into the washing machine!"

And the second, "This would be the PERFECT first phone for my tween who drops everything" ;)

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Welcome back to our Summer Science series -- today's science theme is Geology!

This is a favorite area of science for kids for two reasons -- explosions and digging :)

I don't know about your house but in ours, there are rocks everywhere!  I'm not kidding -- on the science table, stacked up near the garden in the backyard, in the dryer (yep, it seems like every week I'm pulling rocks out of someone's pocket). 

What can I say, kids are attracted to rocks.


Since they're going to collect the darn things anyway, why not spin it into some great hands-on learning ;)  Shhh...don't tell them.


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You are going to LOVE me when you taste today's post!

Seriously, it's one of those "how did I not know about this sooner!" type of snacks :)

We were planning a family movie night this week -- trying to decide whether to watch an old Muppets movie or find a newer flick to see -- and the kids wanted popcorn (of course). 

In case you've never tried it, we always make homemade popcorn and it's the BEST!

Just heat a few teaspoons of oil in a large pot and once it begins to get hot, drop in a half-cup of popcorn seeds.  Cover the pot and shake it back and forth over the heat until you have popcorn.

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We are kicking off a new series today and I am SUPER excited! 

For the next six weeks, Trisha from Inspiration Laboratories and I will be featuring a Summer Science Series. 

Each week, we'll feature a new topic and share books, hands-on activities and share ideas for how to explore the topic at home or around your neighborhood.

Summer Science -- yea!  The kids will love this stuff because they are born with the amazing ability to asking all those inquisitive questions --

Why do animals hibernate?

What are clouds made from?

How many stars are in the sky?


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“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Kohl’s. I received a promotional item to facilitate my review.  

This week, I've been working with Kohl's on their #DestinationSummer project because summer is just an awesome time to get out and do fun things with the kids!

We have one more special summer item to share and it's about one of my favorite places on Earth -- the second Disney Planes movie is coming out this summer!

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Welcome to our second year of the School's Out: Top 10 Summer Learning series!

I'm joining 35 wonderful kid bloggers this week to provide TONS of ideas & activities for summer learning and fun. 

We know that summer should be a time for kids to kick-back and be kids -- but it's also a great opportunity to let the kids explore interests that they may not have the chance to learn about during the school year.

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This content is sponsored by Kohl’s as a part of their #DestinationSummer campaign.  Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions (and crazy comments) are always my own.


This week, I’m excited to be working with Kohl’s and some truly amazing bloggers on the #DestinationSummer project

In addition to their Pinterest Virtual Road Trip, Kohl’s also has a great in store campaign taking place this summer called “FindYourYes". 

The idea is to find what matters to you. 

For us parents, a huge 'Yes' is our kids.

But while I was watching the #FindYourYes video and thinking about my kids, I began to wonder – what’s their “Yes”; what are the things that matter to my kids?

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This content is sponsored by Kohl’s as a part of their #DestinationSummer campaign.  Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions (and crazy comments) are always my own.


I'm so excited to be working with Kohl's and some amazing bloggers on the #DestinationSummer Virtual Road Trip!  We are tripping across the country this summer to share some great places to visit and TONS of travel tips for families (yea!).

Thanks to Erin from Designs for Minikind for handing off the reigns as we travel across the Midwest!

If you have kids, you know it can be crazy to go anywhere!  Every trip – to the grocery store, the park or the beach – always seems to require huge amounts of stuff.

But summertime means day trips – a chance to go explore some great places and let the kids see another part of your city or state.

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“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”


For our kids, using technology is like brushing their teeth -- they do it a few times a day; it's just part of their daily routine.

They love to play games, watch videos, stay in touch with friends & family and keep up with all the latest internet fads.

But what are they REALLY doing when they're online?

With a teen and tween at our house, this is a topic that's constantly discussed in our home.

I consider myself a pretty involved parent but I want to balance how much I monitor my kids' tech behavior with being able to teach them good online skills so they can 'police' themselves.  So I was really happy when I was asked to tour and read the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Cyber Safe Futures website!

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 “I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central for Revolution Foods. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”


There’s something about lunch and summertime that just doesn’t seem to jive in our house. 

During the school year, my husband takes on the lunch duties with some help from the kids (they pack their own fruit & snack each day).  So sandwiches are always prepared the night before (I have a great hubby!).

Then summer hits and the idea of doing something in advance goes out the window for me :) 

I mean, it’s summer, right?!  No schedules, live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of days.

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We're just back from our annual family vacation -- and honestly, this one almost did me in!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to travel! 

Exploring new places, seeing some AMAZING sights and being with my family -- just us without all the day-to-day craziness that we leave behind -- it's something I look forward to each year.

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