A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baby on a Budget {Tips to Help You Save on Baby Needs}

Sale image created by Phduet - Freepik.com

There must be something in the water! Everywhere I look, it seems someone else I know is expecting a baby!

And while babies are exciting and fun, they can also be... well, expensive! So while the baby days are over in my own household, I wanted to pass along some of my personal tips on saving for baby!

  • Ditch Disposables. Perhaps one of the greatest ways that I saved money with my daughter was by using cloth diapers. There are many ways you can save even further on those, but even just by using cloth, you're savings a TON over using disposable.
  • Use Coupons. There are ALWAYS coupons available for baby essentials like diapers and wipes, even baby soaps, etc. While breastfeeding is certainly cheaper too, there are also always formula coupons too. Take advantage of those. Also don't forget to look for store coupons too! These can help you save on those larger purchases that you cannot as easily find coupons for.

  • Comparison Shop and Price Match. This is with any kind of shopping, but I've found baby product can have a HUGE difference in price from store to store, so check around and use price matching when available! 
  • Buy Used. Now, there are some things I might not recommend buying used (carseats for example), but many other things can be purchased at a fraction of the cost just by shopping secondhand. With clothing especially, you might find pieces worn once! Babies grow so quickly that many baby items see minimal use. When buying used, keep recalls in mind too! While stores like Once Upon a Child are supposed to check these, other thrift stores or individual owners may not realize. 
  • Enter Giveaways. This one is of course a game of chance, but enter them regularly and come back daily to increase your chances to win. I was able to win many big ticket items- a playpen, infant carseat, etc- for my daughter AND even more smaller things too. Did you know there are giveaway linkys devoted to cloth diaper giveaways!?
  • Set Up a Registry. Even if you're not having a shower, set up a registry. Many places offer rewards on any registry purchases, AND discounts at the end of the 'event'... you can take advantage of these discounts and rewards with your own purchases. Plus, did you know that many places offer freebies when you set up a registry!? Toys R Us and Buy Buy Baby both offer sample bags- these are mostly sample sizes, but can include things like bottles too...AND typically have coupons too. Watch for Target deals on starting a registry. With my daughter I was able to find a coupon for a free gift card just for signing up! Amazon also offers a registry, AND will give you a Baby Box worth about $35 when you sign up, complete your registry checklist AND make a $10 purchase from your registry.

  • Don't procrastinate. Start shopping early! You may not be able to buy clothes, etc right away, but start getting what you can as soon as you're comfortable. Not only does this allow you to watch for deals on the items you need, but it spreads that spending out over time so it's not such a shock to the pocket book.
  • Keep It Basic. Shopping for a little one can be overwhelming, but remember, babies don't NEED it all. A place to sleep, something to eat, diapers and clothes. The rest is nice, but not essential. If your budget is tight, don't feel like you have to have it all... just get what YOU personally need and can get. 
Are you expecting or know someone who is? What money saving tips would you offer to a soon to be mom looking to save? 

Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse Giveaway

 If you've been looking for the perfect playhouse for your little ones, look no further than the Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse, sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us! We're thrilled to be able to give one of these darling cottages away to one of our readers, thanks to our friends at Step2.

 Here are details about this playhouse, from the Step2 website: This Step2 cottage playhouse gives little ones a cozy place to call their own. Youngsters can use the working, electronic doorbell to let their friends know when the have arrived for the fun! Children can have their own imaginative dinner party with the attached outdoor dining table. This sturdy kid’s playhouse features an open-design concept that allows little ones to play with their friends both inside and outside! Made in the USA of US and imported parts.
  • Little ones can use the built-in kitchen sink, swivel faucet and outdoor eating area to have an afternoon of imaginative play!
  • Large, open-air design allows for multiple children to play while allowing parents to keep a watchful eye
  • Real, working doorbell chimes to let kids know when their guests have arrived
  • Large window planter boxes allow for children to plant flowers!
  • Realistic stone and wood design will bring years of pretend play fun
  • Exclusively available at Toys "R" Us!
  • Adult assembly required
  • Recommended for ages 2 and up
Open to the continental US only, ages 18 and up. Ends 7/13/17 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
Disclosure: One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe This 4th of July Holiday @Dealspotr

