A Modern Day Fairy Tale: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pudding Made Right {A Kozy Shack Giveaway}

A big thank you to Kozy Shack for sponsoring today's post and giveaway!




My family recently started making a big change in the way we eat. We started paying more attention to the labels on our foods- and aimed to cut out or limit the amount of overly processed foods we were putting into our bodies. For us, that meant a lot of shopping on the 'outside' of the grocery stores- you know, where all the fresh produce, meats, and dairy are kept. For our main meals, it hasn't been too much of a struggle...in fact, it's quite simple to stick to meal plans with fewer, simple ingredients...Snacks, however, were another issue. My son and husband both love to snack and finding better for us options to satisfy a sweet tooth was a little more difficult. Fresh fruits are a great alternative, BUT my son loves his chocolate-y goodness and doesn't want to sacrifice that! Needless to say, when I discovered Kozy Shack offered that great pudding taste in amazing flavors like rice, tapioca and yes, even chocolate without the added ingredients, I was thrilled. REAL ingredients like milk and eggs? Not to mention they're gluten free and a great source of calcium! That's pudding made right!

But just because it's done right, does't mean it cannot be done even better!  Plain ol' pudding might be delicious by itself- especially if you're a purist like myself...but adding in some fun mix-ins can make it even more fun...especially for kids!




Up the Health Appeal
Fruits and berries make a GREAT addition to a pudding snack. They taste great, and make it a great healthy snack! This is particularly great for kids who prefer junk food over health food (ahem, grown ups too). Bananas, rasberries, strawberries...the options are endless. The top choice in our house? Blueberries! YUM!!

Give It A Little Crunch

There's nothing like a little bit of crunch to take a simple pudding snack to the next level. Granola, pretzels, even nuts are ALL great additions...Or even a combination of the above! Delicious, I'd say!

Don't Be Afraid to Indulge...A Little

Crushed candy pieces and whipped topping may go against that goal of healthy eating, but they DO taste great! If we're making the effort to do better elsewhere, it's more than okay to treat ourselves to a little indulgence every now and again.

Check out these fun creation ideas straight from Kozy Shack:

• Bananas & Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Spoon Kozy Shack® Rice Pudding into a small dish. Top with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

• Peaches & Blueberries Rice Pudding
Layer diced fresh peaches, Kozy Shack® Rice Pudding, and blueberries in a small dish. Top with any remaining fruit.

• Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries and Tapioca Pudding
Drizzle strawberries with melted dark chocolate and allow to set. Layer chopped strawberries and Kozy Shack® Tapioca Pudding in a small dish. Top with a chocolate-drizzled strawberry.

• Banana Split Chocolate Pudding
Spoon Kozy Shack® Chocolate Pudding into a small dish. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a banana spear and a maraschino cherry.

How do you like YOUR pudding? Are you a plain and simple kinda gal? Do you load in the berries and granola...or indulge yourself with chocolate goodness? No matter how you enjoy it, Kozy Shack is there to help. And to help even further, they are offering a fantastic giveaway. One lucky reader will win TWO super cute pudding mugs with spoons, and a coupon for a FREE Kozy Shack product valued up to $4.99. Entering could not be easier...only one super easy entry! 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 compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Summer To-Do


School's out for summer...or almost anyway! And that means kids are home and looking for something fun to do to fight the boredom! If it were up to my son, he'd probably be content to spend the entire summer vacation playing video games...but what a waste of summer that would be! Instead we want to fill the summer with lots of fun experiences. Here's a look at some of the fun summer activities we will try to do over summer break:

  • Plant a garden. (We've already started but will continue this over the summer. My son is particularly excited about his sunflowers he planted! This is not only a super fun family activity for us, but also a great learning experience as well!)
  • Visit the zoo.
  • Go swimming. (Even if it's just a kiddy pool in the backyard since this mama cannot swim!)
  • Jump in the bounce house!
  • Go to our family reunion.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Have a lemonade stand. (We're working out the details on this one, but it's at the top of our list!)
  • Go yard sale shopping! (Shaun has developed his mommy's love of yard sales too...so fun!)
  • Make homemade ice cream. (A family tradition in my family- we always enjoyed taking turns cranking the ice cream...and eating it too of course!)
  • Visit the park (and you know, find a park to visit!)
  • Go fishing. (That's a Shaun and Daddy activity! Shaun is ready with his Star Wars fishing pole!)
  • Have picnics...and lots of them! (We've already had a few.)
  • Plan the HUGE birthday bash for August!!! (Shaun will turn 7 and Finley will turn 1!!)
  • Make fresh squeezed lemonade.
  • Drink smoothies. (I make a great one, if I do say so myself!)
  • Grill out...often.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Get better at badminton...and golf... and maybe even basketball!
  • Visit a theme park. (We hope to be able to go to Holiday World this year, schedule allowing!)
  • Eat fair food.
  • See fireworks.
  • Take a lot of pictures!
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

Do you have big plans for this summer? Are you a plan every minute type of mom? Or a play it by ear? (Or are you like me- a little bit of both?) I'd love to hear all about it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Encourage Independence with Myself Belts {Review & Giveaway}

**Product received for review.




My son Shaun is six years old and in that stage where he wants to do things for himself- like getting dressed, making a sandwich or walking himself to the bus- but he's still not quite the best at it yet. Sandwiches sometimes end up with a huge lump of peanut butter in the center and pants are sometimes backwards. Being a skinny kid, he also needs a great belt which can be even harder for little hands to figure out. So, when I heard of Myself Belts, they seemed like a great solution for my little guy.

