A Modern Day Fairy Tale: November 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrating Firsts With Pampers {#DDDivas #DivasFirsts #sponsored}

This review was made possible by 
Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

As a mom to a new baby, one of the greatest things in the world is experiencing all the firsts- the first smile, first laugh, first tooth, first haircut, first steps. One of my favorite firsts is coming up very quickly- Baby's First Christmas. Christmas is always a wonderful, magical, special time of year but the first one is always super special...we've already begun the celebration.

But really, ALL the firsts are super special and for most of us, the first diaper to ever grace our little one's tush was a Pampers Swaddlers. It certainly was for both of mine! And for most moms, if you asked them what their favorite disposable diaper was they would likely respond with Swaddlers for newborns. They are softest of competitors but unfortunately were only available in smaller sizes. If you're one of those moms who loved Pampers Swaddlers for your little one and hated it when they outgrew them, I have great news-you can now find your favorite Swaddlers up to size 5! That means Pampers can now stay with your little one not only for his first smile and first laugh...but also through their first steps and even first birthday...and all those firsts along the way.

To celebrate the new sizes, Pampers sent me this wonderful Celebrating Firsts package that included:

  •     Baby’s First Friend Plush Doll
  •     Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box
  •     Baby’s First Words Book
  •     Baby’s First Steps Push Toy
  •     $50 Shutterfly Gift Card to celebrate all “firsts” moments
  •     Baby’s First Bath Robe
  •     Pampers Swaddlers
So many great items celebrating special firsts (many of which would also make great gifts for Baby's First Christmas), and capturing the moments along the way. They are also celebrating with some incredible giveaways for you. You can join the celebration and enter their 30 days of sweeps on the Pampers Facebook page. They are giving away daily prize bundles and a grand prize of free Swaddlers diapers and wipes for a year!!

And because no celebration is complete without a party, why not celebrate with a Twitter Party?

You can join in on 
Thursday, December 5th at 9pm EST for a chance to win even MORE great prizes including:
3- Celebrating Firsts Gift Packs, which include:
  • ·       Baby’s First Friend Plush Doll
  • ·       Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box
  • ·       Baby’s First Words Book
  • ·       Baby’s First Steps Push Toy
  • ·       $50 Shutterfly Gift Card to celebrate all “firsts” moments
  • ·       Baby’s First Bath Robe
  • ·       Pampers Swaddlers
  • Grand Prize: Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR camera worth $450!
To participate, follow your hosts @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick, and our sponsor @Pampers.

You do not want to miss this wonderful party! You can join in by RSVPing here: 

Not on Twitter, or just want more chances to win? Well, today is your lucky day because Pampers in also giving one lucky reader the chance to win a prize package similar to the one I received! It will include:
·       Baby’s First Friend Plush Doll
·       Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box
·       Baby’s First Words Book
·       Baby’s First Steps Push Toy
·       Pampers Swaddlers

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

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.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Just Dance Kids 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Review {#justdancekids2014 #cgc #sponsored}

My son, like many kids his age absolutely loves his video games. So this holiday season, needless to say there have been several games that have made their way onto his Christmas list. For kids on the Autism spectrum like my son, it can often be very easy for them to get lost in the game and ignore the world around them. So, as a mom, I am always on the lookout for games that we can play together as a family to create a social experience with him. For that, Ubisoft's Just Dance Kids 2014 seems like the perfect choice. Here are a few of the product details:

  • Featuring songs from kids’ highest-rated TV shows, including Yo Gabba Gabba and The Wiggles
  • Also, featuring some of today’s hottest hits like "One Thing" by One Direction, "Hit The Lights" by Selena Gomez & The Scene, and "Give Your Heart A Break" by Demi Lovato.
  • Plus more re-mastered popular nursery rhymes for the youngest at home
  • Playlists allow parents to select all their kids’ favorite songs for nonstop dancing
  • Cooperative four-player dancing
  • Onscreen lyrics lets kids learn the words and sing along as they dance
  • Simple menu icons allow kids to navigate on their own

For this review, I received Just Dance Kids 2014 for the Xbox 360 Kinect. Now, I must say from the very beginning that there is one thing in this world that I am even worse at than video games...and that's dancing!! Seriously, I stink at both. So I was more than a little concerned that it would be much too difficult for me...let alone my six year old...and well, I'll admit that the six year old WAS in fact better than me, but there are varying levels of difficulty so even the worst or most inexperienced of dancers can play...and more importantly, enjoy! With the broad range of song selections, it's also a great game to play as a family- there are songs for the youngest of children and songs for older kids as well...and even some wonderful classics that adults will love!

Aside from being something we can play together, it's also a great way to get up and active. As a mom, I know I don't often (okay, ever!) have the time to get to a gym or workout, but with this game you can really get a nice little workout while still having fun with your little one. This is definitely a great added bonus for the grownups. And for the kids who love video games, it's just a fun way to allow them to have their video games but still get off the couch! This is especially great during the cold winter months, when kids can't play outside as much!

For the Kinect version, there is also a feature the allows you to create your very one music videos! How fun is that!? (My son has not yet discovered this feature, but he loves making movies so I know this would be a HUGE hit!) It also snaps picture during game play which you can save...embarrassment for mom and dad down the road? In our case, perhaps, but certainly a fun feature for sure!

Overall, we really enjoyed Just Dance Kids 2014. If you're looking for a fun gift for the gamer in your life, this one is sure to bring fun to the whole family! Want to know more? Check out the links below for more information, or to purchase!

Like on Facebook.
Visit the Ubisoft Blog.
Shop at Gamestop.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

One of Those Families

As Thanksgiving draws nearer and nearer, I keep seeing more people putting up their holiday decor...and as more decor goes up, more complaining about putting up decor before Thanksgiving occurs...so today I have a confession to make...

We're one of those families. You know, the ones who already have the decor up and have had it up for a few weeks now. We love Christmas around here. Most of my little man's favorite movies are Christmas movies (A Christmas Story, Polar Express, Home Alone...to name a few), he loves Christmas songs, Christmas clothes, Christmas lights...well, let's face it, he's obsessed. Last year, as some may recall we came home from trick or treating and my son insisted that Halloween was over and it was time to put up the tree...and he did! He waited a tiny bit longer this year, but after waiting for a year for Christmas to roll around again, a week or so into November seems long enough to wait! For him, it's not just about the presents. Oh sure, he's six years old- presents are still a big part of Christmas...but its about everything else too- the movies, the music, the decor, the excitement...he loves it all! And a month of holiday festivities? Well, that's just not enough time to pack it all in!

We're not skipping Thanksgiving, and we're no less grateful for the blessings in our life than those who choose to wait. We just choose to celebrate the many wonderful themes of Christmas longer as well- giving to others, spreading cheer, the birth of Christ. And if you ask me, those are pretty amazing too. If we could, we'd leave up the Christmas decor all year round.

It's the most wonderful time of the year after all!!

So, when do YOU put your decor up? Are you an early bird like me, or are you waiting?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Keep Christ in Christmas with 'The Nativity Story' App {A Holiday Gift Guide Review}

**Product received for review.

As a Christian mom, I am always on the lookout for fun ways to keep Jesus at the heart of our holiday celebrations and to teach my son (and eventually my daughter) the true meaning behind Christmas. We incorporate it into our decor, listen to classic Christmas hymns and have found some amazing books as well. But let's be honest, for many kids these days- my son included- it's all about the technology. Honestly, he would much rather play on Mommy or Daddy's iPhone than sit down to read an actual book...so the Nativity Story app for the iPhone or iPad was a perfect fit for our family. Here is a little bit about the app:

Where will baby Jesus be born? At the market? At a restaurant? At the inn? Readers of this book app can follow Joseph and Mary on their search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Along the way they encounter a variety of colourful local people and animals. This is a fun and engaging way to share the original story of Christmas with the young generation and remind them what Christmas is all about.
A phone app that not only teaches my technologically savvy little man about the birth of Christ, but also keeps him engaged in the story? Yes, please! My little guy can be quite picky about books- both regular and digital, but this app truly has so many features to keep him interested...

The Story:
There are two options available with this app- you can read to yourself or be read to, making it ideal for any level reader to enjoy. In the app, we follow Mary and Joseph in their journey through Bethlehem as they search for a place to stay for the night. It is written beautifully and has a great rhythm that children and parents alike will love, and helps to keep little ones engaged in the story. After you've finished reading this creative version, you can also read the story as told in the bible as well.

The Visual Appeal:
The artwork in this app are truly amazing. It has classic woodcut style illustrations that certainly captured MY attention as an adult. It has a vintage pop up book style look to it, which makes it great for us adults, but also remains fun for the little eyes as well. For me personally, the graphics certainly make this app memorable.

The Interaction:
For my son...and most kids I'm sure...this is what it's all about. It may be a beautifully written story with amazing illustrations, but that's not what he cared about most! For him, interactive features were the key and this app was full of them. Throughout the story, there were speech bubbles that your little one could click on to hear the characters speak, adding more depth to the story. They could also move the characters and different elements throughout the story as well. (My son particularly liked tossing around a couple caged chickens...it added no real significance to the story, but kept him entertained and made him want to keep going.) He could knock on doors, tap on windows, pull chains, etc to introduce new characters into the story and help in the search for a place to stay. But perhaps our favorite interaction was at the end when you could help a band of angels play their instruments. So much fun all around!

Overall, we absolutely LOVED this app. If you have a little one who loves technology and you're looking for a fun way to keep the birth of Jesus in the center of your holiday celebrations, the Nativity Story app is a great way to do it. And at just $1.99 for the iPhone and $3.99 for the iPad, it's very affordable as well! You can learn more or purchase the app by following the links below:

Watch a video on The Nativity Story App: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtBhge8DWFA

Disclosure: I received the app above in exchange for my honest review, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Exciting Announcement from Snuggy Baby!!!

**Product received for review. 

Finley and I have some super exciting news to share with you today!!

Many of you may know of Snuggy Baby for their wonderful, stylish baby carriers. They offer stunning wrap carriers and ring slings that are ideal for the fashionable mom on the go.

Or perhaps you know them for their wet bags, offered in a variety of sizes and fun prints.

Today, they've launched their newest product and I could not be more excited to share the news!

Are you ready for this?

Snuggy Baby is now offering cloth diapers!!

The all-new Snuggy Baby cloth diaper system is a one size (designed to fir babies 8-35 pounds), all in 2 diaper system. The covers come in a variety of fun prints and offer 4 rise settings and a cross over snap for babies of all sizes. The inserts (sold seperately) snap in and are designed to grow with baby!

Visit the Snuggy Baby website to learn more or purchase these all new diapers...and stay tuned to my blog for an in depth review, coming soon!!!

A Month of Thanksgiving: Days 15-21

Day 15: I'm thankful for progress. I am constantly in awe when I look at and listen to my little man and realize just how very far he has come, even just in recent months. It brings tears to my eyes when I truly think about where he was just a year or two ago today. I treasure our conversations, and while I don't know the first thing about game systems or operating systems, I am happy to talk about them...it wasn't long ago that this seemed like a distant dream. I am beyond proud of my little guy for all he has accomplished.

Day 16: I am thankful to have discovered a store near our house that carries game systems, old and new...to see the light in my little man's eyes when he sees a PS2 or a Nintendo 64...or these other systems that mommy is clueless about, as Shaun should be too since they're way before his time, but that he adores.

Day 17: I'm thankful for the advances in technology that allow us to better prepare for bad weather. Though we were lucky and missed the worst of these horrible storms, I felt better knowing that we were prepared ahead of time, should we have gotten it worse!

Day 18: I'm thankful for Target...and that we have a Target just a little over 5 minutes from our house. (Really, does this need more explanation?) 

Day 19: I'm thankful that our princess seems to be feeling better. Poor girl seems to be a sickly one like her mommy!

Day 20: I'm thankful for lessons learned...and this year we've learned a lot of them. They've been costly- both emotionally and financially, but we've come out smarter and stronger because of them. We've discovered where to draw the line and how not to let people take advantage. They are hard lessons to have to learn, but we're better having learned them.

Day 21: I am thankful to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I won't elaborate too much on that other than to say that Murphy's Law has hit us hard this past year and it's been quite stressful, to say the least. Now it seems that things are finally starting to work out in our favor. Through hard work, dedication and a lot of prayer- I'm hopeful that things will continue to look up and 2014 will be a wonderful year for our family.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Gift For Mom & Baby {iHEARTees Market Ring Sling Review & Giveaway}

**Product received for review.

It's no secret that I LOVE babywearing. From nursing on the go to getting things done around the house...it truly is a lifesaver. But trying to choose the perfect carrier for you and your baby can be overwhelming...there are so many options to choose from. Soft carriers, pouch sling, ring slings, wraps....where to begin?

For many, the ring sling is a favorite choice. They are easily adjustable, ideal for nursing, compact for traveling and comfortable too. I had tried many types of carriers in the past, but despite all the positive I'd heard about them, never a ring sling so I was excited to receive a Market Baby Ring Sling from iHEARTees to try out for myself.

To be honest, I was a little worried at first- to me, they looked quite complicated and I worried I would not be able to figure out how to use it. To my surprise, I found that they were much easier than I originally anticipated. There is of course a learning curve- as is the case in my experience with most carriers- but I found with a little practice, it was quite simple. I will not do a full tutorial here, but if you Google 'how to wear a ring sling', you'll come up with some great instructions with visual aids. This is exactly what I did. I tried a few different carries with my little one but discovered that she is not a fan of having her legs confined in the sling, so cradle carries were out. But after trying a few, we found a carry that worked for us and she seemed quite comfortable and happy to be close to mommy.

Now, as I said, this was my first experience with a RING sling, but it was not my first experience with a sling. I had a pouch sling with my son and found it horribly uncomfortable. The fit wasn't great. It hurt my back. He didn't seem to like it. The list goes on. With my daughter I decided to give a sling another chance and went with a different brand and better sizing...better than the first, but still not a fan! It was hard to find a correct size, there was no room for adjustment...Finley hated it, and Mommy didn't care for it much more either. It also did not seem to leave any room for her to grow at all. If you've had this experience with a pouch sling in the past, and have steered clear from any type of sling because of that, let me assure you that a ring sling is entirely different! There is no worry about finding the perfect size or baby outgrowing it too quickly because they are adjustable, able to support a little one up to 40 pounds...and so much more comfortable! This particular sling has a double layer shoulder panel that adds comfort and keeps the sling at a comfortable width across your back. Honestly, had I known the difference in the types of slings, I'd have skipped trying the pouch altogether!

The quality of the sling is also wonderful. It is made of a lightweight cotton so baby doesn't get too hot in the summer months, but still offers the support needed to hold baby. The rings are seamless aluminum and have been pull tested up to 250 pounds. That certainly makes me feel more comfortable in it being able to support my 13 pound baby! The tail is also great for covering while breastfeeding, if desired. One of my biggest complaints about my other baby carriers is that they tend to take up so much room in the diaper bag, but the Market Ring Sling folds up easily and compactly, making it a great carrier to toss in and go. Overall, it is a great sling that serves its purpose perfectly.

But let's be honest, what really appealed to me about these slings from iHEARTees was the stunning style! I went with the Turquoise Ombre Chevron, but it was a tough choice. These are not boring, plain jane slings- they are absolutely gorgeous. Such bright colors and fun patterns- they truly are going to grab attention wherever you go and are a perfect gift for the stylish, babywearing mommy! And at $45, quite affordable as well! And as an added bonus, I have to tell you it came beautifully packaged as well- which I always appreciate personally! Overall, if you're looking for a great ring sling that is as beautiful as it is functional, iHEARTees is the way to go.

In addition to the ring slings, iHEARTees also has a beautiful selection of kids apparel as well. Bowtie onesies, suspenders and the absolute cutest hats...be sure to head on over and check out everything they have to offer at the links below:

As part of my holiday gift guide, iHEARTees is generously offering one lucky mama the Market Ring Sling of their choosing! This is the perfect gift to treat yourself, or another baby wearing mom in your life. 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.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Finley Grace, Three Months.

  • Miss Finley is three months old already!
  • We believe she weighs around 13 pounds (no check up this month to know for sure).
  • She is completely in 3-6 months clothes.
  • Finley seems to be taking after big brother and teething early...she's showing all the signs! We bought her a baltic amber teething necklace and it seems to be helping her!
  • Our poor girl had yet another cold this month with a horrible cough- but seems to be on the mend.
  • She has gotten much more 'talkative'...we love hearing her coos.
  • Since last month, she experienced her first Halloween. She was a Cabbage Patch doll, and looked absolutely adorable!!
  • She still hates the carseat.
  • Still no real interest in toys, but seems to be enjoying her swing a bit more. We've also discovered she enjoys sitting in her bouncer (though she still prefers being held).
  • No rolling over either...though she doesn't seem to really try too hard either. Still not worried.

    Overall, Miss Finley is a happy, easy going baby...even while sick!
    She is growing much too quickly, but we're excited to see all the first holiday moments that the coming months will bring. We already could not imagine life without her!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Say Goodbye To Poopsplosions {A Glow Bug Diaper Review & Giveaway}

**Product received for review.

Warning: This post contains talk of poo!! Read at your own risk!

Poopsplosions... if you're a breastfeeding mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Those poops that defy the laws of science and make you wonder how on earth all of THAT came out of something so small and precious. We are no stranger to them in our household. When my little man was a baby, we tried diaper after diaper after diaper, and just could NOT find a disposable that could contain the mess that came after each and every feeding. Every few hours, we'd be changing another outfit, if not taking another bath. Let me tell you, it got old. Fast.

So, when our baby girl came along and we made the decision to cloth diaper, we hoped that they would be able to contain the mess...and thankfully for us, they have! But none do it better than Glow Bug Cloth Diapers...let's take a look at everything that makes Glow Bug the ideal diaper for preventing diaper blowouts.

Design & Functionality:
First and foremost I have to mention the unique 360° gusset. Personally, this is the only diaper I've seen at this point that offers such protection. This unique design keeps the mess from spreading up the back or front of the diaper, preventing blowouts and making cleanup easier. Where were these diapers with my son!? And should it manage to escape anyway- the double pocket opening will keep your hands cleaner on laundry day. Now, we love pocket diapers, but one of the big complaints is having to mess with poo, since the majority of diapers only feature openings in the back, where the mess tends to go. Glow Bug Diapers have both a front opening and a back opening so in those particularly messy situations, you can avoid it a little better. It also makes stuffing much easier. With the diaper, I also received two of their microfiber inserts, which snap both into the diaper and to each other. While we've never personally had issues with inserts shifting, I've heard others have so this feature prevents that. It also makes them easy to double stuff and ideal as a nighttime diaper. Alone, the inserts were plenty absorbent and we had no problems at all with leaks! Overall, these wonderful features made for a wonderful diaper that worked well for our little miss. Some other features worth noting: a SlimDry fabric lining that keeps baby feeling dry without adding bulk, waterproof flaps in front and back to help prevent leaks, and wing snaps on top row to prevent drooping.

In our experiences thus far with cloth diapers we have discovered that no two cloth diapers fit the same- just as no two babies are built the same...so what works for one, may not work for another- but the Glow Bug Diapers certainly worked for us. They are a one size diaper, with four sizing options fitting babies from birth to potty training, or 7-35lbs. They also feature double rows of snaps for a trim fit and two sets of crossover snaps for those itty bitty newborn babies. Our little one is around 13 pounds, and we found these fit wonderfully, without too much bulk.

When it comes to fun prints, nobody does it better than Glow Bug! They offer so many adorable prints for boys and girls...and gender neutral as well. I particularly LOVE the Dahlias print- so pretty and feminine- wonderful. For this review I received the Matrix print, which is considered a girl print. I found this particular print to be less girly than I normally tend to go for, BUT it's still adorable regardless!

For many-like us, the cost is the driving factor in making the decision to cloth diaper. And for those on a tight budget, $20+ a diaper to start up just isn't a realistic option. Glow Bug diapers are valued at just $12.50 a diaper, making them a much more affordable option. They work just as well, if not better, than some of the pricier options we've tried- at nearly half the cost. The only real downfall is that they can *only* be purchased in packages of 12 diapers and 18 inserts for $150 per package (available in girl, boy or gender neutral options). Still, I would highly recommend them anyway- the great thing about cloth diapers is that if you find they don't work for you- you can always resell them. If you love them as much as we do, a full stash of 24 diapers would cost a mere $300, and will last you from birth to potty training- and longer if you intend to have more children. They are a great affordable cloth diapering option for those on a budget!

You can connect with Glow Bug Cloth Diapers at the links below:

Visit Their Website.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.

But if you're one who, like me, likes to try one before you buy a full stash, you can check out their website and sign up for the newsletter for a chance to win a diaper each week! AND one very lucky reader will have the chance to win one right here! Winner will receive one diaper in their choice of boy, girl or gender neutral print! Open to US & Canada. 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.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm Getting Nuttin' For Christmas {A Shaun Video}

I'm always talking about how wonderful, and funny and energetic my little man is...but I thought it was time you saw for yourselves. Here is a quick video of my sweet Shaun singing one of our favorite Christmas songs!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving {Days 8-14}

Day 8: I am thankful for my mother in law, Lisa. I know that many can't honestly say that, but I most certainly lucked out in the in law department. She has welcomed me into the family with open arms and treated me as one of her own. She is not only family, but a wonderful friend as well...and a great Nana to Shaun and Finley. We are truly blessed beyond measure. 

Day 9: I am thankful for Shaun's teacher this year, and his new school. Last year seemed like a downhill battle- us against the school. There were nothing but problems and no solutions to be tried it seemed. Over and over again we heard the suggestion that he be medicated, with no alternatives being offered. This year is a complete turnaround...they are making every effort to help him reach his full potential and working with him, getting to know what works for him and have not once mentioned medication at ALL (other than to agree that it was not necessary). I can't say that Shaun loves school now as he did in California. Some days its still a struggle to get him to go, BUT it's easier than it was, and he has even made a few friends. I am beyond thrilled with the progress he's made and could not be grateful that they are not giving up on him. 

Day 10: I am thankful to the Marine Corps. Being a military wife has its challenges of course- deployments, living away from family, frequent moves, etc- but it has also allowed this small town girl to have experiences and see places that I would not have had the opportunity otherwise. It has taught me that I am stronger than I thought and forced me out of my comfort zones. It has allowed me to meet some wonderful friends whom I love and am forever thankful for. It is not something I ever imagined in my life, but I would not change our life for anything.
Happy Birthday, Marines!

Day 11: Today I am thankful to the veterans. Thank you for the hard work, sacrifices, long nights, time away from family...and for generally being awesome. Happy Veteran's Day to all of you!
I am particularly thankful for two very special men in my life- my heroes- not only for their time served but for the amazing people they are/were in life. To my husband, for being a wonderful husband and a wonderful Marine (I won't gush too much again- I've done that already!)...and to my great great Uncle Theodore Pyle, a WWII Navy veteran for always believing in me and in my dreams...for buying me my first laptop so I could write all the time, for telling me his stories and being a true inspiration to me. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and miss him...I know Shaun would have loved his stories as much as I did...and he'd have enjoyed hearing the banter between him and Matt over Marine Corps/Navy as well. He was a great man, and a great hero.

Day 12: I'm thankful for my blog, A Modern Day Fairy Tale and the opportunities that I have been given because of it. I often hear comments about blogging being an easy way to get 'free' stuff, but there really is a LOT of work that goes into it. It is a job, and I have worked my butt off to get it to the point it is today. As more opportunities have started coming my way and I see my following quadruple from where they were this time last year, I am thankful that I am seeing the payoff of all that hard work. I am thankful to provide fun things for my kids, and myself-and though rare even my husband- that perhaps would not have been in our budget otherwise. As a child, I always knew that I was going to write- one way or another- and while this was never what I had in mind, I am thankful to have been given such an outlet, and the support of family and friends. And I am thankful for the wonderful connections that I have made through it. I am excited to see where it brings us throughout the next year!!

Day 13: I am thankful for Facebook...
No seriously! With living far from family and friends and frequent moves. it has allowed me to remain in touch with the people I care about easily. It has allowed me to become closer to people I did not really know as well before, and discover many things in common. It has allowed me to form new friendships with some wonderful women all across the U.S whom while I know only through the internet, are true friends just the same. It has allowed someone like myself-quite shy in person due to my social anxiety, to speak my mind freely where I may not have been able to.

Day 14: I am thankful for cloth diapers- for being able to actually contain the mess that inevitably comes from an exclusively breastfed baby...seriously.
In all things, give thanks! 

The First Christmas Night {A Holiday Gift Guide Review & Giveaway}

**Book received for review.

The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.The moon shining bright in the heavens so highgave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.The animals were nestled in warm, cozy placeswith looks of contentment on each of their faces.

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

About the Illustrator 
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal's Children's Books. Christine's recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. 

My Thoughts:

As a Christian woman, I think the story of that very first Christmas is one of the most beautiful stories ever written. As a child, while I knew the story, I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now...I knew it was important, I knew it was a must know story- but reading the story straight out of the bible just did not appeal to me. It was overwhelming, more difficult to understand and as a young child- lacked the visual appeal children love. My son-while an excellent reader- is also a super picky one. He needs a story that will catch his eye and capture his interest. We'd tried a few other books on the subject in the past, but really never found any that we truly love...until this one!

One of my absolute favorite Christmas poems has always been, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. Isn't it everyone's? I can recite it from memory and it just screams that Christmas has arrived! So a retelling of the Christmas story told to the same rhythym seemed perfect. The words were beautiful and captured both my own and my son's attentions. And because I truly believe that children learn things quicker when recited in a rhythmic pattern, I feel hopefully that he is actually picking up more on the details than what he would reading it straight from the Bible. It is also in a way that is easily understood for children, without going away from the traditional story. And the pictures...absolutely stunning! 

As a mom, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate Jesus more into our holiday festivities, and The First Christmas Night has certainly allowed us to do just that. It has become a great bedtime story in the weeks leading up to Christmas and could become a wonderful tradition, reading together as a family on Christmas night, in the many years to come. It is the perfect holiday gift for all of the children in your life.

If you'd like to find out more, or order your own copy, check out the links below:

Ideals Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/IdealsBooks 
Buy! Ideals Websitehttp://www.idealsbooks.com/First-Christmas-Night-Keith-Christopher/dp/0824956532

And one very lucky reader will win a copy of their own. Enter using the Rafflecopter 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. US only.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The First Christmas Night in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Live Clean Baby {A Holiday Gift Guide Stocking Stuffer Review}

**Product received for review.

When it comes to stocking stuffers for little ones, I always like to include a little bit of fun...and a little bit of useful...especially for babies, since they really don't know the difference at this point. One thing babies always need is baby washes!! But with so many options available, it can be hard to choose! Personally, I prefer using more green options and for that Live Clean Baby is a wonderful choice:

Live Clean Baby is a unique collection of eco-friendly baby care products designed with your baby and the environment in mind. Live Clean Baby promises performance with natural, gentle ingredients - caring for baby's delicate skin using plant based formulations enriched with certified organic botanicals that are safe for baby and safe for the earth.

For this review, I received Live Clean's newest addition-
Live Clean (Baby) Tearless Foaming Wash.

  • Enriched with certified organic botanicals of Chamomile, Lavender and Aloe
  • Formulated with 98% plant ingredients
  • Free of the Four P’s – Paraben, Petroleum, Phthalate, and Phosphate
  • Hypoallergenic and pediatrician tested
  • Retails for $6.99 exclusively at Walgreens and Walgreens.com
I'll be honest, I'm always a little hesitant to try new baby washes on our daughter. She has super sensitive skin and we've found that many brands have caused her rashes, or dries her already extremely dry skin out more. However, I am happy to say that we had absolutely no problems with Live Clean. It had a wonderful, light scent, but was still gentle enough for her. I also love baby washes that offer pump tops...they make bath time so much easier.

The one problem I've found with many more natural bath time options is the cost...being on a strict budget, we just can't afford $20 for a baby wash, so I love that this retails for just $6.99- making it much more affordable for those who-like us- desire more natural products for their family but have to be mindful of cost. It's also easy to find and available exclusively at local Walgreens store (or online if you don't have a store near you). This is great for us personally with our nearest store being just 5 minutes away!

Overall, I am extremely happy with the baby wash and can definitely see us purchasing more in the future. If you're looking for a reasonable priced, natural bath alternative, Live Clean is definitely worth a quick trip to your local Walgreens!

Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own, your experiences may differ.

THIS is Autism. {A Response To Autism Speaks}

This post was originally written on my personal Facebook this morning in response to this post by Autism Speaks, which I first heard about through this wonderful post. While I do believe that something needs to be done to get our kiddos the services and education they so desperately need, I do NOT agree with this idea of spreading fear and painting this picture that all individuals with Autism are completely helpless and will not be able to live and work on their own. Or that they are somehow a burden to their parents. My son is only six years old, and while we obviously do not hide his Autism from him or anyone, he does not yet have an understanding of it, but I know he will one day. The last thing I want as a mother is for my son to read things like this and feel as though he is less than because of his diagnosis...especially coming from an organization that is supposed to be there fighting for him. I want him to know that he is absolutely perfect just as he is, as God created him to be.

THIS is Autism.

He taught himself to read at age 2, and now at age 6 reads above and beyond the level of his typically developing peers.

He knows who makes every movie, and is sure to tell you before watching.

He's likely to ask you what operating system your computer is running on so be prepared...and once you tell him, he'll remember forever!

THIS is Autism.

He loves his sister more than anything in the world. He does what he can to help take care of her...or tells Mommy what she needs when he cannot.

He has the biggest heart, and wants those around him to be happy...always.

He tells the greatest jokes...they don't always make sense but he tries and loves to make people laugh. ("Hey Daddy, remember that time you were playing PS2 and I pooped on you!? It was a funny joke!")

THIS is Autism.

He loves making videos and movie trailers...and is very good at it too. He could be a successful movie maker one day.

He is great at video games...and computer games...and iPhone games... he'll beat any adult at Angry Birds any day!

He brings joy and inspires those around him each and every single day. He is an amazing kid- smart, funny and all around awesome.

THIS is Autism.

Autism is not without it's challenges, but it is also not ALL bad either. It is NOT to be feared, it is NOT despair and it does NOT mean there is no hope of a future for my son. My son is not missing, he is right here...and he is absolutely amazing. He has not destroyed our family, but made it stronger, better, wiser...and we are living and dealing and thriving...one day at a time.

As a mother I believe in my son 100% with everything in me...I know that he is capable of doing amazing things, and I know that Autism is just part of what makes him who he is...and when I see people who are supposed to be spreading awareness and acceptance for my son instead spreading fear and making it seem once again that there is no bright light, it absolutely breaks my heart. How is it supposed to make him feel if he were to read comments such as, "And, what about their parents? How much can we ask them to handle? How long will it be before the exhaustion makes them ill? How long before they break?" My child is not a burden, and I would never, ever want him to feel that way. He is my everything, and I will continue to fight for him...but not with fear, by showing the world how amazing he is...Autism and all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Gift For Kids: The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie Review & Giveaway {Holiday Gift Guide}

**Product received for review.

About The Sparkle Box - A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Author Bio
Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.  

Illustrator Bio
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.  

My Thoughts:

We love the Christmas season in our household. The trees, the lights, the songs, the movies, the shopping...but with everything that goes along with the holidays, it can be easy for the real meaning of the season to be lost in the shuffle. Especially for kids! As a mom, this has always been a concern of mine...how do we teach our children that while everything else is great to, helping others and giving are the even greater gift? How do we honor Jesus in our festivities?

The Sparkle Box is a beautifully written story that serves as the perfect reminder. I loved the message that our helping others is a gift to Jesus, but more importantly I loved that it was written in a way that my child was able to understand as well. But the greatest part of all? The book actually includes your very own sparkle box. I am certain my son is not the only kiddo in the world who love recreating things he's seen on tv or in books...he loves doing the same things his favorite characters are doing in real life. This truly makes it easy to create a sparkle box tradition in your own family during the holidays. I love it, because it's a positive message to give my son and a reminder to give to Jesus...and my son loves it because it's just like the book!

The Sparkle Box has already become a bedtime staple in our house and is the perfect gift for all the little ones in your life this holiday. Kids get so many toys that get played with for a bit then forgotten about, but this is a story they can enjoy now and as they grow, and a message that will follow them throughout their life.

To find out more, or to purchase, visit the links below:

And I'm thrilled to announce that one very lucky reader will be winning a copy of their own. In the spirit of the book, we're going to keep this giveaway very simple- just two easy entries, that's it! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

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. US only.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I have received no monetary compensation for this post.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Gift for the Military Husband: Tungsten World Review {Holiday Gift Guide}

**Product received for review.
When my husband and I were first married, nearly seven years ago- we were completely broke. We didn't have money for a fancy wedding band, and so my husband ended up with a cheap $50 band. It served its purpose of course, but being in the military with the constant training, deployments, etc...that ring went through a lot. It was bent out of shape and really just had seen better days. So when Tungsten World contacted me asking me to review their one of a kind digital camouflage ring, I jumped at the chance. Tungsten rings are an ideal choice for military members... or anyone whose hands take a beating. They are not only beautiful but extremely durable as well.  They are strong enough to handle everything my husband will put it through. I have no doubts it will last him for many many years to come!

For my husband, durability is probably  the top priority, but personally I want something beautiful that reflects his style as well. The ring I received did just that with its unique digital camouflage that was just perfect for the proud military man. Now I'll be honest, when I first heard 'digi camo ring' I was a little skeptical. It would certainly be tacky and over the top, right? Wrong! Once it arrived I was actually quite pleasantly surprised to find that I loved it. The design was done beautifully and if found it to be quite subtle as well. It was hard to get a picture that really captured the ring well, I can only say it is simply stunning in person. And more importantly my husband loved it too. The quality is apparent and he thought the style suited him well without being cheesy as well.

Overall, we were both very happy with this lovely ring and Tungsten World. If you're a military wife or military wife to be and want something unique to reflect your mans pride in the service, I highly recommend this wedding band. But if you're not a military wife or prefer something a little more classic- Tungsten World offers many beautiful options to suit your style. You can see everything they have to offer and connect at the links below:

Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.