A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes… {{Fund the Fairy!!}}

FUND THE FAIRYWhen I was in Kindergarten our teacher set up little writing centers where I would go every day to create stories about spaghetti and unicorns.

When I was in elementary school my parents sent me to a writing camp with a real-life children’s author where I got to ‘publish’ a book about a little girl whose rocking chair came to life at night and flew her all over the city.

When I was in middle school I carried notebooks with me wherever I went and wrote stories all day long about characters named ‘Amber’ and ‘Tiffany’ (in between playing MASH with friends because finding out which celebrity I would marry and how many kids we would have and whether or not we would live in a box or a mansion was also an extremely important use of my time).

When I was in high school I kept a journal filled with prayers and the deepest longings of my heart.  I wrote about becoming a writer one day.

When I taught 2nd grade, teaching creative writing was by far my strongest suit.  I loved giving my students the tools they needed to be authors and stir a human heart with written words.

One time when the hubs and I were on a vacation before we had kids, we sat on a Florida beach making our lifelong Bucket List.  Mine had several hilarious and next-to-impossible things like ‘Go on tour with my favorite band’ and ‘live in a house with high ceilings,’ but the number one bucket list item was ‘WRITE.’

Then I had my babies and the Lord called me to write this blog – He called me to share my heart – the good, the bad, and the JESUS.  He inspired me to help sweet mamas like you find fun and easy ways (crafts, recipes, FREE Printables, etc.) to build a happy home.

After 6 years of blogging, I can say with 100% confidence that THIS IS WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO DO – this is what makes me come alive.

This is my dream.

And it’s time to start investing in my dream.

I want to make my blog into something that will make it possible for me to earn an income and help support our little family.  I am a preschool teacher and my husband is a worship pastor, so you know we’re bringing in the Benjamins (just look at the photo above – we can’t even afford to buy me jeans without holes – hahaha!) :-)

After a million hours of prayer and the counsel of my husband and pastor’s wife and others, I have decided to start a Go Fund Me page to help me raise the money we need to cover the costs of migrating and designing a new site that will allow for advertising and better organization of Happy Home Fairy resources.

This is a HUGE leap of faith, but I feel confident in my calling – helping moms like you is what I am most passionate about!  {{And if you are wondering from what I mentioned in THIS POST, we decided to forgo the new floors in order to make sure we are prioritizing our investments.  Yay for dirty carpets!! #sacrifice :-)}}

Have you been blessed by this site in some way?  Has a FREE Printable helped you in a pinch or a post of encouragement strengthened your mommy heart?  Do you believe in my mission to help moms?  If so, even just a $10 donation could help!

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Today I am choosing to boldly step out and pursue my dream of being a writer and encouraging moms all over the world to build a happy home.

Will you join me in making this dream come true?

Click HERE to Fund the Fairy!

– Julie

How to Defeat Evil and Why I Didn’t Like the Minion Movie

Why I Didn't Like the Minion Movie and how to raise kids who fight for what's GOOD instead of evil.Happy Baby is OBSESSED with Minions.  For the last year and a half that sweet boy has fixed his little heart on all things yellow, vitamin-shaped, and wearing overalls (you can see his Minion birthday party HERE).

He sleeps with about 20 different toy Minions in his bed – all ranging in size from as small as the cap of a tube of toothpaste, to as big as a pillow.

He has multiple sets of Minion pajamas, slippers, hats, and even underwear.

His passion for carrying DVDs with him everywhere he goes consistently narrows down to his top favorites – Despicable Me 1 or 2 or the version that came out featuring just the Minion mini-movies.

We loved Despicable Me 1 and 2.  Those movies were light-hearted, humorous, and fun with really redemptive story lines – which was great for those of us who have children that like to watch movies 14,000 times in a row.

Needless to say, when they started advertising for the Minion movie, my husband and I were like NO BRAINER.  It would be a perfect summer family fun outing!

After weeks of counting down, when the movie finally released this past Friday, we were front in line at the theater.

As the plot unfolded, however, I must have glanced over at the hubs several times – sometimes in surprise, but mostly in disappointment.

While there were some cute, funny moments where the boys laughed out loud and at the end there was a really great moment where Kevin ‘sacrifices’ his life to save everyone, I thought the majority of the other characters and surrounding themes were just plain weird, with several of pockets of inappropriateness, and well… darkness.

Happy Buddy is a literal SPONGE and will remember anything and everything about a movie.  The problem is he typically absorbs all of the bad stuff about a show and then I have to work really hard to remind and reteach him about the good stuff.  For this reason we usually research a movie quite religiously before we see it, but with the Minion Movie we felt confident it would deliver and didn’t bother to check reviews.

I wish I had (or at least paid more attention to the previews).

The whole movie is about the minions’ quest to find the most evil person in the world to serve.  Along their journey they encounter evil villain after evil villain (many of whom are actually scary and without the heart that Gru seemed to have in the Despicable Me movies), which eventually leads to an evil villain showdown at the end of the movie.

The amount of focus on ‘evil’ was really what left me feeling somewhat icky when the movie was over.

