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

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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

 

My 2015 Summer Bucket List

MY 2015 SUMMER BUCKET LISTLast Saturday was my first official day of summer vacation and let me tell you something –

I FELT LIKE A DIFFERENT PERSON.

Without the impending doom of my alarm clock going off at 5 am on Monday, I may or may not have frolicked around the house on Saturday like a My Little Pony.

I was also incredibly productive.  I washed Happy Buddy’s sheets – something I am sure hasn’t been done since the school year began, I worked on a project for our church marriage ministry that I have been putting off, I made my own bed, cooked dinner (something else that hasn’t happened since the school year began – ha!), and stayed joyful all day!  If the rest of summer is going to be like this –

I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Do you remember my Summer Bucket List from last year?  That was so fun to write and even though I didn’t get everything done on the list, it was still helpful to have goals so that I didn’t just spend the entire vacation washing sheets.

Here’s what I am hoping to do this summer…

1.  FLOORS – The hubs and I took a Financial Peace class with Dave Ramsey earlier this year and we have decided that one of the things we would like to save up for is new flooring.  We have had the same carpet throughout our house for about 12 years now, so you can imagine what it must look like.  There is that spot where Happy Buddy colored on with red Sharpie, the multiple spots that encountered a potty training accident or stomach bug incident, paint drips, dirt, mud – you name it.  You could probably conduct a science experiment based on the amount of elements found hidden in the carpet fibers.  We are really hoping to replace the carpets once our budget allows.

2.  CHORE SMACKDOWN – Lately I have been having this growing concern that my boys’ lives are way too easy.  This is a breeding ground for whiny, ungrateful attitudes.  When it comes to chores, I have kind of slacked off on them because in all honesty, it is sometimes easier to just do them myself!  Plus there aren’t as many broken dishes – ha!  But I know that my boys need good, hard work to help them appreciate their many blessings, so this summer our home will be attending Chore Bootcamp.  HERE is a good list of chores according to age that I am using as a reference.

3.  NEW JERSEY – I grew up in New Jersey and I haven’t been to see my Oma since THIS POST a few years ago, so the other day the airlines were having a good deal and I jumped on it.  I can’t wait for my boys to hang out with my grandma again and get to see all my aunts and uncles and cousins.  One of my uncles even has a giant pet pig that lives in their house named Franklin Boaris.  You can imagine how much fun it will be to see him!!

4.  TEACH HAPPY BABY TO SWIM – Last year we made it our mission to teach Happy Buddy how to swim and I am proud to say he is now a PRO.  Happy Baby on the other hand has a long way to go.  We are especially uneasy being around water with him because of his muscle weakness, so having him trained will be such a relief!

5.  NEIGHBOR LOVE – We have had several new neighbors move into the houses on our little street and I regret to say that I have not been over to welcome them yet.  I am hoping to make THIS RECIPE and drop by to say hello.  I also want to do some fun surprises for our neighbors this summer like one neighbor just painted their house and it looks really nice.  I thought we could drop a note in their mailbox telling them so.

6.  SHUT-IN VISITS – With the world falling apart the way it is these days, it’s easy to retreat into our quiet, comfortable lives and forget that one of our main purposes as Christians is to reach out and be a small part of the solution.  I know I can’t solve world hunger or the ISIS situation or environmental disasters, but I can teach my kids to love and serve the poor and needy.  One practical way I would like to do this is take the boys to visit a few of the older members of our church’s congregation who haven’t been able to leave their homes due to illness and/or age.  It’s risky bringing 2 extremely energetic little buddies into that kind of setting, but I really think it will be good for the souls of everyone involved.  The hubs even mentioned tagging along with his guitar so we can sing some worship tunes.

7.  WORSHIP NIGHTS – Speaking of worship, the hubs is the worship pastor at our church and this summer he has visioned out a few nights where we gather in a warehouse setting with a bunch of friends and guitars and just sing to the Lord.  I cannot even express how excited I am about this.  Worship on Sundays is my favorite and sometimes I feel like we just can’t linger in the Lord’s presence the way I would like because of service scheduling and time constraints.  This is a night to linger.

8.  BLOG DREAMING – I have been writing for Happy Home Fairy for almost 6 years!  It is one of my favorite things to do and I dream about it being my full-time job one day.  The hubs and I have been talking about ways we can try to monetize the blog, but that would mean moving it to a self-hosted site and investing some $$$$ into construction and design.  It is a big decision and I have some fears about it (like y’all wouldn’t follow me if I moved and then the whole thing would crumble), but we are praying and seeking God about the next step.

9.  MOVE HAPPY BABY TO BIG BOY BED – Happy Baby is 3 now, so it’s time to get him out of his crib.  Plus, he is also finally potty-trained so when he has to go tinkle in the morning if I am not there first thing to help him out, he tends to not be able to hold it any longer and thus the reason we need new carpets.  Lol.

10.  WEAR A BATHING SUIT – I mentioned HERE that I am carrying some extra weight right now, but I am determined to not let that keep me from wearing a bathing suit this summer and actually getting in the pool and ocean with my kiddos.  I have missed out on a lot of fun because of my silly insecurities and don’t want to let that happen anymore.  Plus, if you read THIS INSPIRING POST, you will probably go put a swimsuit on right now and just wear it permanently for the rest of the summer.

What’s on YOUR Summer Bucket List?  I’d love to know!

And don’t forget – my FAVORITE SUMMER THINGS GIVEAWAY ends TOMORROW night at midnight, so if you haven’t entered yet, do it NOW by clicking HERE!

– Julie :-)

Summer Service Ideas – FREE Printable

While your kids are draping themselves over chairs complaining that there’s nothing to do, gently encourage their little hearts to go and be a blessing to someone.

Here are a few ways we like to serve in the hot months of summer…summer serve ideas at happy home fairy.jpg

Our favorite is to bring cold water bottles to the garbage men – I learned that one from my sweet dad!

Click HERE for your FREE Summer Service Printable

Happy Summer Service-ing! :-)

55 Fun and Easy Ideas for Summer

55 ideas for summer - such a great and easy list of fun ideas for my family this summer!.jpgI’ve started to cut back on all the ’round-ups’ I used to do because Pinterest is overflowing with posts promising, “5,000 Kid Activities!” or “6 Trillion Boredom Busters!”

But I like to think that my specialty is finding the ideas that are REALLY easy – the ones that make you say,

“I can do that!”

I tell people that each of my kids took a little bit of my brain with them when they came out (which, if you know me, doesn’t say much about how much brain I started with ;-)).

The point is, when it’s 1,000 degrees out and your kids have watched enough TV to rot all that good brain they stole from you you lovingly gave them, moms need ideas that don’t require a whole lot of thinking.

They also need ideas that require stuff we can find under our kitchen sinks or in our pantries or sock drawers.

With that said, here is an EPIC list featuring 55 of Happy Home Fairy’s favorite fun and easy ideas to do with your Happy Buddies this summer.

I hope you’ll share it with all the other low-brain-functioning Superhero Moms out there. :-)

marshmallow structures#1 – Build some Marshmallow Structures (via Craft Interrupted).

#2 – Have a Midnight Kickball Game (via Happy Home Fairy).

sunshine cupcakes - these are so cute and easy. Perfect for summer!.jpg#3 – Bake a batch of Sunshine Cupcakes (via Happy Home Fairy).

paint seashells#4 – Paint Seashells (via Pink Sky Photography).

quick-and-easy-kids-binoculars-just-takes-5-minutes#5 – Make binoculars out of toilet paper rolls (via Sweet C’s Designs) .

#6 – Decorate the outside of Dad’s car while he is at work with streamers and balloons and homemade signs.

ketchup painting#7 – Fill an empty ketchup bottle with water and squirt designs on the sidewalk (via I Can Do That! So Can You…)

diaper ditch at happy home fairy#8 – Ding Dong Ditch a box of diapers to a new mom or local pregnancy center (via Happy Home Fairy).

#9 – Visit a pet store and name all the animals.

watermelon bowling#10 – Play Wacky Watermelon Bowling (via Growing a Jeweled Rose).

Sumoboys#11 – Sumo Wrestling (via All For The Boys).

#12 – Skype with someone and tell them funny jokes like, “What does the sun drink out of?”  SUNGLASSES! :-)

fairy jar#13 – Make Fairies in a Jar (via Pinterest).

#14 – Play with Pipe Cleaners (via Spoonful).

wooden spoon puppet#15 – Make Wooden Spoon Puppets (via Creative Learning Fun).

#16 – Give your pet a party (via Family Fun).

shaving cream#17 – Shaving Cream + Plastic Tablecloth (via HeyDay Living).

#18 – Look through old photos together.

wrap duct tape around your child's wrist, send them outside and let them decorate their 'bracelet' with items they find in nature! I LOVE THIS!#19 – Make Nature Bracelets (via Happy Home Fairy).

puffy paint#20 – Make Homemade Puffy Paint (via Skip to My Lou).

robot-prompts-1#21 – Use these FREE Printable Robot Drawing Prompts (via Picklebums).

noodle game#22 – Play this super fun Pool Noodle Game (via Parents).

#23 – Dress up super fancy for dinner and talk in British accents.

plate crowns#24 – Make these super easy Paper Plate Crowns (via Meaningful Mama).

laser beam#25 – Make a Laser Beam Obstacle (via All for the Boys).

#26 – Bring in someone’s trash cans.

#27 – FAMILY DANCE PARTY.

best bubbles#28 – Make this World’s Greatest Bubble Recipe (via Under the Sycamore).

water bin#29 – Make this easy Plastic Bin Water Table (via Mom to 2 Posh Lil’ Divas).

#30 – Have dessert for breakfast one morning.

car s'mores#31 – Make Car S’mores (via Mom Advice).

foil river#32 – Make a Tin Foil River (via I Can Teach My Child).

#33 – Make a music video to your favorite song and share it on Facebook.

cave of stars#34 – Create a Cave of Stars (via Pinterest).

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Photo Source

#35 – Have a Glow Stick Bath (via Happy Home Fairy).

roads#36 – Make some Tape Roads (via Parents).

Homemade-Gak-This-is-the-cheapest-and-best-kid-entertainment-ever-Recipe-on-lilluna.com-gak#37 – Make GAK (via Lil’ Luna).

sunbleach-puzzle2#38 – Make a Sun-Bleached ABC Mat (via Kids Activities Blog).

cereal-box-puzzles#39 – Make Cereal Box Puzzles (via Happy Hooligans).

marshmallows#40 – Make Marshmallow People (via Color Me Katie).

pet rocks#41 – Make Pet Rocks (via Cocoa Bean Blog).

walking tacos#42 – Make Walking Tacos (via The Girl Who Ate Everything).

pompom spooning at happyhomefairy#43 – Play Pom Pom Spooning (via Happy Home Fairy).

color-scavenger-hunt#44 – Have a Rainbow Toy Hunt (via Hands On: As We Grow).

cheerios#45 – Play with Cheerios (via Teach Preschool).

#46 – Go out for ice cream in your pajamas (the whole family must participate).

#47 – Run through the sprinklers.

coolsummer#48 – Drop off a box of popsicles at a friend’s house (via eighteen25).

sidewalk chalk photo#49 – Take fun Sidewalk Chalk Photos (via Pinterest).

#50 – Go on a night walk around the neighborhood with flashlights.

rainbow paint#51 – Use Shaving Cream Bath Paint in the tub (via Meet the Dubiens).

mini-biscuit-pizza-recipe#52 – Make Homemade Pizzas (via Queen Bee Coupons).

ice-cream-sandwich-cute#53 – Make an Ice Cream Sandwich Cake (via The Girl Who Ate Everything).

saran wrap window clings#54 – Make Homemade Window Clings with Saran Wrap and Sharpies (via Abernathy Crafts).

#55 – Savor every second.

Happy 55 Awesome Summer Ideas-ing! :-)

*Please ‘Pin’ the image provided at the top of this post. To pin an individual activity, please visit the amazing sites listed.  Thank you!*

10 Things I Want To Do This Summer

10 things i want to do this summer..jpgEvery Summer I try to put together a list of things I want our family to do (you can see our Summer Bucket List from last year HERE).

This year, though, I wanted to make a little Summer Bucket List for myself, if you will.

Because making tin foil rivers and figuring out the best recipe for homemade bubbles is awesome and all, but there are a few things I am interested in personally accomplishing over the next couple of months.

1. Paint the front door YELLOW.

I have been kind of obsessed with yellow doors lately (you can see some of the ones I have been pinning HERE).  If we somehow fall into some extra money this summer, it will be going toward this bright and happy project.

2. Dye my hair like Lorelai Gilmore’s.

Oh my goodness.  Gilmore Girls.  One of my favorite shows of all time.  Why, oh why did they have to stop after only 7 seasons?  I am making the hubs watch the entire series with me this summer (along with So You Think You Can Dance).   Every time we watch it, I drool over Lorelai’s hair color.  It’s like this deep chocolatey brown but with beautiful red highlights.  I’m feeling adventurous.

I am also secretly dreaming about getting my nose pierced this summer.

It’s quite possible I am having a mid-life crisis. :-)

3. Take the kids to the dentist.

I am HORRIBLE at remembering to brush my children’s teeth.  So I have been avoiding the dentist like the plague because I know they are going to punish me with disapproving stares when they see the evidence of neglect in my kids’ mouths.

Not to mention that I don’t like going to the dentist and haven’t quite figured out how to cast this particular person in a positive light for my children.  I used to tremble in the waiting room as a kid.  Not even the treasure chest or 152 flavors of flouride treatments could change my opinion.  And these days I am always getting in trouble for not flossing.  Also my last pregnancy apparently sucked every last bit of health from my gums, so my trips to the dentist now usually end up with me looking like a scene out of the Vampire Diaries and wondering what having dentures will be like one day.

4. Teach my kids to swim.

Another area of neglect is that I have not yet taught my kids how to swim.

And we live in FLORIDA, people.

Not a fan of all the time it takes to put sunscreen on squirming little people so we generally don’t go to pools or the beach that often.

There is an indoor swim academy right by our house, however, and they were offering this AMAZING deal for 4 swimming lessons so I snatched it up.  It’s time we get this figured out so the hubs and I can actually have fun at family swim parties and trips to the beach instead of playing Rock Paper Scissors to see who will do CPR if necessary.

5. Finish my Bible study.

I have fallen in love with Lysa TerKeurst and am eating up everything she has to offer.  I did THIS BOOK earlier in the year and now I am doing THIS ONE called What Happens When Women Say Yes To God.

Remember my post about The Prayer Chair?  Yeah, well, I haven’t been the best about waking up early these days, so my times with the Lord have been a little less consistent but definitely more creative.  5 minutes alone in the bathroom?  Let’s dig into God’s Word.  At a red light?  Let’s finish up Chapter 6’s study questions.

I’m hoping that the summer will be a bit more relaxed and I will be able to finally figure out exactly how to say yes to God. :-)

6. Respond to people who comment on Happy Home Fairy things.

I’ve been writing this blog since 2010 and I have been AWFUL at responding to all the sweet people (like my top commenters Debbie, April and Brandi, to name a few) who take the time to let me know they liked a post or printable or to just share an encouraging word.  I seriously read EVERY SINGLE ONE and they bless me MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW, but I have just never been able to figure out a good response groove.  Like if I respond to one, then I feel I have to respond to them all (even though there really aren’t a whole lot to manage).

I’m kind of an all or nothing kind of girl.  Like if I can’t remember to brush my kids’ teeth every day then I might as well not brush them at all.

Lately, though, I have been really desiring to grow this blog and I think one of the things that I could do better is taking the time to connect with my readers.  So, this summer I am going to do my very best to reply to every commenter.  Even the ones on Instagram.  And maybe Facebook. :-)

7. Get 10,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, I have this little dream of reaching 10,000 likes.  I wish I had more time to pour into social media things.  To be honest, I am AWFUL at writing status updates.  I feel like there are people who just think in status updates and are constantly rolling out these intelligent and inspiring words.

Not me.

It sometimes takes me hours (and several trial runs by the hubs) to come up with something that I think is worthy enough to be shared.  Plus, for the same reason I completely failed as an independent consultant for a home party business, I hate promoting myself.  I always feel like I am bothering people with stuff about… me.

I suppose if I bothered them they could ‘unlike’ me, but then I would just feel bad about that.

Maybe the answer here is that I am just not cut out to have a huge, exploding blog and should revise some of these summer dreams to be more along the lines of ways I can be a better mom.

Because clearly I spend too much time blogging and not enough time preserving my children’s pearly whites.

8. Go see a movie.

Man, when the hubs and I were in college we lived near a dollar theater and we went to the movies almost every weekend.  It was the greatest.

Then we had kids.

Isn’t it funny how going to the movies now seems like such a huge and expensive event?

But seeing a movie with my love is one of my fondest memories.  Especially in the summertime.  I love wearing a flowy dress and walking hand and hand through the parking lot after a good flick.  Possibly holding ice cream cones with our other free hand.

9. Soak up every minute with my kids.

I really want to be intentional about loving every relaxed-paced second I have this summer with my 2 little buddies.  I will be making the transition from part-time to full-time teaching in the fall so these next 2 months are going to be incredibly precious as we savor laid back mornings, running through the sprinklers (since they can’t swim yet), and having after dinner Dubstep dance parties.

10. Holding on to JOY when it gets hot.

Other than our trip to the Bahamas, we’ve been encountering a series of unfortunate events involving our house, our mortgage, water damage, mold, medical bills, insurance, my husband’s chronic back pain, illness, and job stresses.

Just the other day I said to no one in particular, “Are we in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?”

But then I quickly remembered that JESUS was in that furnace, too – right there with them.

And I vowed to walk in the same kind of trust and obedience as those 3 faithful men.

Even when things get hot.

And in summertime in South Florida, it’s kind of inevitable. :-)

So that’s my list.

What’s on yours?

(And if you answer this question by commenting below, I will reply to you – pinky swear.)

– Julie

10 Creative Ways to Have Fun With Foil

fun with foil - so many easy activities using foil!

We are slowly checking things off our Summer Bucket List!

One thing that I am really looking forward to doing is a Tin Foil River (see below) in our front yard!

But it has been pretty gloomy and rainy most of the week, so we haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Having a big roll of aluminum foil on hand has got me to thinking (and googling) – what are some other awesome ways we could use this shiny stuff?

Here is a compilation of several really creative ideas that I found to help beat summer boredom with foil in the coming days.

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This is the Tin Foil River from I Can Teach My Child that we are definitely trying.

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I Am Momma Hear Me Roar had her Happy Buddies make Aluminum Foil Boats that were tested to see how many marbles or pennies they could hold.

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My amazing friend, Bern, from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, froze some paint and had her preschoolers Paint on Aluminum Foil.

Such a great sensory experience!

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I love this Drawing on Foil with Sharpies activity from Picklebums.

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Same idea, but ikat bag took it a step further and made Aluminum Foil Crowns and Scepters.

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Make and Takes featured these fun Foil Pendants.

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Use up your recyclables with these hilarious Aluminum Foil Robots from Filth Wizardry.

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Kids Activities Blog handed a few Happy Buddies a roll of aluminum foil and they sculpted some really cool creations as well as wrapped a bunch of random things in foil and then guessed what each wrapped object was.

What a cool game idea!

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With the steamy temperatures right now, this homemade Solar Oven from Spoonful is the most clever way to cook up a batch of S’mores using foil, an empty pizza box, and the sun.

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Finally, Making Boys Men has an amazing list of foil fun ideas, but this was the one that just screamed BRILLIANT to me –

Wrap foil around your Happy Buddies over and over so that their arms are tucked in.  Then on the count of 3, they explode out.

She appropriately named this The Superhero Escape.

Are you running to the pantry to check for foil?? :-)

Happy Fun with Foil-ing!

Summer Bucket List

such a cute and simple summer bucket list at happyhomefairy.com!I know I am dreadfully behind on getting ‘summer-y’ posts out to y’all.

I just needed the right inspiration to kick me in the pants, shall we say.

When I saw THIS chalkboard Summer Bucket List, I thought, I can do that!

So today during the Happy Baby’s nap, the Happy Buddy and I brainstormed some things we want to do this summer and I jotted it all down on the chalkboard hanging in our entryway.

I kept our list a bit small because I have to keep things realistic here.  Most days we are pretty happy just hanging out in pajamas playing with trains and cars.

But then there are other days (like today) where I was desperate for this list of ideas because if we stayed in our house another minute I think the fact that there is only one square inch of flooring that isn’t covered in some sort of crumb, raisin, or unidentifiable small thing would have sent me over the edge.

And as you can see, we have already been getting busy checking off our boxes – thanks to inclement weather.

Personally, I am unbelievably psyched about the kickball.  A zillion years ago I wrote a post HERE about how my mom and dad would take us out in the middle of the night for family kickball games during the summer.  It. Was. Awesome.  So I spent like 2 hours this morning trying to coordinate schedules with 30 different husband’s-side family members to nail down a date.  And yes, we were victorious.

Family Kickball Game is happening July 21st {KAPOW!}.

adorable (and realistic) summer bucket list at happyhomefairy.com! love it!What are you doing this summer that has you jazzed???

Happy Summer Bucket List-ing! :-)

*You can find other amazing Summer Bucket List Inspirations HERE.*