A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Journaling Bibles for the Teen Girl on Your List {A Review + Giveaway Hop Event} #HolidayGiftGuide2017 #GobbleUp #THBhop

Welcome to the Gobble Up Giveaways Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!
Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!


**Bibles received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

 Having been doing this Bible journaling thing for some time now, I often have people coming to me and asking for recommendations on Bibles and supplies. Sometimes they're looking for ideas in general, and other times they have a much more specific style they are seeking. One of the recommendations I've been asked MOST often is a 'what is the best Bible for a teen girl?'

You see, as Bible journaling has become more and more popular, Christians of ALL ages have wanted to join in. Even my 10 year old son has a journaling Bible of his own. Still, while I had a few Bibles I would recommend, until recently, there wasn't really much that was SPECIFICALLY designed for teenagers. Until now!

Today, I am very excited to introduce to you two fantastic new journaling Bibles just for teenage girls!

First up is the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Teen Girls:

Express your creativity while you reflect on the precious truths of Scripture with the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Teen Girls. With special ready-to-color artwork, this artistic edition features thick white paper and extra-wide margins leaving ample space for your own creative illustrations or journal entries. So gather your art supplies. No matter your artistic level, you will enjoy the hands-on experience with the visual beauty of Scripture.


  • Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art with 100 new illustrated verses added especially for teen girls
  • 8-point type size
  • Single-column text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV)
  • Lightly ruled wide margins and high-quality paper for notes, journal entries, or artwork

To be honest, every time I was asked that question above in the past, The Beautiful World Coloring Bible was the Bible that I would recommend anyway. I always felt like that beauty in that Bible would be most appealing to teenagers even more so than even other coloring bibles I'd experienced. This version is specifically designed for them with even more illustrated verses designed with teenage girls in mind.

In addition to the stunning predrawn coloring pages, this Bible offers plenty of blank margins too. Whether it's taking notes about what they are reading or creating even more artwork to expand upon those already there, they have plenty of space to do so. I love the options it gives to do whatever you choose among the pages. Speaking of options, there are several stunning cover options to choose from to best fit your teen's individual style, and each one is just as stunning as the next!

Some great pens, colored pencils and this Bible? The perfect gift for the budding artist or Bible journaler on your list. It is available to purchase now at your favorite book retailers.

Next up is something a little bit different, the NIV Journal the Word™ Bible for Teen Girls:

Reflect, respond, and grow closer to your heavenly Father. With hundreds of journaling prompts and plenty of space for notes, art, and doodles, the NIV Journal the Word™ Bible for Teen Girls provides a place to capture your thoughts while reading Scripture. Journal your feelings, dreams, and hopes. Create art, color, and doodle. However you wish to creatively express yourself, engage with God’s heart and get to know the One who knows and loves you.


  • Hundreds of thought-provoking questions for teen girls to reflect on and respond to
  • 8-point type size 
  • Lined, wide margins for notes and reflections
  • Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
  • Full text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) translation
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker

Now, typically when I think about Bible journaling, I think of art journaling. For me, that's what I personally enjoy. I love reading my Bible and creating visual representations on what I have read to look back on as a quick VISUAL reminder time and time again. Still, that type of Bible art journaling is not for everyone. Perhaps you're not an artist and don't care to be, or perhaps it's the idea of painting and/or the possibility of covering words that just doesn't sit well with you. Or maybe you'd just prefer writing. The truth is, Bible journaling can be absolutely anything you want it to be.

For the writer, this is the Bible I'd recommend. Rather than artwork to color, this Bible features journaling prompts to read, reflect and write about. You could of course still incorporate some artwork into these prompts as well if you'd like, but there IS less room on the pages with these prompts. There are also many blank pages that allow you to do your own journaling in addition to the prompts, or even as overflow from those previous prompts if needed.

For the teen girl who loves a more typical style of journaling, this is a must see. It is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailers.

No matter the type of journaling your teenager or the teenager on your list prefers, these Bible options have every style covered. AND one very lucky reader is going to win their choice! Enter using the giveaway form below:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Frugal Homemade Christmas Tree: DIY Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Next up in our Frugal Homemade Christmas Tree Series is one that takes me back to my childhood a bit. My mom was a crafter before crafting was cool, and so it seemed every year--- or many years anyway, we would be in the kitchen baking our own ornaments as gifts, etc. Mostly, that would involve salt dough ornaments, but sometimes we would mix it up with cinnamon dough.

