A Modern Day Fairy Tale: February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When God Made You: An Easter Gift Guide Review

**Book received for review. All thoughts are 100% my own.
Raising a child with special needs, perhaps one of the greatest things that I can hope to teach my children, and that I can hope for other parent's to teach their children is the simple idea that it is okay to be different. No matter what our differences are- be it color, be it looks, be it disability- this is how God created us. 

This is something that was very important in my household growing up. You see, I had an older brother who passed away before I was born, who carried the diagnosis of mental retardation and suspected autism. While I never had the opportunity to meet him, that made a huge impact on how I was raised--- to respect EVERYONE. No matter how different they were. I thought this was the norm, until becoming a special needs mother myself and realizing just how much intolerance there is out there! So I strive to give my kids that same mindset that I had- that its okay to be different. I am always on the lookout for books that can help to remind them of this message. 

Today, I'm excited to share one such book with you, When God Made You:

YOU, you… God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut.

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly. 
Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves. 
‘Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!

What I love about this book is that it doesn't specify what these differences are. When I read it with my children, I love that I can use it as a starting point to talk about people with special needs and the like, but others may find it a great resource to talk about racial or cultural differences, or even those unique traits that make us us. No matter how we read into it, it truly is a great, child appropriate reminder that God made each and every one of us to be just who He wanted us to be- our strengths, our weaknesses, our talents... He knows them all and loves us because of and in spite of them. Told in this beautiful book, this is a message that all kids should read!

When God Made You is available TODAY at your favorite Christian book retailers. Pick this up to add to your child's Easter basket today!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Race to Win: A Family Movie Night Giveaway

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

I love a good movie.

No, no, let me rephrase that... I love a GOOD movie. A good, CLEAN movie. When I sit down to watch a movie with my family, I don't want to have to worry about what they will see or hear. I don't want to have to approach topics that my little ones are not quite ready to approach. Even when watching a movie alone, I don't want my kids to wander in and...well, wonder! But finding those movies that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family? That can be tough. Today though, I have one such movie to share with you- Race to Win:

 Television favorite Luke Perry (“Riverdale,” “Beverly Hills 90210”) stars alongside actress Danielle Campbell (“The Originals”) in Race To Win, an uplifting family movie about courage and hope, that arrives on DVD on February 14 from Anchor Bay Entertainment, and available on Digital HD from Starz Digital February 3.  Race To Win is directed by Teddy Smith (A Gift Horse) and has been awarded a Seal of Approval from The Dove® Foundation. The cast includes Aiden Flowers who starred in this summer’s blockbuster movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children directed by Tim Burton, Candice Michele Barley (The Hollow), Thomas Francis Murphy (LBJ, Free State of Jones), and Amy Brassette (“True Detective”).

Hannah Rhodes (Campbell) is faced with the biggest decision of her life when she loses her father, Gentry Rhodes (Perry). After Gentry suffers an apparent heart-attack, the Rhodes family is left to pick up the pieces and continue running the horse ranch Gentry had worked his entire life to build. Meanwhile, a local resident claims Gentry owes him thousands of dollars which the family does not have. Hannah and her family quickly become overwhelmed with the financial crisis that is upon them and unsure how they will pay off the debt without having to sell the ranch. She must find the strength to face her fears and compete in the race of her life or her family will lose everything.

Now, let's be honest... this movie is a little sappy! But being even more honest, I love a good sappy movie- think Hallmark or an inspirational Lifetime type movie. If those aren't your cup of tea, well, this one likely won't be either. But if you go crazy for those types of films, grab some popcorn and the family, this is right up your alley. In many ways, this story of potentially losing the ranch and having to find a way to overcome it isn't all that unfamiliar. It's a common theme we see in many stories, but told in a beautiful way.

Gentry Rhodes, the father in the movie played by Luke Perry dies early on in the film, but makes visits throughout offering encouragement to his family. Though our family members may not physically visit us after their passing as is portrayed in the film, it is a great visual example of how even after someone has left this earth, they are with us in the lessons and memories they have left behind.

More importantly than anything, it was a movie that I could feel good about my kids watching. There was no language, no nudity, no drugs...not even those masked innuendos that I've found many kids films like to try and sneak in for the adult audiences. It is simply a wholesome movie about a family that families can enjoy together.

Ready to add this to your family movie night? To learn more about the film, please visit www.anchorbayentertainment.com. It is available to purchase now at your favorite movie retailers.

And one very lucky reader is going 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.

Find the Right Baby Gift with LuvdBaby Premium Hooded Bath Towel {A Deal}

I don't know about you... but for me personally, it seems like all around me are baby bumps! New babies are arriving everywhere...maybe you're one of those mamas-to-be sporting a baby bump this spring... or maybe you're just shopping for one. Either way, today I'm sharing a great shower gift that you are going to want to check out- the LuvdBaby's Premium Baby Hooded Bath Towel - 100% Un-Dyed Organic Cotton Muslin - For Boys and Girls! Here's what makes this towel so fantastic:

PROTECTS THEIR LITTLE SKIN: 100% Organic Un-Dyed Cotton Muslin. Protect your baby in confidence. No harmful dyes used at all so your towel is completely hypoallergenic to their new little skin.

DRY YOUR CHILD SAFELY AND QUICKLY: Dry your little one quickly in confidence with our super absorbent multi-layer gauze cotton towel.

SOFT & CUTE: Your child with look so cute in their hood with its' little bear ears. The muslin organic cotton is incredibly soft and comfy.

