A Modern Day Fairy Tale: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way {A Book Review}

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own.

Are you a Mary? Or a Martha?


We're all familiar with the story of Mary & Martha right? It is perhaps one of my favorite stories in the Bible- a beautiful story of hospitality. Here's a little refresher in case you need it:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10 38:42

So I'll ask again, are you a Mary or a Martha?



I must admit, as much as I strive to be a Mary, more often than not I'm much more of a Martha! I find myself stressing over everything I have to do to make my home perfect for guests, and just find myself not really taking the time to just sit back and take it all in...to enjoy the fellowship. I want that Mary relationship, but I kinda also really want that Martha home!

So, when I heard about the fantastic new book from Sarah Mae- Having a Martha Home the Mary Way- I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! 





Sarah Mae wants to let you in on a little secret about being a good homemaker: It’s not about having a clean house. She’d never claim to be a natural, organized cleaner herself―yet, like you, she wants a beautiful space to call home, a place where people feel loved and at peace. Where people can really settle in with good food, comfy pillows, and wide-open hearts.


Is it possible to find a balance? To care for your heart―and your home―at the same time?

Journey with Sarah Mae on this easy, practical 31-day plan to get you moving and have your house looking and feeling fresh. But even more than that, you’ll gain a new vision for the home of your dreams, and how to make it a place of peace, comfort, and community. Originally published as the e-book 31 Days to Clean and now revised and expanded in print for the first time, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way will inspire you to find a happier, healthier . . . cleaner way to live.


Seriously, this book could have been written just for me, As I said, I love the idea of having a 'Martha home', but even at that I fall short. Very short. Not even close really. I'm constantly feeling like I clean, clean, clean and nothing gets done. I find myself being frustrated with my home and the constant chore of it all. Not very Mary like at all. But this book really helped to give me perspective and a new, better way to look at caring for my home. Yes, this is a book about cleaning, but it's so much more than that. Each day, we are given a look at many of those struggles that I'm sure most of us housewives deal with- like purging or being overrun by toys or those days when your get up and go has got up and gone. And at the end of each reading we are given both a Mary Challenge and a Martha Challenge. The Mary Challenge gives us a scripture passage to read and space for our thoughts on the question asked. The Martha Challenge focuses more on the home, with a task to focus on for your daily cleaning. This truly does care for heart AND home, and is a must read for any of us who feel frustrated in the day to day tasks.

Having a Mary Home the Martha Way is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Bake Cookies: My Favorite PB Treat and a Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter Giveaway


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

Let's talk peanut butter!

When you think of peanut butter, it's often associated with children, right? But I have to be honest, there are many days where I want nothing more myself than a delicious pb&j. Who is with me? There is just such a feeling of comfort that comes with peanut butter.


But let's be honest, not ALL peanut butter is created equal. Take a look at the jars of peanut butter in your grocery store aisle and you'll find that many are stuffed full of sugars and preservatives. I don't know about you, but that's not what I'd prefer to be feeding my children on a daily basis (because let's be honest- they WOULD eat peanut butter on a daily basis).

Thankfully, there are peanut butters out there that are made with quality ingredients that you can feel good about giving your family. Take for instance New Zealand's #1 peanut butter, now available in the US- Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter:



About Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter

Founded in 2007 by Pic Picot, New Zealand-based Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter is New Zealand's #1 selling peanut butter and is peanut butter worth eating. Made from the finest quality Hi-Oleic peanuts from Australia that are fresh roasted and lovingly squashed in Nelson, Pic’s then quick seals its peanut butter to preserve freshness and flavour. Pic’s is all-natural, is gluten and sugar free and has no additives – simply peanuts and a trace of Kiwi salt, the unsalted version containing 100% peanuts. Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter offers four varieties, Original (Crunchy), Original (Crunchy, no salt), Smooth and Smooth (no salt). Suggested retail is $8.00 (380g, 13.4 oz. jar). A 1Kg, 35.27 oz. sized jar is also available in Original Crunchy or Smooth flavors at a recommended retail of $14.00. For more information on Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter visit http://picspeanutbutter.com/.



I was given the chance to try some out for myself, and I have to tell you- it's delicious! It's perfect for a good ol' pb & j, all your favorite peanut butter recipes...or even eating straight off the spoon. Yum!


To celebrate the deliciousness, I had to share one of my personal favorite peanut butter recipes:

No Bake Cookies

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1/2 Cups Cocoa
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter
  • 3 Cups Oats


  1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add vanilla, peanut butter and oats. Stir until oats are coated.
  3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.
These cookies were a childhood favorite of mine, and are ideal for getting the kids in the kitchen to help cook. Not to mention, they taste great- especially with Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter in the mix!

Want to learn more about Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter and find out where you can purchase your own? Visit and connect at the links below:

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

And one very lucky reader is going to win a jar for themselves. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:



Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household, winning entry will be verified. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for prize delivery.

Are you a peanut butter fan? What would you make first with Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Don't Be Blue About Autism (Why We Don't Support Autism Speaks}

It's that time of year again...the time of year when we start seeing puzzle pieces all around. That's right...April is Autism Awareness Month. Now, as an autism mom, this is something that is very important to me. There is nothing I strive for more than to educate others on what autism is...to share the misconceptions, correct the myths, to bring not just awareness but acceptance as well.