I know it’s ‘just a movie’ and there were plenty of people who saw the movie and didn’t feel the same way, but for our family, the battle with the flesh is so incredibly real.  The pull toward the ‘bad’ or the ‘evil’ is already so much a part of our sinful nature that throwing it around in front of my kids’ faces for almost 2 hours is really undoing and frustrating.  We got home from the movie and of course the boys were running around the house menacingly shouting that they were EVVVVIIILLLLL and going to take over the world.

{{Insert forehead slap here.}}

As I made dinner I started to feel kind of discouraged.  Beyond the movie, I was already feeling heavy from the last couple of weeks of negative news report after negative news report and how it just seems like evil is really taking over the world.  The movie and my boys’ behavior were sort of the icing on the cake of some thoughts I had already been thinking about concerning the bigger picture of a dark world and how to make a difference.

How do I raise kids who fight for GOOD?  How do I raise kids who want to be Heroes for rightness and light and truth in a world that is increasing in darkness?

That’s when the hubs walked into the kitchen and invited me back to the bedroom to see a project he had been working on for the last 20 minutes.  When I got the bedroom I saw that he had hung a mirror that I had scribbled down on a to do list the day before.  I had no intention of him even seeing my to-do list yet let alone complete the project so quickly!

I burst into tears.

Of course the hubs was stunned by my response and immediately asked if I was pregnant – hahahahaha (I’m not).

My emotional outburst had less to do with hormones and more to do with a reaction to my husband’s display of goodness in the middle of my train wreck of negative thoughts.

Romans 12:21 says, “Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.”

We cannot forget that all the evil in the world cannot ever defeat us because of JESUS’ good work on the cross.

And that inspires us to get out there and find ways to defeat the darkness with the light we have from Him.

This is the message for our children.  While I wasn’t a fan of the Minion Movie, we did have a really good conversation with our boys at dinner about good vs. evil and how to be a true hero.

True heroes lay down their lives for someone – true heroes look for ways to bless others.

Like hanging a mirror, or sitting with someone at school who looks lonely, or standing up for the kid getting picked on during recess…

True heroes share their toys, hug someone when they are hurt, bring a gift just because, use their tongue to build others up instead of tear them down…

The Message Bible translates Romans 12:20-21 like this, “Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”

If you’re wondering how you **with the Lord’s help** can raise kids who fight for what’s right, start by teaching them how to do good to everyone.

I wonder what the minions would be like if they chose to get the best of evil by doing good?

For starters, I imagine they would share their bananas – ha!

– Julie :-)

**I will be the first to admit I am really sensitive to material that might negatively influence my kids because my kids seem to absorb it more than others. Every family is different. You can find another review of the movie over at Plugged In.

The Carousel Kindness

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When my mom was a teenager she used to work at the carousel on the Boardwalk.  They would play a game where every time the carousel circled around, the rider had a chance to stretch their arm out and try to grab a small ring from this funny little contraption.

If you got the golden ring, you won a free ride on the carousel.

Well, they STILL play this game at the carousel ride and guess what?!  Happy Buddy got the gold ring!  You would have thought someone handed him a hundred ice cream cones he was so completely ecstatic.

Then on his second free ride, HE GOT THE GOLD RING AGAIN.

While I was so thrilled for Happy Buddy’s victory, my heart started to see an opportunity for kindness.  He already got his free ride and it was time for us to leave the park, so now he could bless someone else with a free ticket!

I had visions of him giving it away and us rejoicing over the chance to be Jesus to someone.

As Happy Buddy excitedly exited the ride showing off his second ticket, we did a little dance and celebrated the moment.

Then I jumped right in by dropping a few hints about being kind and giving his ticket away – how it would feel so wonderful to sacrifice in order to make someone else so happy – like JESUS. ;-)

Of course he said yes!

Haha – NO.  Instead he clutched the ticket to his chest and said he wanted to take it home and frame it.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed!  It would have been such an awesome, tangible moment to share God’s love!

And I could have chosen to push my agenda on him, but you know what I realized?

That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.

He worked hard for his prize.  I mean, I worked hard for my diploma and I’m allowed to hang it on my wall, right?

There will be plenty more opportunities for him to show kindness.  Like the other day when I wasn’t feeling well and he came in my room and asked me if there was anything he could do for me.

And then how he told Happy Baby tonight how he loved being his brother.

And then when we were in the car yesterday and he saw a homeless man and was moved to write a note for him that said ‘God bless you!  You rock!’

He is a good boy – even if he didn’t give away his carousel ticket.

You might think I’m a little crazy for even writing about this, but the whole situation reminded me of how I sometimes get these inflated expectations of perfection with my kids.  I need to keep in mind that kids are kids.  He is growing and learning just like I am.

As it turns out, every time he sees his little carousel ticket he gets excited all over again and now our whole family sees that little ticket as a tangible way the Lord showed great kindness to our sweet Happy Buddy.

I think I am going to hang it up next to my diploma. ;-)

– Julie

That Time There Was a Huge Misunderstanding

surrey

One of the best things to do on the boardwalk is get up early and go biking.