Our new born to toddler bath is a luxurious addition for you and your baby's precious bath times.
Lovingly designed with 100% organic cotton muslin that is not dyed. Cotton grows naturally in this brownish color so no harmful chemicals need to be used.
Our 'Cotton Range' was conceived to protect your child with no harmful chemicals often used to dye baby fabric products. As a small family business, we didn't want to sell a child's product that we wouldn't be happy to put near our own children's skin.
The towel is a perfect size for a new born to infant stage (34 inch x 34 inch).
It's incredibly versatile. It also doubles as an adorable bathrobe or a swaddle.
The neutral undyed colour also mean you can buy in advance of the special day as it's great for boys and girls. Make it part of your maternity hospital kit or buy it for someone special as a baby shower gift.
The little ears on the hood are a cute addition that will make you smile. The towel also comes in a cotton bag that means it can be stored and put away for next time.
Treat yourself and your precious bundle to the softest cutest kids bath towel on Amazon.
 Get Yours Today! Premium Baby Hooded Bath Towel Save 20% Off Code: FIFTHOFF
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Overcoming Doubt {+ A Look at the New Season Of CNN's Finding Jesus:Faith, Fact Forgery & LifeWay Giveaway}

**Gift card provided in exchange for this post. All thoughts are 100% my own. 


That's not something we really want to talk about as Christians is it? After all, we have this idea that if our faith is strong, there leaves no room for doubt! When we admit that we have doubts, does that mean that we are not good Christians?

Let's take a look at the definition of doubt, which states doubt is, ' a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction' or to 'feel uncertain about, fear; be afraid of.'. Now, I don't know about you, but I consider myself to be a strong Christian, a person with a lot of faith... but can I say I've never had my doubts? No, I cannot. I've never doubted the existence of God, that I've always been certain of. But other scriptures that I know by heart and truly do believe, sometimes in the midst of hard times it's hard to fully embrace them.

One of my very favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I know these words by heart, and often find myself repeating them over and over when things are not going according to my plans. And in my life, that has happened often. Even having seen that this is true in my own life, seeing good come from less than ideal situations... when I'm mid crisis, it's hard to believe it. When your health is failing, when a loved one dies unexpectedly, when your spouse loses their job...where is the GOOD in that? How is this God's plan for my life?


It may be fleeting, but it's there... that fear, that unknowing. I think if we were all to be completely open and honest with ourselves, we have all experienced those moments at points in our lives. Even Thomas, one of the 12 disciples, was known for having his doubts as we read about in John 20: 24-29-

 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Doubt in and of itself does not make us a bad Christian... it simply makes us human. It is what we do with that doubt that can either separate us in our relationship with God, or strengthen it. For me, I use those moments to bring my relationship strength. I pray about it. I dig deeper into the Word- I look at the story of Thomas, I look at other scriptures relevant to my struggles. I am a stronger Christian because of my doubts, because they have forced me to dig deeper.

Want to dig even deeper into the story of 'Doubting Thomas', you are going to check out the upcoming new season of CNN's Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery:

In case you didn’t get an opportunity to check-out the first season of this hit series, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact Forgery captivated audiences as well-known Pastors, theologians, and archaeologists, examined famous religious artifacts, and brought to life the places, pilgrimage sites, and people from the Bible and ancient world. 

This season, one of our episodes focuses on Jesus’ disciple Thomas – or you may have heard of him as “doubting Thomas.”  But there is so much more to his life story.  His journey to overcome his doubts and fears, and to redeem himself by spreading the Gospel and message of love to a faraway place is an inspiration!  It’s also something we can all relate to - as each one of us at one point in our lives have had to struggle and overcome our own doubt and fears in order to fulfill a great challenge in our lives, or even during our faith journey.

The second season premiers Sunday, March 5th, and I for one am looking forward to experiencing it for myself! Will you be watching?

To celebrate the second season, one very lucky reader is going to have a chance to win a $25 LifeWay gift code! Use it towards a new Bible or devotional, some journaling supplies or to fill your Easter baskets this year! 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.

Don't forget: Season 2 of Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact Forgery premieres Sunday, March 5 at 9 PM ET/PT on CNN.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Journaling Joy {A Look at the NEW Delight in His Day Collection from Illustrated Faith & Dayspring} #Dayspring #IllustratedFaith

**Products received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.- Ecclesiastes 8:15

Have fun? Hmmm...  that's not something a lot of people think about when it comes to the Bible and being a Christian is it? No, many people look at the Bible as a rule book. Christians can't have fun, they have to follow all the rules. The Bible says Though Shalt Not, not Though Shall, right?

I'm not sure where this misconception comes from, but when I read through my Bible, that's not what I see. I see: Joy! Hope! Peace! Proverbs is full of words on living a joyful life, such as Proverbs 17:22, ' A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.'  John 16:24 tells us, 'Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full!'. Earlier in John 10:10, we read, 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.'

It certainly doesn't sound to me like words from a God who wants us to not have fun. He doesn't want us to sit idly in a church, listening to rules, but to enjoy our lives as Christians. How are we to be lights in this world, if people see us as sticks in the mud? Looking back at my childhood and teenage years, some of my greatest memories are those of going to church camp. We were in church services 3 times a day, we were constantly praying, and their was most certainly a focus on God throughout each and every day. But we were also having a BLAST! We were doing our usual camp activities like the zip line, the rock wall, swimming. We played tricks on one another. There were people eating bugs (why!?). There were funny videos. There was silliness. We would laugh until someone snorted and then we'd laugh even harder. I don't know that I have ever experienced such a joy as I have in those days. It was not in spite of the fact that it was a Christian camp, but because of it. We knew where true joy came from and what it was to live life abundantly. When we sang in those worship serves, we did not stand still, we expressed our joy through dance.