So perhaps it'll come as quite the surprise that our family will not be lighting it up blue on April 2nd or anytime throughout the month of April.

Light It Up Blue is a campaign created by Autism Speaks to help raise awareness for autism...which sounds like a good thing, right? But here's the deal... as an Autism family, Autism Speaks is one organization that we cannot and will not support.

It wasn't always that way.

When my son was first diagnosed with autism 6 and a half years ago, I immediately dove into learning all I could about anything and everything autism...including the organizations that were supposed to be helping the community. I'd seen a few negative comments about a few of the organizations, including Autism Speaks (complaints of spending more on advertising than actually helping fmilies, etc), but I had made the decision that until my son was old enough to tell us otherwise, we would support each of these organizations.

But over the years, I found myself becoming more and more upset over those advertising techniques that AS was using. They weren't sharing anything positive about autism. No encouraging stories or anything that really helped my son or those like him. Instead I saw them spreading fear. I saw them saying what a tragedy autism was and how awful parents raising autistic children had it. The more I saw of this, the more turned off I was. But then they published an article on their website written by one of the founders that became the final straw for me.

In this article, they talked about what autism was. And they got it completely wrong. You can read my original reaction to that post here.

Autism is not a tragedy. People with autism are not a burden. The type of fear mongering that Autism Speaks has become known for is not the kind of awareness we need. I cannot stand by and support an organization in any way, shape or form that believes that the people they proclaim to support are burdens, that they are less than.

So no, we won't be lighting our house up with blue lights. We will not be wearing blue. We will not be spreading the kind of hate that comes from Autism Speaks. Instead, we will be supporting true autism acceptance. We will celebrate the differences and we will look at not just the negative aspects of autism, but the good too...and there is plenty of good!

So this year if you truly want to support individuals, DON'T light it up blue and don't support Autism Speaks. Instead consider supporting your local Autism Society of America- an organization that truly does a lot to help individuals actually living with autism.


And go gold for Autism instead, because truly, what is there to be blue about anyway?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bible Journaling: Spring & Easter Edition

Spring is in the air and Easter is just around the corner. New life is all around us, reminding us of the new life that we were given when Jesus hung on the cross. Needless to say, there is a lot of inspiration all around for Bible journaling!

Not sure where to begin? Today I'm sharing some ideas:

Journaling Ideas

  • Let It Bloom. Nothing says spring quite like floral, so bringing them into your journaling can be a great way to celebrate spring. Use watercolors for soft pastels or go bright and vibrant. Stickers are a great way to bring in  flowers as well.
  • Religious Easter Symbols. There are so many great Easter symbols straight from the Bible that we can incorporate into our journaling. From the three crosses on a hill to the crown of thorns, these are all perfect additions to our Easter journaling.
  • Mainstream Easter Symbols. In addition to the traditional religious symbols, I love bringing in more mainstream symbols too. Add some eggs or a bunny for some fun. 
  • Butterflies. Butterflies shout spring to me, a reminder of the change of seasons and brand new life.

Scriptures to Journal (Easter)



John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? ...




Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 14:9
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Mark 10:34
And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.

Luke 23:43
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Scriptures to Journal (Springtime)



Song of Solomon 2:11-12 
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...

Isaiah 61:11 
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.



Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Have you been doing in springtime or Easter journaling? What are some of your favorite verses?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Check Out Gwen Stefani's New Album #ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLike {A Review} #GwenO2O

I participated in this sponsored album review program as a member of One2One
Network. I was provided the album to review but all opinions are my own.


I love music! There's just something about a great song that can lift your spirits, make you get up and dance and make the most mundane task a little more enjoyable. I mean, I'm surely not the only one who puts on some music and dances like a crazy person while I'm folding laundry or vacuuming the floors, right?

If you've been following my blog long, you've probably guessed that my favorite genre of music tends to be Christian music, and that's true... but it's not the only kind of music I enjoy! I actually have quite an eclectic taste and I'm always willing to give something new a shot. Or something new from an artist I know. And for those times that I feel like being goofy and dancing around (because believe me, when I dance...it's goofy), nothing beats good ol' pop music.

In the past, I have enjoyed some songs from both No Doubt & Gwen Stefani and so I was excited to be given the chance to experience her all new album- This Is What Truth Feels Like- for myself.



This carefully crafted album is Gwen Stefani's most personal album to date. It includes intimate songs such as “Make Me Like You”, “Misery” “Truth” and “Used To Love You” in addition to tracks from producers Mattman & Robin, Greg Kurstin, JR Rotem and Stargate. This is an emotional album feauturing those universale themes of love and loss.

Track Listing
1. Misery
2. You’re My Favorite
3. Where Would I Be
4. Make Me Like You
5. Truth
6. Used To Love You
7. Send Me A Picture
8. Red Flag
9. Asking For It
10. Naughty
11. Me Without You
12. Rare


And when you purchase at Target, you'll receive 4 additional tracks:

13. Rocket Ship 
14. Getting Warmer
15. Obsessed
16. Splash


Like I said, I was pretty familiar with Gwen already- who isn't. But if I were to be honest, I've always been half and half on which of her music I like. There are some of her hits like 'Don't Speak' and 'Underneath It All' that I absolutely loved. Songs with great lyrics and messages behind them. Some of her other more 'hip-hoppy' songs like 'Hollaback Girl' just weren't my preferred taste. This album- though more mature I think than previous- was a pretty good mix of both.