This is easy to do when you are sharing a house with 5 kids and they think sleeping past 6 is ‘sleeping in’.

One morning my dad and I took my boys and 2 of their cousins on a surrey (which is basically a car but a bicycle where the kids get a joy ride and the adults pedal until they feel like their legs just might break in half).

Halfway through the ride I asked my dad if we could pull over for a photo and as he was snapping the shot, a well-meaning lady walked up and offered to take the photo for us because, “What a beautiful family.”

That’s when my dad and I looked at each other and bust out laughing because this sweet gal thought that he and I were married and these were our 4 kids.

Lord have mercy.

After that I believe my legs completely turned to Jell-O and my dad had to bike that truck 10 blocks on his own.

Having 4 kids is exhausting.

– Julie :-)

The Boardwalk

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(Can you tell which child in the photo above is being uncooperative?  That would be mine – ahem.)

The Boardwalk is a magical place.

Pizza and caramel popcorn and salt water taffy and then a bunch of crazy rides to make you throw all that delicious food up.

I felt like a kid again – seriously, some of the rides that my boys went on were rides that I went on as a kid.  Not even kidding.  And my mom went on them when SHE was a kid.  I was tempted to ask guest services questions about the reliability of said rides, but thought, hey, why ruin the magic?

I was surprised that Happy Buddy went on so many thriller rides… He has always been quite cautious about trying new things.  Especially new things that drop suddenly or spin in circles for extended amounts of time.  His only condition was that I ride with him and of course I was like, “Aw no, I would rather not have any fun.” ;-)

The only disappointing thing about the Boardwalk was that it was probably 150% humidity and my growing hair could have almost qualified as another theme park attraction.

Now that we are home, the boys ask me only 1400 times a day if we can go back and I tell them that one day we will go back and then one day after that they will go back and bring their own kids to the boardwalk.

But by then I imagine the rides will be so old they will have probably disintegrated.

:-)

I hope y’all had a happy 4th of July!

– Julie

The Big 6

happy buddy bdayI can’t believe you are 6 years old today – just this morning you said to me, “Mommy, doesn’t it feel like my last birthday was 5 months ago?” :-)

It has been a big year for you!

This year you asked Jesus into your heart… We were lying in bed one night last October talking about Jesus and you asked me if you could go to heaven one day.  Then one short, heartfelt, Holy Spirit-led prayer later, the angels were throwing the biggest party heaven had ever seen.

You lost your first tooth and the Tooth Fairy came.

You cycled your way through a variety of sports – football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and now you’re all about Nascar.  Your daddy and I just love stepping on the 100 millions Matchbox cars you leave all over the living room carpet. :-)

I love your honest heart…  You confess your sins quickly and then I get the opportunity to hug you close and whisper truths about His unending grace for you.

You still like to play in your kitchen and just yesterday we played restaurant and you cooked me a delicious plate of grilled chicken with bacon and asparagus.

Your little brother tells me regularly that you are his hero.

You like to pull out every piece of construction paper we own and make little creations.

Sometimes you crawl into Sunday School pretending to be a dog named Sparky and I love that the Children’s Ministry staff prints you a name tag that says Sparky.

You mastered the Monkey Bars this year.

Every once in awhile instead of saying goodbye you will say, “Toodaloo!”

You did amazing in your second year of PreK-4.  Your dad and I feel so thankful that you had one more year to play and make new friends.

I love how you are 6 and yet you use vocabulary like ‘aghast’ and ‘miraculous’ and can already tell time on an analog clock.

You get a real kick out of using potty words like ‘poop’ and ‘pee’ and everyday I wrestle with wanting to laugh about it or stuff a bar of soap in your mouth teach you about self-control and Ephesians 4:29.

You didn’t have a seizure this year!

You love to send text messages filled with funny emoticons to Mom-Mom and Grammie and Miss Cathy.

You would eat a brownie for breakfast, cake at lunch, and cookies after dinner every single day if we let you.  I am already praying about the day you go off to college…

I love how you never let me forget to give you Jesus Kisses.

You are always trying to honk my nose at bedtime and while it drives me crrrrazy, I love that you do it.

We recently sat down for an hour and you worked on writing your first book and I got to be the illustrator.  I love that you wrote Pictures By Julia on the cover and told me I did a good job drawing.

You never forget a thing.  {{A fact that also scares me a little bit.}}

I love how you gave it your all at the Talent Show.

Last night as we snuggled in bed, I reminded you about the story of your birth… How the doctors told us THERE WAS NO WAY we would ever have a baby and how we prayed for you by name and how God just blew everyone’s minds when He created you.

You are a miracle.

I’m so blessed to be your mama.  It is an honor and a joy to serve you.  You can talk about poop all you want, little buddy – we think you’re amazing. ;-)

Happy Birthday.

Love, Your mama

*If you want to see how this boy has grown, click on the numbers to see Happy Buddy’s other birthday letters – 5, 43 and 2.

How I Survived Flying Solo With 2 Kids

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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