Why I Watch TV With My Kids and a GIVEAWAY!!

why I watch tv WITH my kids at happyhomefairy.comSome of the best conversations about life that I have had with my kids have come from a 30 minute session in front of the Tube.

As easy as it is sometimes to use the television as a babysitter to keep my kids from wrecking the house or asking me to hold them while I am molding a meatloaf with my bare hands, I occasionally will sit down and watch a program or 2 snuggled up next to their adorable little selves.

I do this for a few reasons…

#1 – It gives me a window into the kind of media that is available these days.  There have been many-a-show that we have stopped watching or turned off because I took the time to watch the material that was being poured into my kids’ young and impressionable minds.

Just because it is in the ‘Kids’ section of Netflix doesn’t necessarily mean it is appropriate or helpful for a kid.

There was a particular show that my children liked to watch a lot and the main character was kind of a whiner.  Because I had watched the show several times already with my boys I soon began recognizing that same character’s whining voice creeping into their little voices (1 Corinthians 15:33) and so I was able to quickly put an end to it.

#2 – TV shows are great starting points for discussions about behavior.  Like most mamas, I want my children to develop a keen sense of discernment.  I want them to be able to identify things like respect, obedience, kindness, responsibility, etc.  So when a TV character looks at her mom and haughtily argues about going to bed, I’ll casually say, “Do you think she is respecting her mommy right now?” and then, “What would have been the better, obedient response?”

When we stopped watching that cartoon with the whiney kid, I didn’t just say, “You aren’t allowed to watch that anymore.  It’s bad.”  I watched it with them and said, “Do you hear how he is complaining?  What does the Bible say about complaining?” (Philippians 2:14)  Then I gently guided them to the understanding that exposing our hearts to stuff that doesn’t help us look more like Jesus is not the most productive use of time.

Which is why I like Veggie Tales so much (and which brings us to the purpose of today’s post!).

Veggie Tales is known for producing wholesome, funny, creative programs that help kids know God and His Word better, so when I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I might be interested in reviewing the latest Veggie Tales movie called Noah’s Ark (starring the voice of Wayne Brady – the Let’s Make a Deal show host and comedian from Who’s Line Is It Anyway?), my response went something like this:

“YES.”

The hubs grilled some salmon for us last night and we gathered around the coffee table in the living room to watch our new flick.

It did not disappoint.

Within the first 5 minutes of the show I already had the catchy opening number stuck in my head (still is as I type this 3 hours later – ha!) and the boys were completely captivated and full of giggles as the plot unfolded.

The story focuses on Noah’s son, Shem, who spends a good portion of the movie doubting his father’s faith to build a huge ark (equipped with water slides and air hockey tables on deck).  As the rains come and the challenges mount (ie. animal poo – I mean, seriously, can you even imagine the smell?!), Shem’s eyes are opened to the importance of trusting God.

The best line in the show was when the skies first darkened, the wind began to blow, and the rain started to pour.  Shem completely freaked out, but Noah quietly and confidently reminded him,

“This is what God prepared us for.”

I guess that is kind of like motherhood and life and my desire to watch TV with my kids.

As I sit with them and we discuss the things we see, I pray that those little seeds being planted will prepare them for whatever might come there way.

Hopefully my children’s futures won’t include a giant, angry squid (you’ll have to watch the show for yourself – wink!), but we faithfully and ceaselessly train and teach and help them discern the world around them so that they are ready, by God’s grace, to survive anything.

Like Noah.

And a bunch of funny vegetables.

veggie tales 2veggie tales 1veggie tales 3Guess what?!  I was given an EXTRA copy of the brand new Veggie Tales Noah’s Ark movie to share with one of my sweet readers!

Do YOU want to watch it with YOUR kids?

Simply leave a comment below and tell me why you want your family to enjoy Bob and Larry, a big boat that looks like an orange slice, a great soundtrack, and a message of God’s faithfulness.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my wonderful international readers).  The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 1 (EST).  A winner will be selected shortly after – actually, I will be asleep then, so I will just email you sometime the next day :-).

