Favorite Summer Things Giveaway and Blog Hop

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We have been on summer break now for 3 whole days and it has been HEAVEN.  Well, except for the part where my kids have already destroyed the house in 456 different ways.

It’s going to be a lonnnng 2 months. :-)

Do you remember my Favorite Things Christmas Stocking Giveaway?  Well, today I am revealing another incredible giveaway that is just like that one – only the theme is SUMMER.

Check it out…

Favorite Summer Things Giveaway Collage

I’ve rounded up some of my hand-picked favorite summer goodies and are going to give them all to one VERY lucky winner.

That’s not the best part though – I’ve also partnered up with 11 other fabulous bloggers who are doing the same on their sites (see the links below), RIGHT NOW!

1. Thriving Home // 2. Happy Money Saver // 3. Happy Home Fairy // 4. Heavenly Homemakers // 5. Kitchen Stewardship // 6. Nourishing Joy // 7. The Nourishing Home // 8. Intoxicated on Life // 9. Tried and Tasty // 10. The Frugal Girl //11. Mommy Hates Cooking // 12. Stephanie Blue

HOW TO ENTER:

    • Check out the giveaway collage above featuring all the beautiful bloggers I’ve partnered up with and their favorite summer things things.
    • Scroll on down to see the details for MY favorite summer things.
    • Enter to win in the giveaway below.
    • HOP to all the other sites and enter to win their favorite summer things!
    • Look around and enjoy the sites of these incredible bloggers.

Here is what I have put together for you…My Favorite Summer Thingsgiveaway 2giveaway 1

1. Amazing Bag from Target – I first saw this bag in a Target advertisement that I received in the mail.  They had me at the tassels.

2. Jar of a million Googly Eyes – There is no other craft supply I can think of that is more valuable to me than the googly eye.  Here are 14,000 of them to make your summer even more exciting.  You can even stick them on random things around the house to get everyone laughing.  Toothpaste tubes with eyes?  HILARIOUS.

3. Fit to Burst by Rachel Jancovic – One of my new favorite books for mommies.  I love this girl’s heart to make sure that mothers are equipped with encouragement to remember the JOY Christ gives us on the journey of motherhood.  A perfect beach read!

4. Sunscreen – A summer essential.  And the colors of the bottle conveniently matched everything else in my giveaway really nicely.

5. Inspirational Window Cling – Um, seriously?!  How cute is this?  Make it a summer service project one day to pick a friend (or stranger) and stick these as a surprise on his/her bathroom mirror or car window.

6. Summer Fruit-flavored EOS Lip Gloss – I just love these little EOS lip glosses.  The colors and shapes are so adorable.

7. Hair Ties – Summer is that time of year where I threaten to shave my head.  The heat and humidity turn my hair into something that looks something akin to the nest of a Sociable Weaver bird.  Which, if you don’t know what that looks like, click HERE.  I know.  I have one question for the Lord when I get to heaven and it involves me pointing to my hair and saying, “What exactly did you have in mind for this?”  Ponytail holders are a necessity to help tame the mane in June-August.

8. The Undoing by Steffany Gretzinger – Y’all.  This girl’s voice and songs are the real deal.  Track #8 is my THEME SONG right now.  It’s called “Steady Heart” and you can hear it on YouTube HERE.

9. Fruit and Nut Snack Mix – I love anything and everything that has an assortment of dried fruits and nuts in it.  This mix is one of my favorite combinations.  Throw in some white or dark chocolate chips and your tastebuds will thank me.

10. Necklace – I love big, chunky necklaces and this one just cried out summer.  I think it would be so pretty with a long, strapless maxi dress.

11. Sunglasses – When it comes to sunglasses, I say the bigger – the better.  This pair is quite similar to the pair I currently own that I am proud to say I have not lost yet and they have been in my possession for about 6 months now.  This is a small miracle.

12. Washi Tape – Perfect for adding extra pizazz to summer Pen Pal letters. :-)

13. Nail Polish – This bright coral color makes me happy and would look nice on the toes of someone who has her feet in the sand.

14. Chalk – This is like the quintessential summer item.  You can make a lot of fun happen with a small box of this stuff.