With summer vacation here and the sun finally peeking through the clouds, you know that before long, Fourth of July celebrations will be well underway. On this, one of the most festive holidays of the year, you'll often see flag-lined streets, red, white, and blue d├ęcor, and barbecues ablaze. Families will come together, with kids splashing in the pool while the adults drink a refreshing beverage in the sun. The entire day will finish with a capstone display of colorful exploding gunpowder high in the sky.
Have you ever wondered why we shoot off fireworks? Why the huge festivities? Smithsonian Magazine said it best: “Because we always have.” The city of Philadelphia kicked off the tradition a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence (which, fun fact, didn’t actually happen until August 2 - but Congress did approve the text on July 4) with a parade, toasts, decorations, and fireworks. Boston held their own celebration that same year, also complete with fireworks.
While this patriotic holiday is a great time for Americans to get together to celebrate the birth of our nation, with fireworks, hot dogs, swimming, and other fun activities, it can also be a dangerous holiday for kids and pets. Between loud noises, crowded festivities, too much sun, swimming pool hazards and exploding gunpowder, there are many opportunities for injuries. If you want to enjoy your holiday without worry, check out these 20 tips that are sure to make your celebration safer for your family!

For the Animals:

Did you know that the fifth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters? Some pets escape thanks to inattentive party-goers, others run away (and keep running) out of fear of the fireworks. Animal Control Services report that the number of lost pets increases by 30 percent immediately after the 4th of July and an estimated 30 to 60 percent of lost pets are euthanized because animal control is unable to identify the pet’s family, according to PR Newswire. Here are some tips on how to keep your furry friends safe this year.

Use Pet-friendly bug spray to avoid poisoning. No DEET for dogs! 

Understandably, you want to keep your pet safe from bug bites (which can lead to worms or West Nile), but you’ll need to check the label before you use any bug spray on your pets. Not all tick/mosquito repellent is pet-safe. A repellent that contains DEET can cause vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures in dogs and cats. Be sure to look for a product labeled “safe for pets.”

Keep glow bracelets and citronella away from animals. 

Glow bracelets and necklaces are fun for humans but not for dogs or cats. Keep these away from all pets to avoid excess drooling, mouth irritation and vomiting. If you notice one leaking, toss it to keep your little ones safe, too. On the bright side, the chemical inside a glow stick is very bitter, so it’s not likely that a kid or pet will keep noshing once they get a taste. But it’s always best to take extra precaution. (Bonus: buy these at a store like Dollar General and not at the parade or celebration. You’ll save a ton of cash).

Have your dog chipped and check your gates before party day. 

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe over the holiday is to do a little prep work. If you haven’t done so already, you can have your dog or cat microchipped. This electronic chip allows a shelter or vet to find you if someone brings your pet into their facility. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and double check your gates and fences to prevent escape (especially if you have horses).

Keep your eye on the chow to prevent your dog from overeating and from eating the wrong foods.

Dogs have sensitive tummies. Keep an eye on guests (especially little ones who love to share) when meal time arrives. Overfeeding is just as dangerous as eating the wrong foods for your pet. Popular barbecue foods to avoid giving your pet include avocado, onions, grapes, ice cream/milk, chocolate, fat trimmings, and raw meat. Instead, let your pooch snack on treats like watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, apples, baby carrots, peanut butter, cooked chicken (plain), and green beans.
Fun tip: freeze some berries or other fruit in ice for a sweet treat that will keep your dog entertained for hours.

Clean up balloons and firework debris from the backyard as soon as possible.

Following your backyard party, run a rake through the grass to make sure you’ve gathered all sprinkler/firework debris, broken balloons, and food scraps. If a water balloon fight is part of the party plans, have the kids race to see who can pick up the most balloon scraps once the game is over. Store the scraps in a milk jug to prevent curious babies (and pets) from finding them. If you find sparkler/firework leftovers, toss them into a bucket of water as you’re cleaning up to make sure they’re really cooled off.