Personally, I was drawn to those more heartfelt songs like 'Truth', 'Me Without You' and 'Rare'. If I had to choose a favorite between the three, it would probably be 'Truth'. Much like those other Gwen Stefani songs I enjoyed in the past, these had great pop beats combined with fantastic lyrics, and of course Gwen's beautiful vocals. Meanwhile, there were a few titles on the album that I found myself skipping through- such as 'Naughty' or 'Asking 4 It'. Not that they aren't great songs too, just not my preferred style! However, if you are already a die hard Gwen Stefani fan, I have no doubts that you will not be disappointed! It's a fantasticly heartfelt album that fans are sure to be listening to over and over again.

This is What The Truth Feels Like is available to purchase now at the links below:


The Gwen Stefani site has limited availability of special bundles. The following is a link
to purchase bundles:

You can also keep up with Gwen Stefani and connect at the links below:

Are you a Gwen Stefani fan? What songs are you most looking forward to from the new album?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Drink Up! Tips for Drink More Water {with Fresh Baby} #H20Course #MyPlate

**A huge thanks to Fresh Baby for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are my own.




Let's talk water!


I'll be completely honest, drinking enough water has been something that I personally have always struggled with. Of course we all know the reasons why we should drink water-, but sometimes bringing ourselves to do so can be kinda like pulling teeth.

As a mom, this is something I'm really striving to improve on- both for myself and for my children. I want to show them good drinking habits from the beginning so that they won't fall into that pattern of choosing sugary drinks over water.

Still, that's not always easy. Take a look at these few quick facts about the market of sugary drinks:

  • Beverage companies spend four times as much—$866 million—to advertise unhealthy drinks as they did to advertise 100 percent fruit juice or water.
  • A typical children’s drink contains 16 grams of sugar, more than recommended for an entire day.
  • Some children’s drinks may feature reduced sugar but many (36%) contain artificial sweeteners.
  • Sugary drink and energy drink brands are extensively using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach youth.


(Full article here.)


With this in mind, how can we as parents encourage our children to choose water more? Today, I'm sharing a few of my personal tips that have worked for myself and my family:




Tips For Drinking More Water

  •  Make It Cold. I'll be honest, if my water is only slightly cold or lukewarm, I just cannot drink it! I have to have my water ice cold. I've been known to toss a bottle of water in the freezer for a bit to get it just the right temperature. For me, this has made a world of difference,
  • Flavor Up. For some, water is hard to drink because there just isn't any real flavor. If this is you, consider adding a little bit of natural flavor. Add in some fresh squeezed lemon or another citrus-y fruit. Just a little bit will make drinking water a little more bearable!
  • Put It In A Fun Cup. This one may be more for the kids, but I'll admit, I enjoy using fun cups myself! Let's be honest, water- whether a bottle of water or straight from the tap- just doesn't grab kid's attention the way a brightly colored juice box...so make it more fun with a great cup! Use a silly straw. Go with your child's favorite characters. Get a collapsible water bottle. (These collapsible water bottles from Fresh Baby happen to be a favorite in my house.) When you make drinking water more fun, kids don't feel like they are missing out on anything!
  • Carbonate It. Are you a recovering soda addict trying to make yourself drink more water? Consider carbonated water, so you still get that same bubbly feeling with each sip. Keep in mind that not all carbonated waters are created equal, so be sure to check labels for any added sweeteners or sodium. 
  • Limit the Options. I'll be honest, if I'm given the choice between something with a little more flavor and water, it'd be very hard to choose the water. The same goes for kids. So, to make it easier, we just make sure to limit the options we have on hand. When they don't have these other options to choose from, they get in the habit of drinking water and will continue to do so even when given those other options.


As you know, my family loves Fresh Baby and all that they do to help us teach our children to eat healthy, well balanced meals. So it should come as no surprise that they have partnered with the Drink Up Initiative, which is all about encouraging kids (and adults) to drink more water! You can find out more about this fantastic (and important) initiative at the links below:





One way that Fresh Baby is partnering with Drink Up is through their fabulous MyPlates! Not only do these plates feature this little reminder to drink our water, but a portion of the profit of their MyPlate Dinnerware 3-pack is donated to the Partnership For Healthier America's Drink Up Initiative that encourages everyone to drink more water!

To further help encourage little ones to drink water over other sugary drinks, Fresh Baby is having a special 'Drink More Water' giveaway! They are giving THREE lucky winners the chance to win a 3-pack of Fresh Baby’s Drink Up MyPlate’s and 3 Kid’s Water Bottles. (Retail Value $34.80). Visit here to enter.



Want to learn more about Fresh Baby? Check them out at the links below:

Are you a water drinker? What tips and tricks have you found to encourage yourself and your children to DRINK UP?

I Color in My Bible {An Inspire Bible NLT Review & Giveaway}



Welcome to the

Spring Delights Giveaway Hop

March 21-31, 2016

Hosted by Planet Weidknecht
and LeahSay's Views

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

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


If you follow me on Instagram (or even just here on the blog), you've probably figured out at least three things about me:

1. I have crazy cute kids!
2. I love Bible journaling.
3. I love adult coloring books.

I've talked often about my love of Bible journaling, and even guest posted over on the Family Christian blog on the topic of coloring as a form of creative worship, much in the way of Bible journaling.