Once I decided that it was going to be a homemade tree this year, I knew that this was going to be the perfect addition. It has such a classic look to it, AND it smells amazing too.

DIY Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons glue
  • twine/ribbon
  • drinking straw
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic wrap
  • rolling pin
  • baking sheets
  1. First up, you'll need to buy your supplies of course. But the topic of this series is a FRUGAL homemade Christmas tree, so to make the most use of your budget, I would suggest heading to your local Dollar Tree or other dollar store. Cinnamon and even applesauce can get rather pricey elsewhere, but you can use off brand, cheapest you can find. I was able to find everything I needed at the Dollar Tree for around $3-4. Chances are you have all the baking needs already, but you can also find baking sheets at Dollar Tree as well. I personally purchased my cookie cutters for about $1.50 for a big bag of assorted styles. They can usually be found individually for around $1 too. 
  2. Now, that you have everything, it's time to make your dough. Mix the applesauce and cinnamon into a bowls until well blended. Add glue. (The glue is optional, but is supposed to help them stay together.) You may have to use your hands to thoroughly blend.  Form into a ball.
  3. Now roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap. You'll want them between 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. The thinner they are the less time they take to dry and the more you can get, but they more fragile they will be too. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes. 
  4. Place on cookie sheet. Use a straw to add the hole for hanging, careful to leave plenty of room at the edge. 
  5. Bake for about 2 1/2 hours at 200 degrees. Time will vary based on thickness and your oven. Mine did not take nearly that long, so just keep a watchful eye on them. If you'd prefer, you can also just sit out at room temperature for a few days to allow to dry thoroughly, no baking required... or use a food dehydrator. Baking however is the fastest method! 
  6. After they are dried and cooled, it's time to hand. Use some thin ribbon or twine. (I purchased this simple twine again at the Dollar Tree, it was in the tool section.) They are ready to hang!
These simple ornaments not only look great, but they make the house smell great too. It's not an overwhelming cinnamon smell, but just a little hint as you walk by. And while they are actually baking? Amazing! 

While we chose to keep them very simple, you can add paint, glitter or whatever you'd like to make them your own.

Looking for more fun ways to decorate your tree on a tight budget? Check out this post on how to create a DIY popcorn garland, and stay tuned for more in this Frugal Homemade Christmas Tree series. 

The Perfect Gift For the Lego Fan: A Brick Loot Review + Discount #HolidayGiftGuide2017

**Box received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Every year at Christmas my son's list looks pretty similar---

  • Latest Video Game
  • Books
  • Legos
  • Legos
  • Legos
Like many 10 year old boys, he is ALL about the Legos. To be honest, my Shaun has always been very particular about toys. I'm not sure if that's his autism shining through, or just him in general, but each year even if he asks for other toys, it's only the Legos and the plush that get touched after a week. But Legos... now those are very different. A quick look into his room and you will discover piles of Lego creations everywhere. Right now he's been working on a fun town scene with lots of people and even a monster causing trouble.

Aside from building with Legos, he just loves all things Legos in general--- books, magazines, collectible you name it.

Does this sound like someone on your list? If so, I have the PERFECT gift this year: Brick Loot.

Brick Loot is a box subscription company for LEGO and Brick fanatics! Subscribers will receive a monthly box filled with unique, custom and never-before-seen items including Custom LEGO Kits, LEGO Minifigures and more. Brick Loot boxes are filled with 4-8 items that were hand picked by Brick specialists who scour the world for the newest and coolest products for you to collect.

Sounds pretty amazing, right? The perfect kid gift!? Well, is it any wonder than to say that this brilliant subscription box was thought up by a 9-year-old!? That- to me and my son both- makes it that much cooler.

What I love about Brick Loot is that it's a gift that keeps on giving. Most years we do a mix of Lego Creator bricks and building sets. He loves the sets, but for him, once they're together, he mostly tends to keep them that way...so within a week or two it's back to boredom. With Brick Loot, he can open one box at Christmas, with perfectly coordinating pieces, then come January, a brand new box has been delivered! Fun, right? But, what's inside? Here's a look into November's 'sweet' box:

As you can see, this particular box had a candy theme, and we loved it! As I said, right now my son's room is a little Lego town with people and shops... this was the perfect addition to that. What town is complete without it's very own candy store!? He also had a little park already so the cotton candy cart works very well with his existing hot dog cart. I loved that everything is perfectly coordinated and that we get not just toys, but collectibles too. This box even came with a candy tray so we can make our very own Lego candy!