– Julie

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22

*I was given this product at no cost in exchange for a review.  All opinions are 100% mine.*

Will You Lent With Me?

LENT

Based on the photo above I would imagine that some of you are wondering if I converted to Catholicism. :-)

To answer your question – no.  The hubs is a pastor at a PCA church and after many years of in depth study about church history, he came to the conclusion that recognizing the Lent season (beginning with Ash Wednesday) is a beautiful part of the Christian church’s story.

As a result of his careful study, our little church celebrated Ash Wednesday this year by holding a few worship services where we were able to receive the ‘imposition of ashes’ on our foreheads – a symbol and reminder of our sins and His great sacrifice, inspired by the verse,

“You are dust, and to dust you shall return,” Ecclesiastes 3:20.

We are but dust without His breath of life.

Under this humbling truth (plastered right on our foreheads – our very minds, so to speak) we are then able to rejoice because even though our bodies will return to dust one day, our souls get to be in eternity with Him forever – all thanks and praise to the work He did on the cross (Easter!).

I so long to be a person of the cross.  I want others to know without a shadow of doubt Who I love most.

When the hubs and I picked up the boys from school, Happy Baby took one look at his daddy’s forehead and said, “WHY YOU HAVE DAT?”

And as I explained this season to my boys, I thought maybe my sweet blog readers would benefit from it as well.

One of my favorite things about Lent is that we are called to remember the 40 days that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be with God, to be tested, and to fast (Matthew 4:1-11).

Wait, did you catch that?

He did not eat for 40 DAYS.

Sometimes I can’t even skip a snack without getting grumpy!

Jesus denied himself some incredibly basic needs in order to humbly submit Himself to His Father.  His willingness to surrender EVERYTHING is so beautiful and inspiring and makes me keenly aware of the 100 million times a day I hold on to worthless idols (fear, insecurity, jealousy, pride, being judgmental, wanting to be in control of everything, Hobby Lobby, how many Facebook ‘likes’ I have) and cling to my earthly comforts (my hair iron, dark chocolate – ahem).

I told Happy Buddy that it was as if Jesus wanted to declare to His Father that He loved Him even more than food (Job 23:12).

Try getting a child to understand that when he has a chocolate chip cookie sitting in front of him.

Try getting ME to understand that when standing at the entrance of a Target (more like emotional food, I guess – ha!).

This year the hubs and I have been prayerfully considering what we might ‘fast’ from in order to make ourselves more like Christ this season.

I thought about fasting from laundry, dishes, and making lunches every day, but I guess that’s not really the point. :-)

Although Happy Buddy informed me today that he wanted to give up wearing clothes for Lent so our fasts would compliment one another rather nicely.

Are you giving something up for Lent?

I wanted to encourage you today to think and pray about it.

When I was explaining this to my boys, I tried to help them understand that the item you choose to fast from should be something that is important to you and involve a bit of sacrifice.  It should draw you to Jesus every time your flesh wants to have the item, eat the item, use the item, etc.  It should daily make you aware of the depth of your need for Him.

Happy Baby announced that he wanted to give up his minion toy and I knew that God was inspiring his little heart.

Happy Buddy on the other hand is still thinking about this (after I squashed his no-clothes scheme) and is convinced that giving up vegetables is a worthy Lenten fast.

Pray for him. :-)

I wanted to share with you an incredible resource Ann Voskamp is sharing at A Holy Experience – 40 days of printable prayer cards you can use on your Lenten journey – find them HERE.

I just printed mine and am planning to use them.

In this world that seems to be ever-increasing in evil and darkness, we must cling to the light.  We must embrace and walk in it.  Humbly, obediently, and fully surrendered.

So, dear readers, will you Lent with me?