Keep your pets and kids cool with plenty of water and inside activities during the heat of the day.

Both kids and pets can easily overheat on a hot day. During a long day of celebrating it’s especially easy to lose track of time. Make sure your kids and pets are getting enough to drink and having some cool-down time outside of the summer heat. Heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke, which is deadly.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
•    Panting
•    Excessive drooling
•    Reddened gums
•    No urine
•    Lethargy
•    Pale or flushed face
•    Dizziness
•    Headache
•    Nausea/vomiting
•    Tiredness
•    Cold, clammy skin
•    Muscle cramps
Provide kids and pets with lots of water and plenty of shade to cool off. Consider keeping kids and pets out of the hottest heat of the day (between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.) by planning indoor activities.

Keep your dog calm by cuddling with your dog and blocking firework sounds with music.

It’s quite common for dogs (and even cats) to startle at the sound of fireworks. Some may even display extreme signs of discomfort like shaking, hiding, urinating, barking and whining. Most studies are unclear about why dogs have this fear (studies focused on the sound of thunderstorms) though the same could be true for grown adults too! If your pup is sensitive to the celebratory noise there are a few things you can do to comfort your furry friend:
•    Turn on the TV or radio to block some of the firework noise.
•    Cuddle with your pet and offer lots of snuggles and pats.
•    Try a Thundershirt, which provides extra weight and can be comforting for some dogs.
•    Let your pets hide under the covers.

Keep an eye on alcoholic beverages so kids and pets don't ingest them accidentally.

If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to keep the stuff away from kids and pets. Alcohol is toxic to dogs and it could make little ones very sick. Consider having a non-drinking pal watch the party so everyone goes home safe. Store all alcoholic beverages out of reach of both pets and kids. If you notice signs of disorientation, drunken behavior, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or seizures, get your pet to a vet immediately.

Check your pets and your kids for ticks after celebrating in the woods. 

This tip is good for both kid and pet: If you’re headed to the woods for your big celebration, keep kids in light, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Once you get home, check your kids (and your pets) for ticks. For your pet, pay special attention to the feet, ears, armpits, head, and tail. Rub your hands through their fur (reaching to the skin), if you feel a lump, pull the hair away to see if you can spot a tick. For kids, check their hair, underarms, and behind their legs.

Designate a no-fly zone for kids and pets when the BBQ is hot. 

Another double whammy: The barbecue. The barbecue is just as dangerous as a stove (if not more so). The barbecue should be a kid-free zone. Consider setting up a child gate around the area to keep pets and kids away. Make sure to store any propane tanks away before beginning fireworks to avoid serious accidents.

Kid Safety

Every July, hundreds of people die or are injured while participating in Independence Day celebrations (In 2015, 11 people died and 11,900 people went to the hospital after firework-related injuries), the CPSC reported. Factor in the injuries and deaths from car and swimming accidents and the Fourth of July might feel scary for anyone - especially kids. Below are some ways to stay a little safer this year, especially with your children. Follow these, and you can enjoy a burger at your backyard barbecue in peace. (Fun fact: Americans buy some 190 million pounds of burger every year in preparation for festivities.)

Take a snapshot the day of your party so you remember what your kids are wearing if they get lost.

When the crowds begin to swell, it’s easy for little ones to wander away. A simple tip to make them easier to find is to take a photo of your little ones the day of your festivities. You’ll be able to show any police officer or helpers exactly what your little one was wearing, making them easier to spot in a crowd.

Use ID tattoos to help little ones get back to you if they are separated in a crowd. 

One fun trick is to get temporary safety tattoos for your kids with their name, address, and phone number. Put these on their shoulder where a stranger can’t see it, but your child can easily access to show a police officer. You can make your own by writing the information on their skin with eyeliner and then covering the ink with high-end hairspray, clear nail polish, or a liquid bandage.