Each month is a new theme and new surprise, but taking a look at past boxes, each one is every bit as fun! If you have a Lego lover on your list, this is one gift that they would love to find under the tree and at their doorstep each month!

AND you can save 12% off Brick Loot using code usfamily12. Hurry on over to get yours ordered now! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

5 Unique Ways To Celebrate Advent {+ Save On the Illustrated Faith Monthly Devotional Kit: Advent} #IF_Advent #BibleJournaling

**Kit received as part of the Dayspring Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 
  • Help kids write Christmas lists.
  • Buy the gifts.
  • Wrap the gifts.
  • Trim the tree.
  • Clean the house.
  • Pack for trips.
  • Move the elf.

Do you ever feel like the Christmas season is just one big, long to do list?

Every time we cross off one thing, it seems we've piled on three more. They say it's the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the busiest by far. So busy in fact that at times it can be truly hard to find time to just stop and remember what it is we're celebrating. Sometimes, we just need a moment in the midst of the craziness to bring it back to God.

As Christians, I think this is why the season of Advent is so important.

Growing up, Advent was not something we celebrated. I grew up in a Christian home and went to church, but it wasn't something that any of the churches celebrated. To be honest, while I'd heard f advent, I'd thought this was merely a Catholic tradition. But after some research I realized that this tradition is truly a great way for EVERY Christian to focus their hearts and minds on Christ as the holidays approach. While the traditional lighting of candles might be a great tradition for your family, it is not the ONLY way to celebrate Advent. Today, I'm sharing a few quick ideas:

5 Unique Ways to Celebrate the Advent Season

  1. Set Up a Nativity. This is such an easy way to bring Christ into your holidays. Read the Christmas story as you decorate so that you can truly remember why we're celebrating. 
  2. Countdown With Books. This one is mostly for the kids, but can be great for the whole family. Leading up to Christmas, let your kids unwrap one gift--- a book with great messages about Christ's birth and the spirit of the season. You can make this once a week, the 7 days leading up or more... depending on your budget and the number of books you can find. 
  3. Do an Advent Devotional/Bible Study. There are many great options out there, so you're sure to find one that suits your needs. Spend a little time each day studying and reading.
  4. Pray Through Advent. Create a list of topics to pray for throughout the month. Pray about the church, your family, friends, the holiday itself. Pray for the community, those who are suffering this Christmas, etc. Try to pray for people/things that you might not throughout the rest of the year.
  5. Journal Advent. Of course, this list would not be complete without Bible journaling. Journaling can be such a fun and creative way to draw closer to God throughout the year, and the Christmas season is no different. Take a little time each week to journal through the holiday season--- you can even tie in the prayers and the Bible study in with your journaling as well.

Ready to start journaling through advent? The new Illustrated Faith Monthly Devotional Kit- Advent- is a fantastic starting point. Take a look:

In the Illustrated Faith 'Advent' devotional kit, Shanna and her friend, Ali, invite you to join them with eight advent devotionals to read and reflect upon throughout the first twenty-four days of December (one devotional every three days). After each devotional, record your thoughts in your journaling Bible, Illustrated Faith praise book, or personal journal.  And, as Shanna suggests,"Grab some hot cocoa and your Bible and let's rejoice in this season together!"

My first year journaling through the Christmas I found myself journaling the more common Christmas verses. The gospel recollections of Christ's birth, etc. This was great of course, and I still enjoy rereading these every year, but if you've not yet worked through one Bible, you'll find that in the year(s) to come, there's only so much room to do so. What I loved about this kit was that it took a look at some verses that I had never really thought of as appropriate for the holiday. It has helped me to expand my Bible reading to beyond the obvious to grow even closer to God as the holidays draw near.

This month, we have a little change in that the kit features 8 devotionals, with no journaling cards. Personally, I really love this. While I do appreciate the journaling cards in most kits, I also find that I prefer to journal straight into my Bible instead, so we still get the same number of gorgeous designs, but more reading to go with them. Personal tip: these make great tip ins! Typically, I use washi to apply them either to the same page I'm journaling, or the opposite page. This allows me to easily flip open to re-read what inspired that journaling. For some pages I just use these as bookmarks, though there's always that chance they could fall out this way.