Actually, my love of adult coloring books actually began as an extension of my Bible journaling. You see, I have never been much of an artist. I love doing crafty things, but drawing? Well, I'm lucky enough if I make a decent looking stick figure. So, when I came across some Christian color books, I thought...'Hey, this is perfect! I can trace these gorgeous designs into my Bible. I'll have the pretty drawings I desire, with no real artistic talent needed.'

Makes sense, right?

But as I began to collect a few, I learned that I was really loving them all on their own. I did use them on occasion for my Bible journaling as I'd planned, but mostly it became a completely separate hobby for me. I loved that much like journaling, it gave me that creative form of worship- allowing me to spend time with God in a unique way that made sense to me...and unlike typical Bible journaling didn't require that I be a great artist.

Needless to say, with both of these loves, I was pretty ecstatic when I heard about the Inspire Bible for the first time! Check it out:



Inspire is a new single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind—with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible. Full-page and partial-page Scripture art is attractively displayed throughout the Bible, and the illustrations can be colored in to make each Bible unique, colorful, and customizable. Every page of Scripture has two-inch-wide margins, with either Scripture line-art or ruled space for writing notes and reflections, or to draw and create. The generous font (8.65) ensures optimal readability, and quality cream Bible paper is great for creative art journaling. Inspire is the only single-column, wide-margin Bible available in the popular New Living Translation, and it is designed uniquely to appeal to art-journaling and adult coloring book enthusiasts.


Wait...a coloring book AND a Bible? All in one? Yes, please! This combined two of my favorite things into one incredible package! How could I not fall in love?


Aside from loving and wanting one for myself, I could not help but think about what a great solution this was for those who were interested in Bible journaling, but whom like myself did not view themselves as artists. This Bible offers many of the benefits of Bible journaling- time in the Word, creative worship, creating beauty in the margins of the Bible etc... but gives a great starting point that we can ALL enjoy- no matter our artistic abilities. One of the most common comments I hear regarding Bible journaling is that it looks wonderful, but that people just don't have the talent and/or creativity to do it. With the Inspire Journal, Bible journaling can truly be enjoyed by all.

For the novice and non artist, they can keep it simple and just color in the pictures with the basic coloring pencils or markers. Easy, uncomplicated. Or they can take it up a notch and introduce water colors or washi tape and other mediums to take those predesigned pages to the next level. And when they're really ready to take it to the next step, there are still plenty of blank pages available to create your own unique artwork or write notes as you read. The Inspire Bible truly offers a little something for each of us.


And it is BEAUTIFUL! There are two cover options available, and honestly you cannot go wrong with either option:





Deluxe Hardcover edition features a lovely, teal imitation leather over board, with beautifully-designed full-color page edges, a matching ribbon, and an elastic band closure.
Deluxe LeatherLike edition features a beautiful, vintage floral printed LeatherLike over flexible board, with matching aquamarine-patterned page edges, a matching ribbon, Smyth-sewn durable binding, and an elastic band closure.

I love the simplicity of the teal hardcover- simple and timeless... but the artwork on the softcover is just stunning! Inside, it's all the same, so you really cannot go wrong with either choice!


As I said, I knew as soon as I heard about this Bible that I just had to add it to my collection, and I waited somewhat patiently to get my hands on it. And now that it's here? All I can say is that it is most definitely worth the wait! This may be my favorite Bible yet!




The Inspire Bible releases on March 22nd, but is available to preorder now on Amazon or your favorite Bible retailers. This is truly one you do not want to miss!

Want to know more? Visit and connect at the links below:

Visit the Website.
Like on Facebook.



And I am excited to say that one very lucky reader is going to win a hardcover 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.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Hope Unfolding {A Book Review}


One of my favorite things about going to Church each Sunday has to be the fellowship I receive there. Don't get me wrong, I love the worship, I love the sermons... but it's that fellowship that I cannot get enough of...that time to chat with fellow Christians and talk about our struggles and encourage one another.

I think as a mom, this is especially important. Motherhood can be tough. Don't get me wrong, I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything, but I'd be lying if I said it was always easy. There are sleepless nights, there are sick kids, there is just stress. Sometimes we truly find ourselves questioning if we're doing it right. If we are a good enough mom. Having those Christian mom friends to share in this journey and offer words of wisdom and encouragement along the way can make a huge impact.

But what if you don't have those relationships? Today I'm sharing a book that can be another great source: Hope Unfolding:


God’s love, plans, and promises for you are forever unfolding.

 
 I get it, Momma. I totally get it.
 Every day you wake up and try your very best. You love, give, and pour out your life for the ones who call you Momma. But no matter how much you offer, there are still days you feel as though you come up short. You worry, Am I loving these babies enough? Is this ever going to get easier? Why does it seem like I am the only one who cannot balance it all? 

Sometimes, we just need hope (and maybe a long uninterrupted nap). We need someone to help tune our hearts to the voice of the Father and to remind us that He has not forgotten about us.
In Hope Unfolding, Becky Thompson is a friend who reminds you that you aren’t alone, and that God is still writing your story. She guides you to encounter the Truth of God’s presence that not only fuels you with strength, but also a fresh confidence. And beyond gaining faith that tomorrow could be different, you find hope and purpose where you are standing today.


This book was such a breath of fresh air. I-like so many of you I'm certain- can be pretty hard on myself. I set these impossible standards of a perfect mom for myself that I just cannot live up to...and that can lead to disappointment. I need those reminders that I'm doing okay and that I am not alone in this. That is just what Hope Unfolding provided. Like a note from a friend, I was encouraged by a beautiful combination of real life stories and Biblical references.

While I truly loved this book, I do want to give a little warning up front, if you have recently suffered a miscarriage, this may be a tough one to read. It is not the main subject of the book, but the author does share her own experiences on the subject. Having been through that myself, I did have a bit of a hard time reading this part, but if you are able, I still highly encourage you give this book a try and just be aware upfront so that it doesn't come as a shock!

This truly is one of those books that I think all of us as moms need to read. It truly is like a conversation with a friend that will offer that gentle truth that we are good moms. That none of us are perfect all the time. And that through it all, God is there 100%!

Hope Unfolding is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailer.

I received this book from 
Blogging for Books for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Moms- Take Care of YOU with Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers #LiveHealthyChoice #ad




Okay, moms let's be honest... how many of us really take care of us?


How many of us have had a shower alone in the last week?
How many of us have not gotten nearly enough sleep, up all night taking care of little ones?
How many of us haven't managed to get out of their sweat pants all week?
How many of us are in desperate need of a haircut or dye job?
How many of us have forgotten to eat at least once in the past week?

Did you find yourself nodding and relating to at least one of you? If so, this post is for you! Because today we're talking about taking care of YOU! Of course, this is a topic we could go on and on about so let's narrow it down a little bit, shall we? Let's talk about how we eat!



As moms, we try to make sure our kids eat well, right? We provide them with good for them meals that are delicious and nutritious. We want them to pick up those healthy eating habits to carry throughout their life...but I have to admit, I'm one of those moms who will get so busy taking care of the kids that I'll forget to eat lunch for several hours.

We can try to teach our kids to eat well until we're blue in the face, but if we're not leading by example it won't matter. Kids learn better by watching! We need to truly set an example that they can follow themselves. If we take care of ourselves, they will learn to take care of themselves too. They will see us eating well, and want to eat well. Not only are we setting good examples for our children, but when we eat well, we feel better. We are better able to keep up with and truly be there for our children without being run down all the time.

But even knowing all this, we still find ourselves falling into the trap. If you've ever attempted to cook a well balanced meal while having a cranky tired pulling on your shirt, you know its not always an easy task! So...what's a mom to do?



Thankfully, the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers have come to my rescue!

I know what you're thinking...a microwave meal? Really? Aren't those all bland? And taste frozen? Not to mention...aren't they full of preservatives and unhealthy ingredients? But Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers are different than others on the market. First and foremost, it's the only major brand in the frozen meal section that is able to call 100% of its products 'healthy', approved by the FDA!

What sets Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers apart from the rest?


  • The Ingredients. All Healthy Choice meals are made with all real ingredients and NO preservatives! 
  • The Flavor. Because ingredients are not frozen in the sauce like other similar meals, the taste remains fresh and vibrant. Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers' feature a unique tray in tray steam cooking method that keeps food tasting fresh and keeps vegetables crisp and proteins juicy. You also add the sauce yourself allowing you to truly customize the meal to your tastes!
  • The Good Stuff. Each meals contains a mix of vitamins, nutrients and protein, making Healthy Choice Steamers a quick and convenient meal that you can feel good about eating! 



With Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, you truly can eat healthy for your kids without sacrificing convenience. And you can have convience without sacrificing flavor. It truly is a win/win for busy moms everywhere! Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers are available in the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery stores nationwide (suggested price $3.29).

 Visit www.facebook.com/healthychoice or www.HealthyChoice.com to learn more.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Encouragement Delivered Right To Your Door with loved+blessed {A Review & Giveaway} #LovedandBlessed #FlyBy

"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 Consulting, LLC for providing this product in exchange for this review and post.

Do you ever just dread going to your mailbox? 


You know that as soon as you get there you will be greeted with nothing but bills and junk. No wonder a trip to the mailbox can be downright depressing! Wouldn't it be great if instead of bills, we could also find hope and encouragement delivered right to our doors? 

Guess what, you can!

Today, I'm very excited to introduce you to a fantastic new subscription box service called loved+blessed. Each month, a box of encouragement is delivered right to your door with a new theme each month. Inside you will find the following:



  • a MINI POSTER for your home or office
  • a repositionable REMINDER STICKER perfect for your mirror, laptop or tablet
  • a SCRIPTURE CARD sized to fit in your pocket or purse
  • a removable KEEPSAKE THEME CARD
  • a special GIFT OF ENCOURAGEMENT
  • Our boxes are full of little gifts of surprise and delight that help remind you to walk in faith throughout your day.  Our gift of encouragement changes each month.  You'll receive gifts of jewelry, prayer accessories, stationary, journals, home decor and more!  


For this review, I received their Beauty Box. Take a look at what I found inside:


Inside was a MINI POSTER, a REMINDER STICKER, a SCRIPTURE CARD, a LOVED+BLESSED SILICONE BRACELET, a PRAYER JOURNAL and a COMPACT MIRROR with a special message inside, all about beauty- or more specifically- TRUE beauty!

Who doesn't need those little reminders on occasion? I know I certainly do. The stickers, poster and scripture card are great reminders to place wherever I might need them- or to pass along to someone else who may need them more. The journal is absolutely beautiful and a great place to write down and track my own prayers. But perhaps my favorite part of this box was the little mirror. It really is such a simple thing, but when we are always so critical on ourselves, how wonderful is it to open this little compact mirror to check our makeup and see the simple message 'I am beautiful'. Three simple words that can truly affect our mood and remind us of this truth.


Plans start at just $10 a month ($3 shipping), so it truly is a very budget friendly way to have a little extra encouragement delivered each month.

You can learn more and connect at the links below:

Visit the Website
Shop
Subscribe Now.
Give a Gift
Instagram @passhopeon
Pinterest @lovedblessedbox
Twitter @lovedblessedbox
Like on Facebook.

And loved+blessed is having a fantastic giveaway! There are offering one very lucky winner the chance to win a year of boxes! Visit here to enter to win.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Non-Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas



Easter is almost here, and while we don't do the whole Easter bunny thing in my home, I DO love creating fun Easter baskets for my little ones.

When you think of Easter basket goodies, what comes to mind?

Perhaps one of the most common responses is CANDY! Chocolate bunnes, chocolate eggs, jelly beans, Peeps...the list goes on and on. Don't get me wrong. I love me some Easter candy, but when it comes to my children, we do try to limit their candy where we can. But that doesn't mean their Easter baskets cannot be just as wonderful! Today I'm sharing a few non-candy Easter basket ideas!

The Big Gifts

First up, we're going to look at the big gifts. 'Big' doesn't necessarily mean expensive. It just means that these are items that don't fit easily into an Easter egg.

  • Bible and/or Devotional. In my opinion, Easter is the most important day of the year for Christians. How could we be Christians if not for Easter. A great way to remind little ones of this is by gifting them a new Bible or devotional in their basket!
  • Movies. Is there a movie your little ones have had their eye on? Easter is a great time to bring it home to them. Some of our favorites for Easter have always been Veggie Tales or Disney movies, but there are so many great options that have recently been released that would be a perfect addition!
  • Books. Can a child really have too many books? I think not. Pick out some Easter/spring books, or something appropriate throughout the year!
  • Craft Supplies. Coloring books and crayons. Play Doh. Perler Beads. Even just a plain ol' pack of construction paper. These can all be wonderful inexpensive ways to fill your Easter basket. This will come in particularly handy during those rainy spring days!
  • Rain Gear. Speaking of rainy spring days, Easter can be a really fun time to prepare your little ones for the crazy spring weather. New raincoats and rainboots. Maybe an umbrella. Go with a favorite theme or character for a practical gift that your kids will still love.
  • Outdoor Toys. With spring weather arriving, Easter really is the best time to stock up on everything needed for outdoor fun- a new swimming pool, hula hoops, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kites...the possibilities are endless! 
The Egg Gifts

After you get the big gifts out of the way, it's time to think about those smaller gifts- the gifts that fit easily into Easter eggs for the basket or for the hunt!

  • Money. Now, I'm not talking big bills here. Maybe $1 or two at most, but in my experience, even a nickle here or a dime there can be really exciting to find inside an Easter egg.
  • Chapstick/Mini Nailpolish. My daughter loves makeup so kid friendly 'makeup' items are an ideal fit for her!
  • Blind Bags. Make it a Surprise Egg Easter Egg with some fun blind bags for your little one- Shopkins, Lego minifigures...these are a fun non-candy surprise that I know my children would be thrilled to find.
  • Stickers. Are there any kids who don't love stickers? These are inexpensive egg fillers that are much better than candy! Temporary tattoos are another great option!
  • Socks. Now, for the bigger kids, socks may not fit, but for the little ones this is another cute, practical idea.
  • Erasers/Small Toys. You can find small inexpensive toys from party supply stores, or even in the Easter sections elsewhere.

Some other helpful tips:

  • Go with a theme. When it comes to Easter baskets, I find going with a theme to be very helpful. Pick a theme your little one loves and work around that. In the past, I have created Thomas baskets, Disney baskets, princess baskets, Veggie Tales baskets...well, you get the idea! This year, the theme is all about getting outside!
  • It doesn't have to break the bank to be an awesome basket! Don't have a huge budget for Easter baskets? That's okay! Try the bargain sections at stores like Target, or head to your local dollar store! There are plenty of ways to get a great basket without spending a ton of money!
  • Keep the Basket. When my son was a little younger, we found ourselves buying a cheap basket each and every year. Sure, it was cheap enough, but it was still an added expense. When my daughter arrived, we decided to pick up a few sturdier Easter baskets to use year after year instead. They cost a bit more, sure... but will last for years and years to come! (And they're a bit bigger too which is a plus for egg hunts!!) 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mommy Scene Eco Home Giveaway

Eco-Home Giveaway - Mommy Scene
We're celebrating the coming of spring with our Eco-Home Giveaway, sponsored by Mommy Scene and featuring products that help make life more Eco-friendly! All of the sponsoring brands offer products designed with families in mind, to encourage greener lifestyles. Check out these awesome brands and enter to win an amazing prize set below!
Eco-Home Giveaway - Thinkbaby and Thinksport

