A Modern Day Fairy Tale: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On Transitioning To Mainstream

As the school year quickly comes to an end, it's the time that those of us with children in special education start with meetings deciding placement for the next school year. As many of you may know, for Shaun school has been and up and down battle. Though he has always excelled academically- socially and behaviorally school had been a struggle in the past. So for the past 4 years, Shaun has been in a separate special education only classroom.

But now I am thrilled to announce that Shaun has come so far this year that next year- entering the first grade- he will be transitioning into a mainstream classroom!! First and foremost, I could not be more proud of the progress he has made. Last year was such a struggle for him that there was talk of sending him to a life skills only class if his behaviors could not be improved on...so to reach this point is a complete turnaround. He has made such great strides, and I could not be more proud of all of his great work this year.

But I would be lying if I didn't admit that I'm also quite nervous as well. Academically, I know that Shaun can handle a mainstream classroom. Our fear in keeping him in the special education classroom had always been that he would not be challenged as he should be. He's got that part, no worries. But while he will have support throughout the day in his new placement, it will be a lot less than what he has gotten used to so I do worry about that change. I worry about finding a general education teacher who has the experience with kids like him and one who is willing to give him the attention he needs to succeed. I worry about bullying from the other kids because even at a young age it seems kids can be so cruel to those who are different. I worry about the likely transition to a new school. It's all a little scary for this mama.

Still, I trust his teacher's opinion that this is the best choice for him, and know that she wants only the best for him as we do. I trust that it will work out, and that after the initial adjustment he will thrive among his typical peers. I cannot wait to see where this next year takes him and pray that it will be the beginning of great things for him.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Monthly Surprise For Your Little Nerd with Nerd Block Jr

A huge thank you to Nerd Block for providing the products featured in this review. This post contains affiliate links.

In our home being a nerd is GOOD and my son is perhaps the nerdiest of all. All of his favorite things are those things that are often considered to be nerdy- Nintendo, Super Mario Bros, Angry Birds, Pokemon, Legos. You name it, he loves it! So when I first saw the Nerd Block Jr, I immediately knew that my son HAD to have one!

So, what is Nerd Block Jr?

Nerd Block Jr is a monthly subscription box service designed for kids ages 6-11. They are filled with toys and games featuring some of your kiddo's favorite characters and brands like Star Wars, Disney, Adventure Time, My Little Pony, Angry Birds, and many more! And because at this age, many boys don't like 'girl toys' and many girls likewise prefer girlish things too, Nerd Block Jr offers a box for each! Boxes are just $13.99 a month (plus shipping) and packed full of nerdy goodness.

Did you ever get grab bags at the store when you were a kid? You know, they came in paper bags and you never knew what was inside until you ripped it open? I always loved those. To me, Nerd Block Jr is the same thing but even better, because I know that my son is going to love what's inside.

For this review, I was sent both the boy and girl blocks for the month of April. Let's take a look at what was inside:

Girl Block

  • The Smurfs Grumpy Plush
  • My Little Ponies Class of Cutie Marks Set
  • Playmobil Figure
  • Baby Filly Princess
  • Minnie Mouse Sticker

  • My first thought about the girl block was that it was not what I would personally consider overly nerdy. Most little girls I know enjoy My Little Ponies and Minnie Mouse...and everyone loves The Smurfs, right? I thought this was great for ANY little girl- whether she's only a little nerdy- or super nerdy too. My favorite was definitely the My Little Ponies- so fun and cute! Though my daughter is not only enough to enjoy these toys, I know my nieces would have been thrilled with this block.

    Boy Block
    • Sonic the Hedgehog Action Figure
    • Hot Wheels Car
    • Star Wars Squeeze Meez Pen Toppers
    • Avengers Grab Zagz
    • TMNT Mashems
    • Mustache Friends Plush Mustache
    Wow! Talk about some cool stuff! If Shaun had to choose, his favorite was definitely the Sonic toy. He loves Sonic anyway, but the light up gem made it even cooler in his book. He's also a huge Star Wars and Avengers fan so those both when over wonderfully as well. The Grab Zagz he received contained a Hawkeye Disc Launcher. I loved that it included this little surprise within the surprise too. Shaun has several Angry Birds Mashems and loves those, so adding a Ninja Turtle to his collection was a fun addition. And the mustache was just what he needed to complete his Mario costume. Truly, the only thing he didn't love was the Hot Wheels car, but let's be honest MOST boys I know love Hot Wheels, my son being the rare exception.

    Overall, we were thrilled with both boxes and genuinely have fallen in love with this fun service! Shaun loved unwrapping to reveal all the fun surprises in store, and I loved watching his excitement as he unveiled it all. Even before the box arrived, I loved watching his anticipation as we watched the countdown to shipping. I have to say I was pleased with the shipping time as well. Blocks are shipped from Canada, so I worried it might take awhile, but it had reached our doorstep in less than a week- a definite plus when you have an impatient child waiting!

    Nerd Block Jr again is a subscription service, which costs $13.99 a month, plus shipping (shipping rates vary by location). But the great thing is that your subscription can be started or stopped at any point. So, if you receive one box and decide it's not for you, there's no obligation to keep buying. Or perhaps you have a kiddo you need to buy a birthday or Christmas gift for and have no idea what to buy, this could be a wonderful option. Or if you want to keep getting them, but perhaps money is a little tighter one month, you can stop you subscription and start back up when you're ready. I tend to be one who doesn't like the idea of being tied into monthly payments should something come up, so this is a definite plus. Still, at just $13.99, it's very reasonably priced and a great way to treat your child each month. I know for my kiddo this would be even better than an allowance!

    If you'd like to find out more, or sign up for your own subscription, visit Nerd Block (click 'kids blocks') at  the links below:

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

    If you're reading this and like my husband thinking this sounds great for YOU as an adult, be sure to check out the grown up version as well. (Of course, I won't judge if you go for the Jr blocks too!)

    Do you have a little nerd in your life who would enjoy Nerd Block Jr? Or are you a nerd yourself? What were your favorite items in April's Nerd Block Jrs?

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

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Lessons in Cloth: Types of Inserts {Hemp vs Microfiber}

    In the last 'Lessons in Cloth', we talked types of diapers. So, now that you've decided on the type of diapers you're using, it's time to decide what to use for stuffing/absorbency. Honestly, you can use anything that will hold liquid in your diapers, but there are definitely some materials that work better than others. Today we're going to take a quick look at just two of the most popular types of inserts available- microfiber and hemp.


    The Good:
    • Absorbs a lot of liquid, and does so quickly.
    • Most diapers include microfiber inserts, making them the most convenient option.
    • This also makes them more cost effective since there is no need to buy new inserts. Replacement microfiber inserts are also cheaper than hemp.
    • Easy to prep...they take fewer washes to prep for wear.
    The Bad:
    • Microfiber can be prone to compression leaks. If baby is on their bottom a lot- in the car seat, stroller, even being worn, this could present some issues.
    • These inserts tend to be bulkier than hemp.
    • Microfiber cannot be placed directly against babies skin. This is no problem for pocket diapers, but if you are using an AI2 system, it is important to remember.
    • Though we've not come across it personally, many find that microfiber has a tendency to have stink issues.


    The Good:
    • Very absorbent. Of the two, I've certainly found hemp to be the most absorbent, making it a great option for nighttime diapers.
    • There is no worry of compression leaks, making them a great option for babies who are going to be on their bottom for longer periods.
    • Hemp inserts are very trim, making a great, trim fit for even the smallest of babies.
    • Hemp can be placed against babies skin.
    The Bad:
    • Though hemp absorbs more than the typical microfiber insert, they also absorb more slowly. If you have a fast wetter, it may not be able to absorb quick enough resulting in leaks.
    • It's pricier. Since most cloth diapers don't come standard with hemp, this means you will have to buy additional inserts, adding to your initial cost.
    • Hemp does take longer to prep initially (though after the prep, all inserts can be washed together in the same manner).
    • Longer dry time
    This photo shows the thickness comparison of hemp (on top) and microfiber.
    Both are one size inserts.

    So, which is best? Honestly, both have their pros and cons. Hemp is definitely more absorbent, but also more expensive and slower for those fast wetters. It also varies very much for each baby. Some can use microfiber exclusively with absolutely no issues, whereas others need that more powerful hemp to get the job done. My personal favorite is a combination of the two. Hemp, the more absorbent of the two goes on the bottom, with a microfiber on top to catch that quick flow. For us it is the ultimate combination (and a great nighttime solution too!).

    But again, these are just two of the many insert options available. Cotton, bamboo, prefolds, flats...the options are endless. As always my advice is to try a little bit of everything before deciding what works best for you and your baby.

    Do you have a favorite insert (brand or material)? What do you like most about it? What qualities do you look for most in your inserts?

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    'My Telephone Number is...' {The New Single from Disney Junior's Genevieve Goings}

    I was sent the single of "My Telephone Number is" by Genevieve Goings to review as a influencer with Entertainment New Media Network.  I have been compensated for this post but my thoughts and opinions are always my own.

    If you have a little one who loves Disney Junior, then you KNOW Genevieve Goings. Those catchy tunes from Choo Choo Soul are unmistakeable, and if you're like me you might even find yourself singing them even when the kids are not around.

    But did you know that Genevieve has a new solo record coming out soon? 'Do You Know?', an album focussed on teaching children preschool FUN-dementals in her usual funky, cool, kid friendly style is scheduled to release on June 3, 2014. But her first single 'My Telephone Number is' is now available on iTunes. Here's a little more info on Genevieve Goings and her upcoming album:

    Genevieve Goings has spent 10 years teaching toddlers fundamental fun. From her debut on Playhouse Disney as the hip singing train conductor on the educational interstitials known as “Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve”, through her remaking Classic Disney sing-alongs again with Choo Choo Soul,  and voicing  the learning bumpers featured on the new Disney Junior network. Genevieve is now welcoming a second generation of viewers and listeners with the release of her first solo album doing what she does best - teaching and entertaining children.  
    “Do You know?” is a new presentation path for learning for young children age 2-7 year old. It features songs and videos aimed at helping preschoolers learn their phone number, telling time, putting themselves to bed, and the more personal things like hygiene and dealing with potty training in a dignified manner.  This new inspiring set of songs is fun for the whole family and will have you, as parents and teachers, singing and dancing along.

    If your little one is already a Choo Choo Soul fan, they will not be disappointed! This first single is just the kind of fun, addictive tune that they have come to love and expect. After listening just one time, I found myself humming the melody. With its fun tune and repetition, I know this will make teaching my son our phone number- a tool that all young kids should have for safety reasons- fun and easy! Having a child with special needs, we often see that we can say something over and over and over again, but still not get the message through...put it to music, and suddenly it clicks! And that is just what Genevieve does! I loved this song for my children, and cannot wait to hear more from the album! I know we will love it all.

    But you don't just have to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself!

    'My Telephone Number is' is now available for purchase at the link below:

    For even more fun and music,  you can download the FREE iTunes app, 'Sing With Genevieve' below:

    You'll also want to be sure to check back in early May to preorder the album. When you preorder, you'll receive instant access to the next single, 'Gotta Do My Business'.

    You can stay up to date on all the latest with Genevieve Goings by connecting below:

    Twitter: @ChooChooGirl
    Facebook:  Facebook.com/GenevieveGoings
    Instagram: Instagram.com/GenevieveGoings

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    High Functioning? Low Functioning? {Thoughts from an Autism Mom}

    When people learn of my son's autism diagnosis one of the first questions often asked is, "Is he high functioning or low functioning?"

    These are terms used frequently within the autism community, but today I'm going to be entirely honest...I cannot STAND them. I realize they have their place, and are an easy way to quickly explain where a child's skill levels may be...but at the same time they can be quite misleading.

    First of all, what do those terms even mean? Is it a measure of intelligence? A measure of how much speech a child has? Does the child who cannot speak, but communicates via technology automatically qualify as low functioning? What if, despite their lack of communication, they are a math genius? Does the 7 year old who is not yet potty trained qualify as low functioning? What if he is fully verbal or communicates well? What about the child who cannot go into the shopping mall without an all out sensory overload meltdown, low functioning? What if he excels academically?

    The problem is the term is much too broad, and skill levels of those on the spectrum can vary so widely. Let's take a quick look at my son as an example:

    Shaun is 6 years old (7 in August). He is absolutely brilliant. He taught himself to read when he was just two years old. He's also taught himself basic math, has a near photographic memory and his attention to detail is impeccable. He is a technology whiz and amazing at video games. He is very verbal, and though he's come a very long way, still has struggles with communication- particularly 'why' type questions. He is not just smart, but actually gifted as well. Still, at almost 7 years old he is not fully potty trained. His eye contact, though improved greatly from where it used to be, is most often brief and hard to get. He deals with sensory issues that can lead to horrible meltdowns, even aggression. He cannot handle even a sensory-friendly film in a movie theater. He is socially very immature. Brilliant or not, he still has his struggles.

    And that's the thing- does the label of high functioning mean they don't still have just as many struggles? Does the label of low functioning mean that they don't still have just as many assets? Every individual on the spectrum has their struggles and their assets, regardless of where they fall. And both need to be recognized. Strengths need to be encouraged, and weaknesses need to be worked on.

    Honestly, I don't know if there is a better term out there. I really don't. But perhaps instead of focusing on where a person falls on the spectrum, we should instead look at the individual. High functioning or low functioning, autism is autism and those carrying the diagnosis are amazing in their own ways. We need to focus on the person, NOT the diagnosis.

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Teachers Change Lives (So Can You) {#TeachersChangeLives #CGC #sp}

    When you have a child requiring special education, sending that child off to school can be quite stressful. School can either be a really amazing experience... or a really horrible one. In the four years since my little man started school he has had a little bit of both. He's had years where he flourished and grew... and years where getting him to school was a fight and it seemed there was nothing being accomplished day to day. Ultimately his experiences all came down to the teachers. Those years where he has done the greatest were the years when he had amazing teachers. The teachers who went above and beyond, who wanted as much for my little guy as we did and who did everything within their power to help him to reach his greatest potential.

    The first was his very first teacher, Miss J. I will be honest, when Shaun first started preschool I was extremely apprehensive and even debated not sending him just yet. He was only three years old and at that point really did not communicate at all. I'd learned to read his cues and knew what he needed much of the time and I worried that being away from me, he would not be understood. Though it was a hard decision at the time, looking back I now see it was probably the single greatest thing we ever did for him. He went in with practically zero communication and came out speaking sentences. Miss J came to love my son as her own and saw not only his challenges but the amazing mind he possessed as well. She (and her aides) took the time to get to know him and his needs. She not only took the time to work with him in the classroom but came into our home to work with his in home ABA therapists so that we could be certain that his entire team was on the same page. This was not something she had to do, but something she chose to do to help Shaun be his absolute best. Shaun had Miss J for two years and she truly became like an extended member of our family. Before our move, she was kind enough to write a detailed letter to his new teacher describing what had worked for him there- his strengths, weaknesses, motivations, everything... and made sure to let us know that she was available if they had any questions. 

    After our move, Shaun's school experience went downhill. He didn't have horrible teachers by any means, but they were not like Miss J. They did not go above and beyond, but seemed to just do the required. Unfortunately, Shaun really struggled with this. While he continued to excel academically- behaviorally and emotionally he struggled. Our mornings were a fight everyday and I know we both dreaded sending him off. It was horrible and we longed for the end of the year, and a new placement. Thankfully, Shaun's current teacher, Ms. C, is another 'above and beyond' type of teacher. Upon our first meeting, she told us that she knew our children were the most important things in the world to us, and assured us that she would treat them accordingly...and she truly has. We are no longer fighting to have Shaun's needs met. He is enjoying school and once again thriving in the school environment. He loves Ms. C and we love her for turning his school experience around again. As a matter of fact, he has come so far this year that he will be entering a mainstream classroom (with support) next year for first grade...a far cry from where he was just one year ago! And it was all because of a great teacher.

    We have seen firsthand just how much difference a teacher can make,  but did you know that teachers spend not only their time, but also their own money towards our kiddos? This is particularly true for underfunded areas. And when they want to bring in more innovative and creative ideas to help our children, that takes even MORE money. In this economy, that isn't always possible. So, wouldn't it be great if there was a way that we could support those teachers who are doing all they can for our kiddos, so that they can do even more? That's where Adopt-A-Classroom comes in. Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness for teachers and all that they do in the lives of their students. Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization connecting donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for their students. Take a look at this video:

    So, how can YOU help? Donating to a teacher could not be easier, simply follow the steps below:
      1. Go to Teachers Change Lives website
      2. Click on the teal "Donate to a Teacher" box on the Teachers Change Lives website, which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
      3. Follow the corresponding steps from there

    Are you a teacher yourself? Follow these easy steps to register your own classroom to allow donations:
      1. Go to Teachers Change Lives website
      2. Click on the red box that says "Register Your Classroom," which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
      3. Follow the corresponding steps from there

    These amazing teachers are doing all they can to make a difference in the lives of their students, so why don't we all do all we can to support them in that mission.

    Do you have a teacher that made an impact on your life? Or the life of your child? What made that teacher stand out to you?

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

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Finley Grace, 8 Months.

    Another month has come and gone, and our sweet girl is now EIGHT months old! Wow! This past month has been a big one for Miss Finley. Here's a little look at what she's been up to!

    • I haven't officially weighed her, but I believe she's right around 20 pounds now!
    • She just moved into 12 month clothes! Oh my goodness, she's growing fast!
    • She got her first tooth! Just one for now though.
    • That tooth has made eating a LOT easier for her. Her favorites are fresh green beans, organic bananas and apples. But most of her nutrition still come from nursing.
    • She went from being a master of the low crawl to actually crawling...she's all over the place now. She's also gotten great at getting into the sitting position from crawling!
    • And she's pulling up too! Watch out world! (I told you it was a big month!) This means lots of bumps and even a few bruises, but she doesn't let that stop her. She has gotten into the fun habit of heading straight for the XBox One power button too...fun!!
    • What we first thought was just unintentional babble now appears to be quite intentional speaking. She is constantly saying 'Mama' while looking directly at me! She'll say 'Bubba' and 'Dada' too, though not quite sure yet how intentional those are!
    • Her favorite toys right now are her dolls- particularly her Disney babies- Cinderella and Anna. She loves the music from Frozen (Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? is her favorite.) and music in general as well.
    • Like her brother, she's a bit of a night owl. She likes to stay up late, but-unlike her her brother- once she's out, she's a good sleeper!
    • She's still not a huge fan of her carseat, but seems to be doing a bit better with it.
    Overall, she is the happiest, sweetest baby girl in the world and we are blessed to call her ours. While we dread seeing her grow up so quickly, this is certainly a fun and interesting stage and we love seeing her learn new things each and every day. I cannot wait to see what the next month brings!!

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    The Amazing Spiderman 2 Discussion Guide Review {Plus Win a Spiderman Prize Pack!}

    When it comes to teaching children, I've found the best way to do so is by coming at it with something that interests them. After all, if your kid hates sports, where is the motivation for them to read a book about them? From numbers, shapes, colors, reading...using something your child loves as a tool can be a great thing. So, why should teaching your child about the Bible be any different? Why not take a character and story they love and use it as a learning tool?

    That is exactly what The Amazing Spiderman 2 Discussion Guide does. Here's a little bit of information about the guide:

    The discussion guide for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great resource for families to discuss a range of important themes that include the relationship between personal choices and destiny, living a life that counts, sacrificing yourself in service to others, and the nature of power. This guide will help parents start (or continue) conversations with their children that will inspire them to think outside themselves and challenge them to live lives that matter. The conversations that will result from using this guide will reveal that even the most explosive summer blockbuster can leave lasting, positive impacts on its young viewers.

    For many boy (girls too) like my son, superheroes are the best, and of all the superheroes, Spiderman is one of the coolest. While the movie itself may not be a religious movie, it certainly has many great themes and lessons to be learned. The electronic discussion guide uses corresponding bible verses to take a look at some of these themes and open the discussion with your child. It takes those characters and story lines your child already loves, and uses it to teach them biblical lessons. Now think about this- as a child which would you have preferred- discussing a movie/character or the Bible? As an adult, I now know that there are many intriguing stories inside, but as a child it just seemed boring. This guide is a great way to introduce it to kids who might otherwise lack interest as well. For kids like my son with a less than amazing attention span, the guide is only 5-pages long. There is plenty of great information loaded into those pages, but not so much that they'll get bored with it either!

    Overall, I loved the discussion guide and look forward to sharing with my son. This is truly a great resource for parents of super hero loving kiddos.

    Official website for the moviewww.theamazingspiderman.com/  

    Do you have a Spider Man fan in your life? You're in luck! To celebrate the new movie and discussion guide, one winner will have the chance to win an awesome Spiderman prize package including a t-shirt, paper mask and phone case! 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 (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    A Healthier Home, A Healthier World: Celebrating Earth Day with Ology {#WalgreensOlogy #CollectiveBias #shop}

    I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy
    As a child, I became quite obsessed with protecting the environment. My school folders were covered in stickers declaring things like, 'Save the Earth!' and 'Recycle, Reduce, Reuse!', and I found myself writing school paper after school paper on ways to protect the environment, save the animals, increase our social responsibility. Perhaps, it started with my love of Captain Planet, but whatever it was it was most certainly something I was passionate about at a young age. As I got older, I always remained somewhat eco-conscious, but the somewhat militant attitude certainly died down tremendously. When I became a mother, I again began taking a look at ways to live more naturally and create a better environment for my kids. It seems with each passing year, I have become more and more aware of the chemicals we are surrounding ourselves with- the products we use in our household through cleaners, medications and even beauty supplies. In the last year or so, my family finally said enough is enough and have really made the effort to do what we can to make our home more earth friendly. With Earth Day quickly approaching, many more of us are taking this opportunity to take a look at our own lives and evaluating the measures we take to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps one of the first steps we can take is switching out all of our chemical heavy products with products that are better for the environment and free of harmful ingredients, so I took a quick trip down the road to our local Walgreens store to stock up on some great products from their Ology collection.
    So, what makes Ology such a great choice for my healthy home? First up, it's convenience, availability and affordability. One issue that we so often can come across with more eco-friendly cleaners is that they can be difficult to find...especially when you live in a small town without specialty health food/natural eating stores. As moms, we don't have time to search the earth and sea just to find the products we need, we need something that is readily available. Ology products can be found exclusively at your local Walgreens store, no need to travel anywhere special. Ology offers a wide variety of products as well- cleaning and laundry, health and beauty, paper products...even baby and light bulbs!! You can truly find everything you need in one quick trip. They are also quite affordable compared to their other natural cleaning counterparts so you can feel better about the products you are using, WITHOUT breaking the bank. All Ology products are free of ten harmful ingredients: Ammonia, Chlorine bleach, DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), Parabens, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Nonylphenol ethoxylates, Triclosan, SLS, SLES. They also do not contain any artificial dyes or fragrances. They are also free of animal byproducts and do not test on animals. As a mom, I also love that they are endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World, an organization dedicated to creating healthy environments for children. The goal is to leave behind a better world for our children and even grandchildren. Let's take a better look at some of the many specific products Ology has to offer and how they fit into our goal to lead a healthier, more earth friendly lifestyle: Laundry & Cleaning
    As a mom, I feel as though I am always doing laundry! Kids are messy and stains are an inevitable part of life. I want a laundry product that will work well for my daughter's sensitive skin, but still provide a great clean. Ology Laundry Detergent is gentle on clothes and skin, and still does a great job getting them clean. And it's cloth diaper friendly! This is great for me because it means I can use ONE detergent for ALL of our laundry needs. I feel the true test of the cleaning power of any detergent is how well they clean dirty diaper laundry...afterall, it's probably the messiest laundry in our household for sure! I am happy to say my daughter's came out smelling great and completely stain free! The Spring Lavender and Vanilla scent is also great for kids clothes for that little extra calming power! For all the other messes kids tend to leave behind, the All-Purpose Cleaner does a wonderful job. Like all Ology cleaning products, this all purpose spray gets a boost from plant based cleaning power rather than harmful chemicals. It easily cuts through grease and grime without the harsh solvents or ammonia. From laundry to dishes to windows and everything in between, Ology cleaning products offer a great clean that I can feel confident about being safer for my children! Personal Care
      To be honest, when I first starting making the switch to more chemical-free options in our home, I didn't give our personal care products quite so much thought. After all, these were items made to go on our skin, they could not be THAT harmful, right? Wrong! After my daughter was born and we discovered she had extremely sensitive skin, I was forced to take a better look at the ingredients within our mainstream products. They didn't have all the crazy warning labels as our household cleaners had, but they certainly had just as many unknown and unnatural ingredients. So, we have put in the effort to detoxify our beauty routines as well. Ology skin and hair products give that gentle nourishment we need to feel naturally beautiful, without the addition of harmful chemicals, parabens or sulfates. I most love the White Pear & Cucumber Shampoo and Conditioner, as I've found reasonably priced, chemical-free hair care to be among the hardest to find!
    Paper Products

    Okay, so paper products many not be as riddled with chemicals as our cleaning and personal care products can be, but they are still not the most earth-friendly option...all this disposable product just ends up straight in the garbage. Sure, there are reuseable options for most paper products, but let's just be honest here some of them are just not ideal. As much as I want to create a healthier, more earth-friendly home for my family, the idea of cleaning reuseable toilet paper from myself or my husband...just not my cup of tea. More power to those that can, but I- like many- simply cannot. But with Ology paper products like paper towels, bath and facial tissue, I can still use more natural products while still having the convenience of disposable. Their paper products are 100% Tree Free! Instead they are created from readily renewable sugar husks that would have been disposed of anyway, as well as quick-growing bamboo. Unlike trees, this bamboo regenerates in as little as six months making it a much more environmentally friendly option. They are also super absorbent, soft and strong...and the toilet paper is still septic safe and biodegradable.

    From cleaning to bath to paper products and everything in between, Ology truly does offer everything my family needs to create a healthier home for my family and my children. If all of us takes the time and effort to change out even one of these area of our home to more earth-friendly options like Ology, imagine the impact it could make on our future generations. My son is a huge fan of the movie Wall-E. It's a fun film for kids, but it also has a great message. Do we want our future generations to live in a world that is so riddled with garbage that it is unsustainable? Do we want them to be cleaning up OUR messes and dealing with the results of the chemicals and garbage we left behind? Or would we rather take a look at what WE can do right NOW to make their future world healthier and better. On this Earth Day, I encourage all of you to take a look around you and see what changes you can make for a greater future for our children and environment.

    What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? What changes have you or will you make to leave behind a better world for our children and grandchildren? Which Ology products would make the greatest impact on your healthy home?

    Want some more fun for Walgreens and Ology, check out this fun video:

    Cloth Diapers for Your Little Prince or Princess with Royal Fluff (A #SpringSweeping Giveaway)

    Welcome to the Spring Sweeping Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.
    The days are getting warmer, brighter, and longer which may lead many to start Spring Cleaning. But we're not ready to start cleanin' until we're done sweepin'! Take the next two weeks to sweep along the fabulous giveaways that a group of bloggers have come together to offer you! Be sure to hop around to all the giveaways, in the linky below, as they all have great prizes for you worth $25 or more!

    **Product received for review.

    Is there anything more adorable than a sweet little baby with a cloth diapered bottom? Oftentimes I find myself leaving my daughter in just her diaper and tee and/or leg warmers because they're just too cute to hide. Though it wasn't our primary reason for choosing to cloth diaper it certainly is an added bonus. So when it comes to choosing diapers, we don't want something boring. We want fun prints, bright colors...we want fun! When I received this adorable LOVE diaper from Royal Fluff it certainly fit the bill! Let's take a look at some of the great features available:

    Design, Fit & Functionality.

    Royal Fluff diapers are a one size pocket diaper. They offer four rise options, allowing them a great fit for babies 9-35+ pounds. Of the many pocket diapers we've tried, I found this to be perhaps just a little wider than many, but worked wonderfully for our chunky twenty pound 7-month-old. I would say it was probably one of the better fits as far as pockets go. Would it fit a thinner/small newborn as well? I couldn't say for sure, but it certainly worked well for us.

    When I hear the name Royal Fluff, I think luxury. So when I opened the diaper and felt the interior, it certainly lived up to the name. It is lined with a soft fleece material that is not only super soft against baby's delicate skin, it also keeps baby feeling dry. Who says diapers can't be luxurious?

    Each diaper includes one insert made with three layers of microfiber terry-cloth. I found this insert to be a bit more plush than other microfiber inserts we'd used in the past...I can only imagine this adds to the comfort for baby too! Royal Fluff does recommend additional inserts for older babies, overnight and heavy wetter, but it worked well for typical daily use as it was for us.


    One of the greatest features of Royal Fluff diapers was most certainly the style. They are gorgeous! So many fun colors (with stunning contrasting snaps) and adorable prints. The LOVE diaper we received is probably among my favorite. So many bright colors! Personally, Finley has all these great little tops from Gymboree that we loved so much we bought in several colors...and this goes with them all wonderfully! This will definitely be one of those diapers that will be worn with a t-shirt and leg warmers come summer time (and around the house now too!)


    Royal Fluff Diapers range from $23-$24 so are probably about average as far as pockets go (of course, with so many price ranges for diapers, that can certainly be subjective). Their luxurious feel and great fit certainly make it worth the cost in my opinion (not to mention the money saved on disposables!). And you can save 20% until May 15 by using the code royalLOVE20 at checkout.

    Overall, I was very happy with Royal Fluff and would certainly add more to our stash. Want to learn more or purchase some for your little prince or princess? Connect at the links below:

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

    And as part of the Summer Sweeping Giveaway Hop event, one lucky winner will win one of their very own (in addition to a detergent sample). 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.
    So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Spring Sweeping 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.