What are Myself Belts?

Myself Belts is a mom-invented, award-winning line of children’s belts and toddler belts. The easy belts for kids are fashionable and functional, with a design that not only keeps pants up, but teaches and encourages your child’s independence. The kids belts are perfect for potty training toddlers, preschoolers and teens alike. Myselfbelts.com has easy toddler belts for kids and fashionable styles to choose from, including toddler belts, boys beltsgirls belts, and belts for teens



For this review, I received the Navy Stripe belt for my son. There were so many cute options to choose from, from fun to simple but I loved that this one had a classic look that would go with just about anything. It looked even better in person and my son could not wait to try it out.

When putting on the belt, you first snap one end around the belt loops, leaving the hook and loop fastener facing out. You then loop as normal. This part might require the assistance from an adult, but fastening throughout the rest of the day is super easy! Rather than dealing with hooks that can be super confusing and time consuming, it's as easy as velcro- literally!




My son had absolutely no problems figuring it out and loved that he could be a little more independent when he needed to use the bathroom. Again, being a little guy, he needs a belt often but being a kid  who is not yet potty trained, we also don't want anything that is going to make it harder on him. These belts are absolutely perfect! Quick, easy and FUN!


They come in a variety of fun styles like space, trains and pirates for boys or butterflies, cupcakes and rainbows for girls- to name a few! They even offer personalization options which I know most kids- my son included- would absolutely love! With so many options, there is sure to be the perfect belt for every child in your life. If the classic belt with a buckle is more your style, you can add those on too. The hook and loop still does all the work, but it keeps that more classic look too!

Overall, we loved these belts and will certainly be looking into purchasing more in the future! They are fantastic for kids of all ages! If you'd like to purchase or learn more, visit the links below:

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

And one very lucky reader is going to win the belt of their choice (monogramming excluded)! 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..

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Learning to Dress Your Truth {A Review}

**Product received for review.

Do you ever look at the latest fashions and think to yourself that they look great...but they just aren't YOU? They don't fit your personality and just don't look right on YOU. It can be quite frustrating to try to fit in with all the current fashion trends and look your best...only to discover that you really don't look your best.


Carol Tuttle felt the same way and sought out to create a new way to look at beauty with the Dressing Your Truth program. So, what is Dressing Your Truth?



Dressing Your Truth is an educational service designed to teach you about your unique Type of beauty, give you insights and tools to feel more confident and look more beautiful, and provide products that make your shopping experience easy and affordable.This practical, intuitive beauty makeover system empowers you to look and feel your best.

So, how does it work? The program helps you to discover your energy type using energy profiling. It looks at your personality, your gifts, the way you think and even your physical features and puts you into one of four energy types-
  • Type 1: Air. These are the individuals who are fun-loving, light-hearted, youthful. They tend to be outgoing and animated.
  • Type 2: Water. These individuals are calm, subdued and sensitive.
  • Type 3: Fire. These individuals tend to be very reactive. They are swift, intense, practical and to the point.
  • Type 4: Earth. These individuals are bold, authoritative, regal, simple and reflective. They tend to be the perfectionists.



The Dressing Your Truth online course takes you through each of these energy types in detail and helps you to discover what YOUR energy type is. It offers common personality traits, gifts, and even comments that you may hear from others regarding your personality or the way you do things. After completing the course, I discovered that I am a Type 2 energy. For anyone that knows me, that seems pretty accurate. I am very quiet, sensitive and love providing comfort to my loved ones. I don't feel the need to be the center of attention (actually, I hate it!) and am perfectly content to blend into the background.

Once you've learned your type, you then learn to dress your type. They go through what colors, fabrics, lines, designs, etc work best on you. As a type 2, I learned that I should be wearing subdued colors, flowing styles and that comfort is key. They even discussed how to apply makeup and style your hair. The lessons in makeup were perhaps my favorite part of the course! I picked up several little tricks that I'd not heard before. And to make it even easier, you can shop the online store designed just for each energy type.

So, what did I think?

I thought it was a very interesting concept and truly enjoyed learning about all the different types. The personality aspects were right on for me, and I did find it interesting that one of the colors that is supposed to be great for MY type is purple- a color I've always felt looked best on me. On the other hand, I also LOVE wearing bright colors and bold necklaces- something certainly far from the recommendations for a type two. However, I also found that I related to many parts of the type one personalities, who WOULD be recommended to wear the bright, youthful colors I love. Still, it was an interesting course that I enjoyed taking and certainly a great starting point for anyone who wants to look their best and doesn't know where to start.