Make the kids easier to spot in a crowd with a glow stick lantern or matching hats.

Make it harder to lose your kids by using small mason jars to create a glow stick lantern. Simply clean out an old jar and fill it with water. Break large glow sticks (to activate the mixture), then cut them open with scissors. Pour the mixture into the water and seal the lid tightly.  Alternatively, you can use tealight candles in a small jar.  You may also consider matching shirts or hats for the entire family.

Protect their hearing with headphones and stay a football field away from explosions.

While fireworks are fun to watch, they can be dangerous in more than one way. In addition to being a fire and burn hazard, being too close to a firework explosion can cause hearing loss. Health experts recommend keeping little ones at least 500 feet away from the source of firework explosions (that’s about 1 ½ football fields away). Doctors recommend keeping children under 1 completely away from the loud noises.  Alternatively, you could invest in protective earmuffs to keep their ears safe.

Prevent sparkler burns with a paper cup over the hand. 

Keep little hands safe from sparklers (which can burn at more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit) by turning a cup upside down and poking a small hole through the top. Slide the sparkler stick through the hole and have the kids hold the stick inside the cup.  Any sparks will hit the cup and not their hands. If you’re feeling a little craftier, this adorable star option from The Nerd’s Wife is a good choice. In addition, make sure your little ones aren’t wearing clothing that is too loose and tie any long hair back in a braid or ponytail.
Most importantly, remember that while fun, sparklers are dangerous. They are very hot. Always watch little ones while they enjoy these hand-held fireworks.

Know the 4 S's of water safety: Supervise, Secure, Save a life, Swim and survive.

If your Independence Day celebrations include swimming, you’ll want to be extra careful around the water. To keep everyone safe remember the four S’s:
•  Supervise: Always have a responsible adult with kids at the pool or lake. Make sure there are enough adults to supervise all the kids and do not rely on kids to monitor their younger siblings.
•  Secure: Pool areas should have a safety gate or locked door when not in use to prevent little ones from sneaking out without notice and falling into the pool.
•  Save a Life: Consider getting CPR certified so you know how to help in the event of an emergency.
•  Swim and survive: Teach your little ones how to swim. Knowing how to swim will keep them safer (though supervision is still essential for young kids).

Give the kids sunglasses to protect against firework debris.

Keep little eyes protected from sparks and embers flying off fireworks you set off at home. Keep children as far back as possible from the person lighting the fireworks and consider letting your little ones (and the firework lighter) wear protective glasses - even sunglasses will offer some protection.
If a firework hits someone in the eye, check out the damage. If there doesn’t appear to be any tearing or bleeding, try flushing the eye out with saline solution. If the damage is more severe or there is vision loss, cover the area with a hand and get to the doctor immediately.

Soak used fireworks to prevent fires. 

Do not relight dud fireworks and hose down any explosives (duds and ones that exploded) to prevent fires. This applies to used sparklers as well. A good dousing of water should prevent fireworks from causing damage. The Miami-Dade Police recommend soaking used (or old) fireworks in water overnight then wrapping them in plastic bags before tossing them out.

Take extra precautions with backyard games by wrapping stakes in bubble wrap.

There’s nothing like a good backyard game to get the entire family excited. Barring any family brawls (because that never happens), there are a few other ways you can keep the family a little bit safer.
•    If you’re planning on putting up a volleyball net or other game, consider wrapping stakes in bubble wrap. This will keep shins and knees safe if someone should trip.
•    Set a designated play area that’s far away from any grills, yard equipment or other hazards and don’t forget to stash yard tools in a locked shed.
•    Set up a play yard: If any games involve throwing (Ladder Ball anyone?), set up a play area for smaller kids to hang out so a stray ball doesn’t whack them in the noggin.
•    Double check all playground equipment before guests arrive to prevent accidental falls.

Double down on food safety by keeping foods in a cooler when you're not eating.