15. Giant Sticker Book – I bought this for my boys and then found half of the stickers all over Happy Baby’s bedroom walls the other day.  It kept them occupied for 45 minutes so I am not even mad about it.  If you need a quiet activity for your kids this summer I highly recommend pulling this out.  And then have a bottle of Googone ready.

16. Infinity Scarf – Pair this scarf with a tank and maxi skirt and go see a fun movie with your hubby one night this summer.  We are planning to hit the Minion movie in July.

Would you like to win this incredible bag?

GiveawayHere’s how to enter…

1. SUBSCRIBE TO RECEIVE HAPPY HOME FAIRY EMAILS (see side bar).

You will receive an email every time I make a new post (which is usually about 1-2 times a week.  Sometimes 3 times if I locked my kids outside with snacks that week).  Each post shares a quick craft, recipe, fun FREE Printable, or light-hearted reminder of Jesus’ grace and love for you on your mommy journey.  You won’t regret it!

2. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Share this giveaway on any of your favorite social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

3. LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TELLING ME YOU SUBSCRIBED AND SHARED AS WELL AS WHAT YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT MY GIVEAWAY GOODIES.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my sweet international readers).  The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, May 31 (EST).  A winner will be selected shortly after (meaning the next day as I probably will be in bed at 11:59 pm on June 7) and notified by e-mail.

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More about the Bloggers

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Thriving Home

Friends and stay-at-home moms, Rachel and Polly, began Thriving Home in 2012 as a way to encourage and equip moms in several areas of home life. They share healthy kid-friendly recipes, evangelize about freezer cooking as well as documenting many other topics relating to running a home and family including a few spectacular parenting failures from time to time. Swing by to join in on their crazy journey through parenthood.

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Tried and Tasty

TriedandTasty.com is a premium and well established recipe blog with a friendly, conversational writing style paired with magazine quality food photography. The recipes are typically very health conscious, with rich and decadent desserts occasionally included for good measure. TriedandTasty.com has a loyal following of ‘foodies’ and is gaining new followers every day thanks to its recipes being featured on the websites of high profile magazines, news outlets, popular Facebook pages, Pinterest boards, and more.

logoHeavenly Homemakers

Laura Coppinger and her husband have four sons ages 10-17. HeavenlyHomemakers.com is dedicated to inspiring women daily with healthy (and easy!) recipes, homemaking tips, spiritual encouragement, and good ol’ clean fun.

logoMommy Hates Cooking

Mommy Hates Cooking is a national cooking and lifestyle website that encourages families to take back the dinner table. Through her easy-to-prepare (yet looks like you spent all day in the kitchen) meals and her knack for breaking down meal planning, Kristy has become the busy-mom’s resource for the modern family.

Kitchen Stewardship Chalkboard Logo - BlackKitchen Stewardship

The mission of Kitchen Stewardship is to present healthy living in bite-sized baby steps, challenging people to make positive changes in their kitchens without being overwhelmed, and providing tools to balance a family’s health, budget, time and the environment. Katie Kimball and her team share family-friendly whole foods recipes, weekly challenges, and science-geek research on what’s healthy and what’s not.

logoNourishing Joy

Nourishing Joy is dedicated to real food and natural living. We’re on a mission to equip and inspire parents like you with the tools to make intentional, thoughtful decisions that work for YOUR family easy. Or at least easier.

happyhomefairy facebook pageHappy Home Fairy

Julie Brasington is the creator of Happy Home Fairy, a popular blog focusing on encouraging and equipping moms to choose joy on the parenting journey. She shares easy craft ideas, FREE printables, simple recipes, corny jokes, holiday fun, thoughts on raising her 2 boys, and honest, heartfelt messages to uplift the weary mama. bbb

Happy Money Saver

Happy Money Saver is a website that has a growing population of readers who are passionate about saving money, homesteading, gardening, cooking from scratch, freezer meals, DIY projects and embracing their dreams.

logo3Stephanie Blue

At Stephanie Blue, I blog about my passions: natural living and essential oils. My purpose is to bring hope to moms and help them discover ways to strengthen their families physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

frugal girlThe Frugal Girl

The Frugal Girl is all about living cheerfully (and well!) on less. Get recipes, DIY tips, painting ideas, photography tips, green living inspiration, and more from Kristen, a homeschooling mom of four.

