What Makes A House a Home?

#mommycertified

When you look around your home what do you see?  At first glance you may see the physical aspects of your home; the floors, the color on the walls, or the mirror at the end of the hall, but when you really look inside a home there is so much more to a home than the walls and beams. Look closely around you for the finger prints on the walls from when your kids forgot to wash their hands after painting the picture you have hanging on the refrigerator.  Or the sand that your little one emptied from her shoes after playing at the beach.  The collection of sea shells that your family brought home from your last vacation.  These are the little things that really make a house a home. For me, a home tells a story about your family.  It's the memories that you make while playing board games with your kids, or teaching your child to cook, or helping your kids with their homework after a long day at school.  It's about the dreams that are made when you open the door to your new home.  A new ... [ Read More ]

Avocado, Lime, Banana Yogurt Smoothies

Avocado Lime Banana Smoothie

What could say summer more than a refreshing tropical smoothie?  I've always been an avocado junkie (seriously, I could live off these things) but my love was revitalized last week when I saw a friend of mine post a recipe about Tropical Avocado Popsicles.  They just looked absolutely delicious.  Today on my trip to the grocery store I filled my shopping cart with a few ingredients that I was craving; avocados, limes, bananas, and some Smooth & Creamy Vanilla Stonyfield yogurt.  My intention was to make some avocado push pops using some new molds we found at the store last week.  My daughter has been DYING to use them. My little chef wanted to help in the kitchen too so I let her add all the ingredients to the blender and control the buttons!  I love that she enjoys being in the kitchen with me.  After we filled up our 4 push pops (recipe coming tomorrow) she begged me to drink the leftovers!  Instead, we added a few more ingredients and made the mixture a little thicker for a ... [ Read More ]

10 Tips for Reducing Plastic in our Lives

Balm Baby Plastic Free Challenge and Giveaway

Take a minute and look around you.  How much plastic do you see?  So many products that we use everyday are made of or stored in plastic.  Plastic will NEVER break down - EVER!  You may be able to upcycle it or recycle it but there is a limit to the number of times it can be used.  In the end, it will end up floating in our oceans as tiny little plastic pellets that will harm the animals and ecosystems.  I won't go into the details behind all of the waste but I encourage you to visit a friend of mine, Beth Terry, and her blog My Plastic Free Life.  While she may be one of the biggest advocates for living plastic free; we can all make little changes in our lives to help the problem. Keep reading and scroll down to enter the Balm Baby Plastic FREE July Challenge and Giveaway! I have compiled a quick list of practical tips on how we can all reduce the plastic in our lives.  Don't let these overwhelm you - just pick a few of the items on the list and pay attention to the things that ... [ Read More ]

What My Misfit Shine Has Taught Me

Misfit Shine Fitness Tracker

Activity and fitness trackers are all the rage these days.  Almost weekly I see friends in my Facebook feed asking for advice on which one to get.  I've had my Misfit since May after I met some of their marketing team at Mom 2.0 blogging conference in Atlanta and have been wearing it everyday since then.  I'm not a fitness fanatic and honestly I don't really make working out a priority most days (I know I should...I know!!). My Misfit Shine has actually taught me a lot about myself, my daily activity, and even a little about my sleep patterns.  Thankfully, I've learned I'm not always a lazy bum! 1. I'm not lazy!  OK, well not every day at least.  Being a mom, working full-time, taking care of the house (hahahaha, yeah right), running kids to school and extraciricular activities, and shopping actually keep me more active than I ever imagined.  My least active days are usually Monday and Tuesday when I'm strapped to my computer for hours trying to catch up from the weekend off ... [ Read More ]

5 Fun (and Rewarding) Summer Reading Challenges for Kids

5 Fun and Rewarding Summer Reading Programs for Kids #summerreading

Are you looking for fun ways to encourage your kids to read more this summer?  Great news, there are several programs available locally and online to reward your kids for reading. The Rays have paired up with the local libraries for Reading with the Rays; if your child reads for 24 hours they get a free Rays ticket!  Plus most local libraries also have an end of summer party scheduled to celebrate your child's summer reading accomplishments.  I know the Palm Harbor Library has a party scheduled for August 2nd.     Read any 8 books and Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program will reward your child with a free book.  You can download a reading journal on their website to track your child's goals.     Once your child reads 5 books they can be entered to win prizes from the Pizza Hut Summer Book It Challenge.  Pizza Hut also has a fun Instagram contest and scavenger hunt to support their program; follow #bookitsummer online for more information.    Kids who read 8 books from a ... [ Read More ]