There’s nothing quite like food poisoning to ruin a holiday. Keep the pesky food-borne illnesses at bay by keeping meats, eggs, dips, and cheese in a cooler or the refrigerator. Keep fruits and veggies covered too. You can keep some items cool longer outside by filling a large bowl with ice and placing a smaller container filled with your food on top.
•    Store perishable foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Pack more food into the cooler to keep it colder longer.
•    Keep drinks in a separate cooler so you don’t have to open the food every time someone needs a drink.
•    Toss any perishable foods after they’ve been sitting out for more than two hours (or more than an hour if temperatures soar over 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
•    Pack water, soap, and paper towels so everyone can wash their hands (especially anyone in charge of food prep).
•    Always cook food to the proper temperature (pack a meat thermometer if necessary).

Have fun, and remember to enjoy your purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain safely this year!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Month with Jason's Deli {+ A Giveaway}

Did you know that June is National Cancer Survivor's Month?!

Now, THAT's a reason to celebrate!

Those that know me know that this is a cause that is very near to me personally. Several years ago, I received the phone call that no child wants to receive from their parent. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about scary! Thankfully, she was diligent due to our family history of breast cancer and cancer in general. She caught it early, and I am happy to say she is now cancer free.

Like I said, Cancer Survivor's Month is TRULY a reason to celebrate.

And Jason's Deli is doing JUST that!

They are seeking to educate on the importance of good nutrition on cancer treatments through its partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center. They are doing so with the introduction of the Salmon Pacifica Salad.

Now through April 2018, 50 cents from the sale of every Salmon Pacifica Salad at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants will be given to MD Anderson. Since 2013, Jason’s Deli has donated more than $726,000 to the world-renowned cancer center. Amazing, right?

Created in collaboration with MD Anderson's dietitians and cancer prevention researchers, the 450-calorie salad is full of nutrient-rich ingredients, including:

·        Wild-caught Alaska sockeye salmon with Omega-3 benefits
·        Avocado filled with more potassium than bananas
·        Grape tomatoes full of lycopene 
·        Fire-roasted Piquillo peppers, cucumbers and pickled red onions add to the variety of plant-based ingredients
·        USDA-certified organic field greens free of pesticides
·        New cucumber-dill vinaigrette

Now, I've not yet had the chance to try this particular salad for myself, BUT I know it will be amazing. Everything I've tried from Jason's has been! I love that this is one that I can feel great about both in it's healthy eating AND the important cause it supports! And don't forget, Jason's Deli offers FREE ICE CREAM... so it's the perfect treat for the whole family. Head on over and make a difference today. You can learn more here.

Pretty amazing, right? But it doesn't end there.

Jason’s Deli has teamed up with its wild-caught Alaska salmon provider Trident Seafoods to offer customers the chance to win an all-expenses paid Alaskan Adventure fishing trip for two on August 10-12, 2017. Through the end of June, guests at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants can enter the trip giveaway and a chance to win a $10 gift card by texting the keyword SALMON to 35350 and then entering the daily code displayed on signage in the restaurant. One winner will be chosen for the trip at the end of the month.

And  Jason's Deli is offering one very lucky reader the chance to win a $100 gift card!!! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household, winning entry will be verified. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for prize delivery. 

Pool Safety Tips for Your Little Scuba Explorers

Summer is officially here, which means it's pool season for you and the kiddos! While this should be a season filled with fun in the sun, it's important to practice proper poolside safety to ensure your kids have a safe and happy summer vacation. Here are a few important tips that you need to keep in mind.

Swimming Lessons

The first step in getting your kids ready for the pool is enrolling them in swimming lessons. Even the 3.27 million people who participated in scuba diving in 2015 had to start somewhere! Learning the basics of swimming and water safety is incredibly important, especially at a young age. And you've got options, too! From private lessons to classes you can take with your children, getting involved in swimming lessons is easy and essential.

Always Supervise

No child should be allowed in the pool without adult supervision at all times. If there is a group of adults at a pool party, there should always be at least one parent watching the water. In addition, younger children should always be within reach of a parent or a strong swimmer. This ensures that if they're struggling, they can always receive help from someone nearby.

