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12 Free Learning Websites {For Kids}

Prevent the summer slide and keep your kids brains busy on those hot summer days. Turning to inside play is a winner on those unbearable summer days. Reading and learning is always a great choice. With today being the first official day of summer we are feeling the hot sticky heat here in the Carolina Foothills. Normally it is not so sticky, but we will make do for now until it passes to just burning hot. It all depends on the resources you have in your area for more family/kid geared activities. We are already having a blast this summer with lots of activities, crafts, trips, learning and reading with our local participating partners.  

Our school sent home lots of resources last week for the summer to help us keep from sliding. Yes, we just got out on the 13th for summer. So far our schedule is going pretty well and the kids are adjusting just fine. This list is full of great elementary kid style websites! Some do have options to purchase if that is something you would be interested in. However, you don't have to if you don't want to. 

Magnificent Choices- Tacky Box Review

Have you ever said or done something that deserved the tacky crown? What about your little(s)? Mine have. Social skills are so important for kids to experience. Throughout the day my kids are hanging around friends and even riding the bus where there are older kids using tacky words. They then repeat what they hear later on.  Luckily, a creative mom out there came up with a solution for our parenting endeavours. A tool to help your child and your family make better choices. When our Tacky Box came to the front door, the kids instantly wanted to start creating art and hearing a brand new story. It is so thrilling to be a part of this wonderful Campaign for Kindness and I instantly had high hopes. Not to mention that beautifully engraved wooden box complete with a latch that partners so perfectly with the story. Your kids can be like the character in the book, because they too have a Tacky Box. The book is of excellent quality and the vividly drawn pictures on each page just pulls you in even more. 

12 Delicious and Satisfying Drinks

Shakes and smoothies are one of the best on the go drinks that can make or break you depending what is in them{calorie wise}. They are great for meal replacement, snacks, to cool off or great after a workout to help your muscles. Each and every one of the shakes and smoothies below are yummy and full of what your body loves. You can put 1 scoop of whey protein powder or a packet in each one and voila you have a protein enriched drink. By far my top favorites are the chocolate mint minus the mint with the fat-free, sugar-free pudding mix in it and the orange creamsicle. The ones below are just 1 portion, but they are large portions and my husband and I have always just split it in half. If you would rather a shake base....replace the 12 oz. water with 1 cup of milk. Hey, you might like it. That is the best thing about shakes and smoothies, because you can alter them so much. If you start with less you can always add to it to make it what you want.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Coconut Splash Fruit Smoothie
o 8 oz Coconut splash water
o 1 cup frozen mixed fruit

Strawberry Banana Orange Smoothie
o 12oz. cold water
o 1 small banana or 1/2 of a large one
o 7 frozen strawberries
o 1/2 small navel orange-peeled
*This could be any kind of fruit smoothie....substitute the fruit you like the best.

Chocolate Mint Shake
o 12 oz cold water
o 2 tbsp chocolate fat-free, sugar-free pudding mix
o 1/8 tsp peppermint extract (omit for just chocolate)
o Handful of ice cubes

Mom's Monday Mingle 86 #bloghop

WELCOME! So glad to have you today linking your blogs up with us for Mom's Monday Mingle.

1. Please FOLLOW each hostess (They are 1-3 in the link up)
2. Leave a comment if you are new and want us to return the follow.
3. Grab the button and display it on your sidebar or link it to the post.
4. Have fun and meet new friends!

Keeping it a Hobby

"My blogging goals for this year are..." That is the question for Finish The Sentence Friday Blog Hop on Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic. I have thought about this for quite a few days. Well actually before the FTSF Hop took a holiday break. My first thought for a goal was to be more dedicated. It was soon decided that wouldn't be the goal for the new year. Dedication takes time and so much more time that I really do not have. Over the last year, I have spent WAY too much time on the computer. I consider myself a small blogger, I don't have ads, do lots of parties, giveaways or even have sponsors. That way works for me and it keeps from making me crazy. I did try it for a while and it proved to be more than I wanted. When I started blogging, I did it as a hobby. People actually reading my blog was a far thought from my mind. I really had no idea what blogging was all about and how much dedication it takes. However, in the last year, I feel like I have gotten a handle on blogging and what I want out of it. So it makes it easier for me now to decide what I wanted for this upcoming year.

