A Modern Day Fairy Tale: June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Benefits of Coffee for Skin {+ a DIY Coffee Scrub}

Coffee image created by Jigsawstocker - Freepik.com

Oooh coffee... who else is a coffee fan!?

If you are, then you already know how amazing coffee is to drink... but did you know there are actually great benefits to the skin too? Take a look at some of these amazing benefits I found in my research:

  • It exfoliates and softens. I'm a big fan of a good scrub for exfoliation, but most of us think of sugar or salt... not coffee. Still, coffee is a great exfoliate too! See the recipe below for a fantastic scrub that I cannot get enough of. The result? Super soft, touchable skin!
  • It tightens skin. Dealing with fine lines or wrinkles? Caffeine can be great for minimizing the appearance of fine lines! It can also help with puffiness and dark circles.
  • It's an anti-oxidant. Coffee is rich in anti-oxidants and can help reduce redness!
  • It reduces cellulite. Say what!? The caffeine in coffee dehydrates your fatty cells, and makes your skin look smoother. 
Like I said... amazing, right? I've been having some issues with my skin lately and my regular scrubs just weren't doing it, so I thought...why not give it a try, right? So I created a little scrub using ingredients I had in hand-

DIY Coffee Scrub

  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used brown, you can use white too)
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. If its not already, get your coconut oil into a liquid form. Allow to cool, but make sure it doesn't solidify.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Store in a jar or other airtight container.
  4. Use as desired over face and body.
Now, I'll be honest... this isn't a pretty scrub... you might look at it and think, 'No way I'm putting that on MY face or body'... but take a sniff. It smells AMAZING! The blend of the coconut, coffee and cinnamon is heavenly. And all three have their benefits too! Cinnamon is great for acne, anti aging and more!

Now, honestly... I cannot tell you if these ingredients can really do all that they claim to do. I'm not a doctor and I cannot pretend to be. However, I can tell you that after a week of using this scrub every other day, I could tell a huge improvement in the overall feel and look of my skin. I'd been dealing with some dry patches on my cheeks, and they are now smooth to the touch...and while the dark circles aren't entirely gone (I might need some more sleep for that), I feel like I look more awake too! This has definitely become a regular addition to my beauty routine, and I love that I don't need to buy anything special!

And if nothing else, it's a great exfoliate that smells heavenly!

Have you ever tried a coffee scrub? How did you like it? If you decide to try this one, I'd love to hear your results!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baby on a Budget {Tips to Help You Save on Baby Needs}

Sale image created by Phduet - Freepik.com

There must be something in the water! Everywhere I look, it seems someone else I know is expecting a baby!

And while babies are exciting and fun, they can also be... well, expensive! So while the baby days are over in my own household, I wanted to pass along some of my personal tips on saving for baby!

  • Ditch Disposables. Perhaps one of the greatest ways that I saved money with my daughter was by using cloth diapers. There are many ways you can save even further on those, but even just by using cloth, you're savings a TON over using disposable.
  • Use Coupons. There are ALWAYS coupons available for baby essentials like diapers and wipes, even baby soaps, etc. While breastfeeding is certainly cheaper too, there are also always formula coupons too. Take advantage of those. Also don't forget to look for store coupons too! These can help you save on those larger purchases that you cannot as easily find coupons for.

  • Comparison Shop and Price Match. This is with any kind of shopping, but I've found baby product can have a HUGE difference in price from store to store, so check around and use price matching when available! 
  • Buy Used. Now, there are some things I might not recommend buying used (carseats for example), but many other things can be purchased at a fraction of the cost just by shopping secondhand. With clothing especially, you might find pieces worn once! Babies grow so quickly that many baby items see minimal use. When buying used, keep recalls in mind too! While stores like Once Upon a Child are supposed to check these, other thrift stores or individual owners may not realize. 
  • Enter Giveaways. This one is of course a game of chance, but enter them regularly and come back daily to increase your chances to win. I was able to win many big ticket items- a playpen, infant carseat, etc- for my daughter AND even more smaller things too. Did you know there are giveaway linkys devoted to cloth diaper giveaways!?
  • Set Up a Registry. Even if you're not having a shower, set up a registry. Many places offer rewards on any registry purchases, AND discounts at the end of the 'event'... you can take advantage of these discounts and rewards with your own purchases. Plus, did you know that many places offer freebies when you set up a registry!? Toys R Us and Buy Buy Baby both offer sample bags- these are mostly sample sizes, but can include things like bottles too...AND typically have coupons too. Watch for Target deals on starting a registry. With my daughter I was able to find a coupon for a free gift card just for signing up! Amazon also offers a registry, AND will give you a Baby Box worth about $35 when you sign up, complete your registry checklist AND make a $10 purchase from your registry.