IOL_Header_Design_no_taglineIntoxicated on Life

Intoxicated on Life is a resource for families who are looking to raise healthy families – body, mind, and soul. They cover a wide range of topics from healthy gluten-free recipes, to godly parenting, homeschooling resources, and more!

TNH Grab buttonThe Nourishing Home

The Nourishing Home provides family-friendly GF recipes, free weekly whole food meal plans, helpful cooking tips and techniques, and lots of encouragement to help you in your journey to live a more nourished life.

In the midst of your own houses getting wrecked by energetic and unbound little people enjoying summer, I hope that one of you will get to enjoy a little something these great giveaways have to offer!

Happy Summer! :-)

(And in case you are a regular reader and are wondering how I suddenly became an amazing photographer, my friend Ashley from 13:13 Photography helped me take these photos so I could impress everyone and get more followers.  Lol.  Thank you, sweet Ashley!)

Grace for When Your Pants are Snug

grace for when your pants are snug... love this encouragementA few years ago, after sharing my heart with a counselor-type friend, she turned to me, looked intently into my eyeballs and said in an authoritative therapist voice,

“What does Julie need?”

I think the answer she was looking for was perhaps along the lines of, “Freedom from this particular sin struggle…” or “To have a more intimate relationship with my husband…” or “To grow in wisdom.”

But instead I responded with, “30 minutes on the treadmill, 3 times a week.”

I’m a little embarrassed to admit the shallowness of my response, but I guess you could say that this small pocket of exercise had become something really important to me and my emotional/physical well-being.

Then about 8 weeks ago I hurt my knees pushing it too hard on said beloved treadmill and in order to preserve my ability to walk, I declared a fast from exercise so that they could heal.

And, ironically, at about the same time my knees were injured, life just seemed to get 5 steps crazier and I do not even understand how I fit 30 minutes of treadmill time, 3 times a week, into my schedule before.

This has been quite difficult for me as the healing process has been slow and unfortunately, without some exercise, my body has changed a bit over the last 2 months.  The things that were semi-flabby are now very flabby and my pants are snug and I am running out of ‘flowy’ shirt options, if you know what I mean.

It has been REALLY tempting in this state, for me to get discouraged.  To let the fact that I am uncomfortable until I can get home and put on stretchy yoga pants make me grouchy.  The voice of condemnation says I’m not working hard enough, it’s all my fault somehow, I’m ugly and not good enough and should just accept it and buy new pants.

And then that little annoying voice also reminds me about it being swimsuit season – UGH.

But here is the good news that I have felt the Lord whisper in my ear the past couple of days –

There is grace for this.

I am in a season.  I’m not giving up on making healthy choices.  I try my best to eat good food and not have too many accidents with that Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips in the pantry.  I know that summer is coming and maybe my knees will finally be ready to gradually get back into some kind of workout plan.

Somewhere along the way, though, that exercise time had become a little too important to me as I discovered how my identity – my beauty and worth was all wrapped up in the thing I thought I ‘needed’ so much.

I think the Lord gently uses situations like mine to remove the idols of my heart so that I can remain steadfast even if my knees are not treadmill ready ever.

Because perfect bodies don’t exist.

I’m holding my body and my schedule out before the Lord as it encourages me to do in Romans 12:1 and I am trusting that He is pleased with me and the ways I am choosing to spend my time in this season.

I need to teach, I need to serve my kids and hubby, and sometimes life just has a mind of its own.

Like the day I wrote this post.  I had planned to come home from work that day, change clothes, and hit the treadmill for the first time in 2 months.  But on the way home I got rear-ended at a red light, spent an hour talking with the police, came home, made a few insurance-related calls, cooked dinner, bathed the boys, rocked Happy Baby to sleep because he was in the car with me and needed some extra love and comfort, read to Happy Buddy, drove to Walgreens to pick up some antibiotics for Happy Buddy who has a double ear infection, washed the lunchpails for tomorrow, went outside to admire the hubs’ hard work of installing gutters around the outside of the house, and then made him dinner.

Then at 10 pm I sat down with the hubs to watch Gilmore Girls and blog instead of exercise because I felt that one of you needed this message.