Aside from that, it is the same format as in recent kits featuring a small stamp set, 2 sheets of stickers, washi and die cuts. The designs are fun and festive--- ornaments and mugs. Now, these mugs may say cocoa and tea, but the coffee girl in me likes to think of them as coffee anyway. This might in fact be my favorite washi yet! This kit also coordinates beautifully with the existing advent collection so you can mix and match and really have fun with it!

I for one am really loving this kit and look forward to counting down to Christmas through journaling. Advent is available to purchase now at Dayspring.

AND from now through November 26th, you can get 30% off SITEWIDE with code FRIDAY17! Talk about an amazing deal! Hurry over before the deal ends.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Swim Like a Mermaid with Sun Tail Mermaid #HolidayGiftGuide2017

**Product received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Do you have a little girl that dreams of being a mermaid? Or perhaps its yourself who is a little mermaid crazed?

Chances are, if its not us or our daughters, most of us probably have at least the one person in our lives that is absolutely, positively mermaid obsessed. Let's be honest, how could you not fall in love with them though? They're beautiful, they're magical...and they're fun! It truly is no wonder that so many girls young and old have found themselves dreaming of swimming as a mermaid.

This Christmas I am excited to share with you a gift that can actually make that dream come true, Sun Tail Mermaid Tails:

Sun Tail Mermaid has created the world's best swimmable mermaid tails and mermaid flippers. Their mermaid tails are soft, comfortable, and come in a wide variety of designs and colors. They are made of high quality swimsuit fabric with 4-way stretch.

Sun Tail Mermaid's monofins are extremely comfortable and virtually unbreakable. Their patented monofin is several steps ahead of everyone else in engineering, durability, comfort, and functionality. The propulsion and control is exceptional. The monofins come in a wide range of beautiful colors, so you can match your mermaid tails or look amazing wearing it alone.

That's right, your little ones can actually SWIM like a mermaid! How fun is that? Now, my daughter has had her share of mermaid fins, but in the style of blankets and costumes. Those of course are fun, but still... not quite a true mermaid experience. Every time we grab on of these out, my daughter starts asking, can I take it in the water? With Sun Tail Mermaid tails, I can finally say YES!

These truly look just as I would envision a mermaid's tail to look--- beautiful and even magical. They have many colors to choose from, from solid colors to mixed. Personally, I couldn't help but fall in love with the Aurora Borealis Mermaid Tail. How absolutely gorgeous!? But they're not just gorgeous, they are great quality--- very well made and sure to last through many, many summers to come. We cannot wait to use them when the time comes!

Now, the mermaid tales and monofin sets are designed for the experienced swimmer, but they also offer toddler tails for the younger and smaller girls, and even shark fins too! No matter your preference, you can receive a 10% discount on your order at www.SunTailMermaid.com by using coupon code: BestGiftEver

You can learn more and connect at the links below:


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Perfect Gift For the Man In Your Life: JORD Watches {+ a $100 JORD Giveaway} #HolidayGiftGuide2017

**Product received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

I don't know about you, but for me, the hardest person on my list to shop for is ALWAYS my husband. To be honest, I find men in general to be harder to shop for. Women are easy--- candles, jewelry, a great scarf... and done. Men? Not so much!

Each year I find myself stressing over finding the perfect gift. Do you feel the same?

Today, I am excited to share an excellent gift perfect for the hard to buy for man on YOUR list, JORD Watches.

What are JORD watches?

Hand-crafted wood timepieces. Raw material, refined design JORD is run by artists, designers, marketers, and minders. We spend our days creating, considering, arguing, and hopefully agreeing. Then we'll scrap it all for the joy of starting new. We have fun. This is our journey. We are focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. We make our watches for people who don't just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go. The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.

There's just something timeless about the gift of a watch... no pun intended! Seriously though, a man's watch can become somewhat of an heirloom piece. From our very first Christmas together, 11 years ago, I knew that one day I wanted to get my husband a watch that he could keep for years to come. Still, I never could find just the right one. I wanted something that suited my husband--- modern but classic, unique but timeless.

That is exactly what I found in JORD. The actual styles of the watches are quite timeless, they offer a variety of faces to best go with the look that fits your man's tastes. But what sets them apart if the unique wooden handcrafting. That unique takes brings them much more current and offers a great look too. With various wood finishes you can again choose just the right look. Aside from the style though, the quality is great. This is a watch that is made to last. It also comes packaged beautifully, ready to give!

If you're looking for a great gift that will last for years, JORD Watches has you covered. But they don't just offer men's watches, ladies can find great watches for themselves too.

