Roll-A-Christmas-Tree Game – FREE Printable!

roll a christmas tree game - FREE Printable at happyhomefairy! love this!

Happy Buddy and I played this fun and easy game this afternoon.

All you need is some paper, dice, crayons, and the FREE Printable game (see below for download).roll a tree gameroll a christmas tree game

**Click HERE for your FREE Printable Roll-A-Christmas-Tree Game**

Have fun with your kiddos. :-)

Happy Roll-A-Christmas-Tree Game-ing!

12 Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Christmas

12 ways to have a Christ-centered ChristmasI have been looking on Pinterest for Christmas ideas.

This can be a very good and productive endeavor.

Or it can make me want to hide under my bed until December 26th.

There’s the Elf on the Shelf and the daily antics, there’s the beautiful decorations, there’s the gorgeous outdoor light displays, there’s the delicious recipes, there’s the crafty, homemade gift ideas…

It’s all so amazing to me and makes me want to be a better person, but at the end of the day I mostly just pin stuff and think about it for awhile and then decide that throwing some Christmas lights over the mountain of laundry piled on the dining room table is festive enough.

 Our elf hasn’t even come to visit yet because I am paralyzed by the thought of being committed to moving him creatively every. single. night (even though I have a post HERE featuring 24 super easy and fun ideas).

But when you think about it, what do you remember most about Christmas when you were little?

It probably wasn’t the 15,000 Christmas cards your mom wrote or the glamorously wrapped presents under the tree or the Pinterest-perfect crafts or the massive Christmas party with 200 homemade appetizers.

It was the smaller things.

The simple things.

I remember cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (and they were from the can).

I remember opening my stocking.

I remember that Santa ate all the cookies we had left out for him.

I remember jumping on my parents’ bed at 6 in the morning and then that year my older brother did bugle calls on his trumpet at 5 (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad).

I remember my dad praying before we opened our gifts.

I remember the way the church glowed at the candlelit service on Christmas Eve as we sang Silent Night and raised our candles in reverent worship.

The simple things.

This year I’m trying to let go of all the ‘Pinterest Pressure’ and have decided to narrow my focus for Christmas and our family to 2 things -

1. Do things that celebrate Jesus.

2. Do things that share His love.

Our Elf on the Shelf might not make it out this year if I’m not feeling it.  We might not make it to every single party.  I might not make homemade ornaments for the family.  The adorable Christmas party favors I want to make for all the kids in my boys’ classes will probably never happen.  Happy Buddy might not get the chocolate advent calendar because I can’t find them anywhere – lol.

And that’s ok.

But here are 12 simple things that fall under the umbrella of my focus for this magical season that our little family is hoping to do in the coming days…

Happy Birthday Jesus Cake and Celebration

Birthday boy gets a special cake and small party every year at our house.  My favorite part is when we sing to Him.  HERE is a super neat birthday cake recipe we use that is not only easy to make, but also shares the Gospel.  And it is delicious.

Make Dinner for Our Pastor’s Family

I love our pastor and his family.  His wife was hugely instrumental in my survival of the Happy Baby’s birth and the journey we have been on with his health.  She texted me Bible verses every single morning during his hospitalization and she cried with me more than once.  They are true warriors of the faith and spend so much time serving our congregation.  December brings a lot of extra events and responsibilities and needs in their world so I like to help by giving them a night off from the necessary burden of feeding 5 people.  I think I will make THIS recipe and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Play With Our Nativity

My mom bought us the Fisher Price Nativity set a few years ago and it is my favorite Christmas toy.  This year I bought the Melissa and Doug one for my classroom and I love that one just as much.  I make a point to sit with my kids and play with the nativity with them.  It brings around some sweet and thoughtful conversation about Jesus.  We also like to play some of THESE nativity games.

Attend Christmas Eve Services

I cannot think of anything more precious than the worshipful, joyous, holy, reverent atmosphere of a candlelit Christmas Eve service.  I like to invite a few neighbors and unchurched friends to join us.  O come, let us adore Him. <3

Sing Christmas Carols With and Over My Kids

As soon as Thanksgiving dinner has ended I start breaking out my Christmas CDs.  I especially love Hillsong’s We Have a Savior album.  I also love climbing into bed with my boys, holding them close and singing Silent Night over their darling hearts as they drift off to sleep.  Have you ever really paid attention to the lyrics of some of the carols out there?  AMAZING.  O Holy Night slays me.  These songs carry a rich heritage of our faith.  I want to surround my kids with these truths all December long.

Pass Out Candy Canes With the Candy Cane Gospel

Christmas naturally lends itself to opportunities to share the Good News.  I like to use THIS FREE Printable tag, attach it to candy canes and drop them off with people we come across throughout the day.  The bank teller, the grocery store cashier, a neighbor’s mailbox, teachers, Starbucks barista, etc.

Remember the Hubs

I think it’s easy to get so focused on buying gifts and making things magical for our children that we forget the men in our lives.  And if you really want to honor Jesus, then pay careful attention to your precious marriage.  I try really hard to get my husband a present for Christmas that will really bless him.  I also like to use THESE FREE Printable Christmas Love Notes as silly reminders throughout the month that I love him.  But the thing that I think blesses my husband the most in this season is when I don’t spend a lot of money, don’t walk around a giant stress ball, and I make an effort to not put a lot of extra expectations on him.  Like whatever gift he gets me, I will love it.  Even if it’s a Dust Buster.

Stick to 3 Gifts

If it’s good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for my kids!  We give our boys 3 gifts each – like the Wise Men brought Christ.  It helps us stick to a budget and it is another reminder of the purpose behind our present sharing.

Pray Around the Christmas Tree on Christmas Morning

I wrote about this sweet tradition HERE.  It made a big impact on me growing up and I have been carrying on this tradition in my own home ever since.  Joining hands on Christmas morning and giving thanks as a family to the One who made the whole celebration possible in the first place is exactly where God wants our hearts to be.

Meet a Need

Our church participates in a toy drive for a local non-profit organization committed to providing homes and resources for kids in crisis situations.  Last Sunday the Happy Buddy picked a card off a tree in the Fellowship Hall that said a little boy’s age and a toy he would like.  We will go to Target together to pick it out.  I want my boys to find the true joy of Christmas in the giving rather than in the getting.

Read the Christmas Story (over and over and over again)

We will take the time to really dig into the story of Jesus’ birth this month.  We do this in a variety of ways.  We read it from the Bible and in different children’s Bibles.  We use THESE FREE Printable Advent Scripture Cards and THESE FREE Printable Nativity Story Cards.  I also have a bunch of Christ-centered Christmas books (see HERE) that we read before bed each night.  Anything to capture their imaginations point our hearts to the true Hero of the season.

 Being Still

The hustle and bustle and ‘noise’ of Christmas can interfere with our ability to truly experience the gift of His presence.  I recently became so tangled up in material possessions and Christmas gifts that I didn’t allow room for my Savior.  Sound familiar?  Making room for the Savior involves choosing to not be swept up in the ideals our world presents as necessary and finding the peace He offers in the reality.

Last week the Happy Buddy mentioned to me that all he wanted for Christmas was a football helmet…

And to hold baby Jesus.

:-)

I think he is on to something.

So crawl out from under the bed of busy and climb into the manger next to that precious Child Who this season is all about.

And that is better than anything Pinterest has to offer.

- Julie

Favorite Things Stocking Giveaway and Blog Hop

christmas stocking giveaway at happy home fairy

One of my favorite things about Christmas morning is opening my stocking at my parents’ house.

My mom is the queen of finding lots of fun little goodies and surprises to fill it with.  New sparkly earrings, a small wallet, stickers, shimmery eye shadow… She knows just the things I love!

Well, I have been thinking so much lately about all of you, dear readers, and wanted to put together something extra special as a way to say thank you for supporting the Fairy.

Taking inspiration from my mom (and 12 other incredible bloggers), I picked up a super cute stocking and filled it to overflowing with a few of my favorite things to giveaway to one of you!!

Here’s the scoop on this incredible giveaway…

To enter -

  • Check out the Stocking Giveaway Collage below featuring 12 other beautiful bloggers and their favorite things stockings.
  • Scroll to the bottom to see the details for MY Favorite Things Stocking.
  • Enter to win my Christmas Stocking Giveaway at the giveaway below.
  • HOP to all the other sites and enter to win their stockings!
  • Look around and enjoy the sites of these incredible bloggers – they all love Jesus and strive to bring Him glory in everything they share.  I feel super honored to be a part of this giveaway alongside so many godly and gifted people.

There will be 13 winners for this giveaway!  You must ENTER TO WIN ON EACH BLOG for the stockings you want most.  HOP to enter!

Giveaway collageBLOG HOP

1. Thriving Home // 2. Happy Home Fairy // 3. The Nourishing Home

4. Heavenly Homemakers // 5. Meaningful Mama // 6. Slugs and Bugs

7. Seeds Family Worship // 8. Jennifer Ebenhack // 9. The Generous Wife

10. The Modest Mom Blog // 11. My Humble Kitchen // 12. Kara Chupp

13. Motherhood on a Dime

giveaway1christmas stocking giveaway at happy home fairy1christmas stocking giveaway at happy home fairy2

Girls, get ready for the motherload of awesome. :-)

1. It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst – One of my favorite authors.  Her books have had a huge role in shaping my faith.  When my friend told me she had a book for kids, I had to get it.  It’s precious – the story helps communicate to your child one of the most important messages God’s love wants us to hear – that it will, indeed, be okay, because He is in control.

2. Gold Glitter Nail Polish – Y’all know my passion for all things sparkly.  This nail polish will be just the thing to help you ring in the new year.

3.-4. I loooove me some Target Dollar Bin finds.  Adorable Santa cupcake toppers and Santa Post-Its to write sweet messages to throw in your loved ones’ lunch pails.

5. The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle – This is a book about real marriage – the for better and the worse parts of it.  I am IN LOVE with the author (find her hilarious blog HERE) and how she can take the most mundane things and make them absolutely hysterical. You will laugh out loud, cry, and immediately go buy her other book when you finish this one.

6. Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson – One of the most frequent things I pray is that my kids will grow daily in an attitude of gratitude.  This book by Susie Larson has given me so many wonderful ways to help shepherd that in my boys’ hearts.

7. Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara – Do you remember my review and giveaway of this mascara back in the summer? (If you missed it, go HERE to see how amazing this product is – before and after photos included!!)  I have another one for you!  I don’t know what I did before this mascara I love it so much.

8. Majestic CD by Kari Jobe – Kari is one of my most favorite worship leaders (beside the hubs, of course).  We got to meet her when Happy Baby was in the hospital (see HERE) and she prayed for him with us – I can’t even tell you how much that meant to me.  Her heart is so pure and precious and this album is her best yet.  I listen to it all. the. time.  The last 3 tracks will melt you.

9. Nativity Stickers – I am slightly obsessed with stickers.  As a preschool teacher I give stickers out every day to my students.  And they provide such an excellent fine motor experience for the kiddos.  I got so excited to find these Christ-centered stickers in the Dollar Spot at Target.  I may have bought 12 of them and gave them to all the other preschool teachers at my school.

10. Glitter – One of the most frequent questions I am asked is where I buy the glitter that I wear on my face every. single. day.  Here is the answer – Claire’s. :-)  You don’t have to be a tween to shop there!  This glitter is the greatest.  After my make-up is finished, I put a few dabs of this on my eyelids (and my cheeks and neck and chest…) before walking out the door.  My OB once asked if I was a pole dancer because I was wearing glitter.  Not even kidding.  Read about it HERE.

11. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm – I adore the way this makes my lips feel – tingly and refreshed!  Plus, you’ve got to get that mouth ready for your hubby and all that mistletoe floating around this season.

12. Yellow Picture Frame – Love these bright and fun wooden frames from Hobby Lobby, especially when they are filled with a photo of my little family.

13. Happy Birthday Jesus Ornament – Because this is what IT’S ALL ABOUT.

14. Breaking Free 365-Day Devotional by Beth Moore – Beth Moore’s original Breaking Free study changed my life.  My mother-in-law got me this devo a few years ago and I have enjoyed it ever since.  The devotionals are short, but powerful.  Just what this busy mama needs every morning.

15. Stella and Dot Soiree Gold Stud Earrings – I wish I had thought to take these earrings out of the box when I was photographing my stocking.  They are SO pretty.  And they go with EVERYTHING.  Dressed in yoga pants?  These glam it up.  Did you actually get a shower and put on make-up today?  These will take your look to the next level.  My friend, Jacqueline Rodewald, donated this pair for the giveaway, so please make sure if you love these earrings as much as I do that you buy yourself (and all the ladies on your Christmas gift list) a pair from her HERE.

stockingAnd last but not least, the stocking itself is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

My mom and I found it at this hole-in-the-wall shop in Georgia when we were visiting her over Thanksgiving break and doing some Black Friday shopping.  It was so bright and cheerful I knew it was just the thing for this giveaway -

for YOU!

Enter below by following the 3 easy steps and this amazing stocking could be YOURS!giveaway

1. ‘Like’ Happy Home Fairy on Facebook HERE (and don’t worry, if you don’t have a Facebook account, that’s ok!!  Enter anyway, my friend!).

2. Share this GIVEAWAY via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

3. Leave a comment below telling me what you love most in my stocking and why it would be fun to win – don’t forget to include your name and email.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my sweet international readers).  The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, December 17 (EST).  A winner will be selected shortly after and notified by e-mail.

And, most important, don’t forget to “hop” to each blog above to enter their amazing giveaways, too. :-)

Happy Christmas Stocking Giveaway Blog Hop-ing!

Simple Paper Baby Jesus Craft

simple paper baby Jesus craft at happyhomefairy.comI was telling my 2-year-olds about Jesus’ birth and how he wasn’t born in a super sanitized hospital or put in a nice, cozy, adorably-oufitted crib like they were.

We talked about the manger and how it must have been not so clean and probably a little stinky from all the animals that used it.

But that is exactly where God wanted His Son to start His life on earth with us.  God was writing a story of His love beyond what our human eyes and noses and minds could see or smell or understand.

Because in a way the manger is a picture of our hearts – not so clean and a little stinky.

Ok, a LOT stinky.

Then God breaks through in all His perfection and glory and comes as a tiny babe to make His bed there – right there in our hearts.

And something that began as unlovely and imperfect and smelly is transformed by the presence of Jesus Christ into something absolutely beautiful.

baby jesus craft 1baby jesus craft 2baby jesus craft 3baby jesus craft 4baby jesus craft 5

So as you do this simple craft with your kids, help them to see the bigger picture of our Lord’s coming.

Help them learn how to prepare a place for their Savior in the manger of their hearts.baby jesus craft 6

Happy Simple Paper Baby Jesus Craft-ing! :-)

*You can find my other easy and adorable Baby Jesus Craft HERE.*

For When Those Little Prayers Go Unanswered

happy babyThe other night I was SO. TIRED.

Happy Baby was really sick last month and had been waking up several times a night crying and coughing and congested and needing comfort.

On the evening of the 9th day of this, I fell into bed completely exhausted and tossed up a little prayer to God before falling asleep, “Lord, please don’t let my boy wake up tonight.”

Guess what?

HE WOKE UP.

Not once.  But twice.

The next morning as I sleepily stumbled to start the day, I felt something in my spirit toward God that was a red flag.  I needed to quiet my heart before Him and make things right.  And as I did, He reminded me of something.

When I was a new mom and my life went from leisurely walks with the hubs, date nights, trips to the gym, a full 7 hours of sleep every night and basically doing whatever I pleased – whenever I pleased, to what felt like absolute chaos and disorder and a never-ending cycle of being awake, I remember praying to God so many times prayers like this -

“God, please make him STOP crying.”

“God, please just let him nap today.”

“God, please don’t let him poop out of his shorts because I forgot to bring a change of clothes.”

“God, please help him like this spinach puree.”

“God, please PLEASE HELP HIM SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT.”

Did God answer these prayers?

Sometimes, yes.

But more often than that, no.

And do you know what I did when those prayers were not answered?

I got angry at God.

I felt completely disillusioned to the powerful God I had grown up serving.

I mean, c’mon!  If He can part the Red Sea and walk on water and raise people from the dead then HE CAN HELP MY BABY SLEEP.

Help ME to sleep.

But here is the problem with this way of thinking -

At its root, it is selfish.

Now hear my heart, I believe very strongly that God loves it when we bring our requests to Him – no matter what they are.  Whether they are about my child’s nap schedule or poop schedule or palate.  When my kids lose a toy that they love, I like to say to them, “God loves to hear from us.  He knows where your toy is.  Let’s give this situation to Him.”

These prayers, however, can hinder our relationship with God when He responds different than what we hoped for and we grow disappointed or, even worse – bitter.

We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that God is a magic genie and that we are entitled to receive every little thing we ask for.

Because then we forget that HE IS GOD.

We forget that He loves us and that He is good.

We forget that His ways are simply not ours.

Maybe our child not napping one day isn’t going to be a giant part of the Lord’s plan for our lives, but our attitude and how we handle it most certainly is.

Ultimately, God is after our hearts – our completely surrendered, humble, all-trusting hearts.

What I should have prayed was, “Lord, please help my boy to sleep through the night tonight, but even if you don’t, I know that you still love me and know what’s best for me.  I know that your strength alone will carry me through the evening to serve my family well.  I am yours.  Your will be done.  Amen.”

And when my boys and I pray for lost toys in the house, I try to follow up with a little instruction, “God knows where your toy is, but we must remember that sometimes He says YES and answers our prayers right away, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait.  We have to trust that He knows what He’s doing with this request.”

Our precious Lord wants us to place our ENTIRE lives in His hands, to cease fussing about all the things we think we are entitled to right this second, and to have eyes of faith to see the bigger picture of His love and perfect plan for us.

Song of Solomon, which is a beautiful allegory of how much God cares for us, says in 2:4 that, “His banner over me is love.”

So when you are looking in the mirror and those giant dark circles under your eyes are inspiring you to shake a fist at God for not answering your prayer for sleep, check the mirror again.

You will see a big, giant banner flowing over your bed-head that says, “I love you, my precious child!  I know what’s best for you!  My strength is yours in weakness.  Now let me show you how I am going to provide for your every need today.  Trust me.” <3

- Julie

“If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up.  Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (TLB)

Easy Turkey Cookies

turkey cookies - so cute and easy for Thanksgiving! The kids will have fun putting these together.

My boys and I had fun making these delicious little gobblers yesterday.

The sugar rush after these was pretty epic.  My house still hasn’t quite recovered from the Happy Buddy’s wild-eyed, tornado-like activity.

Buy the ingredients and set it up for a fun after Thanksgiving dinner activity.

Everyone will love it (even if they get a bit crazy from the glucose overload).

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*I got the edible eyes at Walmart.*

I shared another version of these turkeys a few years ago – those ones actually stand up.  See it HERE.

turkey cookie 10Only 2 days until Thanksgiving!

Happy Easy Turkey Cookie-ing!

Here Comes Santa Claus – GIVEAWAY!

Recently I was doing some dangerous cruising around etsy looking for something fun to put on our front door.

The front door that over the summer I informed you I would be painting yellow.

Welllllllll.

We ended up having the entire house painted yellow and the door black.

I’m not even going to tell you how the yellow I chose was this color that I mentioned HERE and it was so bright and hideous I grieved over it for about 3 hours.

But that’s another post for another day.  It will be called, “Never Pick A Paint Color By It’s Name.”

Anyway, the new black door really needed something special on it to offset the intense brilliance of the house – ie. I’m rolling with the punches and making the best of the fact that our house now has planets orbiting around it.

In my searching I happened upon a shop called Ashley Nichole Designs and I almost fell over dead from how cute her stuff is.

This gal is seriously the QUEEN of rocking the front door.

Look at the adorable Santa she sent me!giveaway2giveaway1

I love everything about it – the bright and cheery ribbons, the colors, the polka dots, and all that whimsy!

It looks perfect next to the glow of the house. ;-)

Look at some of the other designs available in her shop – ashley4 ashley5 ashley6ashley7ashley1 ashley2 ashley3

Don’t you love it?!

You can get all your Christmas shopping done here.

The cross for your Thanksgiving hostess, the apple as a gift for a beloved teacher, the football for your pigskin obsessed friend, the monogrammed tree for your pastor’s wife…

There is something for everyone!

I am asking for the pineapple for Christmas (Mom, if you are reading this – hint, hint). :-)

GUESS WHAT?!

Ashley is so sweet and generous that she wants to give a Santa to one of YOU, dear readers!

**Here’s the scoop on entering this giveaway…**

1. ‘Like’ Ashley Nichole Designs on Facebook HERE.

2. ‘Like’ Happy Home Fairy on Facebook HERE.

3. SHARE this Giveaway with as many people as you possibly can (via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

4. Let me know you completed steps #1-3 and then tell us why you would love a Santa for your front door by leaving a comment below (don’t forget to include your email address).

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my sweet international readers).  The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 28 (EST).  A winner will be selected shortly after and notified by e-mail.

This giveaway is now closed. :-)

giveaway3

And hey, I’m looking on the bright side of things (haha).

I guess having a house that is the color of the sun has its perks -

Like Santa definitely won’t miss it.

Happy Here Comes Santa Claus Giveaway-ing! :-)

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

P.S. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts on Santa – as a Christian mama, go HERE. :-)