You can learn more and purchase the course at the links below:

Visit the Website: http://dressingyourtruth.com/
Take the Course: http://dressingyourtruth.com/social
Shop the Store: https://dyt.liveyourtruth.com/store
Twitter https://twitter.com/caroltuttle


Disclosure: I received a complimentary course and gift card in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own, your experience may vary.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Watch 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' Sundays on Hallmark {A Review}

As a child, I remember watching Touched By An Angel with my mom. It was, and still is, one of her absolute favorite shows and a show that I remember enjoying watching with her as well. On occasion, I'll see the old reruns playing and tune in. Even after all these years, it is a fantastic show and such a different feel than anything else on the television now. These days it seems television is drama, drama, drama...whose fighting who? who cheated on who? There aren't many shows that I can enjoy with MY kiddos comfortably, as Touched By An Angel provided for me and my mom. So, when I heard that creator Martha Williamson has a new show on the Hallmark Channel, I was excited to check it out.




Here's a little bit about the show:

The new original series "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a wonderful combination of romance, comedy and drama that follows the lives of four postal detectives who transform themselves into a team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of the office where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow always on time. The team includes charming Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius), the group's leader is a man of faith who prayerfully approaches his work with the goal of making a difference in people's lives; new team member, Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited, “girl next door” Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe) who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods.


For this review, I was able to view tonight's upcoming episode. This episode is 'about a special couple with Down Syndrome who discover the Scriptural meaning of marriage through the challenges of their journey, which inspires their parents'.  Now, as a parent to a special needs child, this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. The story was absolutely beautiful. Great writing, great acting...I was impressed all around. I won't give too much away, but it's certainly worth checking out. Often times, I think many of us can be turned off of a show or movie if it seems too preachy, but Signed, Sealed, Delivered was not that. It was simply uplifting and positive...another refreshing change from the typical shows on tv. If you loved Touch By An Angel, I am certain you will enjoy this new show as well. I look forward to seeing future episodes as well.

You can watch 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' on Hallmark every Sunday night at 8/7 central.

Want to dig deeper into the spiritual messages? The American Bible Society has developed a bible study to go along with the series. You can sign up for that here: 
http://www.americanbible.org/features/signed-sealed-delivered

You can find out more about this wonderful show and connect at the links below:


And don't forget to tune in TONIGHT!

Have you watched Signed, Sealed, Delivered? Plan to? What did you think? As always, I look forward to hearing YOUR thoughts!

Disclosure: I was given a sneak preview of tonight's episode in exchange for my honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lessons in Cloth: Snaps vs Aplix



Okay, we've talked types of diapers and types of inserts- now it's time to talk types of closures. If you've been shopping for diapers, you've probably already seen that many cloth diaper brands offer two closure options- snaps and aplix. First of all, what on earth is aplix? Aplix, Velcro, Hook and Loop...all the same thing. Velcro and Aplix are actually specific brands of hook and loop, but I use it in this post because it seems to be the mostly commonly used term in the cloth diapering world. So, which is better? Which should you get? Like many things with cloth diapers, it all comes down to personal preference. Both closure types have their pros and cons, and ultimately it's all about what meets YOUR needs.

Let's take a look at some important factors to consider:


Ease of Use
When it comes to being easy, aplix takes the cake. Snaps- though not necessarily difficult- certainly are the more time consuming option, and when you have a wiggly, on-the-go baby it can get a little complicated. For those new to cloth diapering, aplix is an easier transition from disposables.


Durability


Aplix may be the easiest, but snaps tend to hold up the best. If you've ever owned anything with aplix, you know that it tends to attract anything and everything. Personally, I have the WORST hair when it comes to staying on my head and am always finding my own hair getting tangled on it...yuck! In time and after many washes, I've also found it becomes less and less sticky...under a onesie, less than sticky aplix doesn't seem to present much trouble, but if you're like me and like to leave diapers out for the world to see, you certainly want them to stay put on their own. Snaps, in my experience, last MUCH longer.

Fit
When it comes to adjusting the fit, snaps can sometimes be a little tricky. There is only so much room for adjustment, and if baby is between snaps...good luck! Aplix makes for a much more custom fit. This is especially great for small newborns.

Staying On


Every baby at one point or another reaches the streaker phase. You know, when they cannot help but to remove their diaper? Disposables or cloth, it doesn't matter! But for the cloth diapered baby, a diaper with snaps is much more difficult for baby to remove themselves...which means less surprise messes for mommy to clean up.

Laundry



What does closure type have to do with laundry? That goes back to everything getting caught in aplix... Every aplix diaper I've ever seen DOES have a laundry tab, but this does add an extra step in your routine- making sure this is closed. I'll be honest, I usually forget and find my few aplix diapers getting snagged on an insert. This can add some wear to your other diapers and inserts as well.

Resale Value
One of the great things about choosing cloth diapers is that when your baby is done with them, you can resell them and get some of your money back. Because snaps tend to stay looking and working better longer, you can generally sell them at a higher price than a velcro diaper used the same amount of time.

So, what do I prefer?

While you will find a few aplix in our stash, I most definitely prefer snaps. I personally think they look nicer, hold up better and I don't have to worry about making sure they don't snag anything in the wash. I do like having those few aplix in our stash for those (rare) instances when someone other than myself is changing the diaper. They are more grandparent/babysitter/non-cloth diaperer friendly. They are also great for newborns to get that perfect fit (and because newborn diapers are worn for a shorter time frame than one size- you won't see the wear and tear so much!). To me, it is worth that little extra work for something that will last longer while looking better...and stay on once we reach that point!

If you want the ease of use and an easier transition from disposables, aplix might be your prefered option. Or you can have a mix of both for all your cloth diapering needs. The possibilities are endless. As with all things cloth, it is always a good idea to try a variety to learn what works best for you and your baby!

Do you use snaps? Aplix? A combination? Why did you go that route? Any advice on closure types for the mommy out there just beginning to use cloth?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Christian Music...For Kids! {A His Kidz United Review}

**Product received for review.




By now most of us have probably seen the ads for the kids pop music albums on the tv, right? You know the ones- where kids are singing today's greatest pop hits? I don't know what it is about the idea of kids singing for other kids, but my son has been fascinated by the ads for a long time. But honestly, I am just not a huge fan of a lot of the current pop music, and am not 100% certain I want my little guy listening to it- sung by kids or not. So, when I was contacted about the His Kidz United CD series, I knew it was perfect for my family.

What is His Kidz United?

It is 'a music brand for kids ages 5-14 which features kid-sung versions of today's top Christian hits, including "Overcomer" by Mandisa, "Shake" by MercyMe, and "Speak Life" by TobyMac.'


Basically, it takes that same concept of kids singing for kids and applies it to Christian music! How fantastic is that? It features hits from some of my personal favorite artists- Switchfoot, Chris Tomlin, TobyMac & Michael W. Smith (to name a few), but makes them more relate-able to kids by having kids perform them...because let's be honest, kids listen to their peers more than grown ups for the most part, don't they? My son can enjoy the 'kid' music he enjoys, and I can feel confident knowing that he is listening to great music with a positive message. Music I can feel good about purchasing for him.

Overall, we were both thrilled with the His Kidz United Volume 1! It is a CD that we can listen to and enjoy together! We cannot wait to see what wonderful songs the future volumes have in store!

You can learn more and purchase for yourself at the links below:

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


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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finley Grace, Nine Months.

It's official, Miss Finley has moved onto the last sheet of our monthly stickers! She is nine months old! How on earth did THAT happen? Miss Finley is growing and learning more and more every single day.



  • Finley's nine month appointment is not until later in the month, so no official measurements, but I'd say she's around 20-21 pounds.
  • She is completely out of her 6-9 months clothes now, and moved up to 12 months! Such a big girl!
  • She is becoming more and more interested in food (and trying to steal everyone else's too)...I'd say her favorites are green beans, squash and apples!! But most of her 'meals' are still coming from breast milk- she's still a champion nurser!
  • She is crawling, cruising furniture and is just in general all over the place!! And into everything! In the past few days she has also starting standing without holding on for a few seconds at a time.
  • She is learning to wave and point, though at this time these are not with intent, just motions. Still, it is adorable! (Big brother did not start to point until he was much older- between 2-3 years old.)
  • She is still saying Mama often, as well as Bubba and Dada on occasion.
  • She has also recently started giving kisses, but mostly reserves them all for mommy.
  • She has a fascination with mommy's glasses and laundry. She loves watching the dryer go round and round and 'help' mommy fold. This is one fascination that I hope she will NOT outgrow!
  • Her favorite toys are still probably her dolls. She recently added several more Disney Princess dolls to her collection that she LOVES. 
  • She LOVES Frozen. Anytime she sees anything Frozen or hears the music she gets excited...so funny to see!
  • She loves her big brother more than anything...even if he pesters her endlessly at times. (It's okay, she waits until he's sleeping and then pesters him right back!)
Overall, Finley is still the sweetest, happiest baby I've ever seen and we could not have been more blessed to call her ours.We look forward to see what the next month brings!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Calm Down with Fun & Function {A Pressure Vest Review}

**Product received for review.




"Is he excited or is he always this way?"

This is a question we get about our son Shaun often. You see, Shaun was diagnosed with Autism at age two, and is very, very hyper! He also has a lot of sensory issues that can cause him to get overwhelmed easily...especially in a crowd. Sometimes this results in him being even more hyper, and other times it results in sensory overload leading to horrible meltdowns. It had been suggested by a teacher in the past that medication might be in order. This is something my husband and I both felt very strongly against. Don't get me wrong, medication is great for those who truly need it to function and thrive, but for Shaun we had seen him thrive in classroom settings in the past and knew it was not necessary for him. Instead we choose to look for other non-medication calming techniques. For Shaun, that means a lot of sensory tools. We use chewy tubes for oral sensory input, noise cancelling headphones for crowded noisy areas...even sensory breaks with things like a trampoline or spinny toys to help burn off the excess energy. Perhaps one of the greatest calming tools we have found for him is a pressure vest.

So, what is a pressure vest?


A pressure vest is a vest that a child can wear that hugs their body in a calming fashion. As my son puts it, it feels like a big hug. For children who have autism or other sensory troubles, this can help them to stay calm and focused by helping them to filter out sensory information that can otherwise be overwhelming. They are similar to the effects of a weighted vest for some kids, but whereas weighted vests can only be worn for 20 minutes at a time, the pressure vest (though still recommended at 20 minute intervals) CAN be worn all day long if desired.

Having had used pressure vests in school, I knew this to be an effective calming tool for Shaun and went on the hunt for an affordable option for home. What I found was Fun & Function's Pressure Mesh Vest. Let's look at some of the highlights:



  • Affordability. Having a child with special needs can be quite expensive- therapies, special diets, therapy tools...it can add up quick. The Pressure Mesh Vest is quite reasonable at a price range of $31-$36 (depending on size needed). Compared to many other options, this is fantastic...and a great quality for the cost as well.
  • Adjustability. To be effective, a pressure vest needs to fit snug...and with growing kids, that can be hard to get just the right size. The hook and loop closures adjust easily to provide firm pressure on trunk and shoulders, and leave a lot of room for adjustment, which is great for growing kids! 
  • Breathable. If you have any experience with pressure or weighted vests, you know that they can be a bit bulky or thick. That's just fine for the winter months, but my son gets hot incredibly easy and needs something much more lightweight for the summer. The breathable mesh of this vest is perfect. It still gives that pressure he desires, but without the added heat.


  • Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the Pressure Mesh Vest and found it to be a great solution for my son. But as the saying goes, if you know one child with Autism, you know one child with Autism. Pressure vests may be a great solution for MY son, but perhaps aren't the solution for all...but with their wide variety of products, Fun & Function is sure to have just what you are looking for. They offer all types of sensory tools from weighted and pressure products, oral sensory products, swings, trampolines and more. But it's not just sensory needs they have covered but communication, education, social and so much more all at great prices. If you have a child with special needs of ANY kind, they are certainly worth checking into.

    Not sure what you're looking for? They're happy to help you find the perfect solution to fit your child's individual needs. As their website states, they don't want you to buy EVERY product they carry, but instead want to help find the solutions that work for YOUR child. Now, not every company can say that right? They also send gifts each month to organizations that lack the resources needed, and offer advice and support via their Facebook page. Truly, this is an AMAZING company and one that I am thrilled to share with all of you today.



    If you'd like to learn more, you can connect at the links below:

    Visit the Website.
    Like on Facebook.
    Follow on Twitter.
    Follow on Pinterest.

    Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Your experiences may vary. Please consult your child's doctors/therapists with questions regarding weighted/pressure products.

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Celebrate Breastfeeding with One Creative Mama Baby Tees {A Review & Giveaway}

    This review and giveaway is brought to you by One Creative Mama. I received the product in exchange for my honest review, all thoughts, opinions and passions are 100% my own.



    It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm passionate when it comes to breastfeeding. I mean, there is just a sense of awe when I think about how incredible it is that our bodies are so capable of providing nourishment for our babies. Before my son was born, I knew I wanted to do everything I could to successfully breastfeed...after all, it was better for him AND free. Why would I not try? It just made sense to my family. Still, I could not have imagined then just how passionate I would eventually become, but the more I read, the more I believed that I was doing the best thing I could for my baby.

    But at the time, I also didn't know a single person that was breastfeeding. Most people I knew bottle fed, so while friends and family were supportive of my decision, I didn't have anyone to turn to for advice when I needed. Thankfully, breastfeeding came quite naturally the first time around. My son breastfed exclusively for six months with absolutely no problems. At six months, we experienced mastitis-something I would not wish on my worst enemy- but by that point I had educated myself enough that I knew to push through, and I continued to nurse through it and beyond. My son ended up weaning himself at just over 3.5 years old.

    When my daughter was born, I soon discovered that it was going to be a completely different experience. Like her brother, she was a natural from birth...but after my milk came in and engorgement took over, the battle began. She had trouble latching on one side, which led to cracks and bleeding and pain. I'll be honest, it sucked and I found myself in tears many times. Once one issue was resolved, another would come up. Eventually, I had to completely stop nursing on that side and instead exclusively nurse on one side only. Throughout the whole experience, I kept pushing through because I'd had the experience before and KNEW that it would pass and all would be great...and it is now, but at the same time it occurred to me that had I not had the passion and knowledge...and most importantly the experience...I might have very well given up at the first signs of trouble. I could now understand why some people chose to give it up...it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you've never experienced that before. This made me even more motivated to share our experience and encourage fellow moms who truly wanted to nurse to keep pushing forward.

    Let's face it, breastfeeding isn't always easy, but is always worth it...and that hard work and dedication should be encouraged and celebrated. It should be talked about more openly to show fellow mamas out there how truly wonderful and rewarding breastfeeding can be. That is just what the breastfeeding advocacy shirts from One Creative Mama do...they not only normalize, but also celebrate breastfeeding!

    One Creative Mama is a subsidiary of Mother's Boutique, LLC founded in 2007 to allow mommies and babies share their love of breastfeeding and support them in their journey. For this review, I was sent the 'I Love Mama's Milk' tee in Lilac.



    First of all, how stinkin' cute is this!? I love the simple, sweet design of not only this tee but all the tees available. They aren't elaborate or overly busy, they're just perfectly simple...allowing the message to speak for itself. Personally, I found it too be the perfect little tee to pair with nothing but a cloth diaper on a hot summer day...double the cuteness! Like I said, I love the simplicity of this particular tee, but if humor is more your thing they have those as well. I personally enjoy the 'Mama Drinks Coffee So I Can Have a Latte'...hilarious! When looking at cute baby tees like these in the past, I have often found prices to be just a little more than I'd be willing to pay. At $13.99, these are much more budget friendly and the quality seems well worth the cost.

    One thing I did notice was that they seem to fit just a bit on the small size...at least for my daughter anyway! Finley wears a size 12 months, and while the tee fit, it did not leave a lot of room for growth as many other tees she has in the same size do. Of course, she has a very chunky tummy, so it could just be her body type. This isn't a huge issue, but if you have a chunky baby and want them to wear it awhile, going up a size might be a good idea.



    Still, overall we loved the tee and have already received a ton of compliments on it. They're cute, affordable and most importantly, they have a great message! And One Creative Mama isn't just for babies- they also offer great breastfeeding advocacy wear for mama too (and more great options for baby of course!). You can check out everything they have to offer and connect at the links below:

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

    And one very lucky reader is going to win a tee in their choice of style/color/size of their very own. 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 product above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Celebrate Celiac Awareness Month with a Kitchenaid Giveaway from Van's & Green Moms Network!

    stand-mixer-button2

    Hello from Van’s Natural Foods! May is Celiac Awareness month and the perfect time to let our fans know about all the delicious gluten-free offerings from Van’s Natural foods. As you may know, we at Van’s pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of tasty, wholesome food choices – flavorful, simple, whole-grain snacks (including new multigrain chips and PB&J bars!) and a wide variety of whole-grain breakfast options – many of which are gluten-free. Our celiac-friendly snacks and breakfast offerings are made with gluten-free oats, brown rice and hearty whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and millet, with an emphasis on great taste. We’re committed to providing gluten-free offerings so delicious the whole family will enjoy them. But even with tasty packaged foods like Van’s, we know prepping and making your own food is still a big part of living without gluten. So, in celebration of Celiac Awareness Month, we’re offering fans a chance to win a KitchenAid stand mixer. To enter, just use the widget below, which will prompt you to opt into the Van’s e-Club. Van’s e-Club Members get access to exclusive content – news, nutrition advice, recipes and special offers – that isn’t available anywhere else. Membership is free and easy, so whether you’d like to be the first to know about new products or be first in line for promotions, just sign up and you’ll be all set as an official Van’s Fan. The fun doesn’t stop there – visit Van’s Facebook page before Monday, May 19th to sign up and receive a $1.50 coupon valid for any Van’s product.

    CA promo coupon 1

    P.S. – Want to learn more about celiac disease and living gluten-free? Make sure to join our Facebook Q&A with registered dietitian and gluten-free expert, Silvana Nardone from Silvana’s Kitchen, on May 22 from 10-11 a.m. PT.

       5.21.14 Silvana Teaser

    Happy May! The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is valued at $229.99. This giveaway is open to US residents only, ages 18+ and runs through May 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. For questions about this giveaway, which is hosted by the Green Moms Network, please contact Chrystal at Happy Mothering.
    A Modern Day Fairy Tale was not compensated for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please contact Chrystal at Happy Mothering with questions about this giveaway or for help organizing one for your brand.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Teething...Naturally!

    Ahh, teething...that time in a babies life that most parents dread. The drool, the tears, the sleepless nights. As parents there is nothing we hate more than seeing our children in pain...so we look for solutions to make it easier on them. For many, that means medicines like pain relievers and numbing gels. But many moms, like myself, prefer to do things a little more naturally.

    So what does the natural mom do for teething?

    These are a few solutions that worked well for us:

    • Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces. 




    Anytime I am asked about teething solutions from ANYONE (crunchy or no), amber teething necklaces are my very first suggestion. Amber contains succinic acid which is a natural pain reliever and healing agent. When worn, the amber will warm and the succinic acid will be absorbed into the skin, resulting in a natural pain relieving effect. Sounds a little cooky, right? I'm not going to lie...it really does sound a bit crazy...BUT IT WORKS!

    Finley started wearing her necklace at the very first signs of teething- just 3 months old! Right away we certainly noticed less drool, but we also noticed a change in her mood. Fin has always been a very happy baby, except in the car! She hated her car seat with a passion. She cried nearly all the way to the store to pick up her necklace. I decided to let her wear it home, and immediately discovered that she was MUCH calmer. Coincidence? Perhaps, but from that point on she has been much calmer in the car! And aside from a moment here or there, she really has handled teething quite well!

    So, how long does baby wear it? Is it a choking hazard? What kind works best? Where do you buy them? These are a few of the many questions we've been asked, so I will try to address them as best as I can from OUR experience.


    • How long can baby wear it? Finley wears hers 24/7. Personally, we co-sleep so Finley is always right next to me and never unsupervised. She has also been wearing it for so long that she never messes with it. Still, if you don't co-sleep or are just not comfortable leaving it around the neck overnight, you can also use it around the ankle under jammies. Honestly, we don't even take it off at bath time!
    • Is it a choking hazard? First of all, let's just be clear that these necklaces are made to be worn, not chewed on. Still, we all know that if it can reach their mouth, it WILL go in the mouth, right? For that, a proper fit is key. The necklace should be loose enough that it's not a choker (at minimum two adult fingers width), but not loose enough that it could reach baby's mouth. They are also designed with safety in mind. Each bead is individually knotted so that should the necklace break, only one bead comes loose. If caught on something, the clasp will also break apart, so as not to choke baby as well. I cannot and will not say that there is absolutely no risk, but when used properly and responsibly, the risk is very small.
    • What kind works best? First and foremost, be sure that you are buying genuine amber...otherwise it's just going to look pretty. Aside from that, I have heard that raw is best and that the lighter the better...others will say it really doesn't matter. I went with the lightest color my store had to offer in raw beads, but if you prefer something else, get what you like!
    • Where do you buy them? Personally we bought Finley's at our local natural parenting/cloth diaper store. If you have such a store in your area, I highly suggest checking there first. This will allow you to see the necklaces in person and try them on for sizing BEFORE buying. If that's not an option, many natural parenting online stores offer them as well. Again, just be sure to purchase from a trusted retailer as there are a lot of fakes out there!
    As you can see, teething necklaces are definitely our top choice and offer a lot of relief but doesn't take away the discomfort entirely, so when more support is needed:



    • Wooden Teething Rings/Toys. We have a mix of both the classic plastic teething toys and more natural options as well, but given the choice Finley always seems to go for the wooden ones! I cannot speak for Finley as to why she likes them, but they certainly seem to provide some relief when needed. We also found that at the beginning of teething, the wooden rings were easiest for her to hold as well.

    • Teething Necklaces for MOM. We've talked teething necklaces for babies, intended to be worn, not chewed, but teething necklaces for mom to wear that CAN be chewed are ideal for babywearing moms! And unlike typical teething toys are much easier to keep track of!
    • Cold Food to Gnaw On. Carrots are really great for this, or Finley's favorite is chilled uncooked green beans. Of course, please do this under complete supervision. We found this to be effective before the first tooth broke through, but had to be more mindful after. Even with one tooth a baby can be quite effective at biting a chunk off. I've also rubbed an ice cube along the gums. If you pump, frozen breastmilk cubes can be a great natural solution also.
    • Homeopathic Teething Medications. We haven't had to use medication much, but when we do we go with homeopathic options. Camilia is truly AMAZING! It's already separated into proper dosage, so no worries of overdose and it works wonderfully! It can be found at Whole Foods, Walgreens or online!
    • Extra Nursing/Snuggles. When all else fails, extra snuggling and nursing always seems to help comfort my kiddos! (And really, who doesn't love an excuse to cuddle their baby!?)

    Have you tried any of these natural teething remedies with your little ones? Which are your favorites? Any more natural teething tips to share? I'd love to hear them!

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Finding Kitchen Inspiration with Blue Apron {A Review & Giveaway}

    **Product received for review.

    As a mom and wife there is nothing that gives me a greater sense of accomplishment than preparing a delicious, healthy home cooked meal for my family. I love serving up new dishes for them to try to keep things interesting. But sometimes I find myself in a bit of a cooking rut- repeating the same dishes over and over and lacking the inspiration to come up with anything new. Quite frankly it can get a little boring. So when I first heard of Blue Apron it seemed like the perfect solution.

    So, what is Blue Apron?  




     Blue Apron is a once-a-week subscription service that delivers everything you need to create three delicious and nutritious meals. Each delivery includes recipe cards and all the fresh ingredients you need-produce, protein...even the garnishes! Everything is pre-proportioned so you don't end up having to throw food out later- saving you time AND waste. All are complete meals with 500-700 calories per saving. Each box is completely customizable, so if there's a particular meat you don't eat, you can adjust accordingly. I'm a vegetarian myself, and while I cook meat for my family, I could even get a box that's vegetarian friendly too!