– Julie

“I love you, Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1

Easy Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activity

easy fine motor valentine's day activity at happyhomefairy.com

I know this is late, but this week has been BANANAS.

First of all, my little 2 year olds and my boys’ classes had their Valentine’s Day parties on Tuesday so I had to have all their little Valentines ready (you can see what we made HERE).

Then I was the speaker at our school’s weekly chapel service on Wednesday morning.

Thursday was Grandparent’s Day (an event that my class and the other 2 year old class got to sing for (adorable) but which cost me a few years of my life as we waited in the hallway for our performance cue for 20 minutes (insanity)).  Do you know what it is like to be in charge of 30 excited 2 year olds in a crammed hallway next to a room packed with 300 people for 20 minutes????

Think Lord of the Flies meets Jurassic Park and you will have a small window into my morning on Thursday.

Friday was a teacher work day at my school and then I ran to the mall with my mom (who was in town for Grandparent’s Day – yay!) to try to find her a dress for my little brother’s wedding (which is in just 3 weeks).

That afternoon I had a meeting with someone to try to find out how to move my blog to a self-hosted site so that I can add advertising and try to make a little money.  One thing the guy asked me in order to gauge how ready I am for this move, was how consistent I am with posting.  My response was something along the lines of, “Uhhhhh whenever I am not needed by anyone” – which is usually about once a week, at midnight, for about 10 minutes.

And Saturday was spent celebrating the people I love by decorating the kitchen table all fancy for Valentine’s Day only to see them all take their pancakes into the living room to watch TV.

Needless to say, instead of going on a hot Valentine’s Day date last night, the hubs and I were in bed by 9 – lol!

So here I am on Sunday getting this post to you about 3 weeks late, but hey, it’s not even midnight and I’m all for stretching out celebrations.  I mean who’s to say that Valentine’s Day has to end on the 14th?  In my opinion, Valentine’s doesn’t technically have to end until March 1.

I went to Dollar Tree and found these cute plastic heart buckets and these sparkly heart picks.

The hubs helped me drill some holes into the lid of the bucket and then we let the kiddos have at it!

fine motor activity for valentine's day 1fine motor activity for valentine's day 2fine motor activity for valentine's day 3fine motor activity for valentine's day 4This was a really simple and fun way to strengthen my kids’ hand muscles as well as help with their one-to-one correspondence.

They  can push the little heart sticks into the holes as well as pull them out for a great time!

fine motor activity for valentine's day 5I hope y’all had a good Valentine’s Day!

Happy Baby sends you a smooch!

– Julie :-)

Fifty Shades of NO

50 Shades of No by Happy Home FairyThere is a new movie coming out this weekend – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Fifty Shades of Grey – have you heard of it?

Haha.

When the book originally came out I didn’t pay much attention on purpose.  I knew that it wasn’t something that I wanted to set before my eyes (Psalm 101:3).

But now with a movie making its debut, I am completely sobered by just how accessible and appealing this content is to so many.

Christian women included.

There are lots of reasons why this movie and book is harmful – dangerous, even – for you (Sheila from To Love, Honor, and Vacuum wrote a great post about it HERE and Thriving Home shared an incredible article called Can 50 Shades of Grey Enhance Your Sex Life? HERE), but when considering participating in things that our world wildly celebrates, I think it all boils down to asking ourselves a couple of questions…

Is engaging with this kind of material going to draw me closer to Jesus?  Is it going to make me look more like Him to others (my spouse included)?

I remember a few years ago I was reading a series of books written by a popular Christian author (yes, Christian).  Every storyline involved some sort of radical trial that the main character(s) would suffer (like murder, AIDS, rape, a child’s near drowning).  The stories also portrayed marriage in such a way that seemed unrealistic and fairy tale-ish at times.  But I was so drawn to these books and couldn’t put them down.  It was like an escape for me.

I got so wrapped up in these books that I would find myself INTERCEDING IN PRAYER for the FICTIONAL characters throughout the day!

It was CUH-RAY-ZEE.