Perhaps one of you had a baby recently and are overwhelmed with the responsibilities and you’re frustrated with the extra baby weight but you think that even if someone put a treadmill in front of you, you would fall asleep on it.  Or maybe you’re in a super busy season like me and waking up at 4 am to go for a jog is just not practical (nor is it good for your sanity).  Or maybe you have an injury too.  Or maybe your metabolism just isn’t what it once was.

Whatever the reason, dear sisters, take heart.

We do not give up on striving to maintain healthy and strong bodies, but ultimately, we don’t let guilt keep us from remembering what is most important.

You are beautiful because of Jesus.

You are beautiful because you choose to exude HIS joy no matter how you feel.

That confident smile of yours is what people will remember – not that little bulge at the pants button.

And heaven…  Heaven doesn’t have metabolism issues or bummed out knees or treadmills.

Hallelujah.

That is what Julie needs we all need. <3

– Julie

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits for this life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

(Hey there, sweet friends!  I would love it if you would stop by Happy Home Fairy again tomorrow for a GIANT Summer Giveaway that I am unbelievably excited about.  See you then!)

End of Year Teacher Gift – Book of Memories (FREE Printable)

end of year teacher gift - book of memories! free printable included! this would be easy to do and the teachers will love it!

I always like to find meaningful ways to honor my kids’ teachers at the end of the year.

They are worth it.

**This idea comes from the lovely LeAna at A Small Snippet.**

I drew up a simple questionnaire (FREE Printable at bottom of post), printed them, placed them in large manila envelopes, and sent them home to all of the parents of the students in Happy Buddy’s class asking if they could fill it out with their kids as well as add a small photo of their child before returning it.

The responses we got were so adorable!

memory book for teachersmemory book for teachers 4memory book for teachers 2memory book for teachers 3

I am so proud that my son’s fondest moment from class this year involved him using potty words (which, if you’re wondering, are ‘poop’, and ‘butt’) with a friend on the carpet.

He is clearly very serious about his education.

As a teacher myself, getting a keepsake like this is one of the best parts about being an educator!  You get a little peek into the way God used you in your student’s hearts that year.

A very rewarding feeling, indeed.

end of year book of memories for the teacher - so perfect!

Once everyone returned their filled out forms, I slipped them into some sheet protectors, created a collage of photos on PicMonkey for the cover design, and put everything into a binder.

I hope that Happy Buddy’s teachers will enjoy looking back through this book in the years to come.

And maybe YOUR child’s teachers will enjoy it too!

Here is the FREE Printable…

teacher questionnaire printable at happyhomefairy.com**Click HERE for your FREE Printable Teacher Memory Book Student Questionnaire**

Happy End of Year Teacher Gift-ing! :-)

P.S. Looking for more end of year teacher gifts? Don’t forget to check out my End of Year Gift Card Bouquet for the Teacher idea found HERE.

End of Year Gift for Classmates – FREE Printable

easy and inexpensive end of year classmate gift! love this!

Things have been so crazy busy around here lately!  I feel like my family and I are kind of snowballing our way toward the finish line.  I heard someone recently say that May is like the new December but without all the yummy sugar cookies, happy carols, and twinkly decorations to keep you from losing your mind.

With that said, this is our last week of school and I have been working on several different fun ideas and FREE Printables for you!

The Happy Buddy’s class is having their big End-of-Year Party this afternoon and I thought it would be nice to give all of his friends a little gift.

Last year we handed out inexpensive Frisbees with a cute FREE Printable to all his classmates (you can find that idea HERE).

This year I found a bunch of cute, brightly colored jump ropes in the dollar bins at Target and added a happy little saying to complete the gift.

Would you like to use this idea too?

Grab some jump ropes, attach the FREE Printable tag (download at end of post) and you have yourself one super adorable and summer useful gift!end of year gift for classmates! SO ADORABLE.easy and inexpensive free printable end of year student gift ideaend of year gift for classmates! SO ADORABLE. Free Printable

*Click HERE for FREE Printable Jump Rope Gift Tag*

Happy End of Year Classmate Gift-ing! :-)

Don’t Waste This Day

mother's dayI received an email today from a company that sells kid shoes and it read, “Happy Mother’s Day!  Today is ALL ABOUT YOU!” and it made my heart a little sad.