I think sometimes in the business and often stressful moments of our adult lives, we can lose sight of that. In the midst of my journaling through the Old Testament, I decided to take a little break after Leviticus and do some JOY journaling using one of the wonderful new collections from Illustrated Faith, Delight in His Day:

Oh what a fun collection this is! Talk about joy! This kit is fun, it's summer, it's memories, it's yummy! It's bold and colorful! Fun, fun, fun! Just take a look at some of the amazing pieces from this new collection:

Not quite your style? This is just one of the new collections! Seeds of Faith is ideal for spring, with adorable birds and softer colors! Basics is perfect for...well, everyone! Definitely at the top of my own personal wishlist! There are also new hexie and mini hexi stickers, puffy crosses, new washis, and so much more! Over 100+ new Illustrated Faith items have just been released! Head on over and see it all!

And don't forget to use the code 25FORYOU to save 25% off, plus free shipping! No minimum purchase required!

Have you checked out all the new products from Illustrated Faith at Dayspring? Which are on your wishlist?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top 5 Reasons to Switch to Fresh Step® Cat Litter Compact Packs {+ A Giveaway}

This post is sponsored by Fresh Step® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share Fresh Step but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Fresh Step is not responsible for the content of this article.

A few months ago, when a sweet little cat-now called Stella- showed up in front of my house and immediately impacted my son's life, it was a no brainer that we must go through the process of having her registered as an emotional support animal so that he could keep her. The decision was easy- their bond made it for us.

But, that didn't mean the transition into pet owners was altogether easy. There was a lot to learn, and a lot of questions to figure out. What kind of foods would we feed her? How hard would litter box training be- and where would the litter box go? Where would she sleep? What kind of toys would she need? Lots of questions, but perhaps none as pressing as- Where were we going to put it all!?

To be entirely honest, our house is not that large. Or more specifically, it lacks storage. We have no storage closets, no pantry, no bathroom storage...I am constantly having to move things around and get creative to find places to put things away! After our first trip to the pet store to stock up on cat supplies, I couldn't help but wonder, "What have I gotten myself into!?"

We kept it simple with toys and a small cat tree. Canned food took up minimal room for a few weeks' supply. And sleeping? Well, we quickly learned she didn't need anything special. But the cat litter? Now that proved to be the challenge. If you've shopped for cat litter, you know that it can be rather bulky. Logic might say to just buy the smaller bag, but for a cat owner- litter is like toilet paper. You do not want to run out! A bigger bag is better. But where are you supposed to put them? And for those petite cat owners like myself, how are we supposed to pour it!? There had to be a better option, right?

Now with Fresh Step® Cat Litter Compact Packs, there is:

The Fresh Step Compact Packs features the equivalent of a 34 or 38 lb. box packaged in four smaller packs designed to make the litter experience more convenient. The Fresh Step Compact Packs are better designed to store in and around the home, and easier to pour into the litter box. It’s perfect for homes with multiple cats (and multiple litter boxes), not to mention easier to store for apartment dwellers and those without a lot of space.

These will not be available at retailers until next month, March 2017, but I was able to test them out in advance. To say it was love would be an understatement. Today, I'm sharing the top 5 reasons you should make the switch:

  1. Saves Storage Space. First and foremost, the obvious. We all love the convenience and often savings that come with buying the larger cat litter bags, but when space is limited that can be an issue. The Fresh Step Compact Packs offer the best of both. You still get more litter, but in convenient smaller packs that are easy to store wherever you can find the room. Stash one here, stash one there... it's a lot easier to find a few places to store smaller bags than one place to store that huge bag. I love that I have options that will work for me, even with my lack of storage. This is ideal for any cat owner with limited space. And even if you DO have the extra space, it's always a great idea to use it wisely, right?
  2. Easy to Carry & Pour. Again, I'm petite and carrying a bag of litter throughout the house to each litter box can be quite the pain. And actually pouring? Well, I have yet to do so once without  ending up with at least a minor spill. Again, these smaller packs are easy to handle. Store one near each litter box if you can, but if that's not an option these smaller packages are much easier to manage. It could even be a great option in getting the kids to help care for their own pets! 
  3. Great For Travel. In our family, we travel several times throughout the year to visit family. Now that Stella has joined the family, she has joined in on the travel. If you've traveled with children, you know that they require a lot of stuff themselves...adding a cat onto that? Oh boy! Typical litter bags take up room we just don't have! These truly are perfect to squeeze in among the luggage! 
  4. It Works. Convenience means nothing if it doesn't work too, but this product does! Fresh Step is a trusted brand in cat litter among pet owners because it works. These compact packs offer the same high quality, reliable cat litter we've come to expect from Fresh Step, in a much more convenient package. The new Fresh Step Compact Packs are available in three formulations: Fresh Step with Febreze Odor Shield, Fresh Step with Febreze Multi-Cat or Fresh Step with Febreze Extreme.
  5. Earn Rewards. With the Fresh Step Paw Points Rewards Program, every purchase helps you to earn points that can be redeemed for free Fresh Step litter, coupons, and toys. It even gives you the option to give back by donating points to your local shelter. You can also download the new Paw Points Rewards app by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play to earn 50 points.

Ready to make the switch? Fresh Step Compact Packs will be available in March 2017 at Walmart, Target and your favorite grocery store. Look for Fresh Step Compact Packs at your favorite retailer. 

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

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

And Fresh Step is giving FIVE very lucky readers the chance to win! Each winner will receive one coupon worth $18.00 to purchase and try the new Fresh Step Compact Packs. 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.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fresh Step. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Organize Your Journaling Supplies with These Simple Tips {+ New Products from Illustrated Faith & Dayspring} #Dayspring #IllustratedFaith

**I received these products as part of the Dayspring Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

"An hour, I found one hour!" As a mom to two little ones, my time for journaling is often...well, hit and miss! I have to find time wherever I can, so when I find time to actually get a page done, I have to make the most of it. When time and inspiration line up, I just need to sit down and do it while I can.