However, it didn’t even stop there.  The more I read, the more I was consumed with anxiety that horrible things were going to happen to me (as they did to characters in the stories) and I became discontent in my relationship with my husband because I compared him to the male heroes in my books.

After awhile I finally listened to the Holy Spirit and removed all of the books from my home because they just weren’t helping me with the ultimate goal –

BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS.

It sounds like a lame example as there weren’t any whips or graphic bedroom scenes in these stories, but I believe my struggle was similar to the woman reading/watching Fifty Shade of Grey.  Our own brokenness/flesh/weakness causes us to easily be disillusioned to what is REAL LIFE and what is GOD’S TRUTH.

God’s Word is full of verses that speak to protect us from things that will ultimately enslave us/lead us into bondage (like that fear I was all tangled up in and the critical eye I was dishing out on the hubs).  It even encourages us to fill our minds with only the things that are excellent, pure, lovely, admirable, and right (Philippians 4:8).  And the Gospel continually sets forth a message of self-sacrificing love that is unconditional, patient, and kind (Philippians 2:3-11).

Often things that aren’t of the Lord typically FEEL really good for a MOMENT, but in the end they will leave you with that never-satisfied hunger for more.  You will find that the momentary pleasure or arousal of a glamorized Hollywood movie will really, when it fades, just make you more aware of the emptiness that we suffer apart from Christ.

Because Christ provides everything we need for a life of joy and love and intimacy so much greater than you could ever read about in a book (other than the Bible) or see on the big screen (read Song of Solomon if you don’t believe me).

So, sweet ladies, this Valentine’s Day weekend, I encourage you to not go see this movie.

Instead, do one of THESE ideas with your husband.  Leave him THESE notes.  Send him one of THESE flirty texts.  God created us for intimacy that is fun and sexy and pure and reflective of His unfailing love for you.

But ultimately, let’s be women who make JESUS the One that captures our hearts, our desires, and our imagination every day in this crazy, down-spiraling world.

And I can tell you with certainty that His kind of love does not include a necktie.

– Julie

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.  Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11

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howsweetthesound-239

Julie Brasington is wife of a worship pastor, a preschool teacher, and the creator of Happy Home Fairy, a popular blog focusing on encouraging and equipping moms to choose joy and Jesus on the parenting journey. She shares easy craft ideas, printables, simple recipes, holiday fun, thoughts on raising her 2 awesome boys, trusting God in the midst of poop blow-outs and toddler tantrums, and figuring out if serving scrambled eggs for dinner 4 nights in a row is an acceptable meal plan. Follow her on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE, and Instagram HERE.

Adorable FREE Printable Valentine (and it’s HEALTHY)

There are so many Raisins why Jesus loves you FREE Printable Valentine at Happy Home Fairy!!I really wanted the boys to hand out Valentines this year that were both healthy and Christ-centered.

And these little yogurt-covered raisins are SO popular with the kids in our preschool (but you can use plain raisins too).

raisins valentinesI thought they came out pretty cute. :-)

Especially that the message is one we ALL need to hear.  Jesus – singing over each of us, counting all the ways He adores us (Zephaniah 3:17).

Would you like the FREE Printable?

There are so many Raisins why Jesus loves you FREE Printable Valentine at Happy Home Fairy!Get it HERE.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Easy Valentine Gift Ideas for the Teacher

Easy Valentine Gift Ideas for Teachers

Happy Baby has extreme sensitivity to light, so anytime I turn the light on in his bedroom in the mornings or whenever we walk outside, he has a really hard time adjusting.

The last couple of days when I have gone outside to get my little man from the pick-up area after school I have found him wearing a pair of sunglasses.

His teacher’s.

She loves him so much she sacrifices her own need to beat the Florida sun beams in order to serve Happy Baby.

That’s Gospel Love right there!

It is only fitting to strive for opportunities to bless the people who bless my children every school day, so here are my favorite, inexpensive, and fun ways to show your child’s teacher some love this Valentine’s Day.

happythoughts21It Takes a Big Heart to Shape Little Minds (Free Printable) – Happy Money Saver

Bag of Chips ValentinesYou’re All That and a Bag of Chips (Free Printable) – My Three Monsters

sm-sock-valentine-2You Knock My Socks Off, Valentine (Free Printable) – The Crafting Chicks

Free-Valentines-Printable-for-TeachersHershey’s Bar Wrapper (Free Printable) – Club Chica Circle

Valentine-for-Teachers-367x500Have a Colorful Valentine’s Day (Free Printable) – My Frugal Adventures

mint“You were MINT to be my teacher!” (attach to box of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies)- Source

Riesens-Teacher-Gift-Riesens-Why-I-Like-You1‘Riesens’ Why I Like You (Free Printable) – One Creative Mommy

Free-Teachers-Valentines-Day-Card-e1360695836440Thank You ‘A Latte’ for All that You Do (Free Printable) – Jolly Mom

measureYou Measure Up (Free Printable) – Capital B

pinkI’m Tickled Pink That You’re My Teacher (Free Printable) – Homes.com

love_not_germs_2Spread Love, Not Germs (Free Printable) – Simply Sprout

Lip-Balm-Valentines-Day-Gift-4Valentine’s Day EOS Lip Balm Gift (Free Printable) – Tried & True via eighteen25

burts beesBee My Valentine (Free Printable) – Polkadot Chair

Happy Valentine’s Day Teacher Gift-ing! :-)

3 Important Things

This is going to be quick because the hubs and I spent the day cleaning out the garage – a task that almost sent us home to Jesus – so we are laying on the couch and my fingers are pretty much the only thing I can move.

There are a few things I have been enjoying this week and I felt like I needed to share them with y’all.

gloriaThe first is a new book – Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman.

Let me just say that this is the book that I wish I had written.  It is incredible.  I was about 3 pages in and COMPLETELY hooked.  The whole purpose of the book is to transform your perspective of motherhood to one that is entirely focused on Jesus – to see Him in every aspect of your mothering from the waking up 1400 times a night to the endless loads of laundry to even your baby’s cries.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  I think it will be my new go-to baby shower gift.

You can buy it HERE.

bethelThe second thing that I am kind of going crazy about this week is that Bethel came out with a new album and it is…

UNBELIEVABLE.

Seriously, last summer the good people at Bethel Church set up on a mountain top in California and recorded their worship live.  It is beautiful, raw, and will call your heart to a a deeper faith and hope in Christ.

You can buy it HERE.

ValentinesDaySuperfood-Trail-Mix1Lastly, I found this recipe on Pinterest about 3 weeks ago and I sent it to my mom and asked if she would make it for me for my birthday.

Of course, because she is awesome, she did.  It arrived in my mailbox last week and it is one of the most delicious and healthy things I have ever eaten.  I have been snacking on it every day since.

The best part is the dark chocolate.  My mom got some from Whole Foods that was like 86% cacao and eating it was basically the equivalent of being in the presence of the Lord.

Happy Buddy would not agree with that grand statement as he walked into the kitchen the other day, saw me eating said chocolate, and asked for some.  I gave it to him knowing full well that this kind of chocolate was quite different than the Hershey’s bar taste he is used to.  He ate it and then immediately proceeded to throw it up on the kitchen floor saying that it tasted like dirt.

Fine by me.  More for mama.

Find the recipe HERE.

That’s it!

Can anyone else believe that tomorrow is February?  I am not even sure what happened to January – although I have some recollections of being locked out of the house this month – ha!

Speaking of February, don’t forget to check out THIS POST featuring a FREE Printable I made a few years ago to help you countdown to Valentine’s Day with your family!  14 Bible verse cards celebrating God’s love – one to read each day leading up to this special holiday.

Have a great night, Happy Home friends. :-)

– Julie