Carvel + Nutella = Heaven in a Cup (or Cone)

http://www.kellyscloset.com/Kellys-Closet-Return-Policies_ep_50-1.html

  From now until Sept 30th you can indulge on the delicious Nutella inspired recipes at Carvel ice cream shops.  The popular hazelnut spread has been added to their soft-serve, hand-scooped and sundae dashers for your summer enjoyment. “We could not be more excited to offer our handcrafted Carvel ice cream with Nutella® hazelnut spread as an exciting treat this summer,” said Carvel President Scott Colwell.  “Nutella® has such a loyal following and we know our guests will be thrilled that it’s being paired with our fresh ice cream.” What are some reasons you might be stopping by Carvel this summer?  With the kids out of school for another 2 months I'm sure I can think of a few reasons. To reward your kids for reading over summer! To salvage a crappy day from complete disaster! For a family night out on the town! For a mom's night out without the kids! For a date night (again, without the kids)! For a cool treat after a long day at the beach! For those lazy ... [ Read More ]

Sea Shell Picture Frame Tutorial For Kids

Sea Shell Picture Frame

We just got back from a week long beach vacation and we may have collected a huge bag full of sea shells, sea glass, and other sea rocks.  When we got home we made a quick trip to Michael's to pick up some craft supplies.  Picture frames, glue, jewelry cord, ribbon, candles, and jars are all sitting next to our dining room table ready for us to get our craft on! We weren't home for 5 minutes and my daughter (she's my crafty minion) was begging me to make the shell heart frame!  The begging continued for almost 24 hours before we actually had time to sit down and work on it.  I probably won't be opening an Etsy store anytime soon but we had a lot of fun and will have sweet memories when we look at it. Supplies Needed: Wooden picture frame Miscellaneous paint brushes Acrylic paint (assorted colors) Elmer's Glue Sea Shells Picture from the Beach Directions: Paint the wooden picture frame.  You can tell that we had different techniques.  I prefer one solid ... [ Read More ]

Come Trekaroo with Me!

Superoo14

Trekaroo? Superoo?  What does that even mean? Trekaroo is a family travel tips and review website that my friend Marissa introduced me too about a year ago.  The site offers user submitted reviews of hotels and attractions in different cities around the US.  Anyone can join and it's totally free! A Superoo is a parent who joins the Trekaroo team to provide travel advice and help share the love of Trekaroo.  Moms and Dads around the US who like to travel (alone or with their kids) are invited to access new hotels, attractions and special events so they can share these places with you. Guess who is on the Superoo team for 2014-2015??  Me and about 100+ other moms and dads around the US.  I am so excited to join the team and start sharing some of our adventures with you.  If you've follow me for a while you know that we love to travel.  Just this year we've been on a cruise to Cozumel and Grand Caymen.  Last week we were in Palm Beach and next week the hubs and I are sneaking ... [ Read More ]

Passport to Imagination with Michael’s Stores

michaels craft classes

We're going into week 3 of summer vacation and I have to say, I'm surviving this summer like a boss!  Our first week out of school was a family vacation so that was pretty easy.  Last week was our first real week at home while I attempt to work AND juggle kids.  We spent most of the week at karate since my son was testing for his 1st degree Black Belt this past weekend (he passed - yeah!!). Friday, I scheduled a Passport to Imagination craft class at Michael's for the kids.  This summer your kids can spend 2 craft-filled hours at Michael's (without mom nagging them) for only $2.  That's just long enough to run to Starbucks, grab a latte, and get a little bit of work done in peace and quiet! As long as your kids are over 5 you can drop them off and don't have to stick around.  The kids are safe in a back room with a few Michael's employees and aren't allowed to leave until you get back.  It was a pretty full class at our local Michael's and the kids ranged from about 5-13 yrs; ... [ Read More ]

Things To Do With Kids in Tampa

Tampa With Kids

As we start to check off things from our Summer Bucket List, my kids keep adding things to their list!  While I know we can't possibly do everything they bring up, that doesn't mean that you won't.  If you like in the Tampa Bay area or if you're traveling here this summer, there are a lot of fun things to do with kids of all ages. You can review our Summer Bucket List and see that we already have listed: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Busch Gardens Old McMickey's Farm Florida Aquarium Clearwater Marine Aquarium Weeki Wachee Springs Park play dates My kids have added to their wishlist Airheads Trampoline Arena and Passport to Imagination at Michael's craft stores.  We also have our annual trip to Ichetucknee Springs in July. I was sharing my ideas with a group of local bloggers and found out they have some pretty amazing ideas also.  Below is a round-up of fun things to do in Tampa with kids this summer. Tampa Bay Moms Blog: Keep it Cool at Tampa Bay's Best ... [ Read More ]