A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Friday, April 20, 2018

Raising Greener Kids: Tips & Tricks To Celebrate Earth Day

Some days it seems like we live in a world of disposables, doesn't it? Everything is designed to be the most convenient, easiest, cheapest...from diapers, to tablewear...even our furniture isn't made to last like in years passed. So, in this world of disposables, how do we raise our children to live a more green life? Here are a few quick and easy tips to get you started:

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.

Recycling- yes, that's simple enough...but for kids make it more fun! Keep a box of items like cereal boxes, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, etc that can be used for fun projects later. Not only does it serve as a great lesson in recycling, it's also a fun way to inspire creativity! A few of my son's recycled creations: Lego portals and telescopes from toilet paper rolls!!




Grow a Garden.


In a world of processed, convenience foods, teaching your children where their food comes from is an important lesson to be learned. Planting a garden is a great way to teach them. Make it fun by allowing them to choose a few of their favorites to plant or picking out their own kid-friendly gardening tools. Don't have the space? Try a small windowsill herb garden or hanging tomato plants. It doesn't have to be huge. In fact, this year we only successfully grew tomatoes- but my son still loved going out and picking the food that he helped grow!



Buy Green/Healthy Food Options.

Given the choice between an apple and a cookie, most kids are going to go for the cookie, right?  Rather than packaged foods high in sugar, stock your home with healthy snack options like fresh fruits and veggies! Rather than chicken nuggets, offer them chicken breast! If you introduce your children and give them healthier options at a young age, they learn to appreciate those healthy, tasty treats and make better food choices.

Buy It Used.

Thrift shopping might not be the first thing of when talking about going green, but it makes sense. When you buy used, you have less packaging, meaning less waste. You are giving those items that may otherwise end up in a landfill a second life. Personally, I also find this a great way to teach your children the value of their money and to not put their value in material things. We may not be able to buy everything used, but we try to do what we can.



Lead By Example.

Perhaps the single most influential thing we can do to teach our children to lead more green lifestyles is to lead by example. I know I can personally TELL my son something 10 times and it goes in one ear and right out the other. Lecturing about living green? It's likely to be the same. Instead, by making efforts to live more green myself, my hope is that both of my children will pick up on these things and carry them on in their own lives.


What are your favorite ways to raise your children to be greener? Share them in the comments below.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Best Foods To Buy To Stretch Your Budget

Background image created by Topntp26 - Freepik.com


Whether it's an unexpected emergency expense, loss of income or ongoing struggles to get ahead--- many of us will at one time or another find our pantries getting as empty as our bank accounts! There's always the 'ramen diet' to fall back on... but we all want something a little more substantial and better for us, right? Today,I am sharing some inexpensive foods for when we really need--- or want-- to pinch those pennies.
  • Beans. Beans can be a great source of protein and are very inexpensive. Bagged beans are generally cheaper than your canned beans, but do take a little more work. Not only can these be used as a meat substitute, they can also be added in to help stretch your meat-- and therefore your budget--- much further.
  • Oats (Plain). Now if you start looking into instant oatmeal flavored packets, you'll find your costs rising, but a basic oat is generally very inexpensive and has many uses. It's a great breakfast food that can be personalized to your tastes, but serves many other purposes in the kitchen as well- baking, breading meat, even meatloaf to again help stretch that meat! They are high in fiber and keep you feeling full longer. In addition, oats can be used in many homemade beauty treatments saving you money not just on food, but on your self care routine too. 
  • Eggs. There is so much that can be done with eggs, isn't there!? Scrambled up with some fresh veggies, on a sandwich, hard boiled, egg salad, fried over potatoes and onions... the options are limitless! Eggs are generally very inexpensive, and can be a great source of protein too! 
  • Bananas. When it comes to fruit, nothing can quite beat the price of bananas! And what kiddo doesn't love bananas anyway! Eat them on their own, or take your PB sandwich to the next level and add them in! 
  • Potatoes. Another great versatile and inexpensive food--- potatoes! Fried, mashed, baked, homemade fries, in a soup, you name it! They can be quite filling and the perfect inexpensive side to any meal. I like to create one skillet meals with veggies and meat... always a hit! 
  • Frozen Vegetables. Now, we all know that canned veggies are generally cheaper, BUT frozen don't cost too much more (depending on brands and where you shop, they can actually be about the same or cheaper) and are healthier too! 
  • Rice. Rice is very inexpensive and a great source of fiber. It is ideal for bulking up meals, in casseroles, soups, as a side, etc... it's also a great inexpensive breakfast, just add in a hint of sugar and cinnamon! Yum! 
  • Green Onions. Not only do these add a flavorful topping to baked potatoes, soups, etc... they are also very inexpensive. A bundle is generally less than $1 in my area! Not only that, but when you use what you need, you can place them in water and it will actually regrow, so you can always have some on hand without the need to buy over and over! 
  • Peanut Butter. (Almost) every kid loves peanut butter, right? It's very inexpensive so PB sandwiches are a great, thrifty lunch options, but it's ideal for snacking too--- throw it on some saltines or on some celery for a nice protein filled snack.
  • Celery. Celery is a very inexpensive vegetable option. It's great in a roast or soup, but in our home, it's mostly for snacking. Peanut butter or ranch dressing... my family loves it either way! 
  • Popcorn. Speaking of snacks, when you skip the bagged and super buttered versions, it can actually be a very budget friendly and healthy treat. A bag of kernels generally costs $1-3 and lasts for a long while.Simply pop over the stove top with a little bit of oil. (Popcorn oil might give it a little more flavor, BUT can be pricier... we simply use our regular cooking oil and shake some salt on after!)