But where did all my supplies wind up? I know just what I need, but WHERE is it!?

I must admit, that until recently, this is how many of my journaling sessions went. I would finally find the time, but with so many supplies to sort and no sense of organization at all, I'd spend most of that time trying to round up everything I needed. What was supposed to be a fun stress release for me on some days had become a bit overwhelming. You see, over the nearly year and a half that I have been journaling my supply collection has grown from just a few pens and colored pencils to a huge assortment of journaling supplies- stickers, washi, more pens, gelatos... you name it! While I love having all of these options at my disposal to make each page fun and unique, I knew I needed some sense or organization to make it work. It took some time, but I think I've finally figured out a system that works for me. Today, I wanted to share some of these tips with you so that you can get back to journaling too:

  • Zipper Pouches are a MUST! One of my favorite tools for organizing are zipper pouches. They come in a variety of sizes to best fit your organizing needs, and can be quickly tossed into your bag for journaling on the go. 
  • Keep It Separate! When you have a wide variety of supplies, separating by type can be really beneficial. This is where those zipper pouches come in handy. I have one with stickers, one with die cuts, one with paper clips, etc. If I know I have a die cut that would be perfect for a page that I am working on, I love not having to sort through stickers and clips to find the die cuts. 
  • BUT Keep Your Most Used Supplies Together. Though most everything I have is separated by type, there are some supplies, those I use most often, that I keep together separate from the other like supplies. This could be pens, glue stick, alpha stickers, scissors, a particular paint color or washi... whatever you feel like you want the easiest access to! For me, my most used supplies are Illustrated Faith, so I actually have those separated from the rest of my supplies, then further organized by type among them. Still all are kept in a central location so they can be easily grabbed as needed.
  • Plan Ahead. Sometimes, I get this great idea for a Bible page as I'm listening to music or reading, even just working around the house... but I don't have time to actually journal in that moment. Still, it can be helpful to set aside those things I do need when the idea comes so that when I make time to journal, it's already ready. Likewise, if I am working through a devotional (such as the Illustrated Faith monthly devotionals), I will keep things I need for those together so I just have to grab bits and pieces from elsewhere. Once I finish, they go back to their rightful place.

It really is such a simple system, but it has worked well for me in helping to make my journaling time as productive as possible. Today, I'm super excited to share with you two great new products from Illustrated Faith and Dayspring that will help: the Kangaroo Pouch and Organization Bag.

One of the reasons that this zipper pouch system works so well for me personally, is that while I have my craft table where my supplies are stored, primarily I actually journal elsewhere. I can be found on the couch, sitting at the kitchen table, joining my kids on the floor, journaling while they color with me. Very rarely am I actually AT my craft table. That makes these two products perfect for my personal journaling needs.

First up, the Kangaroo Pouch. Like I said, I already love and use a zipper pouch system, so it is no wonder that I would like this one. But what sets this apart is the fantastic elastic band that allows you to wrap the pouch around your Bible. This is great for those most used products, or for keeping supplies for the project you are currently working on, so when you don't need your full bag of supplies, you can use this! Again for someone who is on the move while journaling, this is ideal. And even when I don't want to put it on my Bible, the strap makes it easier to manage, just throw it on my arm and go!

Next up, the product I am most excited about- the Organization Bag! First and foremost, this bag is gorgeous! I love the fun design featured on both products, but I particularly love the verse. The first thing you see when you walk up to my house is a sign featuring just that sentiment. My makeup bags, jewelry rack, and mirror...all also featuring Ecclesiastes 3:11. It is one of my personal favorites, and so I loved to see it featured. But aside from that, the bag is also very practical. On the outside, you will find a pocket on each side. These are not especially wide, but perfectly hold a paper pad, or several sheets of stickers, or even a devotional. Inside is even more space! When you've been journaling awhile, your Bible tends to double in size it seems! Mine certainly has, but I still had plenty of room left for supplies. Even when using my much larger Interleaved Bible, there was still space. (You can watch my video here to see just how much I was able to fit...with still more room.) The mesh pockets are perfect for smaller items like scissors, paints, washis... easily accessible and you can see just what you're getting. There is also a larger interior pocket that is the perfect size for stickers, devotionals paper pads, etc. This is deeper than the outside pockets so you can fit much more! And again, back to my own zipper pouch obsession, I love that this includes two different pouches, that coordinate perfectly and are just the right sizes for everything I need.

Whether you are journaling on the go or just want to better keep organized at home, these new products are ideal.

And these are just a few of the new products available today through Dayspring. In fact, they have just launched over 100 new Illustrated Faith goodies! Wow! New collections, new products... you do NOT want to miss any of this! I will be sharing more throughout the week, but don't wait! Head on over to check it all out now!

Don't forget to use the code 25FORYOU to save 25% off your purchase + free shipping. There is no minimum purchase so whether you want to stock up, or just grab a few new pieces, this is a great deal! Offer expires March 31, 2017. 

Do you have a system for Bible journaling organization? How can these new products make journaling easier for you? 

Friday, February 17, 2017

NKJV Precious Moments Precious Prayers Bible {An Easter Gift Guide Review}

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

Yesterday, we started off my first ever Easter gift guide with a fun new Bible that was perfect for children- boys and girls- around the ages of 6-10. But what about the younger kiddos?

