A Modern Day Fairy Tale: February 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Very Veggie Giveaway: Win Veggie Tales Noah's Ark on DVD! CLOSED



Tomorrow is the big day...the day Veggie fans everywhere have been waiting on! It's time for the release of Veggie Tale's Noah's Ark on DVD! Over the last few weeks, you've probably already seen me talk about our family's excitement over this upcoming release:

  • After watching our pre-release screener, I shared my thoughts in this review.
  • A week later, I shared this fun craft idea and free printable to help all of you get in the spirit.
  • Earlier this week, I even shared a fantastic deal going on at Family Christian this weekend in celebration of the release.


Excited? Yes, it's an understatement. In fact, since my original review, we have still continued to watch the DVD almost daily. We have it memorized word for word. I'm pretty sure even my 18 month old is starting to pick it up.

To be honest, when our full DVD came in the mail last week, I pretty much expected it would be old news by now. Boy was I wrong. My little guy actually squealed. My daughter was equally excited. Nevermind that they'd watched it a million times already, they couldn't wait to watch it again...and check out the special features that our screener was lacking! And they loved it all! In fact, my son has said that this is by far his absolute favorite Veggie Tales movie yet! (Coming from a kid whose pretty much obsessed, that's a huge compliment.)



We love the fun music, the silliness, the messages...this is truly a Veggie classic that belongs in every Veggie Tale collection. But don't just take our word for it! Today, in celebration of the release, I am beyond excited to pass the Veggie love along... one very lucky reader is going to have the chance to win a copy 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.

T-Mobile is #ChangingPrepaid & Helping You Save! #Ad #CollectiveBias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias


A few days ago, I shared with you all how saving money has become quite the hobby of mine and how I'm always looking for ways to save. Lately, I've been taking a look at our monthly bills, and trying to lower them where I can. So, let me ask you...when was the last time you took a look at your cell phone bill? It can be a little scary, right? That's why I was super excited to learn about T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid! If you're looking for ways to reduce your monthly bills, check this out:

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Tired of second-rate prepaid wireless? T-Mobile is changing everything you know about wireless and now it's time to change prepaid. Introducing Simply Prepaid(TM) from T-Mobile, bringing you the best in wireless to prepaid. Including up to 1GB of nationwide 4G LTE on a Data Strong network, award winning customer service, selection of latest smartphones, unlimited talk and text for just $40 a month.
 Looking for the perfect phone to accompany this plan? Look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Avant for only $149.00 on rollback from $199.99 at Walmart. Click here for more information on this plan and phone!


    Legal Disclosure: Limited time offer; subject to change. Taxes and fees additional. Features available until 30th day. General Terms: $15 SIM starter kit may be required. Domestic use only. Partial megabytes rounded up. Full speeds available up to data allotment; then slowed to up to 2G speeds for balance of service period. Includes 10 MB of domestic roaming data. Devices are not transferrable for resale, modification, or export. Coverage: Coverage not available in some areas. See Terms and Conditions (including arbitration provision) and website at www.T-Mobile.com for additional information

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    Switching to this awesome prepaid phone plan can be a great way to save on your monthly expenses...what other tips do YOU have?

    Get Ready for Spring with a Step2 Play Up Gym Set Giveaway! CLOSED



    It's been pretty cold lately across much of the US and that has us thinking one thing - Spring! We can't wait to get back outside and enjoy some warmth and sunshine! Thanks to the generous people at Step2, one lucky family is going to have a brand new Play Up Gym Set to enjoy once all the snow melts!

    The Step2 Company, headquartered in Streetsboro, Ohio, is the largest American manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys and the world’s largest rotational molder of plastics. They strive to be the leading innovator of children’s products that build imaginations and enrich the family’s celebration of childhood. Step2 products are made to last and will hold up despite the beating that children tend to give everything they come in contact with. Their toys are colorful, fun, and encourage imaginative play. Every Spring they release brand new toys and this year, we are really loving the new stuff they have to offer, like this Play Up Gym Set redesign!

     The Play Up Gym Set™ combines a swing set and playhouse into the ultimate children’s backyard jungle gym. Kiddos can increase their motor skills by climbing in the playhouse and swinging on the swings. Youngsters will be fascinated with the whimsical design of natural colors and outdoor play features the kid’s gym set includes! The Play Up Gym Set will provide your youngsters with hours of climb, swing and slide adventures. Made in USA of US and imported parts. Swings made in China.