These are just a few of the great foods that can help stretch your budget when you're running out of pennies to pinch. What are your favorite budget friendly foods? 

Stay tuned for more great tips to stretch your grocery budget! 

For The Kid Who Loves Gross: Introducing Zits (EWWW!) + A Giveaway

**This is a sponsored post written my me on behalf of Zits (EWWW!). All thoughts are 100% my own.


10-year-old boys are gross.

Now, now... I'm not trying to start anything here... nor was my blog hacked by a 10-year-old girl... but let's be real--- as a mom to a said 10 year old boy... they like gross things. The grosser, the better. Honestly, from fake vomit to fake dog poop, my boy goes crazy for it all.A good ol' fart joke? Oh boy... watch out!

So, when I heard of a brand new game that takes the grossness to a whole new level, I just knew it was right up his alley.



Introducing Zits (EWWW!):



First came the whoopie cushion, then stink bombs, fake vomit, slime and poop emoji toys.  Now New York City’s NSI International, Inc. is taking “gross” to a whole new level. Introducing ZitsTM (EWWW!) pop n’ play pimples. Just press them on, squeeze ‘em, and gross out everyone! 
Zits pop n’ play pimples aim to move to the “whitehead” of the pack, disrupting a potty-crazed toy market that has brought kids everything from cuddly plush poop to electronic fart blasters. Now, Landi says, “It’s the pimple’s time to shine.” “With slime hotter than ever, we thought it was the perfect time to create the ultimate toy mash-up – adding some play compound to the thrill of pimple popping and the satisfaction of popping bubble wrap,” Landi says. “The result is the most disgustingly amazing toy ever.”


Can I get an EWWW!? But let's be honest--- we all have that one person in our lives that is fascinated with pimple popping, am I right? Hey, maybe it's even you... no judgement! There's even this strange internet fascination on the subject creating this craze of videos showing just that! One dermatologist, dubbed “Dr. Pimple Popper,” has 3.2 million YouTube subscribers and almost 1,000 videos, with a staggering 2 billion views. Say what!? All that for popping pimples!?

I suppose it only makes sense to bring the fun to life--- no real pimples necessary! And Zits does just that! My son- gross loving kid that he is- could not wait to try them out. How do they work? Simply peel off the backing, stick them on, and letting the popping begin! The slime oozes out and the laughter begins!



The good news for moms? Zits pop n play pimples are safe and non-toxic so even if you don't understand WHY the love them, you can at least feel comfortable allowing them to play safely. They come in variety of sizes and are being sold in a massive pack of 100 for $19.99 at IGotZits.com.



They will also be coming this March to Walmart and other major retailers and will be sold in packages of 25, with an MSRP of $4.99.

Want to try them out before you buy? One lucky winner can do just that! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who do you know what would love this pimple popping fun!?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Journaling 100 Days of Bible Promises: Days 1-7

I am currently journaling through a great new journal from Illustrated Faith creator, Shanna Noel. Each day offers a new promise and room to journal though I am personally doing the journaling in my Bible, as I would love to revisit again in years to come if needed. As I work through these days, I am excited to share my experience with all of you! I am using these 100 days to get out of my creative rut and try new techniques and styles that I might not have before so through these days you might notice that. 