As I mentioned, my son and I are both collectors of Bibles, and this is something that my daughter has seen. So, though she is only 3 years old and not able to read on her own, it truly came as no surprise to me that she asked for a Bible of her own. Not a story book bible as she already had, but a true 'big girl' Bible. When I saw the NKJV Precious Moments Precious Prayers Bible I knew that it would be a great fit for her:

Young children will delight in the pages of NKJV Precious Prayers, a Precious Moments® Bible. Full of the beloved Precious Moments® artwork and dozens of pages of full-color bonus material, this classic Bible will be a family treasure for years to come.

Written in the trustworthy New King James Version, this full-text Bible includes a special eight-page personalization area to record each child’s very own precious moments and events. Sixty-four color pages of classic children’s prayers are spread throughout NKJV Precious Moments® Precious Prayers, including themes of thanks, prayers of praise, prayers for school, for mealtime, for bedtime, for family, and so much more.

Young children will learn and embrace these prayers that will become lifetime favorites. Write down your little one’s prayers on full-color pages, creating a beautiful way to forever capture the innocence of their early faith journey! Featuring adorable Precious Moments® characters, this beautiful plush padded Bible with soft, eye-catching embellishments will be a treasured keepsake in any child’s library. 

Children will be drawn to the soft, inviting illustrations, and parents will enjoy teaching the heartfelt prayers and the scriptures from the trustworthy New King James Version®. 

Since 1978, Precious Moments has grown into an evergreen brand recognized worldwide, with more than 13 million books and Bibles sold. It is one of the most recognized and beloved licenses on the market today.
Now, I must admit, I wasn't 100% sure about this Bible at first for one simple reason--- the translation. Personally, I don't prefer the NKJV translation for every day reading. Still, I know that it has its place and we loved the style of the Bible itself, so for her first Bible, I thought it would still be a great choice.

My daughter was already fairly familiar with Precious Moments through our church. In fact, one of her favorite blankets is her 'church blanket' featuring a sweet Precious Moments design. So, I knew that the artwork would catch her attention. And I was right! She was so thrilled to have her very own Bible featuring this look she already knew and loved.

Inside, we found even more Precious Moments illustrations with sweet prayers for children to read and learn. Some of these were prayers I had read before, others were new, but all certainly fit the description of 'precious prayers'. Again, at three years old, my daughter isn't going to be reading the Bible... but she IS at a stage where she is learning to pray and this Bible is the perfect re-enforcement for that! We are loving reading these prayers and so look forward to learn and use them as she grows older. This truly was the perfect starting Bible for my little girl, and the perfect addition to any Easter basket!

The NKJV Precious Moments Precious Prayers Bible is available to purchase now.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

NIV Investigator's Holy Bible {An Easter Gift Guide Review}

**Book received for review. All thoughts are 100% my own. 
Easter will be here before we know it, and for those of us who like to plan ahead, that means its time to start thinking about Easter baskets. So, in celebration I am introducing my first ever Easter Gift Guide- featuring family friendly products that are ideal for Easter baskets! Outside toys, fun jewelry and toys, and of course- inspirational gifts to remember the reason we celebrate! What better way to start this guide off than with Bibles perfect for kids of all ages!?

In our household, Bibles are a big thing. I have personally been collecting them since I was in high school, and my oldest child started his own collection just a few years back at around 8 years old. He is always searching for unique new Bibles to add to his collection. The NIV Investigator's Bible was a perfect fit:

Have you ever used a magnifying glass? It makes everything bigger and easier to see, right? Detectives and scientists magnify things to understand them better. Well that’s just what this Bible does—it’s a magnifying glass to help children understand the Word of God better.

The Bible is a gift from God, but many of the things written in the Bible are hard for kids to understand. In fact, sometimes they’re downright mysterious to kids. Using kid-friendly language and a detective theme, the two color NIV Investigator’s Holy Bible explains the Bible text for kids ages 6–10. Two central mystery-solving characters invite children to investigate the Bible using the following features:

  • Evidence—Bible book introductions answer what kind of book it is, who wrote it, what happens, and the “best part”
  • Breakthrough—answers questions kids might ask, such as “Who were the Philistines?” and “What is The Spirit of God?”
  • Scene—includes descriptions highlighting geographical information pertinent to a verse
  • Witness—explains the meaning and history behind Biblical names
  • Detective—quizzes students on what they have learned
  • Case Closed—explores how the events of a particular book of the Bible relate to children as individuals

As a child, I LOVED a good mystery! It was so fascinating to me to look at the clues and try to figure out how it all went together. Even now, I love a good law show. From these we know there are many key factors that work into a good mystery. What is the evidence? What are we looking at? Why is it important? What was the scene? What clues can we gather from where it all went down? Who were the witnesses, and what do they have to do with the case at hand? And when all is said and done and the case is closed...what did we learn from it? What a fun and unique way to take on the Bible. If you think about it, for kids today, the Bible really IS a bit of a mystery! These stories are so foreign from the world in which we are living- where everything is technology based and information is so readily available to them. How can these people, these places and the events mean anything to them? That truly is the mystery and this Bible can help to break it down and solve the case in a way that not only makes sense to children, but is fun for them too. My son is already loving his new Bible and looks forward to continuing to work through it.

If you have a little one who loves a good mystery, this Bible is a GREAT choice to help them dig deeper into the Word!

NIV Investigator's Holy Bible is available to purchase now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Journaling Through Exodus

Next up in my journey in reading and journaling through the Old Testament: Exodus!