    The Play Up Gym Set features:

    • Tree house shape, trendy design and fun colors fuel creative and pretend play
    • Raised playhouse features a high platform, steps for climbing, a steering wheel and a slide for an easy exit
    • Two attached swings for hours of fun
    • Ground anchors secure the swing set to the ground (included)
    • Durable poly construction
    • Recommended for children ages 3-6, it has maximum weight limit of 240 lbs. (60 pounds per child) and a limit of 4 children at a time
    Viva Veltoro and Thrifty Nifty Mommy recently had the opportunity to review this brand new swing set! Make sure you check out their reviews and then enter to win a Step2 Play Up Gym Set for your own family below!

    Open to the Lower 48 US states only, ages 18 and up. Ends at 3/13/1215 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
    Disclosure: This giveaway is hosted by Viva Veltoro and Thrifty Nifty Mommy, and generously sponsored by Step2. Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Viva Veltoro, and the participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please contact vivaveltoro(at)gmail.com with questions about this giveaway. One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited.

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Live Your Life For Half The Price: A Book Review

    **Book received for review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

    When my husband and I were first married, we didn't have much of anything. I was fresh out of my parent's house, never having lived on my own while my husband was a corporal in the Marine Corps who had lived the bachelor life for 4 years before and hadn't really had the forethought to save for a family. Living in the baracks, my husband had never needed a car and my old clunker of a car from my parents wasn't up for making the trip from Indiana to California. So to get us started, we bought the bare essentials- an inexpensive used car with low monthly payments, a place to sit, a place to sleep and a small cheap TV so we wouldn't die of boredom. For the first few years of our marriage, we lived very modestly- no frills! For a long time we went without a kitchen table, and for side tables we used upside down boxes covered in freecycled linens. We didn't have a lot, but we got by just fine.

    Around us, I saw other wives whose husbands had the same rank as my own or lower living much more lavish lifestyles. Newer cars, designer clothing and handbags, frequent shopping trips. Sure, there were a few that had their own careers too but the large majority were, like us, single income families. I could not understand where we were going wrong. Here we were trying to do everything we could to save money, and we were just getting by...designer handbags? new cars? No way was that in our budget.



    I soon learned that it wasn't typically in theirs either...these people who seemed to me to have it all together financially were really up to their eyeballs in credit card debt. They were not better off than we were at all....they just had more stuff. Now I won't lie and say I was never a little envious (I was) or that I didn't want nicer things (I did), but we decided early on to make a conscious  decision early on to not fall into the credit trap, and try to live within our budget.
    Being a natural saver, this came pretty naturally to me (though much harder to keep my spender of a husband in check, I must admit!). I loved finding ways to save money. I found ways to get the best deals at yard sales and thrift stores. I perfected the art of negotiating and bartering. I learned to coupon and stockpile. Saving money became not just a necessity but a hobby for me.

    Over time as my husband moved up in rank, we were able to have those nicer things that we once dreamed of. We still weren't rolling in money and did often find those unforeseen emergencies coming up and taking a stab at the progress we'd made, but we were still able to live a nicer lifestyle while staying within our income.

    Fast forward to September 2014 when my husband's plans of retiring from the Marine Corps came to a halt at 11 years. Suddenly that income that we relied on was gone...sure, he got a pretty generous separations bonus, but we knew that wasn't going to last forever. Rather than sitting around waiting for a big break to come, he started school. A free education plus a monthly payment for housing...win/win. After a few months, a job opportunity came around...not a great paying job by any means, but it was money coming in and a job that was willing to work around his school schedule. We knew that any money coming in meant that this was less that we were taking out of our savings. Still, between the job and his housing, we are still seeing just about half of what he was making as a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps. HALF! My blogging income helps of course, but can be quite inconsistent as far as budgeting goes! As great as a saver as I am, trying to adjust our spending habits accordingly has been quite the challenge.


    So, when I first heard about Mary Hunt's 'Live Your Life for Half the Price', I knew it was a must read for me...because that's exactly what I needed to relearn to do! Take a look:

    You work hard for your money. You know you should save some, but it seems like every month something comes up that sets back your best laid plans. If you're tired of working hard just to get by, this user-friendly guide shows you that you can slash the cost of nearly everything you need without sacrificing joy and quality of life. 


    Mary Hunt shows you how to get off the monthly money roller coaster. She offers the specific techniques, resources, and motivation you need to keep more of your money every month, including: 


    • finding money you didn't know you had
    • cutting your grocery bill by 50%
    • controlling the mother of all budget-busters
    • avoiding fees
    • paying off your mortgage
    • saving on bills
    • preparing for disaster
    • paying less for your dream car
    • planning family vacations
    • and more!
    It's time to start saving, giving, and finally making financial progress, and with humor and compassion, Mary Hunt is leading the way!

    As an already frugal-minded person, I found myself reading through and finding that many of the suggestions were things that I already knew...things like buying things when they were on sale rather than when they were needed at a higher price or the value of thrift shopping. But many tips were some I had never thought of, or about things we've not yet experienced- like buying a home. These tips were practical, helpful and most importantly doable. I'll admit, I went in wondering if there was anything new I would learn, but I came out realizing I still had a ton of room for improvement.

    In addition to general tips, this book is chock full of great resources- websites to help you save money on groceries, apps for budgeting and even simple recipes that are budget friendly! She doesn't just tell you what you need to do, but truly offers the resources that will help you do it.

    Whether you are stuck in the cycle of debt with no end in sight, just starting out and hoping to avoid debt's vicious cycle, or in a situation like ours where you find yourself trying to get by on a decreased income, this book offers tips that can help us all!

    If you'd like to learn more for yourself, Live Your Life for Half the Price won't be available until July, but you can preorder now at Family Christian.

    Find more great reads and connect with Family Christian at the links below:
    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
    Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
    Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
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    GIVEAWAY CLOSED!.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Love Veggie Tales? Don't Miss This Amazing Event & Sale! #FCBlogger ##VeggieTalesNoah


    **Thanks to Family Christian for sponsoring today's post. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are my own.

    It's no secret by now that the Noah's Ark excitement is high around my house! (You can read my review of the feature here and see how we're preparing here.) We already have the screener, of course, which has been watched and watched and watched...and well, let's just say we all have it memorized and could watch it in our sleep by now...but we still cannot wait to get our hands on our preordered DVD, complete with special features!


    And now there is even MORE reason to be excited! This Saturday, February 28, Veggie Tales Noah will be available at all Family Christian stores! And they're celebrating with a fun event! Arrive at 10 am and you and your little ones (or just you, no judgement here!) can catch the premiere showing in the kids section of your store. In addition, there will be fun and games to enjoy!! Woohoo!! Sounds awesome, right? But that's not even the best part!

    To celebrate the release, they are offering a super awesome Mega One Day Only Sale! Everything in the kids department will be 30% off!!! Veggie DVDs, books and toys. Kids books, toys and games. Melissa & Doug toys. So many great products- all of them 30% off!? This would be the perfect time to stock up on Easter gifts!! Or grow your Veggie Collection just because! Have you won an appreciation certificate from me or another Family Christian blogger? This would also be a great time to spend those and stretch your certificate even further!!! The deal is available in stores only!


    I don't know about you, but I cannot wait!!

    For easier reference, here's a recap of the details:

    When: February 28, starting at 10 am
    Where: Family Christian stores (in-store only)

    What: Veggie Tales premiere showing at 10 am. 30% off entire kids department all day.

    Stay up do date with all the latest deals and new from Family Christian by following at the links below:


    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
    Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
    Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
    Follow on Tumblr: http://family-christian.tumblr.com 
    Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/familychristian


    Will you be heading to your local Family Christian store for the event? What are you looking forward to shopping for?

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Lessons From St. Patrick: An Irish Inspired Prayer Journal for Kids

    A huge thank you to Family Christian for sponsoring today's craft. All thoughts are my own.



    St. Patrick's Day is almost here! Time to bring out our green, proudly proclaim our Irish heritage and prepare our best Irish dinners. But do you know what St. Patrick's Day is truly all about?

    To be entirely honest, until about five years ago...I really didn't know myself! I knew it was a day to celebrate St. Patrick, of course...and that he was obviously Irish, but what did he DO? The only thing I'd ever heard was that he cleared Ireland of all snakes. Hmm, interesting theory...and I certainly would find removing all snakes from the country to be worthy of Sainthood, but surely there had to be more to that story, right?

    I soon found out there was...and the source of my new found knowledge was a little shocking. It came from a Veggie Tales short about St. Patrick's Day found on both Sumo of the Opera and Lessons from the Sock Drawer! That's right, Veggie Tales! I know, I know...not your usual source of historical information, but upon doing a little research, I found out that it was actually fairly historically accurate...silliness aside. Take a look:



    Pretty informative, right? We learn that St. Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat and was in fact not Irish at all! We learn that at age 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and became a slave in Ireland. We learn that he eventually escaped slavery and became a bishop, returning to Ireland to spread the word of God. Such an interesting story, much greater than those tales of driving the snakes out right?

    St Patrick's Day Prayer Journal

    Another important thing we learned about St. Patrick was that he loved to pray! One hundred times a day, he would pray. What a great example! So for this St. Patrick's Day, we decided to do a little something to celebrate St. Patrick and his love of prayer with an Irish inspired Prayer Journal. This prayer journal will serve as a place where little ones can write their own prayers as they go throughout their day.



    Want to create your own St. Patrick's Day Prayer Journal? Here's what you'll do:

    Supplies:

    Cardstock (Make It Green!)
    White Paper
    Hole Punch
    Ribbon
    Craft Supplies of Choice (Get creative. Some options include foam, construction paper, cardstock, markers...)


    1. Have your little one decorate the cover of their journal. Think St. Patrick's Day- rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks, Celtic crosses...get creative, have fun with it. They can decorate a back cover as well, if they'd like! For our journal, we used foam crosses and shamrock stickers for a simple St. Patrick's Day look.
    2. Using a hole punch/three hole punch, punch holes in both your covers and your papers for inside the journal.
    3. Slide ribbon through each hole to hold it together. (You could also staple together, if preferred!)
    4. Have your little ones write their prayers inside each day! Through the month of March and beyond!
    Super easy, and a great way to honor and teach little one's all about St. Patrick! It's not just a day for wearing green. (But seriously though...don't forget your GREEN!)



    How do you teach your little ones about St. Patrick's Day? What lessons can be learned from St. Patrick?


    Looking for more great Christian Crafts? Check out this board from Family Christian:

    Follow Family Christian's board Arts & Crafts on Pinterest.



    What's YOUR Cutie Mark? {A My Little Pony- Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders Review}

    **Product received for review. All thoughts are my own.

    With two little ones running around, I am always on the hunt for fun ways to keep them entertained. During these cold winter months when outdoor playtime is limited, that means we watch a lot of DVDs! Is there anything better than snuggling up on the couch under a warm blanket in front of a movie with your little ones? I certainly don't think so! So, I always look forward to finding new DVD selections to enjoy with the kids. Something fun and kid friendly...something like My Little Pony- Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.





    Every pony is unique! If you lived in Equestria, what would your CUTIE MARK be? The Cutie Mark Crusaders can help you find out! My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders is coming to DVD on February 24, 2015 in the U.S. and Canada from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios.  Offered as a bonus feature is a fun new sing-along and coloring sheets!

    In EQUESTRIA, obtaining a CUTIE MARK is an important coming-of-age moment for a young Pony. After all, Ponies acquire their CUTIE MARKS only after they discover a unique characteristic about themselves, setting them apart from all other Ponies. So when Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom meet, they instantly become friends and make it their mission to find their CUTIE MARKS! They are The Cutie Mark Crusaders!

    My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusader episodes include The Cutie Mark Chronicles, The Cutie Pox, Flight To The Finish, Pinkie Pride, and Twilight Time.

    Sounds pretty great, doesn't it? It's an adorable story with all the fun and excitement they've come to expect and love from My Little Pony and truly offers a great message as well. Sure, we might not have a literal 'Cutie Mark' like the ponies do, but aren't we all always trying to find the things that make us us. The talents or hobbies we possess that make us 100% unique. There are movies and books written about the topic... I love this movie celebrating those differences we all have in such a fun, kid friendly way!!

    My son- the boy who loves trains and video games and a good fart joke- is actually the biggest Pony fan in this house. (Who says its just for girls!?) He's not a boy of many words, but his response to the DVD was 'awesome'...from him, that's a pretty good compliment. He loved the fun story and characters, and enjoyed the special features as well! If you have a little girl (or boy) in your life that loves all things My Little Pony, this is certainly a must have for their collection!

    My Little Pony- Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders is available NOW on DVD! See more at the links below:

    Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1keDYXV 
    Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com/shoutkids

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    Do you have a My Little Pony fan who would love this DVD? What would their Cutie Mark be?

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    What Does the Bible Say About Sportsmanship? {A March Madness Bible Lesson with Free Printables & Craft} #FCBlogger

    A huge thanks to Family Christian for sponsoring today's craft. All thoughts are my own!




    Basketball, basketball...everywhere you look, it's all about the basketball! That's right, March Madness is upon us! Now, I'm not a huge sports fan myself- but my son enjoys basketball, so I thought this would be a great time to remind him what good sportsmanship is all about! So,  I sought out to find what the Bible says about sportsmanship. I have found that kids learn much better when coming at them from something they enjoy, so using basketball to teach Bible lessons can be a great tool for the sports loving kid...or for any kid during the March Madness madness!


    So, what does the Bible say about being a good sport? Let's take a look:

    On Practicing & Being Fit.

    We all know that practicing is of utmost importance if you want to improve any skill- sports or otherwise. The Bible agrees and reminds us that the work may be hard, but with that work comes great reawards. We are also encouraged to take care of our bodies.

    Hebrews 12:11-13
    No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.


    1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 



    On Never Giving Up.

    Even with all the practice in the world, sometimes we lose...sometimes we lose often. Sports are tough, especially when there are obstacles in our way. The Bible talks often about persevering. We are taught to keep faith, to keep moving forward and that with God we can accomplish anything.


    Philippians 4:13 
    I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

    Colossians 3:23 
    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

    2 Timothy 4:7 

    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
    On Playing By The Rules.

    Throughout the Bible, we are called upon to do the right thing. We are told not to lie, not to steal...to act in a away that is pleasing to God. Naturally, this goes for sports as well. God wants us to do right in all things, and that means playing by the rules.


    2 Timothy 2:5 
    An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

    1 Peter 1:15 
    But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct

    James 4:17 
    So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

    Proverbs 10:9 
    Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

    On Being Humble.

    In my search on what the Bible said about good sportsmanship, the topic I found to be the most talked about was being humble. Time and time again the Bible urges us not to seek glory for ourselves, but to give all the Glory to God. We are told not to be conceited and think too highly of ourselves. We are told not to take joy in the falls of others. When it comes to sports, this means not being a sore loser, but rather being gracious in our wins...and our losses.

    Philippians 2:3
    Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

    Proverbs 24:17-18
    Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

    Proverbs 25:27 
    It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.

    Proverbs 27:2
    Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

    Proverbs 11:2 
    When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.



    As you can see, the Bible has a lot to say about being a good sport. Playing by the rules, being humble, lifting others up...all are very important to God. And by being a good sport, we can all be a player for God's team! For an easy reference to look back on, feel free to print this free printable reference sheet


    For my kid, I have found that just lecturing has never been a great way to let these things sink in, so I also created this printable worksheet using real life instances of good and bad sportsmanship. This is ideal lesson for your home or Sunday school class as well. You can find the free printables here and here!



    I'm A Member of God's Team Paper Craft

    But no good lesson is complete without a fun craft, so we also created our own lacing basketball craft! A great reminder to every child to remember to play on God's team! Here's how you can make your own:


    Supplies:

    1. Cut out your Basketball! If you have a Silhouette, feel free to use it. Otherwise feel free to freehand it, or print an outline to help you out. You will need two circles- one for front and one for the back.
    2. On one circle, draw a basketball. On the other write 'I'm on God's Team' or use a favorite verse from above. (Alternately, you could print these as well.)


    3. Use your hole punch to punch holes around the edge of your basketball.
    4. Now it's time for your little one to take over. Have them take a piece of yarn and 'sew' the two pieces together. (Hint: to make lacing a bit easier for younger kids, take a piece of tape and wrap around the end...much like a shoelace! This will give them something a bit more solid to work with.)
    5. If you want to give your basketball a little more shape, feel free to stuff it with some crumpled newspaper or tissue papers. Do not add until a little over halfway through to make it easier to manage.
    6. Once you reach the end, tie it to finish it off! Leave it as is, or add ribbon for hanging!
    If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate March Madness with your kids at home or in Sunday School...these worksheets and crafts are ideal!

    Want more great gift ideas and lessons for the little athlete in your life. Check out my 'I'm On God's Team' shopping guide for more inspiration:



    Sports Trivia Devotional // Basketball Bible // 1000 to 1 DVD // Game Day for the Glory of God //
    Sports Wall Clock // Heart of an Athlete // Beyond Championships Teen Edition //

    Devotions From The World of Sports // I Can Be a Good Sport 

    These are just a few of many great products available at Family Christian for athletes of all ages. See more and connect at the links below:

    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
    Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
    Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
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    Find more great classroom ideas on this board from Family Christian:

    Follow Family Christian's board Classroom Ideas on Pinterest.



    Do you love March Madness? How do you teach your little ones about sportsmanship? What are your favorite verses on the topic?

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Finley Grace, 18 Months.

    A year and half!? How is this possible? That's the question I ask myself daily. It seems as if we just brought her home, and here we are inching closer and closer to her second birthday! Wow!

    Every day it seems like Miss Finley learns something new...and I'm left feeling like my child must be an absolute genius. (But then, every mother feels that way right?) Here's a brief look at what Miss Finley has been up to this month.


    • Finley is still wearing 2T clothes...though she seems to be getting a bit taller, as I've noticed her nightgowns are starting to get shorter!
    • Most of her teeth are in, with the exception of her 'fangs'...the two top are working their way through slowly as we speak!
    • She has recently fallen in love with applesauce... it might not have reached the level of favorite (like black beans or gluten free pasta) but its inching its way up.
    • She loves anything Minnie Mouse, princesses or Veggie Tales!
    • Her favorite toys are her play kitchen and her baby dolls! She also loves dressing up as a princess! (We really need to start building up a dress up trunk!)