Pretty simple. That was my idea when I originally jumped into blogging. I have complicated the whole process for myself. I have stressed way too many times and tried to be more than what I am comfortable with at times. I wanted to express my thoughts and creativity with others. It was created as a 'me' thing to relax and do for enjoyment. I take breaks here and there because life happens. I blog in real life...for me, that means that I am blogging within the week or day of a published post. Yes, one reason is that I just don't have that much content and the other is me being a procrastinator. As my kids get older, it really seems like there is more to do and I get less done. I have spent way too much time with blog related things...hobbies are supposed to be fun and enjoyable. 

My kids were home for a week and a half and yes, I felt like a crazy person every day they were home. However, I love them so very much and spending so much time with them made me realize that I need to do more with them. I have been doing so many other things and it should be with them. By keeping it a hobby, it brings it back to the basics and gives me more time to focus on better quality in my posts that I want to express and share most. It gives me more family time and time to do the things I really need to be doing. 

o My original intent was list and series posts. Those are the ones that I am most fond of. I get impatient and post many projects individually when I could work them into a list. This will be something you will see more of this upcoming year. 

o I won't lie....I LOVE traffic from Pinterest. Seeing Pinterest within the top 3 of my traffic sources makes my heart happy. A sense of accomplishment, even though it is small, it is so very exciting for me.

o I am interested in the series posts and hope to get my foot in the door on that one this year. Additionally, a longer term goal would be to invite others to do it with me. 

*Future-orientated fear- My biggest fear and lack of the 'go-getter' spirit in blogging is the fate of nothing happening. No linkers, readers, comments. I avoided doing linky parties and it took me a while to do my own link up for the fear of no one coming to link up and hop around. What a surprise, I hosted, co-hosted and linked. I gained so many new friends and opportunities. It has been a great experience. Jump out there for sure. 

o I do not want to force posts. I want them to be authentic and what I am truly up to. So for now, my schedule will dictate the number of posts I can get out. I hope that more posts will be the case, but I won't sweat it. 

o Developing friendships by commenting and connecting- I have a list of other blogs that I really enjoy reading and connecting with. I go through phases of being able to comment on all of their posts and other times I run out of time. I don't know how some people do it. I do make an effort to comment on other blogs, but often times it is once or twice a week in a long stream of back to back blog visits and comments. I feel like it helps me write a more personal comment.  Once upon a time in my time blogging, I spent a large amount of time linking up and visiting other blogs, but it really made me feel like I was living on the computer. With doing blog content, editing photos and regular life it just eats up so much time. I am really realizing that commenting and visiting other blogs is really the only way to actually develop a close relationship with other bloggers. A bloggers writing is something personal and comes from within, which is the best way to connect on a more personal level. 

Personal Blog Connections- When I originally started blogging, I had the plans of doing post only articles and my blog not being a personal blog at all. It took a really long time to include personal details and personal photos, especially of my children. How can others get to know you and enjoy your content if they have no way to relate to you on any level if you say nothing about yourself or your life? They can't. 

Blogging groups- I moved through a few different larger "blogging groups" before I ended up where I am right now. I couldn't figure out where I wanted to be, needed to be or where I felt like I fit best. I really feel like these semi-private blogging groups exist.  I now enjoy a mix of connections within different groups. Some are crafting, creating, baking, sweets, organizing, personal and family. It was all in finding where I felt most inspired. 

My want of the year: To further grow the connections with the bloggers in whom I already interact with and enjoy their blogs. Also, to keep on growing my blogging network. Blogging has been a blessing for me. It has given me a little bit of me back. It helped me jump off that comfort level cliff and dive into brand new experiences. 

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