How I Survived Flying Solo With 2 Kids

NJ 1

BWAHAHAHAHA!

Actually, before you judge, for the first hour we chewed gum, looked out the window, played with PlayDoh, colored in some fun activity books that were given to us by a sweet friend who knew we were going on a long flight (thank you, Miss Cathy!), and Happy Baby flirted a little bit with the nice flight attendant.

He even made something out of PlayDoh for her. ;-)

So they weren’t plugged in for the entire trip – don’t worry.  Although when you are flying solo and weighing the cost of rotting their brains versus losing my sanity, I’d say the scales are definitely tipped toward the brain loss. #survival

It’s a shame I couldn’t have used the technology while we were waiting for our luggage because I mentioned on Facebook that baggage claim was where the boys really delivered some of their best dramatic performances.

Since I was the only grown up in our party, I was carrying everyone else’s carry on bag – plus my own (which if you are a mom you know that this means a bag about the size and weight of a piano).  While we were waiting for our bags, Happy Baby decided it was a good time to start acting like a puppy and repeatedly lick my pant leg.  Then he leapt up behind his brother (who had been trying to board the luggage conveyor belt) and the two boys fell over.  That’s when I almost fainted because at the exact same moment our bag came along, Happy Buddy dissolved into loud wails from the injustice of being knocked down by a pretend dog and Happy Baby was happily licking the airport floor.

This is also when I had to remind myself that motherhood is sanctifying.

(Right after I rubbed a Clorox wipe on Happy Baby’s tongue.)

In a perfect world I would have updated y’all about our trip a week ago, but we have been busy enjoying summer and taking naps during normal times of productivity.  Hopefully I will have a little bit of time this week to post a few of the pics I got while we were at the Jersey Shore.

Happy Wednesday!

– Julie

Teaching Our Kids About God’s Love For Every Color

an important article

As reports have flooded our TV screen this past week about the horrific tragedy in South Carolina, I feel absolutely broken.

But, as it is with all sin and darkness, I know that God has given me His Spirit to shed light on the matter and make a difference in my own family regarding the topic of racism.

Our pastor revealed to us last Sunday a neat truth that I had not noticed before in the book of Genesis and I thought it was an extremely helpful visual for teaching kids about God’s plan for all the different colored people in the world.

He encouraged us to remember that when God created man, he made him out of dirt.

Genesis 2:7 – “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

Have you ever stopped to think about the colors of dirt?

Because I am not a gardener in any shape or form, I decided to look this one up on Wikipedia.

Here is what they say about soil color – Soil can exhibit a wide range of color; gray, black, white, reds, browns, yellows and under the right conditions green.

Think of the dirt in your own backyard, think of the white sandy beaches in the Bahamas, imagine the red clay of baseball fields… The color range is vast.

Now look around at all the men and women and children of the world.  It’s hard not to see that everyone is, indeed, a different color – staying true to the nature of the very thing God used to create us!

And you can’t even argue with the green dirt part… I have been on a boat in rocky waters and experienced this color firsthand.

The point that our pastor made was that because we were all formed from a pile of dirt, how could we ever assume that our little pile of dirt is superior to someone else’s?

God’s heart for people can be seen in Matthew chapter 22 where he gave us the 2 greatest commandments – to Love Him and Love Others (see it here).

And “God shows no partiality,” (Romans 2:11), so it doesn’t matter what color you are – the Gospel is for everyone.

I urge you, dear sisters, tonight as you rock your little ones to sleep, sing to them reminders about God’s heart…

“Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world…”

And I pray that in our obedience to share this good news with our children we will, by God’s grace, raise up a generation who loves all people (even the green ones).

– Julie :-)

Books Your Kids Will Love #FamiliesRead

Books your kids will love - these are the best suggestions!

Today I am participating in the National PTA’s Family Reading Challenge!  This week the National PTA is encouraging families to keep reading a priority during the summer months to help prevent learning loss.  You can find out more about the Family Reading Challenge by clicking HERE.

Reading is a habit that is HIGHLY encouraged in our home.

You can find books in almost every room!

When the boys were babies I kept books on the changing table for them to look at while I changed their diapers.

There are a ton of books in a bin that sits between the boys’ carseats for them to read while we’re running errands (you can read about that HERE – it’s a lifesaver!).

We keep a basket of books on the floor next to our kitchen table that we will often read during dinner if Daddy has to work late.

Plus they are allowed to choose one book for me to read to them every night before bed alongside our Bible reading.

