friendship bracelets.

Today we are making friendship bracelets.
Here's a beginner how-to.



It's the last day of school and we are excited to kick off summer
with a backyard campfire and smores.
Let the summer fun begin!


ice cream.

One of the things I love best is to share my childhood favorites with my kids.
A favorite childhood memory, a favorite story, a favorite movie, a favorite song, or a favorite book.
It unites parent and child like nothing else.

While looking through my country living mag this month, I was reminded of one such favorite memory.

Spending summer nights in my grandma's backyard, sitting on the old churn-style ice cream maker, while someone else churn the ice cream by hand. And then getting to taste whatever amazing flavor my grandma had whipped up that night.

Anyway, there was a spread on homemade ice cream.  Full of recipes and pictures.
That's when I decided I've got to not only share this memory with my kids but recreate it for them.

After doing a little research this ice cream maker seems to be the best for the $$.


teacher appreciation.

My two school age kids have had a great year thanks to their teachers.
Here are a couple of ways we found to say thanks.
I love that both these ideas involve the kids making something.
Not only does it encourage creativity, it teaches kids gratitude.
So, this year instead of the mom doing the gift, leave it to the kids.



I think cupcakes have magical healing powers.
My kids feel the same way.
So we've decided to bake once a week this summer.
This is my favorite place to stock up on all things cupcake.
They have something for everyone.
From cupcake liners, to wrappers, to kits, to sprinkles, even recipes.
Happy Baking!


summer crafts.

Our summer will be filled with glitter, glue, markers, crayons, and lots of paper.
Here's a sampling of what we want to make.
This is perfect for all the kids' collections.
We love this one enough to keep it on display all year round.
And finally we'll have something to do with all those rocks my kids bring home.
Happy weekend!


plant something.

Something else I want to do with my kids this summer,
plant a garden.
I found the homestead revival blog a few days ago.
It inspired me to get started.
We have never planted anything together, so it'll be a first.
Maybe it'll become a summer tradition.
We are going to start small, and there are a ton of great ideas out there.
I love this diy garden bed and this would be fun for younger kids.
I just want to be part of the homestead revival, don't you?


create a nook.

Something I'm hoping to do for my kids this summer,
is turn a small space I have in the playroom, into a reading nook.
I want them to fall in love with reading all over again.
Here's a couple of inspiring ideas. 
I love the bookshelf in the top pic & the hanging books in the last one.
I definitely think it will help make our home the happiest place on earth.


almost summer.

Well another school year is wrapping up.
It's almost summer.
When you live where there are seasons, you look forward to summer.
I've been thinking about ways to make this summer happy.
Maybe a party to celebrate the end of the school year.
I'll be scouring the Internet looking for ideas to share.
If you do something fun each summer I'd love to here about it.


dinner time.

A few years ago we moved from the big city to a small town.
We wanted to simplify our lives and create slow-paced childhood for our kids.

It was a good move for our family.
There are things we gave up in the way of opprotunities for our kids.
The flipside is that we have gained so much more.

Living a few miles outside of "town" means that you can't just run to the store,
or grab something from a drive-thru.
Consequently, I have been forced to plan and prepare meals for my family.
(which seems to be a growing trend)
We eat dinner as a family at least 6 times a week.
Believe me it's not gourmet food, or stimulating conversation.
Most of the time we are laughing with each other or sometimes playing an informal game of "guess what I am".
But it turns out there are benefits to family meal time.
According to TIME magazine, family meals can act as a vaccine for your kids against destructive behaviors.
Not only do family meals nourish body and soul they can improve communication between parent and child, and improve a child's grades.
All good things in my book.

Looks like dinner time can help make your home the happiest place on earth.

the results.

So let's just say the nicknaming didn't go so well.
But my daughter and I do have a secret handshake, so secret in fact, that she never wants to do it with me.

With that not working it did get me thinking about something else, labels.
I guess I've always thought labeling your kids was one of the worst things you could do to them.
But what about positive labels? 
Like labeling your kid creative or smart or tough.
I think kids like having their own identity.
All parents recognize that each child comes with their own unique traits and gifts.
It's our job to help them figure out what those gifts are and how to best use and develop them.


day 2.

Nicknames & Secret Handshakes

Everyone loves to feel important and special.
Especially kids.
There are so many things we can do as parents to create deeper bonds with our children.
It maybe a secret handshake or endearing nickname for each child.
It's something our family really hasn't done.
I'm going to give it some thought and give it a try.
I think it could help make our home the happiest place on earth.


the results.

Making home the happiest place on earth can be hard work.
It is most definitely worth the effort.
After school I made an effort to be FUN.
I put the dinner plans on hold to enjoy each child.
Even though it was chaotic I had them help me with dinner and clean up.
Yes, there was craziness at the dinner table but I had the if you can't beat em', join em' mentality.
I ended up screaming with them, it was a stress reliever for me and it left them laughing. (win, win)
At the end of it all, I saw the fruits of my labors:  Instead of complaining, cooperation.
Instead of tears, laughter.
So far, so good!

day 1.

Rewrite Your Title

Overall my husband is the fun parent.
I have always considered myself the "facilitator of fun".
Meaning, I do the prep work for the fun and then I tend to stand on the sidelines, and wait for the fun to be had and clean up after the fun.

But maybe, just maybe there's room for two fun parents.
Maybe I can work my way into my kid's fun memories.

Step one to making home the happiest place on earth:  rewrite my title.
Go from "sideline mom" to "in all the action mom".

the goal.

This is my attempt to chronicle the road to a happier home.
Not that my home isn't happy, beacuse it is.
I tend to take life a little way too seriously, and I think I'm passing it on to my kids.
I want their childhood to be full of fun, happy memories.
More smiles and more laughs.
Forget Disneyland, why can't our homes be "happiest place on earth"?