Know Your Floaties

Flotation devices are a great way to give children greater mobility and parents more peace of mind, but remember: floaties don't guarantee safety in the pool. Water Safety Magazine's Jenelle Lockard writes, "Because water wings are used on the upper arms, they prevent a child from using the correct swimming stroke ... if a child raises their arms above their head, their head can sink down below the water's surface."

So before you buy the first pair of floaties you see, make sure you're doing your research to see which flotation devices provide greater security for your child in the pool.

If you follow any pool safety guide this summer, let it be this one. These safety measures are absolutely essential for your child to have. Once you've mastered all these things, it's time for you and your children to have a wonderful, fun-filled summer!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Moms Like Myself Love MLM/ Direct Sales

Admit it... you saw MLM in the title of this post and shuddered a little bit, didn't you?

MLM- or multi level marking- gets a bad reputation. So often our newsfeeds are loaded with someone trying to sell us something different, or asking us to join their teams. Hey, I'm a director with Paparazzi, and even I find it to be a lot at points- I totally get it!

But what's the appeal of these businesses? Why are so many women (and yes, some men) jumping on board? Today, I'm sharing my thoughts-

  • Extra Income. Let's be honest, life is expensive. As much as we would love to, it is hard to live on one income these days! These companies allow stay at home moms like myself to contribute something to the family budget. Some might argue that earnings in these companies is minimal at best--- but here's the thing, when you're living paycheck to paycheck, that extra $100-200 is a HUGE difference! (Though I do recommend everyone have reasonable expectations--- while it's possible to make a great income, it's not always as easy as some make it out to be--- it IS work!)
  • Work From Home. Listen, there's a reason that these businesses appeal so much to stay at home moms--- again it's the income from above, but we can get that from any ol' job right? But with these companies like Paparazzi or Scentsy, etc... we can work from home and spend more time with our families--- and we don't have to worry about high childcare costs. 
  • The Community. Being a stay at home mom can be isolating at times, we spend day in and day out with little people who aren't the best conversationalists. When we start with these companies, it can be a great outlet for us for adult interactions- both with team members and our customers. Money aside, some women love it just for that!
Aside from all of that, the products are often amazing! Even those companies I don't represent are among some favorites of mine. My closet overflows with LLR. My jewelry box is filled not JUST with Paparazzi, but Stella & Dot too. My daughter's closet? Dot Dot Smile. Don't even get me started on my Scentsy stash! There are so many great companies out there, there truly is something for everyone.

Wanting to learn more about the various MLM brands out there? Check out this link for a look at the 50 Best Companies of 2017. Whether you're looking to join or looking to shop, you're sure to find some interesting options!

Celebrate National Chocolate Pudding Day with S'Mores In a Cup

There are a lot of random holidays throughout the year aren't there? Some of them are a little crazy, and have you scratching your head... but others give us a fun reason to celebrate. Like today. Did you know that June 26 is National Chocolate Pudding Day!? 

I don't know about your family, but in ours, any excuse for a delicious sweet treat is a good one! So today we are revisiting one of our favorite ways to take a simple chocolate pudding and take it to the next level.

S'Mores In A Cup


  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Graham Crackers 
  • Marshmallow Creme
  • Clear Cups

  1. If you are not using premade chocolate pudding, prepare this first using the directions given. Allow to cool. 
  2. Prepare your graham crackers! Place in a large Ziploc bag and use either a rolling pin or meat mallet to crush the crackers to desired consistency. This is a fun way to get kids involved as well... mine certainly love this part!!
  3. Now, it's time to create your s'mores. Start by adding a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of each cup. Continue adding layers of each ingredient until you reach near the top. There is no right or wrong way to do this... three single layers gave it a nice clean look, but alternating in various patterns create visual interest.
  4. Finish off your layers with marshmallow creme-to resemble whipped topping- and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. (You could also add some shaved chocolate to the top, or a few mini marshmallows, if desired!)
  5. Eat and enjoy!

What is your favorite way to enjoy chocolate pudding? How are you celebrating today?