Much like Genesis, Exodus- the story of Moses- is one of those books of the Bible in which the stories are all very familiar. We know all about the plagues of Egypt, the 10 commandments, the burning bush. These are all very familiar images for Christians. To be honest, as I was reading through, I was a little shocked that before this moment, I had actually only journaled one page in Exodus! There are so many great reminders of God's keeping his promises and the protection of His people. I really sought to capture that in my journaling. Take a look at some of my pages:

The burning bush in the story of Moses is one of those iconic Bible stories. One of those stories that is at least somewhat familiar for even those NOT familiar with the Bible. This was one moment I really wanted to highlight in a big, bold way. Though honestly, this page is not at all what I intended it to be. You see, though I have no issues with unreadable words in journaling Bibles (after all, I- like many of my Bible journaling friends- keep seperate Bibles for studying and journaling), I do personally try to keep my words readable when being painted over. That was my intention here... a bold fire, but still readable...with much smaller lettering too. But my paint had other ideas. For whatever reason, it went on thicker than normal... so I just decided to go with it! It wasn't the look I was initially going for...but it most definitely was BOLD!

Just as iconic are the plagues of Egypt, but for these, I went with a much simpler entry...a few pen drawings and list of the plagues in order. It doesn't have to be fancy!

So much of Exodus is talking about God's protection of His people as they were led out of Egypt... these few simple pages reflect just that. He protects, He delivers on His promises.

A familiar verse and one I personally loved. I loved the soft colors of this page (created with gelatos and dampened cotton balls).

Isn't it amazing how much grumbling there was on the journey to the Promised Land? God had delivered His people from Egypt and yet...complaints! Reading through it's easy to say, 'Why are you acting like that? Don't you know how much you have to be thankful for!?' Yet, if we were to be honest... don't we all have those moments? Even when things are not going our way, God has already done so much for us. I think working on complaining less is something we all could use some help with.

The burning bush, the plagues of Egypt...all very familiar but if we had to choose THE most iconic image in Exodus, nothing can top the 10 Commandments. I had some fun journaling a few specific commandments rather than the list as a whole... like this vibrant page!

As I was reading through some of these rules that God had given his people, the word obedience came up a few times... and I was reminded of this classic hymn. I love using hymns in my journaling, so I decided this would be a great spot.

Overall, I really enjoyed rereading and journaling through Exodus. I actually found it less of a struggle to journal with many themes and stories that hit home with me. Next up, I moved onto Leviticus... now talk about a challenge. Stay tuned to see how I journaled my way through.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Get Rid of Boy Stink & Support Veterans Too with Hero Clean {A Review & Giveaway}

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

If you have a boy in your house you know one thing to be true--- boys are MESSY!

I grew up in a house with just sisters, and while we could create or fair share of mess and disorganization, it was nothing compared to the mess that boys can create! Little boys, big boys... they all make them. And we need cleaning products that can keep up with them! Today, I'm excited to share with you a company that has sought out to do just that:

Founded in 2013, the Hero™ Clean men’s household cleaning product line is available for subscription at hero-clean.com. A kit (one of each product) can be ordered to ship every month, every other month or every third month.  Hero™ Clean products are also available on Amazon.com and Target.com. Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HeroClean/, Twitter via @HeroClean or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/heroclean/. A portion of purchase proceeds benefit Iraq and Afghanistan military Veterans of America (www.iava.org), the most diverse and rapidly growing group of post-911 veterans.
Following are the current line of products and new features of each:

Laundry Detergent: Available in 50 oz. and 100 oz. bottles, this laundry detergent now includes a patented Odor Defeater malodor technology specifically created to target laundry odor caused by male sweat and bacteria. The reformulated product now also includes a six enzyme package to: combat proteins, such as blood and grass; starch, such as pasta and rice; thickeners, such as locust bean gum and pectin; and oil and fat, such as salad dressing and food grease. These new enzymes also brighten white laundry while reducing contrast fading properties in colors. This detergent can be used for everyday laundry cleaning and even to wash sport uniforms. It is HE and non HE compatible.

All Purpose Spray Cleaner:  This 32 oz., low streak cleaner is effective for cutting dirt and grease, but flexible enough to be used on all hard surfaces, including glass.  There is no need for 17 different surface cleaners, this bottle does it all.

Dish/Hand Soap: This 22 oz. pump is phosphate and bleach free as well as dermatologist approved. It is ultra-concentrated and super aggressive on grease and dried on food. This multipurpose soap is great for use in a bucket of water for car washing, mopping, bathroom cleaning, etc.

Odor Eliminating Spray:  As opposed to deodorizing sprays that simply mask odor, this 17 oz. spray bottle contains odor killing probiotic microbes as well as HEro Clean’s Odor Defeater technology. For use on most fabrics, gear and cars, it is effective on anything that needs a little freshening up between cleaning. This product can also be used as a very effective laundry malodor pre-treatment.

All of the products continue to feature the original Hero™ Clean scent, a fresh, subtle aroma that's not fruity or flowery. Carefully designed by fragrance experts responsible for the world's finest colognes, Hero™ Clean's scent profile is based on Juniper, and a primary ingredient in Gin bringing a masculine sophistication to the cleaning products aisle.

Let's be honest, when we think of cleaning supplies, we primarily think WOMEN. Every cleaning ad you see on the TV--- geared towards women. If you take a look through a popular women's magazine, you're likely to see several ads for various cleaning products. But in a men's magazine? Not likely. Or just got for a walk through the cleaning aisle. The scents, the packaging... again, screams women! If we truly want to encourage our boys to clean, shouldn't we give them a cleaning product geared towards them?

When I opened the Hero Clean products, I could immediately tell these were different. They bottles were darker, much more man friendly and the scent? Definitely masculine! I had to put these products to the test right away.

First up, the laundry detergent. If ever there was a test for getting out the boy stink and stains, it's in the laundry- sweat, dirt, yuck- we've seen it all. So, I tossed in some of my son's clothes with the Hero Clean detergent. Not only did the clothes come clean, they smelled great too. The detergent left them with just a slight scent--- which to me smells very much like a men's body wash or the like. I loved that it was noticeable, which I think made my 10 year old boy feel a little more grown up, but not overpowering... one of your tops get thrown in with the boys' things? It's not going to be a huge deal.