Sad because we buy into the idea that we need a day to be pampered.

We think that we need roses on the nightstand, cards from our kiddos, a bag of our favorite chocolates, breakfast in bed, a tidy house, or a foot massage at a fancy spa in order to feel special and valued in our role as a mother.

But this is not so, my precious readers!

You are a good mother no matter how today went because of Jesus.

This afternoon I sat in Happy Buddy’s room folding laundry – a task that the world might tell me I shouldn’t be expected to do on Mother’s Day – and my sons played around me.  In between piles of shirts and socks, we had a few tickle fights, I had to handle an ‘issue’ that broke out between the boys, someone fell down and got stuck in that space between the bed and the wall (hysteria – lol), an entire box of Matchbox cars got dumped in the middle of the carpet, we called Mom-Mom to sing her a special song, and Happy Buddy lost his first tooth.

It certainly wasn’t breakfast in bed, but even in that crazy space of time, I felt an overwhelming thankfulness to God for the opportunity to serve in the role of mother.

While having a foot massage is wonderful, what is more wonderful is filling our hearts with His presence and joy so much that those petty expectations of pampering give way to the beautiful peace of a soul satisfied in Him.

So, sweet sisters.  I hope this day was not wasted in disappointment or bitter resentment, but rather in the glorious reflection that you are seen by the King.  That Jesus knows how hard you work and sees how much you give and His heart longs to pamper you with the fruits of His Spirit.

Because a foot massage is over in like 10 minutes, and chocolates involve calories, and flowers will fade away, and if your house was tidy today it will be dirty again tomorrow, but the effects of being a mother who walks with Him will last for all eternity.

You are beloved, dear mothers!

Happy Mother’s Day.

– Julie :-)

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

The Greatest Teacher Appreciation Door EVER

teacher appreciation doorteacher appreciation door4teacher appreciation door2teacher appreciation door3teacher appreciation door5teacher appreciation door6

This week was National Teacher Appreciation Week.

At our school, the class moms are responsible for decorating their child’s teacher’s classroom door.  You might remember that I was in charge of doing Happy Baby’s classroom door last year (see HERE) and Happy Buddy’s door the year before that (see HERE).

When I got to school on Monday morning, I found the above awesomeness on my own PreK-2 classroom door.

I may or may not have squealed like a little girl.

And all week long whenever I looked at my door I would just smile real big, sigh contentedly and think –

“THESE PEOPLE GET ME.”  :-)

It is an honor and a joy to serve all of my little fairies every day.  I am grateful for the extra sparkle they bring to my life! <3

– Julie

5 Simple Teacher Appreciation Gifts – FREE Printables

teacher appreciation free printables - 5 days of inexpensive and adorable and EASY gifts for the teacher! Leave it to me to bring you a post for Teacher Appreciation Day on the morning of National Teacher Appreciation Day.

You can call me the QUEEN of last-minute.  It’s cool.  I like to think that I live on the edge. :-)

In honor of my boys’ teachers, I thought it would be fun to give them a little happy each day this week.  Maybe you might like to see what we are doing…

teacher appreciation free printableDay 1 – EOS Strawberry Sorbet Lip Balm

teacher appreciation free printable - nutsDay 2 – Small bag of almonds

teacher appreciation free printable - notecardsDay 3 – Notecards (I found these Mary Engelbreit ones at Homegoods)

teacher appreciation free printable - candleDay 4 – Candle

teacher appreciation free printable - breakfast in a bagDay 5 – Breakfast in a Bag

Everything you see above I found at Target.

*And those cute FREE Printable tags you can print by clicking HERE.*

I seriously love the women who teach my boys every day.  When my heart squeezes thinking about all the time I miss out on being with my little buddies because I have to work (which is A LOT of the time), I think of their teachers – their joyful, selfless, patient, Jesus-loving teachers – and I know that they’re in good hands.

Tonight the Happy Buddy sat down to make his teachers a few handmade cards.  One read, “I’m sorry for talking so much in class.  Will you please forgive me?”  My poor, highly verbose child is familiar with his weakness – ha!

And the other card read, “I love the way you hug.”

Thank you, Teachers!

Happy Teacher Appreciate-ing! :-)