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

Books Your Kids Will Love #FamiliesRead

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

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

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

You can find books in almost every room!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

books kids will love - 3Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What books do YOUR families enjoy?

– Julie :-)

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

How to Make Summer Reading FUN!

Holy cow, I couldn’t WAIT for summer time when I was a little girl!

Call me a nerd, but I would literally walk to our little town’s bookstore on a hot summer day, head inside, and camp out in front of my favorite book series.  I’d read and read and read until I knew someone would be wondering why I wasn’t at the dinner table.

Now, while books are amazing and wonderful, most kids often find the lure of the sprinkler or the lure of the swimming pool supersedes the lure of reading.

Here are a few great ways to encourage your Happy Buddies to keep their sunscreen-covered noses in a book this summer!

Click Image for Idea

How Does She? offers an amazing FREE Printable Summer Reading Star Game that will have your Happy Buddies BEGGING to read!

Seriously, I can’t even explain how much fun this printable is (coupon incentives, golden tickets, BINGO style excitement) – you must go check it out!

I kind of want to do it myself this summer. :-)

Click Image for Idea

Brown Paper Packages also offers a neat Summer Reading Program.

Print the adorable FREE Printable circles (see pic above) that your Happy Buddies will drop into a bucket after completing the task.  At the end of the week you can count up how many circles your Happy Buddy received and reward him/her with something awesome (like a sleepover in the living room with unlimited access to S’mores ingredients).

Click Image for Idea

Simple As That has a super cute FREE Printable Summer Reading Log to document your Happy Buddy’s hard work!

Click Image for Idea

Keep things simple with this creative Pick a Spot Jar from Shady Tree Diary.

Brainstorm a bunch of fun places your child can read a book (like in the bathtub).

Jot them down on craft sticks and add them to a container.

When it’s time to read – pick from the jar and follow orders!

Click Image for Idea

Click Image for Idea

I am loving these FREE Printable bookmarks from lisa storms.

Click Image for Idea

Speaking of fun places to read a book…

Tatertots and Jello teaches you how to make this awesome Summer Reading Tent.

You might just end up with every kid in the neighborhood wanting to read at your Happy Home if you stick one of these in the backyard!

Looking for more Summer Reading Ideas?

Alphamom has 5 great suggestions (looooove the one about the library card) to spice up summer reading.

And Saving Dollars and Sense has a terrific round-up of several FREE Kids Summer Reading Programs that are available in your community (hello FREE tokens to Chuck E. Cheese).

I hope you will use one of these great Summer Reading Ideas so that all that precious intelligence your Happy Buddy gained from a whole year of school doesn’t drip out of his noggin’ like a melting ice cream cone.

Happy Summer Reading-ing! :-)

*Stay tuned for a post featuring the Happy Buddy’s (and my own) Summer Reading Suggestions*