Here are Days 1-7:



Day 1: His Grace is Sufficient

People often tell me I'm strong, and I must admit...I don't often feel it. More often that not, I feel like I'm failing at just about everything. Maybe that's the perfectionist in me. Through the chronic pain, the mental health issues, etc... many days I just feel like breaking down. Some days I do. (Okay, many days.) It is only through the grace of God that I can get back up and keep pushing forward. In my own weaknesses, He shines through. He gets me through it, one day at a time.

For this page, I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I'm not much of an artist so I often stick to very simple pages with bright backgrounds and stickers or die cuts rather than drawing. But I felt that this journaling challenge should be about stepping out of that comfort zone. While it's certainly not perfect, I am very happy with the outcome. Even more so, I love this message- Though I am weak, He is strong!



Day 2: Don't Be Afraid.

This is a message that I have to remind myself each and every day. The Bible talks a lot about not being afraid, but I think it's something that many of us struggle with. I love this reminder that God is with us, we have no reason to fear. Does it stop the fear from creeping in? Not always, but it helps to keep it in check most days!

For this page, I'm a big fan of the Chris Tomlin song, 'Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)' based on Psalm 27:1 so I incorporated that into my day two journaling. If you have not heard this song, I highly recommend giving it a listen. I kept the page pretty simple but had some fun with clear cut letters, another new one for me! I did have some issues with my stencil so my background wasn't as crisp as I'd have liked, but... that's where I'm having to let go of my fear of imperfection and just go with it!


Day 3: Nothing Is Too Difficult For God

I often find myself feeling very overwhelmed. Honestly, I truly often feel like that weight of the world is on my shoulders and I have to figure it all out on my own. More than often, I find myself feel like I'm failing at most of it. This is a reminder that I need daily... I am not alone and God is more than enough to handle everything I am going through.

For this page, I kept it pretty simple. I loved this 'Hey Girl Hey' die cut from one of the recent Illustrated Faith collections, and wanted it to draw attention to those next word's... God's Got This. With Him, we truly can do and overcome the impossible.


Day 4: Be Still
Stillness is hard to find these days. More often than not, I would in fact say that my life and my home is... well, complete and total chaos. Be still!? I'm not sure I even know what that means sometimes. Still in the midst of all that crazy--- or maybe because of it--- I do need to find those moments of peace, however fleeting to remember that God is still here.

This is one of those pages where I tried something new with the lettering and background, and wasn't 100% happy with the results. Not my best work, but that's just part of the challenge, right? I did love the way the tip in on the opposite page turned out, and left myself plenty of room to come back and journal more thoughts on the subject.


Day 5: Your Desires, God's Purpose

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Now that doesn't mean He is going to give you absolutely everything you want... but perhaps He will work on our hearts and our desires will be more closely aligned with His purpose for us.

For this page, I really wanted it to reflect that idea of DELIGHT with bright colors and bold images. I must admit when I started this page I had a different idea in mind--- cotton candy and ice cream (part of the Delight in His Day Collection from Illustrated Faith), but as I worked I found that I really just wanted those old beautiful colors to speak for themselves. This is one of my favorite pages so far.

Day 6: Don't Worry

I must admit--- I'm a worry-er. This is something I struggle with every single day. I think as moms and women by nature we tend to worry to some degree--- add in anxiety issues... oh boy! I worry about everything! The verses in this particular devotion are all go tos for me when I start to feel it creeping in. I need those reminders daily, and multiple times a day... but thankfully I have many great verses to turn to and to pray on.

For this page, I just couldn't resist bringing in the Disney. This is not the first Disney-inspired journaling page I have created (I've also done pages inspired by Brave, Inside Out and Frozen), but is most certainly my favorite so far! The Lion King is my absolute favorite movie of all time, so naturally when I think of not worrying, Hakuna Matata came right to mind.




Day 7: Steadfast In Your Work

Sometimes it can be easy to feel like the work you do doesn't matter. Whether it's being a mom, a blogger or a typical 9 to 5 job... we don't often get the thanks we deserve. Or perhaps we just don't see how God can use us in the positions we're in. That can be discouraging. But if we use whatever we do--- from doing the laundry to running a company--- to bring the glory to God, that work is not wasted! This is something I strive to do in my writing, but as I worked through these verses I realized something I should try to be more intentional about doing in my work around the home as well.

For this page, I really focused on that role as a writer/blogger. I feel like this is a passion that God has put on my heart long before I was even able to put the words to paper, and my prayer is that he will use that for His goodness. The page on the right is again another tip in which actually features the prayer from the journal for a better reminder as I flip through my Bible.


************************

After finishing week one, I am absolutely loving working through this journal.It has been a great motivation to get my Bible out and create more... but has also been great reminders daily of these amazing promises God has given us.