    When the box arrived at my house, we were actually having an unusually warm day and had been gone all day, so I was a bit concerned that it had been left out. But because everything is packed in a refrigerated box, it was all still cold and fresh, so there's no worry about it being delivered while you are away and spoiling. Everything was carefully packed and looked wonderful.



    The box I received included Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Zucchini with Pistachio-Spinach Pesto, 3-Chile Beef Chili with Red Kidney Beans & Pepper Jack Cheese (topped with cilantro & avocado), and Roasted Chicken with Jalepeno-Herb Salsa, Mixed Citrus & Cracked Wheat Berries.


    I didn't get a photo of the chicken dish, but as you can see everything else looks absolutely delicious. My boys seemed to enjoy every dish we tried, and while I was only able to eat the pasta dish according to the included recipes, I have to say it was absolutely fantastic. I also made a small batch of the chili without meat and found it was great too!! We were definitely happy with the selections. I am by no means a beginner cook, but I'm no master chef either...I found the recipes were probably just at my skill level...not difficult, but not overly simple either. Still, the recipe cards were easy to read and follow, so could offer a great learning experience for the beginner cook as well.





    It looks great, right? But I know many of you are wondering how much it costs. Meals start at $9.99 per person per meal. You are certainly paying for the convenience, but it still often comes out cheaper than going out to eat night after night, while still getting the experience of trying fun, new foods. The foods included are also great quality foods, making the price more reasonable as well. Again, this is a subscription service, but the great thing is that you can opt out of any week if you choose, or cancel at anytime too. So, if your budget doesn't allow you to purchase a box each month, you can still enjoy the service however often works for you.

    Overall, I am thrilled with Blue Apron. It allowed me to break up the kitchen rut I'd been in, while serving healthy, unique meals that my family could enjoy. I loved the convenience of having it delivered right to my door...so much easier than dragging two kids to the grocery store. If you too are looking for a great way to find your inspiration in the kitchen, Blue Apron is a great place to start!



    You can learn more and connect at the links below:

    Visit the Website.
    Like on Facebook.
    Follow on Twitter.
    Follow on Instagram.
    Follow on Pinterest.

    And one very lucky reader is going to win a box from Blue Apron to try for themselves. 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 product above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

    Say Hello to Summer Reading with I See Me! {A Review & Giveaway}



    Welcome to the Hello Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network. The days are getting longer and hotter and we're saying Hello to Summer in fun giveaway style! Beat the heat and hop around to all the participating bloggers' giveaways at the bottom of this post. And don't miss out on the fabulous Summer Vacation Savings Account Grand Prize sponsored by Outski!

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

    **Product received for review.


    My son is an excellent reader...but getting him to actually sit down and read? Well, that's another story all together. A book really has to catch his interest if he is going to stop moving and take the time to read it. Those types of books for him are few and far between. But if there is one thing kids like (or at least one thing MY kid likes), it's something that is all about HIM. So, when I first heard of I See Me books, I could not wait to get him one.

    What are I See Me! books?

    I See Me! books offer personalized children's books in a variety of stories perfect for ALL kids. Their mission is to ' increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal of our books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills.'

    For this review, I was sent one of their newest additions- the 'I'm an All-Star' book.

    Now, I knew that my Shaun would think this book was pretty cool, but did not expect just how excited he really was. The day it arrived, I laid it out to show him once he got home from school. Before even taking his backpack off, he spotted it and was immediately in awe, shouting, 'It's a book about me!' Normally when he comes home, he immediately asks to play video games or watch a movie. But this day he immediately sat down and started reading and pointing out to me all the instances where it said his name. It was not just switched out in the story itself, but incorporated into the artwork as well. He absolutely loved it, and immediately asked me to go online and order him more!


    The I'm An All-Star book is all about good sportsmanship. This is something that Shaun has struggled with and something we'd been working on, so it was a perfect fit for him. As most of you know, my Shaun was diagnosed with Autism at age two. Oftentimes, when we try to teach him about things like being a good sport we can talk until we are blue in the face and still not quite get through. Instead we have found that visual aids, and particularly written aids can be a huge benefit for him...and that's just what this book offered for him. Using his picture and his name made it more personal to him, rather than just reading a book about another kid playing sports. You also have the option of which five sports you would like included, so you can choose their top choices making it even more relevant to them. This includes even less common sports like bike riding or my son's favorite- golf...the options are limitless.




    Overall, Shaun and I both absolutely love this book! He loves that it's all about him, and I love that it not only grabs his attention, but also teaches him great lessons in a way that is fun for him. This book and others from I See Me! make the perfect personalized children's gifts for ALL occasions, but they also offer a variety of other fun gift ideas like Lunchboxes / Puzzles /Coloring BooksPlacemats / Stickers and Growth Charts!

    You can find out more and connect at the links below: 


    Twitter:  @ISeeMe_Maia 

    Email promos/discounts and updates:  http://www.iseeme.com/preference-center.html

    And one lucky reader will win a personalized children's book of their very own! 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.So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Hello Summer participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

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