Monday, June 23, 2014

Building with MagnaTiles

A few years ago I was researching what to get the girls for Christmas and MagnaTiles kept popping up as a top recommendation. I was hesitant by the price, but the reviews were so positive that I went ahead and ordered the 100 piece set.

I am so glad I did. These are some heavy duty magnets that can be configured in to numerous creations. My girls love to build castles and rocket ships. They especially like to incorporate their Little People princesses and cars. The options are only limited by your imagination.

They are extremely sturdy (ours are constantly being knocked to the ground when one of the girls decides to play Godzilla) and we have yet to break one of them! I would say the only drawback is the price, but the play time they get more than makes up for that. So if you are looking for a Christmas or Birthday gift for anyone age 3 and up, this would be my top pick. I enjoy building with them just as much as the girls!

Sets available here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Peace, Love, Garden

I think there is something magical about gardening. How cool is it to be able to plant a tiny seed and watch it turn in to this:

Gardening is one of my top hobbies. Watering and tending to the garden calms me. It takes my mind off of life's stressors and brings an inner peace. I hope that as my girls grow they develop the same love and excitement that I have. 

I've done a complete landscaping renovation around my home and it never gets old for me. Last year I started my first 4x8 square foot garden and LOVED it! Being able to walk out my back door and pick spinach, lettuce, beans, and lots more, was so fulfilling. The girls had a blast grabbing a carrot whenever they had the taste for one. My garden is thriving again this year.

Here is what we've got planted so far in the square foot garden:
  • tongues of fire beans
  • rocky top lettuce mix
  • danvers half long carrot
  • sugar baby watermelon
  • spaghetti squash
  • sweet peppers
I also have a bed at the back of my yard that is an experimental bed and it has:

  • blueberries
  • heirloom tomato
  • strawberries
  • mammoth sunflowers
  • corn
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • an ornamental tree (seven-son flower)

The garden box I bought is made out of composite and will need to be replaced. My "other half" ran into it with the lawn mower and now it is left with a large gash on one side. Next year we will likely build 3 boxes out of cedar so they are long lasting (I'll be sure to post a tutorial). Building the boxes is the easy part. Making the Mel's Mix is the tough part!

Mel's Mix consists of:
  • 1/3 vermiculite
  • 1/3 peat moss
  • 1/3 compost (a blend of at least 5 different kinds!)
Last year we mixed it on a tarp, but I'll probably try to mix it right in the box next time. It is just time consuming back breaking work.  But the results are worth it!

We had a downpour today and the plants loved every drop. Here are just a few pictures from my ornamental gardens:

That poor lily got knocked over, but was still determined to bloom and thrive. I find its simple strength something to behold. Each plant in my garden, no matter how big or small, brings me great happiness, peace, and love. 

What do you have growing in your garden this year? Any must haves? I'm in zone 5A and I'm always looking for new additions.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Helping Her Read

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive commission.

My anxiety about my oldest starting Kindergarten has been setting in. These past 5 years have flown by and my baby girl is heading off to start her school career. I know she will love it and will thrive. She is a kid who really enjoys being challenged and learning new things. Her interest in reading began showing a few months ago, so I researched ways to get her started and came across the following book:

I purchased the book and we got started right away. I must admit that the first several lessons are rather repetitive, however, they serve a purpose. You basically build upon each lesson. They even tell you exactly what to say! The lessons are short and take about 10 to 15 minutes each.  We stuck with only doing one per day so that she didn't get overwhelmed. 

At the end of the chapter there are lessons on writing the letters. We skipped this part since we really were focused on just learning to read and she was already basically writing letters. 

This book really teaches kids to sound out the words and has jump started my daughters reading. She has now begun reading early reader books and I feel that this will give her an excellent foundation for kindergarten. 

She is very proud of what she has learned so far and I'm excited that her love for reading has blossomed at such a young age. 

What types of things have you used to help your littles learn to read?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tangled...Not the Movie

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive commission.

I have 2 girls, ages 3 and 5. Both have fine hair and when you mix that fine hair with water, you get...TANGLES. This usually results in crying, fighting, and everything in between when it is time to comb it out. This is usually what I start with...

I've found two products that work well for us. Pravana Nevo Intense Therapy (available here) and The Wet Brush (available here)

After every bath (or even after swimming class) I spritz their hair. The combo of the spray and brush make it super easy to comb out. 

I also use both of these products on myself. One thing I do not like about the spray is that the spray head seems to break easily, so try not to drop it (like I do...all the time). Another tip is to always start brushing from the bottom and work your way up. That way you are not trying to tear through a whole head of tangles. 

To stretch the spray a little further: when the bottle gets low, I add water and use that as a spray to tame their bed head when they wake up in the morning.

Let me know what you've found that works for you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Here We Go!

Hi! My name is Andrea and this my new blog, Blue House Happy Home. This will be my outlet where I can share things I've learned and things that I love. I'm an avid researcher and obsessive review reader and I'd love to have a place to record it all. It can be anything from shopping, to gardening, to kids stuff, and everything in between. I do not claim to be an expert about anything, but hope that what works for me, will work for you. Thank you for taking this journey with me!