If you'd like to join me on the journey, check your local Lifeway stores or order online. This is a great way to get started in Bible journaling (with no need for an actual journaling Bible since you can do so right in the journal), or if you're like me and just need some extra inspiration, it's been amazing for that too. Stay tuned for more as I continue to work through this journal myself. 

Work Hard, Play Hard with A Fandango Giveaway {A Giveaway Hop Event}



Welcome to the Work Hard, Play Hard Giveaway 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!
************************************************
Being a mom is perhaps the hardest job in the world.

Yes, yes.. it's the most rewarding of course, but unlike a 9 to 5 where you can come home and leave your work--- well, at work--- there are no days off in motherhood!

There is laundry to be done.
Homework to be helped with. 
Extracurricular activities to keep track of.
Doctors appoints to be made.
Stories to be read.
Chores to be enforced.
Snuggles to be given.

Yes, we work hard...and we deserve to play hard too!

One great way to do that is by having a movie day! Go by yourself and enjoy that chick flick you've been dying to see. Make it a date night with the husband. Or make it a fun day out with the kids! Either way, it'll give you that much needed time out of the house to just enjoy the time alone or together...whatever you need! And if you happen to have one of those theaters with super comfy recliners and you just happen to nod off a bit--- hey, no judgement here!

To make it easier, I'm offering one lucky reader the chance to win a $25 Fandango gift card.Enter using the giveaway form below:




If you’re a blogger looking to connect with brands: Join The Hopping Bloggers database and get started today! If you’re a brand looking to work with a network of professional bloggers: Check out the creative campaigns The Hopping Bloggers has to offer!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Give Your House a Fresh Look with Lighting From PureOptics LED {+ A Coupon Code}

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of PureOptics LED. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Do you ever just get in a mood to redo your home? I know I do. I'm constantly moving things around and trying to make little improvements here and there to better fit my needs. I want to always be falling more in love with whatever house I'm living in.

Still, as renters, there is only so much we can do. I can't be tearing down walls, painting or doing a complete kitchen renovation. I have to be a little more creative with my home renewal projects. Thankfully, I've learned a few ways over the year to revamp the home without any lasting changes or breaking the bank. Today, I'm sharing my top 3:

Give It A New Layout.
We may not be able to redo the floor plan of the house, but we can move the furniture! Try swapping out pieces from different rooms to give a new look without spending a dime.

Change the Textiles.
Throws, pillow covers, curtains, rugs.. these can make a huge difference in a room and can be done at most budgets too. If you really want to go all out, you can even reupholster your old furniture!

Adjust the Lighting.
If there is one thing that can make a HUGE difference in a home, it's the lighting! It can make a room feel brighter and bigger... where a dark room can make it feel small and cramped. It creates the atmosphere we want to create. While we might not be able to change out the existing overhead lighting in a rental home--- we can supplement that lighting.

One of the least favorite rooms in my current rental home is my kitchen. It's not the smallest kitchen I've had by any means, but it has two big downfalls. It has very limited storage space, and the lighting is AWFUL. It features one small overhead light and a small window that provides minimal extra lighting. During the evening, we usually have to turn a light on in the adjoining room to see to do anything. Add in some old school wood paneled walls, and it's a dark and slightly depressing room. It needed new life!

Enter Pure Optics LED:



Under Cabinet Lighting by PureOptics LED is a collection of sleek, linear light bars that provides maximum illumination at a minimum footprint. Lightweight and ranging from 9” to 24” in length, each compact bar can be installed free of tools or hardwiring, allowing for inimitable illumination using one or several linked light bars, practically anywhere. Boasting ten dimmable brightness levels and a motion sensor for remarkable hands-free use, this line of powerful, high lumen lighting offers unparalleled convenience in kitchens, bathrooms and more. Available in three color temperatures: natural daylight, cool white and warm white.

I was recently sent a 5-Bar Tool-Free LED Under Cabinet Lighting Kit to try out for myself. Now, I must admit, despite being a carpenter's daughter, my house renovation skills are very minimal... I can use a drill and a hammer, but had never really had the opportunity to do much else. The great thing about this set is there truly is no experience required. Each kit includes 5 light bars and everything you need to install.

Here's how it works:




  1. Start by cleaning the cabinets. Kitchen cabinets can get extremely greasy--- especially those underneath areas that we don't pay much mind too. I started by giving them a thorough wash down with dish soap and water. This allows the lights to stick on much better.
  2. Next up, I planned out my lighting. They require a plug in so I figure out the best layout to hide the cords, and how to place each light. It includes connecting cords of different lengths so you can play around with placement to figure out what layout works best, there is no particular order the lights needs to be in.Two of the 5 bars have an on/off button, so keep that in mind and decide where those would make the most sense in your kitchen. I found it made the most sense to have them at each end of the lighting for easy access. There is also a a motion sensor box that allows you to turn the lights on or off hands free, so consider the best use of that too (I found near the sink to be best!)
  3. If you need to drill, do so now. Because these are connected by wires, you may find that you want to drill some holes in the cabinets where they meet to hide them a bit. Because we rent, we were unable to do so, but minimized wires showing with the included wire clips.
  4. Slide the mounting clips onto the light bar. They fit perfectly into the grooves on the light bar for easy installation. I used two clips per light bar.


  5. Peel and stick. Each mounting clip features an adhesive backing, so simply remove the covering and stick. Use the handy included guide to help on even installation. Prefer to screw it in? You can do that too, but again as renters, I like that this is less permanent. 
  6. Adjust your wires.Once you finish, use the include wire clips (also with adhesive backings) to clean up any loose wires.


And that's it.. super easy, right? All in all, this project took under an hour from start to finish and the results? Fantastic! It gave me more light to work, and truly just made the room feel bigger and brighter! Oh what a difference lighting can make!

Aside from the ease of use, I also love that this product is completely customizable. I decide where everything goes, how many lights to use, where to put them, etc. While the five lights were perfect for my kitchen needs, you can also purchase individual bars, cords, mounts, etc... to extend the project further. This is again great as a renter, because when it comes time for our next home, I can add more bars or take them away as needed. And I can buy new clips to hang them for a great price!

If you're looking for a great way to update your kitchen, bathroom or ANY room with minimal work and expense... these lights can be just what you need! And right now you can save 20% off 5-Bar Under Cabinet Lighting Kits at PureOptics LED when you use the code 20OFFLED! Head on over to take advantage of these savings now!



How would you renew your home with these lights? Under the cabinets? Brighten up a closet? Display a collection? The options are limitless! Let me hear your ideas in the comments below.

Find The Perfect Gift with Personalized Cart {A Review + Giveaway}



Welcome to the Full Bloom Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox 


From now through April 30, hop along to all participating blogs for a chance to win a wide variety of familit friendly giveaways! There is no limit to how many you can win, so be sure to enter them all! 

************************************************************

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

Mother's Day is next month. Have you thought about what you want, or what you plan to give your own mom?

If you ask me, the best gifts are those that are personal. These are the gifts that truly show that you took the time to get them something 100% unique and didn't just grab the first thing you saw. And if you ask me, nothing says 'personal' than something that is...well... personalized!

For that, Personalized Cart has you covered!

It’s so common for us to come into the problem of finding a proper gift for others. There’re so many occasions need to prepare, every holiday and memorable day needs a gift. What gift should we choose? How to make it special? It’s the top questions. We’ve thought a lot, and made quantities of tries, and final got the conclusion that personalization is the best idea for a unique gift. 
We name our website as personalizedcart, and in hope that you can find one ideal gift in our shop. We chose high-quality materials, and make each items with our heart and enthusiasm. In the way of personalization, we learnt many different ideas and designs, and practiced a lot, final got our own way for custom orders. 
Sounds pretty great, right? When you choose a personalized gift, you ensure that your loved one is getting something that is absolutely, 100% them! I recently had the chance to try out Personalized Cart with one of their custom doormats.



Now, they have many great options that allow you to add a name or initial, but I wanted something a little more fun! So when I saw one of their examples that read 'Keep the Change You Filthy Animal'... well, I knew it was the perfect mat for us! My son is a HUGE Home Alone fan, and that love has spread to the rest of us. We watch it every Christmas and throughout the year too. So, this famous line? Absolutely perfect and personal to our family. And most importantly, it was beautiful and great quality too!

Whether its a name, a quote, a year--- there are many different ways to create the perfect gift for everyone on your list. And the gifts don't stop at doormats! Picture frames, jewelry, puzzles, pocket knives, cutting boards, you name it, they've got it! I personally love the idea of a fun cutting board for mother's day! The perfect gift for the mom who loves to cook. Or thinking ahead to father's day, a great money clip made just for him? A classic gift that will last for years to come!

No matter the occasion, Personalized Cart is a great option. You can find out more and connect at the links below:

Shop the Website.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.


Take a look around Personalized Cart and let me know what gift you most love for the person on your list!



And one very lucky winner is going to win a personalized necklaced from Personalized Cart. Enter using the giveaway form below:



MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.