Most nights I will even find piles of books stacked next to the toilet where the boys have their routine #2 sitting before bath – ha!

Having books around is great not only because there are 100 million reasons why reading helps kids grow academically, but also because reading together as a family is magical and creates memories I know my boys will remember forever.

Today I want to share with you a few of the books that our family has enjoyed over the last couple of years in hopes that maybe your family will love them too.

books kids will love - 1The End (Almost) by Jim Benton

This book is about a bear named Donut who is told the story is over and he has to leave, but he doesn’t want to.  You will laugh at all the antics Donut tries to pull in effort to keep his spot in the story going.

books kids will love - 2Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

This is BY FAR Happy Baby’s favorite book EVER.  There is a monster named Larry who tells the readers not to push the image of a big red button on each page.  But, of course, you eventually push it and some crrrazy things happen.

books kids will love - 3Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Anything by Mo Willems is amazing and hilarious.  We love Knuffle Bunny as well as the recent discovery of the Elephant and Piggie books.

books kids will love - 4Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Our school librarian read this to Happy Baby’s class the week before school let out and he has talked about it ever since.  We picked it up at the library yesterday and have already read it 30 times.  It is about a mommy dog who asks her puppy to bark, but instead he quacks and meows and even moos.  She takes him to the vet and some really funny events unfold.

books kids will love - 5The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

This book is Happy Buddy’s favorite.  Probably because it has the word ‘Boo Boo Butt’ in it that cracks him up EVERY TIME.  B.J. Novak really delivers a smart, clever and hysterical story that will have your family rolling on the floor with giggles.

books kids will love - 6Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Finally, this book is about a moose who wants to be a part of his friend Zebra’s alphabet show, but when M comes, the part is given to the mouse and Moose FREAKS out.  It is so funny.

What books do YOUR families enjoy?

– Julie :-)

*Find more ways to make summer reading fun by clicking HERE!

Recipe – Peachy Iced Tea

peach tea recipe at happyhomefairy.com - looks delicious and easy!

Looking for a delicious drink to serve at your next summer cookout with friends?

THIS IS IT.

Seriously, you will THANK me for this recipe – it’s that good.  I promise.

peach tea recipe 1peach tea recipe 2peach tea recipe 3Step 1 – Pick up some Crystal Light Peach Flavor Iced Tea Mix.

Step 2 – Pour 1 packet into a pitcher and add 5 cups of cold water and 1 cup of orange juice.

Step 3 – Stir until mix is dissolved completely.

Step 4 (optional) – If you want to be super glamorous, add some sliced fresh peaches, raspberries, and blueberries.

Step 5 – Serve on ice.

I’m in New Jersey this week with the boys and my family!  We are having a lot of fun – although no one is really doing a lot of sleeping, which led to an unfortunate meltdown at the arcade on the boardwalk yesterday afternoon.

We had a big dinner the other night with my Oma and cousins and Aunt and Uncle and sister-in-love and brother and their kids and my parents – phew!  It was heaven getting to be reunited with everyone!

They all pitched in to help me take photos for this post.

{{In case you were wondering why I suddenly got man-hands, that is my dad pouring the orange juice into the pitcher.}}

And below is my lovely sister-in-love.peach tea recipe 5peach tea recipe 6The family really liked this drink.  My dad even commented how, “refreshing” it was.

I hope you will enjoy it too.

Happy Peachy Iced Tea-ing! :-)

*I originally found this recipe over at Kraft.

How to Turn Your Child’s Frown Upside Down

how to turn your child's frown upside down - great tips and encouragement - so funny!We were at a friend’s house last week and Happy Buddy got extremely grumpy when it was time to go.  He completely forgot his manners and headed down that spiraling funnel of whining, negativity and impoliteness.

I was feeling a bit embarrassed as all of this was playing out in front of my friend.  In an act of desperation, I pulled out a silly old trick to redirect his plummeting behavior.

Later, my sweet friend texted me a few encouraging words about the way I helped my boy find his smile and manners again.  It surprised me because I didn’t think anything of it at the time – in fact, I was feeling quite bothered that I had had to correct him at all!  My flesh had wanted to get angry with him, but I ended up being goofy and it worked so much butter!

I have found (mostly through the hard moments of humiliation) that a stern lecture and furrowed brow of disapproval aren’t effective in helping a grumpy child get out of the pit.

Sometimes what they need is a joyful reminder that life out of the pit is so much better.

USE HUMOR

Where is your smile? – When your child starts acting grumpy, start asking him, “Where did your smile go?”  Then begin ‘searching’ for his smile by checking various places on his body.  I will say, “Is it under your arm pits?” and then pull his arm up to look.  Or, “Is it in your pocket?” or “Is it under your shoe?”  Usually there is some tickling while I search and eventually that smile makes its way back where it belongs.

Throw it out the window – One time we were driving home and Happy Buddy was just stuck on a railroad track of complaining.  After several corrections that were not obeyed, I pressed the button to open his car window and asked him to toss his grumpy spirit out the window.  I made him pretend to throw all of his complaints out of the car.  If he complained again after that, I rolled the window down again and we repeated the whole thing until it was finished and we were giggling.

Family Sandwich – A few weeks ago Happy Buddy was throwing a fit in his room so Happy Baby and I went in, found him on the bed and announced that he needed a Family Sandwich.  Happy Baby and I were going to be the bread and Happy Buddy was going to be the peanut butter.  Then we piled on top of one another until we were all laughing.  In their moments of weakness, sometimes our kids just need a physical reminder of the Lord’s grace for them.

Barf it up – I’m sure I will lose a few of you on this one, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Another occasion where the fussing of one of my children was literally sapping me of strength, I took him by the arm, led him into the bathroom and said, “Son!  You have a bad case of Whineyitis!  You need to throw up all of that whining so you can be well again!”  I then proceeded to stand behind him in front of the toilet and we pretended to barf (loud yacking sounds are what made this trick especially funny).  **Don’t forget to flush.**

Note to self – Anything involving potty humor usually does the trick! :-)

With all of this said, I feel it’s important for me to mention that there are occasions where none of the above ideas work and I need to employ THIS helpful tip from Meaningful Mama.

Or I just start doling out a list of chores to do.

And I also want to stress that even though we try a light-hearted approach to grumpy behavior most days, I still address the behavior with my child once the emotions have settled down.

For example, once we were in the car headed home from my friend’s house that day, I asked Happy Buddy what was wrong with the way he responded to my saying it was time to go home.  We practiced the correct response for next time (a cheerful, “Yes, Mommy!”) and later we confessed his sin in prayer at bedtime.  Plus, you can bet that I am always in his room praying over him while he sleeps to grow in the fruit of self-control.

Sin is sin.  It must be dealt with — but Jesus!  Jesus came so that we might have JOY.  Our sin is no more – we are set free.

And we are able to help our kids learn how to navigate their sin without getting run down by it.

happy boyIf that doesn’t bring a smile to your face – you might need to go throw something up in the toilet. :-)

– Julie

“A joyful heart is good medicine…” Proverbs 17:22

The Best $20 You Will Ever Spend at Target this Summer

bubble machine 1

We took a quick trip to Target yesterday afternoon to make a special little purchase that I know is going to supply us with a TON of summer fun over the next 2 months.

We headed to the aisle that has summer-y items (beach toys, bubbles, etc.) and picked up the little beauty you see below.

bubble machine 3bubble machine 4We also made sure not to forget to pick up some AA batteries.

Drive home, wrestle the machine out of the box, install the batteries (8, to be exact), pour in some bubble solution and press the ON button.bubble machine 5bubble machine 6bubble machine 7bubble machine 8bubble machine 9bubble machine 10

This is seriously the most amazing bubble maker I have EVER seen.

The whole time Happy Baby was running around saying over and over, “BUBBLES! YAYYYY! BUBBLES!”

:-)

Have a great weekend, sweet friends!

– Julie

 

Road Trip Tips

My mom has asked if I can drive the boys up to visit them in Georgia this summer.

But I can tell you confidently that 10+ hours in the car with my monkeys and no hubs (who would need to stay home for work) sounds like I’d rather wash 100 crock pots (which is not my favorite thing to do – haha).

Even if the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is my sweet mama.

However, I know there are so many of you other brave warriors out there who travel great distances in the summertime with children in tow and I need you to know that in my eyes Y’ALL ARE SUPERHEROES.

And I know you’ve probably got the whole road tripping thing down, but just in case there’s something here that inspires you, I made a small list of ideas to keep things fun instead of disastrous.road trip tips at happy home fairy

Also, I have an entire Pinterest board called Road Trip Tips that you can find HERE.

Annnnnd if any of you brave warriors happen to be driving from South Florida to Georgia this summer…  Can my boys and I hitch a ride? ;-)

What are YOUR best Road Trip Tips?

Happy Road Trip Tip-ing!