    • She loves to sing! Her top choices are the opening to Frozen, Let It Go or the Veggie Tales theme song. She's actually surprisingly great at singing in tune and 'matching' pitches as well.
    • Her speech has continuously improved! Every day she's adding new words to her vocabulary! I honestly couldn't give you a number at this point because it seems she'll at least repeat just about anything! Some fun words worth noting: Bible (which is said anytime she sees any 'What's in the Bible' books or DVDs, Aurora (a-wa-wa), princess, hat, dog, Bob, Larry, Veggie, pizza (pit-zee), bus, eww, high five (high butt, as she says it), book (also sounding like 'butt'), outside, snow, Xbox, tv, dipey, apple, computer (pew), Minnie, Disney, glasses, shoes, pants, socks...the list goes on! It's fascinating to her...especially with having a big brother who was very speech delayed! I love listening to her go!

    Each day is a new adventure, and now as we turn the corner and edge closer to the big 2, I look forward to seeing what the coming months will bring!

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    The Power of Words: The Beauty of Grace Review {#FCBlogger}

    **Product received for review. All thoughts are my own.



    Isn't is amazing how God can use even the simplest of things to touch our lives and our hearts just when we need it? Perhaps it comes in the form of your pastor's sermon which seemed as though it was written for your current life circumstance. Perhaps it comes in the form of a song on the radio or a much needed call from a friend. Perhaps it comes from a Bible verse or even a blog post that was just what you needed to hear that morning.

    Words are pretty powerful, aren't they? Just the right words at the right time can turn our whole day around.



    Or perhaps you're more visual. Perhaps its a photograph of a beautiful sunset to remind you of the beauty of God's creation. Perhaps a sweet picture of a newborn baby reminds you of the goodness in life when things are going wrong.

    Whether you're moved by the written (or spoken) word or a stunning photograph, we all need a little encouragement and inspiration in our day to day lives. The new book, The Beauty of Grace, combines both to provide just that. Take a look:


    In this hectic life, we all need a little peace, a little quiet, and a little beauty. Combining heartfelt stories from some of today's foremost writers and bloggers with stunning photography of God's incredible creation, 
    The Beauty of Grace is a haven of calm contemplation amidst the chaos. 


    This uplifting collection includes moving stories of cultivating friendship, waiting on God, choosing joy, staying connected, and more from popular writers such as Jessica Turner, Lisa-Jo Baker, Holley Gerth, Ann Voskamp, Bonnie Gray, Tsh Oxenreider, Leeana Tankersley, Emily Freeman, Margaret Feinberg, and many others. Each story is accompanied by an uplifting Scripture verse, and the book includes Dawn's stunning photos. Foreword by Holley Gerth.

    Do those names sound familiar? They certainly were for me. Some of these women were already my favorite bloggers, with posts delivered directly to my email each and every day. Others were some of my favorite writers, whose books already adorned my bookshelf. One of them (Holly Gerth) even provides words of inspiration throughout my day to day life with the home decor featured throughout my own home. These are women who I admire for their faith and heart...and whom have often been the provider of those words I needed, just when I needed them. In fact, most have been contributors for my absolute favorite blog- (in)courage.


    The thing I love about (in)courage as a blog was that sense of community. It features stories from women of all different backgrounds. Women who are not perfect, but who lift one another up. It is a place of community, of faith and of friendship. The Beauty of Grace takes everything I love about (in)courage and put them into book form.

    It features useful categories of stories on topics like purpose, the big picture, surrender, trust, lessons learned, hope and encouragement and worship. You can read every story in order, if you'd like...but the beauty of this book is that you don't have to. You can choose the category that you need on that given day and read a story or two there, you can read from beginning to end. You can read one story a day, or all in one sitting. The stories are short, which is great for those days when you just don't have a ton of time to read (as a mother, I know that feeling) and ideal to toss into your purse when you know you'll have those moments of waiting. And with photos from Dawn Camp shared throughout, it's as beautiful to look at as it is to read!


    If you love (in)courage, you will love The Beauty of Grace. If you love the individual writers, you will love The Beauty of Grace. If you love great stories of God's love and  beautiful photography, you will love The Beauty of Grace. Truly, this book is a great addition to any book collection and is sure to provide you with encouragement and inspiration in the midst of life's chaos!

    You can purchase your own copy (as well as more great titles from contributing writers) at Family Christian! Stay up to date and connect at the links below:Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
    Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
    Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
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    GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Green Scene Mom Winter Awards Giveaway

    We are excited to work with Green Scene Mom for another awesome giveaway! Each of these items received a Green Scene Mom Award, celebrating Eco-friendly product design and creative innovation. This fabulous Winter Awards Giveaway is sponsored by the winning brands, and one lucky mom will win them all!

    Winter Green Scene Mom Award Winners

    Winter Awards Details »

    Enter to Win this Amazing Gift Set, valued at $750!

    FunBites Cutter of winner's choice - $12.99
    b.box Essential Travel Bib - $15
    BabyHome Side Light Bed Rail - $99
    Pure Care Home 4-in-1 Megacare Kit - $39.99
    Buttons Diapers 2 packs of Flannel or Velour Wipes - $14
    Konfidence Babywarma Swimsuit - $29.99
    Wristy Buddy Teething Wristband - $15
    Beautiful Earth Baby Box - $59
    Pack 'n Potty - $39.99
    Bebe au Lait Organic Nursing Cover - $40
    PacaPod Napier Diaper Bag - $170
    Pacific Baby Natural Feeding Bowl & Cup - $10.99
    MAM Anti-Colic Bottle - $6.99
    OTO Ice Cream Truck Playhouse - $59
    Yummi Pouch Reusable Food Pouches & Snack Bags - $25
    Silikids $40 Assorted Gift Set
    Naturalmat Fitted Organic Cotton Percale Crib Sheet - $45
    Ava Anderson Baby Powder & Diaper Cream - $25
    green scene mom winner badge
    green scene winter award winners giveaway

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Love Happens with AppleCheeks: A Favorite Things Giveaway #ClothDiaperFavs CLOSED



    Welcome to the Favorite Things Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Cloth Diaper Revival

    Each blogger participating has a great cloth diaper prize for you to win, worth at least $20, so after you enter mine, be sure to hop around to all the others in the linky!  Don’t forget to enter to win one the GRAND PRIZE for the event!

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


    Let's talk cloth diaper favorites...do you have some? After 18 months of cloth diapering my daughter, we have certainly found a few. There are so many types of diapers, and amazing brands out there, it's hard to choose just one favorite! Off the top of my head, I can name at least five. Among them are AppleCheeks! Let's take a look at what makes them so wonderful!

    Fit & Function

    AppleCheeks diaper covers feature a unique envelope design, similar to most pocket diapers. Unlike most pockets that have a smaller opening and can be harder to stuff for those with wider hands, this cover features a wide envelope opening that is easy to stuff...if desired. Not a fan of stuffing? (I don't blame you!) Use the cover as...well, a cover instead! Upon first look, the placement of the opening would appear to be difficult to unstuff...but there's no need! Pop it in the wash and the inserts come out on their own! It offers many of the conveniences of a pocket diaper, without the hassles that sometimes go with them!
    They feature snug, durable elastic at the waist and legs as well as two rows of easy to adjust snaps, which work together to create the perfect fit. The size 2 fit wonderfully on my 18 month old...keeping all leaks contained while maintaining a trim fit. The bamboo inserts are very absorbent, but still help to maintain that trim look.

    Perhaps what I love most about AppleCheeks covers are how comfortable they are! We have tried many, many diapers over the last 18 months and have found AppleCheeks to be the softest! They feature a microfleece lining that is super soft against baby's skin, but beyond that the diapers themselves are very flexible. They're not stiff like some others and move perfectly with baby as they move...which we all know that babies do a lot of! They truly offer a great, comfortable fit for the toddler who never stops.



    Style

    If you ask me, I think that comfort is evident simply at a glance. The soft elastics give a unique look that I happen to love. But the colors...oh, the colors really make me fall in love! They're bright, they're vibrant, they're absolutely adorable! The every day colors are absolutely wonderful. At holiday time, they offer festive options that are just perfect. And the prints...amazing! For this review, I received Love Happens. I've mentioned my love of birds before, so naturally this was beyond perfect for my little girl! So simple and pretty! We love it!



    Affordability

    AppleCheeks covers are around $20 each, pretty typical pricing for a high quality cloth diaper. As sized diapers, that does mean that you will eventually have to buy the next size up if you start at birth. However, they offer long lasting sizes (Size 1 fits from 7-20 pounds and Size 2 from 18-40), so they will fit for quite some time before needing replaced...in fact for some babies, they may stay in the same size throughout (especially those entering cloth later). Still, even buying two sizes, the savings are much greater than using disposable full time!

    Overall, we love AppleCheeks diapers! They fit wonderfully, absorb well and look fantastic! It's not hard to see why they've quickly become a favorite!

    Want to check them out for yourself? Visit the links below:

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

    And one very lucky reader is going to win a Little Bamboo Bundle in their choice of size and color!! 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.Cloth Diaper Revival and the Favorite Things participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.



    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    The Art of Momlationships: Women Are Scary Book Review #FCBlogger

    **Book received for review. All thoughts are my own.




    Can I be honest for just a moment?

    Relationships are not my strong suit.

    Don't get me wrong, I love those I love deeply. I am loyal to a fault. And once you've crossed that friend barrier, you're pretty much in it for life. But actually making friends? That's a tough one! Ever heard the expression 'painfully shy'? Yes, that's me. Socially awkward? Yes, that's me as well. Actually, it goes deeper than that, I have extreme social anxiety...even the idea of having to make new friends is well...petrifying.

    As a kid, friendships- though not without their challenges- are much easier if you ask me. You have the huge gap of your day where you are forced into a social situation. You have clubs to join where you meet others with similar interests. You have common experiences on which to build a foundation for a friendship. But as moms seeking out those mommy friends? It's much harder! We actually have to take the time and effort to make friends- on top of our busy lives as moms.(For us military/former military wives, it's something we have to do often too.) And for the socially awkward like myself- that's a nightmare. Melanie Dale had it right in the title of her new book...Women Are Scary!

    When you show up at the park for the first time with your little ones spilling out of the van, scan the swing set for anyone you might recognize, and notice that all the other moms are already hanging out in pairs, you realize that your awkward adventure of finding mom friends has only just begun. Too many women are frazzled and lonely, isolated in their minivans while schlepping bags, strollers, and munchkins to and fro across town. It doesn’t have to be this way. 


    In this hilarious yet thought-provoking guide to “momlationships,” blogger Melanie Dale uses a dating analogy to help women get more intentional about bonding with each other. 

    “We are better together,” she writes. “We make each other better moms, better humans. We need each other, because mothering is just too darn hard.” Moms will discover how to make sure their kids aren't the only ones having fun, develop lifelong friendships, share their burdens, and join together to impact communities around the world.

    To sum up this book in just one simple word: hilarious! 

    Honestly, when you make a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference within the first 50 pages...you're probably going to be my best friend forever...or at least my new favorite writer. If I wasn't drawn in already, I certainly was then. This was only one of the many great pop-culture (geek culture?) references that made this book stand out. The blending of pop-culture, scripture and random gross kid stories that make you think, 'you too!?'... perfection.
    But let's back up a minute. What's this book all about? It's all about the crazy confusing world that is mom friend dating...and let's be honest...that's exactly what making mom friends is like- dating! Just when we thought we left those awkward dating days behind us when we got married and started our families, we enter this adventure of motherhood and realize we cannot do it alone. We need friends to get us through.

    If you're lucky , you stay near your old friends from high school, get married and start families all around the same time. No need for mom dating, you already have that built in 'momlationship'. I wasn't that lucky. Being a military wife, I was living across the country from all of my friends when my son made his arrival. I was also the first of my high school friends to become a mother. When it came to mom friends, I had none. It wasn't until my son was three years old and starting preschool that I truly began to develop those relationships and realize what I'd been missing. I met a great group of moms who all had children in the same special education classroom. Our children were all on the autism spectrum, with varying levels of challenges, but many of our experiences were the same. We were all also military wives who knew the additional hardships that that life brought us and our children. We bonded over these common experiences and became great friends. I knew I could count on them for advice, support...a shoulder to cry on on those days when my husband was deployed and the poop hit the fan (and walls and train tracks and floor). I quickly realized what I'd been missing...mom friendships are essential.

    After moving to Indiana, I once again have found myself mom-friendless. This book offers great tips to help even the most socially awkward among us develop those oh so important relationships. Melanie does not pretend to be the expert to beat all experts on the subject. She's open, she's real, she's honest. I didn't feel like I was being told that I was failing at this mom friend thing, but that it truly was hard for everybody. I loved the realness. I love the humor. I love the Buffy references. I love the useful and practical tips. But most of all, I love the reminder that I am not alone in my struggle to bond with fellow moms...and just knowing that, makes all those women seem just a little less scary.

    Do you struggle to make mom friends? Women Are Scary is a must read. You'll have to wait another month  (until March 24th) to get your hands on it...but you can preorder it at Family Christian now!

    Find more great parenting books at Family Christian, and connect at the links below:
    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
    Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
    Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
    Follow on Tumblr: http://family-christian.tumblr.com 
    Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/familychristian


    GIVEAWAY CLOSED