Next, I had to use the Odor Eliminating Spray. Another area where you'll find a lot of boy stink... their bedrooms! I truly didn't expect this to begin until the teenage years, but well... boys will be boys right? A spritz around my son's room was just what we needed to keep his room smelling fresh.

The all purpose and dish/hand soap? Yes, those were fantastic too! My son actually WANTED to do the dishes...and wash his hands! Awesome!  But more than the great smell or packaging, the real test was...did it work well? To answer it simply, YES! They worked wonderfully on any and all boy messes I came across in my home. And because you can have them shipped automatically, this is a great option for men who don't often like to shop for such things too. In fact, I couldn't help but think that this would be a great options for bachelors, college students, or even service-members. We can make sure the boys in our life are being taken care of, even when we're not there to do it in person.

As a military wife, I of course also loved that not only did these products work, they support a great cause too! This is a product that I can truly feel good about using. I know that it is helping to keep my home clean (and boy friendly) AND that my money is going to make a difference in the life of veterans like my husband.

Ready to learn more and start getting your home Hero Clean? You can learn more at the links below:

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

And one very lucky reader is going to win a prize package of Hero Clean products to try for themselves. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

Spoil Your Little Girl with Gifts from SmitCo LLC {A Review}

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

When I first learned that I was having a baby girl, I was ECSTATIC! Don't get me wrong, I had so loved being a boy mom, and would gladly have taken another boy had God so chosen to give me one, but let's be honest--- girls are soooo much fun to shop for! You don't just have toys, you have jewelry and makeup, nail polish, dress up clothes, fancy journals... Often when I am shopping for gifts for my children, I notice that I can always find so many more things I love for my little girl!

Do you have a little girl you love to shop for? Maybe a daughter or niece or granddaughter? Today I'm excited to share with you a company that has just the gifts you're looking for- SmitCo:

Smitco offers quality, affordable gifts for girls ages 2 to 12. SmitCo has several different diaries with lock and keys and diary sets for girls in Emoji and Diva themes, as well as several different nail art sets to provide hours of fun. SmitCo products also include rose gold, gold or rhodium plated jewelry and sets, as well as very popular stretch sets for little girls - all packed in cute gift boxes. 

They sound fun, right? I was recently given the chance to choose just one SmitCo product to try out for myself. Oh, what a decision that was! Immediately, I fell in love with...well all of it! I loved the affordable dress up sets, perfect for my little girl who dreams of being a princess. I loved the cute journal sets--- mermaids? emojis? My daugher loved them both. (Though being just 3, they seemed a little out of her skill level.) I fell in love with the jewelry, both the more kid-friendly styles and the metal necklaces too. Like I said, it was a TOUGH choice, but ultimately, I HAD to go with the Emoji Scratch and Sniff Nail Art Set!

My daughter LOVES having her nails painted. It truly is one of her favorite things--- up there with, well, emojis! What a fun fit! So, I knew she would love this set! Boy, was I right! She immediately fell in love with everything! She loved the fun nail polish bottles, the cute stickers, and while they were too large for her toddler fingers she loved the nail patches too. Mostly, she loved the fun added twist that these were scented! Theyy had fun fruity smells that made painting our nails even more fun.

One other thing about my daughter and her love of nail polish? She loves to CHANGE it. Pink one day, blue the next... I loved that this is a kid friendly nail polish that just peels right off whenever she is ready to make the change!

Overall, we both really loved this set and look forward to seeing and buying more from SmitCo in the future. You can see everything they have to offer here

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mommy Scene Be Mine Giveaway

Be Mine Giveaway for families, kids and babies - Mommy Scene
We are excited to bring you a fun giveaway from Mommy Scene filled with wonderful prizes for your family and cute little ones!

Prize Collection

Re-Play Valentine's Day Tableware Set
Yummi Pouch Brights Reusable Food Pouches
Pacific Baby 3-in-1 Insulated Baby Bottle (7 oz Cherries) + 1 piece Yellow and Green Straw Top
Taster pack of Amara Baby Food and reusable grocery bag
Four PaigeLauren Baby Caps and a Classic Layette Converter style of choice
Buttons Diapers Cloth Diaper Cover style of choice and Two Daytime Inserts
Handsocks Baby Mittens
One Infanteenie Beenie Newborn Hat (Excludes monogrammed items)
Cozy Blanket Pouch size and color of choice
NogginSeek Peek & Seek Rattle
Babo Botanicals Natural Kisses Lip Tint Trio
Thinkbaby Sunscreen
Bella B Foaming Face Wash and Nipple Nurture
Sleep Zzz Pillow for kids ages 3+
The Shrunks Indoor Tuckaire Toddler Travel Bed

Enter to Win these Valentine's Day Inspired Family Essentials!

This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries ages 18 and older. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted through e-mail, and their name displayed on the giveaway page after the giveaway ends on February 24, 2017. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand. Have fun and good luck!

Mommy Scene Blog Street Team
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Celebrating One Colorful Year with Dayspring & Illustrated Faith {A HUGE Giveaway} #Dayspring #IllustratedFaith

**Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.
When I first heard that Dayspring and Illustrated Faith were teaming up, I was ecstatic! I had been a fan of Dayspring for many years, and was just really getting into Bible Journaling at the time and already quickly falling in love with Illustrated Faith, so I knew that it would be the PERFECT match! And was it ever!? I have been so excited to see all of the greatness coming from this collaboration!

Can you believe that it has been ONE YEAR!?