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Bath Time Made Easy with KozyBaby {A Review}

    **Product received for review.

    Bath time with baby is fun isn't it? Both of my kids have been big bath fans...splashing around, having fun, getting clean (okay, perhaps not the getting cleaned part). But do you ever take a look at yourself afterwards and find yourself wondering who got the most water on them- baby or mommy? I find myself in this situation after each and every bath. Couldn't there be a product out there that could make bathtime a little easier and dryer for parents? Fellow mom Amanda West thought the same way, and decided to do something about it and created the innovative baby must have- KozyBaby.

    KozyBaby is a genius combination of apron for mom and hooded towel for baby. It snaps around mom (or dad's) neck at bath time, so when baby splashes, you stay dry! And when it's time to get out, there's no fiddling around with a squirmy wet baby and pesky towel, you can simply wrap baby up right in your arms. Sounds genius, right? But how well does it work?

    In my experience- wonderfully! Unlike a typical baby towel, it is super thick and absorbent, so it truly does help keep the wearer from getting too wet, but still soft for baby too. It's large enough to provide plenty of protection and making it ideal for bigger babies too. When bath time is over, convenient hand pockets make it easy to wrap baby in a big squeeze to cuddle them dry! It can even be used as a hooded towel for bigger kids too. The adorable koala design is fun and perfectly gender neutral. Personally, I would love to see more color options as well, but still I have no complaints!

    Overall, I loved the KozyBaby. Aside from being a great product, I also love supporting mom created companies. Really, who knows better what a mom needs (or at least what could make her life a whole lot easier and her clothes a whole lot dryer) than someone who has been there herself.

    If you'd like to learn more or purchase for yourself, check out the links below:

    Visit the Website.
    Like on Facebook.

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

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Supporting Autism {The Great Divide}

    Please note: I write this post not to say that I am right, or that there is a right or wrong organization to support. I am merely writing because I know there are people who question the differences and I wanted to share my own personal experiences and viewpoints on the subject. While I may have my reasoning for supporting one over the other, we have at one time supported each organization and I truly believe that at the end of the day, choosing to support autism in ANY way is a GOOD THING!

    My husband was recently asked why there was a competition when it came to autism organizations. Autism Speaks, TACA, ASA... All are supposed to be supporting autism so there should be no conflict, right? Unfortunately it's not that simple. It all starts with the many clashing views within the autism community itself. There are those who believe that autism is purely genetic and there are those who believe there are environmental triggers (to include vaccines) that play a role. There are those who seek a cure and those who simply ask for understanding and accepting. There are those who want to find a specific genetic marker that will allow prenatal testing and those who do not want such a marker to lead to terminated pregnancies as is seen with Down syndrome. There are those who follow a strict gfcf diet and those who do not. There are those who see autism as merely a hardship and those who see that there are great things that go right along with those hardships. Should it be this way? Absolutely not, we should all be working together to stand for out children young and old and all others affected by autism. After all, we are all ultimately trying to do what we feel is best for our children- we just have different viewpoints on exactly what that means. Seeing where the divide is within the community, we can now take a look at three of the larger autism organizations and how they fit into all of this.

    First up, the big one- Autism Speaks. They're everywhere. Billboards, Toys R Us, chocolate bunnies- they've got advertising down. For this reason, they truly have done a LOT for bringing autism into focus and raising awareness. If the growing numbers weren't making autism a household name, Autism Speaks certainly has. Aside from all of these advertisements, their focus tends to be in research. This is where the largest portions of their money is spent. Many individuals with autism and their families (myself included) feel that AS uses scare tactics and create a stigma of fear of autism going very much against the idea of embracing individuals with autism for the gifts they possess but instead seeing only the disability. You can read more about my thoughts on that here.

    TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) tends to focus more on bio-medical treatments. Many children on the spectrum also have gut issues and are actually physically ill. For those individuals a gluten casein free diet has been shown to be not only effective in taking care of the physical issues, but also reducing (and in some cases eliminating) many of the behavioral and speech issues associated with autism. Those who support TACA also tend to be those who believe that vaccines and other environmental factors are the cause. Though their focus is bio-medical treatments and finding the 'cure' they offer many great services benefiting families as well.

    Autism Society of America
     is probably- in my experience- the middle ground. ASA has branches all over and truly does a LOT to make life better for those living with autism. In California, they offered a monthly family support outing that my son still talks about fondly. They offer support meetings and activities as well as resources for families. One big thing they are known for is sensory friendly films- a night where individuals with autism and other sensory issues can enjoy a night at the theater with brighter lights, lower noise level and the option to move around and bring your own snacks to fit special diets. For many, this is the only way they would be able to enjoy a family movie night and is such a wonderful event for families. (Unfortunately these are still too much for my little man but awesome nonetheless!) This is just one of the many ways they actively try to improve the life for those living with autism.

    So where so we stand? We are among those who DO NOT seek a cure for autism.  We do not see our son as having a disease or illness. We see that his mind works differently than others. Not worse or less, just different. Though raising a child with autism certainly presents it's challenges we realize that autism is part of what makes Shaun who he is and we could not imagine seeking to 'cure' him of who he is. (We do of course see the need for treatment of those who have physical issues associated with autism- in our minds that is completely different but in our case, Shaun is perfectly healthy in every way. There is nothing to cure.) This comes in large part after having read articles from adults living with autism who have stated they would not want a cure either. Instead we want to help him to reach his highest potential and learn ways to better adjust to society- as well as bring acceptance and understanding so that he might gain the respect he deserves. We also do not see autism as a burden. Again, I say this not to make little of the challenges we face. There are many days when I want to cry as I'm washing dirty underwear from my not-quite-potty-trained 6.5 year old, wondering when it will finally click. Or when I see him struggle to make friends. Or even the physical aggression. It's not easy. But along with all those things comes an amazing mind capable of so much. It is truly astounding. The near photographic memory, the attention to detail, the quirky little traits that make Shaun the little boy we love, we would not trade him for anything. We believe that research is important, but it is not all there is. We would love to have definitive answers for a cause, so perhaps future children need not suffer in cases where it is preventable, but cannot fathom the idea of terminating a pregnancy due to autism. We believe more than anything, regardless of the cause, we need to take are of those that are already here and already affected...offering them the support and services they need to lead a better life and gain the respect they deserve. We believe that understanding, education and acceptance are at the utmost importance, so that children like my son are seen for their amazing attributes rather than their diagnosis. It is for all these reasons that we find ASA to be the best fit for our family and throw the bulk of our support behind them.

    Again, I just want to say that while we may not agree with everything each stands for, I cannot find fault with anyone wanting to support any and all organizations geared to supporting autism. As parents, grandparents, friends I know we truly are just trying to do our best for our loved ones- we just have different opinions on exactly what that means. My greatest advice is just to personally look into each organization and find which bests suits your views and objectives. If your biggest concern is researching the cause- support Autism Speaks. If you want support bio-medical research and finding a cure- TACA is a great fit. (Again, they offer more services as well- certainly worth looking into!). If you want to more directly impact families, ASA is fantastic. And of course, these may be the big three, but there are certainly many more wonderful organizations as well and as an autism mom, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping in whatever way you see fit. 

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Everything Beautiful Begins with God

    As some of you may recall, shortly before I became pregnant with Finley, our family experienced an early miscarriage. If you have ever experienced a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. If you have not, I pray that you never will. It is a pain that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. No matter how far along you may be, you begin to fall in love at the very moment you discover you are pregnant and you grieve just the same. It was a very difficult time for me, but through it, I tried to remember that THAT was not the baby that God intended us to have here on earth and that we WOULD have another baby someday soon. So, when we became pregnant again very soon after, I was overjoyed.

    Now, as I look at my 7 month only Finley Grace, I am in awe. I know with everything in me that she is the sweet baby that God intended for us, and I could not love her more. I could not imagine another baby being any more magnificent than her. She is truly beautiful and absolutely AMAZING! It does not mean I don't still mourn for that baby we lost, or that my miscarriage was a good thing...but I do understand why it happened and I thank God for bringing us something so beautiful out of the darkness.

    I took this photo of Finley a few days ago, and found that it perfectly sums up exactly what she means to us. She is proof that if we wait for God and are patient with his timing, things will work out as they are supposed to. Be it waiting for a baby, or waiting for something else, I have to remind myself that through it all, it will be beautiful in the end.

    He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.- Ecclesiastes 3:11

    Saturday, April 5, 2014


    Another month has come and gone...and while I wish I could say with March came warm weather, unfortunately here in Indiana it was still mostly cold! We even had more snow over spring break. We have had a few warm days, and have taken full advantage of them when they came. Here's a brief look back at March via Instagram.

    One of the big happenings last month was our new couch!!!
    When my husband and I were married, we had absolutely nothing. He had been living a bachelor's life in the barracks, not saving a penny...and I was just out of high school. Seriously, nothing! So we went and bought the cheapest sofa set we could find. It last us over 7 years, despite having been moved several times, placed in storage, etc...but we had both hated it since about 5 years ago! What a relief it is to finally have something we like again. We love that we can all cuddle when we want, but have our space when we don't!

    This is the face of a boy who is threatening to fart on you. He's ALL boy!

    And this is the face of a girl who LOVES Frozen!

    And this is the face of a boy who has just locked his mommy and sister outside!

    Sweet nursing cuddles are my favorite!

    This kids cracks me up...never a dull moment.

    Just like Daddy.

    Shaun and his friends! Such a sweet boy, isn't he?

    We picked up this adorable hat on sale at Gymboree. Such the perfect spring/summer hat for our little princess! She could not look more precious!

    This silly boy made Pikachu a ketchup sandwich! 

    I love the look of adoration on Finley's face. She truly loves her big bubby!!

    Mom and Fin

    Enjoying the sunshine when we can!

    Foods, foods, foods...carrots and sweet potatoes...yum!

    Shaun thought she needed to look like Baby Mario!! Adorable!!

    While watching Tangled, Shaun decided he needed to brush my hair. I don't know how I got so lucky to have such a sweet boy!

    Another Gymboree hat...this one is bubby's but he thought sis needed to wear it too!

    My St Paddy's Day Beauty

    I love nighttime cuddles with both of my kiddos...I only wish I had a bigger lap.

    April is already off to a great (and mostly warmer) start! I cannot wait to see what the rest of the month has in store for us.