And my readers get to save 25% off with the exclusive code 'amoderndayfairytale'.

And one VERY lucky reader is going to win a $100 credit to JORD Watches! Visit this link to enter to win!

Register to Win $100 Store Credit at JORD Watches - Hand-crafted wood timepieces

Ladies Wood Watch
Wood Watches by JORD

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Frugal Homemade Christmas Tree: DIY Popcorn Garland

Every year in about August or September, I start thinking ahead to Christmas. Yes, I'm that person. But here's the thing... I love Christmas! I love the celebrations, I love the meaning behind the season, and I love decorating.

When it comes to decorating- particularly the tree- I like to keep things interesting. Each year I try to come up with a new theme or color scheme so that it never looks quite the same. You might recall last year my tree theme was 'Shine Your Light' with silver and gold. In years past, I'd had red and aqua, a Frozen inspired tree, and even just a simple classic Christmas with red and green and lots of sparkles. I love coming up with these new ideas. I love mixing and matching what I have and buying just a few extras each year to complete the desired look.

But this year my Christmas budget was even tighter than usual. I did not have any extra money at all to put towards decorations, so I had to get a little more creative. I decided to go with a very traditional homemade look.... all in all, I spend between $5-10 on my entire tree! Throughout the next few weeks, I will be sharing what I did so that you too can experience a good ol' fashioned frugal Christmas tree. First up, the inspiration for it all--- popcorn garland!

Popcorn garland is such a traditional Christmas look, but shockingly something that I had never done. While I did not start out with the intention of this homemade tree look, I DID know that I wanted popcorn one way or another, and I am SO thrilled with how it turned out! Check it out:

DIY Popcorn Garland

  • popcorn
  • thread
  • needle
  • clear spray (optional)
  1. First and foremost, you'll want to pop your popcorn. They say one cup covers about 3-4 feet of string. To be honest, I just eyeballed it though and ended up with entirely too much, but you do want to have a little extra anyway to make up for any broken pieces, etc.
    I highly recommend using just simple stove top popcorn. This takes a little longer, but you're going to get a lot more for the money. At our local store we can get a bag for about $2, and we used less than half a bag for the garland. In a pinch though, you can use microwave, just look for the non-salted, non-buttered variety. 
  2. Once it's popped, let it sit for a few days. Everything I read said about 2 days or so, I waited about 4. This allows the popcorn to stale a bit, and makes it less likely to break as you're stringing it. 
  3. After it has sat out, it's time to get started, but first you'll need to choose your thread. Some use embroidery floss or even fishing line, but I used a classic thread--- easy to find and very inexpensive- you might even have it on hand already. You can also mix it up with a colored thread too, keep it festive in case any gaps show through.
  4. Thread your needles just as you would for any sewing project, tying a knot at the end. It is much easier to work with shorter strands, so I suggest keeping them manageable, and leaving enough of a tail at the end that they can be easily tied together. 
  5. Start stringing! Pick the best pieces from your popped popcorn. Some suggest sorting before you start, but I found it easier and faster to do so as I went. You'll want to look for nice thick pieces that you can string easily. Push the needle through the thickest part of the popcorn, avoiding any kernels that are tough to break though. Be sure to keep your thread nice and even as you go. Once you get to the end of that strand, knot it and move on to the next.
  6. At the end, tie them together to make one or several longer strands.
  7. If desired, spray your finished garland with a clear spray carefully to help protect it. This *may* help your garland to last through another year, or even give it a nice little shine. Personally, I decided to keep mine as it was, and will be feeding it to the birds after the holidays. 
  8. Finally, add it to the tree! You'll want it on after the lights, but before any decorations. 
That's it. It takes a little bit of time, but is really very easy and VERY inexpensive. Overall, it should cost around $4 or so--- assuming you don't already have the needle and thread on hand. Not only does it look great, but I really love the tradition of this. My daughter is a little too young to string, but she helped hand us the popcorn while my son and I sat, watching Christmas movies and stringing popcorn. It's such a great family activity that we all really enjoyed! While it may not always go on my tree, I think this will become a regular in our family Christmases from now on.

The popcorn garland was my inspiration, but the homemade frugal Christmas doesn't end here! Stay tuned for more great ideas including: cinnamon dough ornaments, cardboard/wrapping paper ornaments and prepping pinecones for Christmas decor.

Have you tried a popcorn garland before? How did it turn out? What other frugal tree ideas do YOU have?