...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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Have you heard of Bitsy’s Brainfood? I discovered Bitsy’s at Target a few months ago while running errands with the kids. I was searching for healthy snacks for our spring break trip to go along with the apples and pistachios I had already picked up, but the kids wanted something more exotic (i.e., less boring) than pretzels. Bitsy’s was an instant hit and quickly became a snack staple in our house. Since then, the Smart Cookies and Smart Crackers have made appearances in the kids’ school lunches (they’re nut free!) and our pool bag.

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The Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin cookies and Cheddar Chia Veggie crackers are our family’s favorites. Mabrey loves the alphabet-shaped cookies for practicing her ABCs. The boys like creating pictures with the tangram-shaped crackers. I like the fact that they aren’t loaded with sugar, are made with organic ingredients and were created by a mom duo who believe that healthy minds and healthy bodies go hand in hand. (Each serving of Smart Crackers contains a ½ serving of vegetables.) Naturally, Bitsy’s was in our food bag on a recent road trip to Michigan City, Indiana. (More on the trip coming soon!)

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Speaking of summer road trips, we have several planned for this year. That’s in sharp contrast to last summer which was way too busy for my liking. I had a hard time saying no to a few activities (for myself and the kids), and it ended up being too much. We spent a lot of time in the car going from home to activity, activity to activity, activity to home. The tedious driving nibbled away at our downtime. Before we knew it, summer break was over and we hadn’t savored it the way we’d really wanted to.

This year I vowed to do things differently in the hope of zeroing in on that sweet spot between complete boredom and excessive busyness. My summer motto? Don’t make it harder than it has to be. We’re saying no to the things that don’t really bring us joy and yes to familiar favorites and a few new adventures. The kids are sticking with a free, drop-in camp at a local park two mornings a week. (Seriously, it’s been my sanity saver for the past two summers. The kids liken it to a three-hour recess. So, so grateful for park programs!) Layne is playing tennis once a week, and Everett and Mabrey are taking swim lessons for two weeks. All three are enrolled in the summer reading program at the library, and we bought a family pass to our neighborhood pool.

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Saying no to other stuff is allowing us to squeeze in several road trips which we’re extremely excited about. It’s also giving us chunks of downtime to do whatever we want: read, hang out with friends at the pool, go for a walk, squeeze in a project or two, wander, wonder, flex our creative muscles, take a nap already!, watch a movie, visit a new park or nothing. I’ll be the first to admit that I feel guilty when my day isn’t productive/busy/hard enough. It’s like enough isn’t enough unless it’s just slightly too much. Why is that?

Bitsy’s is readily available at Target. If you’d like to give them a try, the first 200 readers can use this coupon to score $2 off any Smart Cookie or Smart Cracker.

How do you handle summer break? What activities are your kids involved in? Does it ever feel like too much? Too little? Any road trips on your calendar? I always love hearing your thoughts.

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*This post sponsored in part by Bitsy’s Brainfood. This post is not affiliated with or sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

12 Comments

14.June.2016

We are taking a similar approach this summer. Last year the kids were younger and I felt the need to structure their days and keep them productive, lest they fall into the boredom trap or fight with each other all day. This year is much more laid back and we’re all really soaking it up. Our pool has free swim from 5-6 six days a week, so we are getting there as much as possible. (We have a 21 m/o that can’t spend much longer than that at the pool anyway, so it’s perfect.) I always get the older two a workbook of the next grade level to keep their minds working. Horseback riding lessons one day a week. Usually one week at their grandparent’s. Reading, bible study, a play date once a week, hiking when it’s not too hot, and just whatever feels right. I’d love to take a road trip, but I can never come up with where to go! I must know, where is that awesome modern house in your picture?

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14.June.2016

Thanks for the coupon – I will definitely try these for my granddaughter. Wonderful summer ideas…

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14.June.2016

All of my favorite DIY/home/family blogs seem to have turned into big infomercials. I no longer trust the blogs that I used to turn to for honest product reviews and recommendations. I see the same brands pop up on all blogs so when I read that you happened to come across them at Target (seemingly, on your own) and then I later read that the post is sponsored, it just doesn’t seem organic or honest.
And it’s disheartening to see so many blogs staging advertisements with their kids. I picture a lovely outing like yours being disrupted by mom/photographer trying to get the perfect shot to highlight the products. I just wish there was a way for bloggers to make a living without, what seems to be, reader manipulation and a flood of sponsored ads.

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replied on June 20th, 2016

Believe it or not, we did discover Bitsy’s in the snack aisle at Target a while back. So when they recently asked if I was interested in collaborating, it was an easy yes. Thanks for reading!

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14.June.2016

My kids have swimming once a week, my son takes a parkour class once a week and my daughter has gymnastics once a week. those are the only scheduled activities. my husband is a SAHD. his schedule for the summer consists of sleeping, going to the farm where we volunteer, pool, reading, hiking. we have a road trip planned to Mt Rushmore next week and he and the kids leave for a month long road trim to visit family at the end of July. they are having a wonderful summer!!! i have some guilt about not signing them up for more ‘stuff.’ but, i think lazy, stress free days and dinner together as a family every night is awesome for all of us!

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14.June.2016

I thought my veggie hating toddlers would see right past the crackers but they were so excited to make shapes and then eat them, I don’t think they even noticed! So win for me! And then in a roundabout way because I discovered yet another way of sneaking veggies into their diets :D

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14.June.2016

Looks like a lovely trip. I wish I was there also! We always plan a lot of RV trips in the spring and summer months, we were recently on a lake that was beautiful. We will go again in about 6 weeks. We have no children but we still have summer break, it’s a must. Good for you for trying to savor summer more this year.

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15.June.2016

I don’t really have a problem with sponsored content. But it stretches the bounds of credulity to say that you “discovered” this food at Target a while back. They are doing an ad campaign across blogs. It’s totally fine to say that his company reached out to you for a review and (shocking!) you love it. But given your food habits and everything you’ve written about food and diets and whatnot, I just don’t buy that you stumbled upon this food without having been asked to review it. So go with the obvious, believable explanation. It’s cool. I’ll still read.

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replied on June 20th, 2016

Believe it or not, we did discover Bitsy’s in the snack aisle at Target a while back. So when they recently asked if I was interested in collaborating, it was an easy yes. Thanks for reading!

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My son loves the cheddar chia crackers (I occasionally sneak a few too!). Don’t make it harder than it has to be… that should be a motto for LIFE :)

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16.June.2016

Thanks for the coupon! Could you tell me what brand water bottle you bought for your kids?

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27.June.2016

I grew up just west of Michigan City and never knew about a couple of these places. I love this trip you made and may have to do the same with my kids. It’s about a two hour drive for us from Indianapolis. Thanks for sharing!

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