Thinkbaby | Thinksport

Prize: Thinkbaby GO2 Container + GO4TH 350ml + Stainless Steel Baby Bottle OR Sippy Cup OR Thinkster - winners choice + Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen, 6 ounces
Thinkbaby and Thinksport's founder, Kevin Brodwick, brought his interest in health and preventative medicine and his background in biotechnology together to form a company whose sole purpose is to create alternative products for babies to athletes alike. With a team of physicians and scientists focused on the latest biological and chemical sciences, Thinkbaby and Thinksport continue to lead in the usage of safe, non-toxic materials for consumer goods. Thinkbaby and Thinksport's efforts are further energized by working with both leading child and health advocacy partners and like-minded individuals. Learn more at gothinkbaby.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Crane Grey Droplet Humidifier

Crane

Prize: Crane Grey Droplet Humidifier
Crane's Droplet Humidifiers are a half gallon cool mist humidifier that runs for up to 15 hours. They are whisper quiet during operation, do not require a filter and they are energy efficient requiring less energy than a standard household lightbulb to run. All Crane cool mist humidifiers use an anti-microbial material to help fight bacteria buildup. Crane USA was founded with the continuing goal to "Design for Better Living." For everything from natural cold and flu remedies to relieving croup in infants, Crane's cool mist humidifiers are the perfect addition to any child or adult's room. Learn more at crane-usa.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Fresh Wave natural products

Fresh Wave

Prize: Full Size Set of Fresh Wave products
Fresh Wave natural odor-removing products use simple, pure and natural ingredients to actually remove odors from your life. No harsh chemicals. No harmful ingredients. No masking fragrances. Fresh Wave products remove the odor at its source - on the molecular level. With Fresh Wave, odors go away. Happiness stays. Products are available at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ace Hardware. Learn more at freshwaveworks.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Little Dundi Eco-friendly hangers

Little Dundi

Prize: 2 sets of Eco-friendly Hangers - choose from 6 designs
Little Dundi brings to life products inspired by baby. Our innovative line of Eco-friendly clothes hangers started with a cloud shaped infant sized model has grown to include hangers sized for toddlers & kids clothing. These hangers come in 6 attractive prints and are made of thick and sturdy recycled paperboard with an aqueous coating for a more polished look. All glues used are vegetable starch based and the inks are water based. Our hangers are our way of being friendly to the Earth. Learn more at littledundi.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Recycled Beachfront Baby Wrap

Beachfront Baby

Prize: Recycled Beachfront Baby Wrap
Beachfront Baby makes fashionable water baby carriers! Each Beachfront Baby Wrap made with 100% Repreve PC polyester contains approximately 15 plastic water bottles! Each Recycled Wrap comes with its own matching drawstring carry bag, which is also made with Repreve, and our packaging for this wrap is printed on 100% recycled paper. Made in the USA, all our carriers are sewn with care by work-at-home-moms in the San Antonio, Texas area. Learn more at beachfrontbabywraps.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Wicks Beauty

Wicks Beauty

Prize: Gift set of top sellers: Neem Skin Salve, Bentonite Clay Mask, Sea Salt Face Scrub, and Lavender Goat Milk Soap
Wicks Beauty is offering a gift set of a few of our top sellers: Neem skin salve, bentonite clay mask, sea salt face scrub, and lavender goat milk soap - a $36 value! Wicks features a family-focused array of products made with all-natural oils and butters that detox and heal skin while protecting its natural moisture. Our products help soothe and prevent eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Breathe new life into tired skin the natural way. Check out our line for babies and pets! Learn more at wicksbeauty.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Silikids

Silikids

Prize: $50 gift set including newly released silicone cups, straws & universal fit straw and sippy tops
Siliskin Silicone Cups are made with 100% food grade silicone with an embedded stainless steel ring so they won't collapse when gripped. Dishwasher safe and great for indoor and outdoor use.
Siliskin Universal Silicone Sippy Tops fit over any size cup. The silicone top grips the cup top while air suction keeps it in place. The spout is free of intricate valves allowing for easy use and cleaning. Also dishwasher safe and perfect for on-the-go and indoor and outdoor use.
Siliskin Universal Straw Tops stretch over and grip the top of glasses of multiple sizes, while also kept in place with air suction. Use with a Siliskin silicone cup or a glass of your choice for an instant, no-spill straw top cup.
Silikids products are safe, modern & practical, easy to clean, and made from 100% food grade silicone. A great alternative to plastic! Learn more at silikids.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Sudsy Dough

Sudsy Dough Moldable Soap

Prize: 12 oz. tub of Sudsy Dough with surprise toy inside! Fragrance of choice
Sudsy Dough is an interactive bath toy that doubles as a moldable scented dough and a cleansing soap. Kids can squeeze and squish Sudsy Dough in the bath, rub it on as body wash, or take it outside the tub and make custom-shaped soaps that will dry when left out in open air. Sudsy Dough is scented and infused with moisturizing ingredients such as Shea Butter and beeswax. Each ball also has a surprise bath toy hidden inside! Available fragrances include Merry Mango, Sassy Strawberry, Awesome Apple, and Bubbly Blueberry. Learn more at revelae.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Yummi Pouch Snack Bags

Yummi Pouch

Prize: Set of 3 cloth snack or sandwich bags, style of choice
Take snacks on the go with Yummi Pouch cloth snack and sandwich bags. Our cloth bags are lined with a moisture resistant interior and decorated with colorful prints, choose from 16 cute patterns! Perfect for crackers, sandwiches, and dry snacks, or small items like bottle parts, teethers, and hair accessories! They open with a silent zipper that's simple enough for a child to use. Reduce the trash during lunchtime or organize your purse with our modern cloth bags. Learn more at revelae.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - Back Buddy Support Pillow

Back Buddy

Prize: Back Buddy Support Pillow
Back Buddy is an award-winning maternity and feeding support pillow, designed by a Chiropractor and nursing mother. It alleviates common back pain during and after pregnancy, and provides comfort and support for mom while holding or feeding baby. Made in the USA from high-quality structural foam that is certified to be made WITHOUT harmful PBDE flame retardants, phthalates, CFC's, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, and is tested for performance, durability, and emissions.
Learn more at back-buddy.com.
Eco-Home Giveaway - hipNgo

hipNgo

Prize: hipNgo - brand new, black on black design or color of choice
The hipNgo provides the ideal child carrying solution for the family with an active lifestyle and a busy toddler. The patented saddle seat centers the child against the adult hip and provides proper weight distribution, relieving strain on the arms, shoulder and hands. The simplistic shape, size and weight offer families on the go, a handy solution to the challenges of traveling with a toddler. The hipNgo can be adjustable for male or female versatility, left or right handed dexterity, as well as large and small build body types. Say goodbye to the bulky stroller and say hello to the 5-ounce hipNgo with its own storage bag. Available in several colors as well as classic black. Learn more at hipngo.com.

Enter to win these great prizes!

Eco-Home Giveaway - Mommy Scene
This giveaway is sponsored by Mommy Scene and is open to US entries. One winner will be chosen and displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on March 28th, 2016. Mommy Scene and the participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand.

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Mommy Scene Blog Street Team

Mix It Up in the Kitchen with b.box Kids Dinnerware {A Review & Giveaway Hop}



Welcome to the Let’s Mix It Up in March Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by Lindsey Blogs and Viva Veltoro. We’re mixing up March, with a host of other bloggers, by bringing you fun (and in some cases delicious) giveaways in this Food and Kitchen themed Giveaway Hop! Be sure to hop around to them all and don’t miss the amazing Grand Prize to help little ones mix it up in their own kitchen - a Mixin' Up Magic Kitchen from Step2!

 

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


Isn't shopping for kids fun?

From toys to clothes and everything in between, there are so many fun products out there created just for kids. One of my personal favorite things to shop for is kids dinnerware. I know that seems like such a silly thing to love shopping for, but let's think about it- these are products that our children use every single day. These are items used to bring kids healthy, nutritious meals. Shouldn't we make those essentials not just practical, but fun too?



I was recently introduced to a fantastic company that does just that: b.box!



So, what sets b.box apart from the rest? Take a look:

At b.box we are passionate about creating  fun and functional everyday baby essentials with a difference.  Our goal is to make the lives of parents more convenient, in a cool and innovative way. But above all everything we do has to be practical. And of course our products are BPA, Phthalates and PVC free so they’re safe for our kids and the environment.

What makes us unique is the thought we give to design, functionality and aesthetic. With the benefit of being mums ourselves, we design products we need, want to use and fill a gap in the market. We offer a range of products aimed at the 0-3 year old market focused primarily on feeding and diaper changing, both in the home and for travel/on the go. 

For this review, I was given the chance to try out two of their new products: the divided plate and the toddler cutlery.




First up, the divided plate. Now I don't know about your kids, but I know my oldest kiddo doesn't particular like it when his different foods touch on the plate. The different sections help to keep them seperate. Now, of course there are other divided plates on the market too and we have many, but one thing I've often found is that with certain foods- like pizza slices, sandwiches and even pork chops- those little sections just don't have enough room! The entree section of the b.box plate has plenty of room no matter what the meal at hand is. It also features a non-slip base to keep it from sliding all over the table when your little one is eating and easy to grip sides. My 2 year old loves being independent and always wants to carry her own plate- which leads to more than a few messes, as you can imagine, but the b.box plate allows her to do it herself much more easily. And when you have more than one? They stack easily, which is perfect for those who have tendency to go a little overboard like myself!



Next up, the Toddler Cutlery Set. This set features a design unlike any other I've ever seen! The unique shape isn't just for looks, this patented shape was designed with the help from leading pediatric occupational therapist to fit the size and shape of little mouth and encourage correct hand to mouth positioning. Now, while my daughter took to typical cutlery fairly easily, my son has always struggled with that. At 8 years old, he does still work with an OT on his grasp, so this would have been wonderful to have when he was younger. Not only is it easy for little hands to use, it's also easy to bring along wherever you go. If you've ever eaten out with little ones you know that most restaurants are going to have grown up silverware only. The convenient carrying case is perfect to pop into the diaper bag or easy transport!




Now that the specifics are out of the way, let's just talk about the cuteness! We received the Passion Splash- a vibrant purple and neon green accent- so fun! But all of the color options are just as fun and just as vibrant- just as kids dinnerware should be! They make kids WANT to come to the table and eat, which is really the first step in getting kids to eat healthy, balanced meals!



Ready to purchase or learn more about these fun pieces? You can do so at the links below:

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

And one very lucky reader is going to win a b.box sippy cup, snack pack and cutlery set! 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, and the Mix It Up in March participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.