One year of color and beauty and spending time in the word with Dayspring and Illustrated Faith! Oh, what a year its been! And that's something worth celebrating! So, Dayspring is offering an AMAZING, cannot miss giveaway!

THREE lucky winners are going to win an Illustrated Faith Gift Package worth over $600!! You do NOT want to miss this giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Beautiful Garden of Eden {A Kids Book Review}

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

The story of creation.

Has there every been a more important story? It was the story that started it all. Perhaps this is why it's typically among one of the very first Bible stories we teach children. After all, where better to start than the very beginning?

There are many great Bible stories out there on the subject to choose from, but today I am excited to share a very unique take that I have fallen in love with:

The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. Gary has a well-developed talent for creating engaging narratives that also teach biblical truths through rhyme.

The Beautiful Garden of Eden tells the story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, allowing sin to ruin what was perfect and beautiful.

For many kids, reading in general can seem like a bit of a chore...something they have to do, not something they want to do. Reading Bible stories? Well, that can hold even more true! There are kids who love books, and there are kids who just don't have the concentration and lose interest somewhere halfway through. Regardless of what kind of reader (or listener) your little one is, this is one book that is sure to captivate their attention. With each turn of the page we are introduced to a new character and then reminded of their relationship to every character or place we've already met. This repetition not only helps us to want to continue reading on, but also helps us to better remember the story as we read...great for newer readers.

This type of cumulative tale has created some amazing stories that have been beloved through the ages. Never heard of The House that Jack Built? Chances are, you probably have heard it at least once or twice, but even still it's only one example of books written in this style. Other examples you may be familiar with, 'Green Eggs and Ham' and 'There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly'. I don't know about yours, but in my household, these are a couple of books that we LOVE! There is just something so captivating about their beautiful rhymes that we cannot get enough of.

The Beautiful Garden of Eden fits beautifully into that style with a stunning lesson on the story of Adam and Eve. It's fun, it's whimsical, but most importantly, it really is a story that every person, young and old should know.

I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to reading more from the series. The Beautiful Garden of Eden is available to purchase now

Happily Homemade:Cooking with Love {A Book Review}

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

When talking about the early days of my marriage, I often share the story of our nightly dinners. And well, let's just say, we ate a LOT of rice! The truth was, at 19-20 years old, I really didn't know how to cook anything else. I could bake... but cooking? No, that was a new territory for me. But my husband never complained so...rice, it was!

Then he left the country and finally admitted to me, 'I really don't like rice'.

It was at that point that I came to the decision that I really needed to learn to cook. And so I set out on that mission. When my husband came home from that deployment, every day was yet another new recipe from the many cookbooks I'd collected. Most of them turned out great, but a few were just a little out of my league. But still, I cooked on. These says I'm a fairly good cook--- or so I'm told, but I still love a good cookbook to help me along.

Like the one I wanted to share with you today, Happily Homemade: Cooking with Love-

Does the question “What’s for dinner?” fill you with dread? Is the thought of looking for something to cook every day overwhelming? Popular food blogger and Pinterest celebrity Rachel Schultz has you covered in Happily Homemade, with 100 tasty recipes even a beginner can serve with pride.

Reinvigorating familiar dishes with interesting and unexpected flavor combinations, Rachel shares her go-to creations that always get rave reviews. Even with so much variety, Rachel’s approachable recipes include only ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. This gorgeous cookbook includes a photo of every recipe, plus essays and tips from Rachel (and her friends) on hospitality and making life easier in the kitchen.

Happily Homemade is all about celebrating food and joyfully loving others through cooking. Let Rachel show you how easy it can be to bring warmth and delight to everyone at your table by serving something happily homemade.

When I first opened up this cookbook, I couldn't help but wish that I had had this cookbook back in those early days of learning to cook. You see, this book doesn't just jump into the recipes as many do, but helps with those beginner tips that other cookbooks assume you already know- what temperature should meat be cooked to? what measurement does this equal too? how do I cut this recipe in half? what can I substitute this ingredient with? how long is this good for? These are questions that I know I have personally asked time and time again, and I loved being able to find them all in one place.

Then we get into the recipes themselves. Yum! Looking through there were so many I wanted to try. What I loved was these were not your typical beginner meals, but are more simple meals taken to the next level. Still, the recipes themselves were easy to follow and I know that these were recipes I could have personally created even in those post rice, just learning to cook days. I'm also a very visual person, so I really loved and appreciated the gorgeous full size photos next to each recipe. From entrees to snacks, desserts and even DIY seasoning mixes, this certainly is a cookbook that every cook, new and old would love to add to their collection.

Happily Homemade is available to purchase now.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Journaling Through Genesis: Part Two

Last month, I shared that in an effort to do some more reading and journaling in the Old Testament, I had decided to start at the beginning and read and journal my way through Genesis. (You can see the first part here.)

Last night, I finished my final page in Genesis! I must admit, I really enjoyed journaling as I read, but it was TOUGH. As I read through the New Testament, there are many verses that stick out to me. But the Old Testament? It really is just so much history, and I really had to think on how I wanted to journal these pages.

I also took this opportunity to work on another Bible journaling goal I'd had--- experimenting with more techniques. I played with gelatos, used different watercolor techniques and more. I'm not a natural artist, so I loved taking this time to learn new ways to journal!

Throughout this process I both learned more about this fascinating book in the Bible (I'd read it through before, but it'd been awhile, so a refresher was necessary) and created some pages that I am really proud of. Not all of them are perfect but that's not really the point. I also did not journal every single page. Though I cannot speak for everyone, I imagine journaling every single page in your Bible is quite rare, and that's okay. Journaling every page is also not the point, but instead journaling the messages, the lessons and the images that speak to you personally.

Here is a look at some of the remainder of my journaling through Genesis: