Super Easy Outdoor Chalk Game

This super easy chalk game will get your kiddos outside and counting! So much fun!

On Saturday afternoon our neighbors texted to invite us to a small summer party they were throwing.

So we ditched nap and quiet time and joined the fun!

Someone set out a giant bucket of chalk and, I don’t know about you, but I CANNOT RESIST A GIANT BUCKET OF CHALK.

I remembered seeing this little game on Pinterest many moons ago and thought it would be a good one to try.

The kids had a blast and it was so simple to put together.

chalk gameSimply draw 6 numbered boxes.

Then instruct the kids to go find items to fill each box – enough items to correspond with the number in the box.

For example…

chalk game 11 piece of chalk.

chalk game 22 flip flops.

chalk game 33 pretzels.

chalk game 44 Badminton rackets (and by the way, did you know it was BadMINTon?  I always thought it was BadMITTON. #thanksgoogle).

chalk game 55 hula hoops.

chalk game 66 bubble bottles.

IMG_2467Isn’t this fun?  And the kids had the added challenge of it being an extremely windy day so they had to find items that wouldn’t blow away.

I thought they did great and the final result captured the essence of summer quite nicely!

And here’s one other thing that captured the essence of summer nicely, as well.

summerHappy Chalk Game-ing! :-)

The Big Box

big box fun 6

Our sweet babysitter, Miss Cathy, gave us a large box from their recent washing machine purchase and LET ME TELL YOU.

You would have thought she had given my boys the MOON.

I set it out in the living room so that Happy Buddy and Happy Baby would find it when they woke up.

big box fun 3big box fun 4big box fun 2Happy Buddy had it all decorated – including a welcome mat – before 6 am.

He hung handmade drawings inside on the walls (although the jury’s still out on what he drew in the picture hanging over the window – any thoughts?  Is it a flower?  A man running for his life?  Tadpole?).

He filled it with bins full of books, walkie-talkies, pillows, a football, and pretend snacks.  Everything a boy could possibly need in a new home.

big box fun 10He covered it with a sheet so that he had privacy, of course.

When Happy Baby woke up he decided that he wanted his own house.

I happened to have a box from an inexpensive toy organizer I had recently purchased at Target (which I put together myself.  I used a screwdriver and everything! #feelingproud).

big box fun 7big box fun 8Happy Buddy even made a welcome mat for his brother’s new house.

big box fun 9And now they have their very own neighborhood.

I am not going to lie, having these giant boxes in the living room is kind of making me crazy.  Usually with items of this size my OCD will get the best of me and they will be by the curb the next day because I just can’t stand the extra mess (do you remember the bunny?  We still have it!).  Our house is already small, so adding 2 huge boxes makes it feel like we literally have the MOON in our living room.

But I am choosing to let it go because the boys are just so happy.

Plus they are learning how to be good neighbors.

big box fun 11Ringing the doorbell…

big box fun 5Enjoying one another’s company…

big box fun 12Annnnnd this is a picture of Happy Buddy throwing his brother out of his house because he was tired of entertaining.

Every day the Happy Buddy thanks me for not throwing his house away – lol!  I guess I need to lighten up a bit and let them be kids and have fun.

It’s summer after all.

Have your kids ever had the opportunity to play with a big box?

– Julie :-)

*Feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, sweet friends!  Thank you to those who have contributed to my dream!!  I am praising God for you!  We are ALMOST to my goal!  If you haven’t already, will you pray about donating to help Fund the Fairy?  I would be so honored to have your support! Xoxo

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

 

The BYOM Potluck Cookout (The Easiest Way to Entertain this Summer)

I am so excited to share one of my sweet friends from high school with you today!  She has some of the yummiest recipes and a lot of great tips for keeping things uncomplicated in the kitchen – but without sacrificing delicious flavor.  I love her heart and her posts make me laugh out loud.  The Lord encourages us to open our homes and to always be eager to practice hospitality (Romans 12:13), but sometimes I don’t open our home because, let’s face it, it takes a good chunk of cash to feed a crowd (not to mention I am not always eager to make the bathrooms less of a sanitation hazard company ready).  In today’s post, Bet brings us a simple way to be obedient to Him, enjoy fellowship with others, and be cost effective all at the same time.  I know you will love her!

the easiest way to entertain this summer!Hey there! I’m Bet from Bet On Dinner, and I’m so excited to be posting over here today! I knew Julie before she was the Fairy, and now I love using her ideas with my two girls. I love how very real she is about being a mom!

Julie and Bet in high schoolJulie and me our senior year of high school. I was using black and white film…to be artsy, I guess? But yep, film. #thingsthatmakeyoufeelold

When Julie invited me to share something, she was probably expecting a recipe, since that’s mostly what I do on my blog (plus meal planning, freezer-friendly meal ideas, and sorting through my childhood closet for my internet friends). But I’m here to talk about how to make having friends over for dinner INCREDIBLY easy!

So: we LOVE to have people over. Obviously, I like to cook (and I really, really like to eat), but it just makes me happy to have people we love sitting around our table.

But. Sometimes this love can cause me to be a tiny bit c.r.a.z.y. I take on one (or two or three) too many cooking projects. I’ve been known to exceed decimate the grocery budget. I get testy with my daughters who continue to need things while I’m getting the house ready (whyyy must they do that?). I use all of the dishes.

In other words: I still get the warm fuzzy feelings of having friends laughing in my kitchen, but I’m also exhausted.

Does anyone else do this? Here’s the antidote:

a BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) Potluck Cookout!

grillthe spread at a BYOM potluck cookout

As the host, your jobs are simple:

1. Invite some friends. A total of 6-10 people is a good size.

2. Ask them to bring some meat to throw on the grill and a side dish or dessert to share. (See? Potluck cookout!)

3. Make sure you have paper plates, something to drink, gas or charcoal for the grill, and your family’s meat for the grill.

4. Set out something to munch on while people are arriving and the meat is cooking. I recommend chips and salsa. (If you have a little voice in your head that says things like, “Hey! You could totally make the salsa!”, tell it to mind it’s own business.)

5. Set out yard games or bubbles, or spread out a blanket and toys for babies and kiddos.

ready for a BYOM potluck cookout
Ready to party!

And that’s it! With zero things to cook ahead of time, you’re not making a mess in your kitchen (and between the grill and paper plates, you’ll barely have any clean-up at the end). You’re free to hide your clutter in your bedroom straighten up, be kind to your children, enjoy your company, and then sit on the couch after they go home.

We did this for an early dinner a couple of weekends ago, and it was so fun and relaxing.

crazy hair at a BYOM potluck cookoutI even had time for one of my favorite pastimes: documenting this girl’s Cindy Lou Who fauxhawk.

Our friends brought roasted potatoes, watermelon, and brownies, and it was a perfectly beautiful day. And it was really nice not to be running around like a maniac before they arrived.

friends at a BYOM potluck cookoutSweet friends.

Bonus: this type of entertaining doesn’t break the bank and it’s possible to pull off last-minute. You could do it every week and not run out of hosting steam! I love removing barriers to getting people together.

Happy BYOM Potluck Cookout-ing!

(Psst! If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a par-tay like this, you could bring along some roasted sweet potatoes… or a chocolate chess pie.) :-)

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 :-)

Favorite Summer Things Giveaway and Blog Hop

giveaway 3

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.

giveaway-15

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.

tnt-square-logo1_1024

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!)

5 Fun Photos To Take At The Beach

fun photos to take at the beach - such easy and adorable ideas

 Are you planning a trip to the beach this summer?

If so, then you MUST give one of these hilarious and super easy photo ideas a try.

fun photos to take at the beach 3Bury one child in the sand and then have another child bend over him for this funny headless kid illusion (via HERE).

6014187274_f5e5412fcd_oHave everyone bend over and draw a face in the sand where there shadow falls (via HERE).

fun photos to take at the beach 1Build a snowman and get your Christmas card photo taken care of in advance (via HERE).

fun photos to take at the beach 2

Having a family reunion soon?

Hit the dollar store for a billion beach balls and snap a photo of everyone playing with them (via the amazing Kristen Duke Photography).

fun photos to take at the beach 5And finally, this one (via HERE) is my fave.

Grab a beach bucket and head a short distance away from your subjects.

Hold the bucket in front of the camera, have your subjects act afraid, and SNAP.

It will get a ton of ‘likes’ on Facebook and Instagram – no doubt.

**But ‘likes’ don’t matter, right? **

;-)

It’s all in making that fun memory with your Happy Home.

Happy Fun Photo At the Beach-ing! :-)

*Check out fun and easy photo ideas using chalk HERE!*