  • Don't procrastinate. Start shopping early! You may not be able to buy clothes, etc right away, but start getting what you can as soon as you're comfortable. Not only does this allow you to watch for deals on the items you need, but it spreads that spending out over time so it's not such a shock to the pocket book.
  • Keep It Basic. Shopping for a little one can be overwhelming, but remember, babies don't NEED it all. A place to sleep, something to eat, diapers and clothes. The rest is nice, but not essential. If your budget is tight, don't feel like you have to have it all... just get what YOU personally need and can get. 
Are you expecting or know someone who is? What money saving tips would you offer to a soon to be mom looking to save? 

Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse Giveaway

 If you've been looking for the perfect playhouse for your little ones, look no further than the Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse, sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us! We're thrilled to be able to give one of these darling cottages away to one of our readers, thanks to our friends at Step2.

 Here are details about this playhouse, from the Step2 website: This Step2 cottage playhouse gives little ones a cozy place to call their own. Youngsters can use the working, electronic doorbell to let their friends know when the have arrived for the fun! Children can have their own imaginative dinner party with the attached outdoor dining table. This sturdy kid’s playhouse features an open-design concept that allows little ones to play with their friends both inside and outside! Made in the USA of US and imported parts.
  • Little ones can use the built-in kitchen sink, swivel faucet and outdoor eating area to have an afternoon of imaginative play!
  • Large, open-air design allows for multiple children to play while allowing parents to keep a watchful eye
  • Real, working doorbell chimes to let kids know when their guests have arrived
  • Large window planter boxes allow for children to plant flowers!
  • Realistic stone and wood design will bring years of pretend play fun
  • Exclusively available at Toys "R" Us!
  • Adult assembly required
  • Recommended for ages 2 and up
Open to the continental US only, ages 18 and up. Ends 7/13/17 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
Disclosure: One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe This 4th of July Holiday @Dealspotr

With summer vacation here and the sun finally peeking through the clouds, you know that before long, Fourth of July celebrations will be well underway. On this, one of the most festive holidays of the year, you'll often see flag-lined streets, red, white, and blue d├ęcor, and barbecues ablaze. Families will come together, with kids splashing in the pool while the adults drink a refreshing beverage in the sun. The entire day will finish with a capstone display of colorful exploding gunpowder high in the sky.
Have you ever wondered why we shoot off fireworks? Why the huge festivities? Smithsonian Magazine said it best: “Because we always have.” The city of Philadelphia kicked off the tradition a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence (which, fun fact, didn’t actually happen until August 2 - but Congress did approve the text on July 4) with a parade, toasts, decorations, and fireworks. Boston held their own celebration that same year, also complete with fireworks.
While this patriotic holiday is a great time for Americans to get together to celebrate the birth of our nation, with fireworks, hot dogs, swimming, and other fun activities, it can also be a dangerous holiday for kids and pets. Between loud noises, crowded festivities, too much sun, swimming pool hazards and exploding gunpowder, there are many opportunities for injuries. If you want to enjoy your holiday without worry, check out these 20 tips that are sure to make your celebration safer for your family!

For the Animals:

Did you know that the fifth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters? Some pets escape thanks to inattentive party-goers, others run away (and keep running) out of fear of the fireworks. Animal Control Services report that the number of lost pets increases by 30 percent immediately after the 4th of July and an estimated 30 to 60 percent of lost pets are euthanized because animal control is unable to identify the pet’s family, according to PR Newswire. Here are some tips on how to keep your furry friends safe this year.

Use Pet-friendly bug spray to avoid poisoning. No DEET for dogs! 

Understandably, you want to keep your pet safe from bug bites (which can lead to worms or West Nile), but you’ll need to check the label before you use any bug spray on your pets. Not all tick/mosquito repellent is pet-safe. A repellent that contains DEET can cause vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures in dogs and cats. Be sure to look for a product labeled “safe for pets.”

Keep glow bracelets and citronella away from animals. 

Glow bracelets and necklaces are fun for humans but not for dogs or cats. Keep these away from all pets to avoid excess drooling, mouth irritation and vomiting. If you notice one leaking, toss it to keep your little ones safe, too. On the bright side, the chemical inside a glow stick is very bitter, so it’s not likely that a kid or pet will keep noshing once they get a taste. But it’s always best to take extra precaution. (Bonus: buy these at a store like Dollar General and not at the parade or celebration. You’ll save a ton of cash).

Have your dog chipped and check your gates before party day. 

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe over the holiday is to do a little prep work. If you haven’t done so already, you can have your dog or cat microchipped. This electronic chip allows a shelter or vet to find you if someone brings your pet into their facility. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and double check your gates and fences to prevent escape (especially if you have horses).

Keep your eye on the chow to prevent your dog from overeating and from eating the wrong foods.

Dogs have sensitive tummies. Keep an eye on guests (especially little ones who love to share) when meal time arrives. Overfeeding is just as dangerous as eating the wrong foods for your pet. Popular barbecue foods to avoid giving your pet include avocado, onions, grapes, ice cream/milk, chocolate, fat trimmings, and raw meat. Instead, let your pooch snack on treats like watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, apples, baby carrots, peanut butter, cooked chicken (plain), and green beans.
Fun tip: freeze some berries or other fruit in ice for a sweet treat that will keep your dog entertained for hours.

Clean up balloons and firework debris from the backyard as soon as possible.

Following your backyard party, run a rake through the grass to make sure you’ve gathered all sprinkler/firework debris, broken balloons, and food scraps. If a water balloon fight is part of the party plans, have the kids race to see who can pick up the most balloon scraps once the game is over. Store the scraps in a milk jug to prevent curious babies (and pets) from finding them. If you find sparkler/firework leftovers, toss them into a bucket of water as you’re cleaning up to make sure they’re really cooled off.

Keep your pets and kids cool with plenty of water and inside activities during the heat of the day.

Both kids and pets can easily overheat on a hot day. During a long day of celebrating it’s especially easy to lose track of time. Make sure your kids and pets are getting enough to drink and having some cool-down time outside of the summer heat. Heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke, which is deadly.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
•    Panting
•    Excessive drooling
•    Reddened gums
•    No urine
•    Lethargy
•    Pale or flushed face
•    Dizziness
•    Headache
•    Nausea/vomiting
•    Tiredness
•    Cold, clammy skin
•    Muscle cramps
Provide kids and pets with lots of water and plenty of shade to cool off. Consider keeping kids and pets out of the hottest heat of the day (between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.) by planning indoor activities.

Keep your dog calm by cuddling with your dog and blocking firework sounds with music.

It’s quite common for dogs (and even cats) to startle at the sound of fireworks. Some may even display extreme signs of discomfort like shaking, hiding, urinating, barking and whining. Most studies are unclear about why dogs have this fear (studies focused on the sound of thunderstorms) though the same could be true for grown adults too! If your pup is sensitive to the celebratory noise there are a few things you can do to comfort your furry friend:
•    Turn on the TV or radio to block some of the firework noise.
•    Cuddle with your pet and offer lots of snuggles and pats.
•    Try a Thundershirt, which provides extra weight and can be comforting for some dogs.
•    Let your pets hide under the covers.

Keep an eye on alcoholic beverages so kids and pets don't ingest them accidentally.

If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to keep the stuff away from kids and pets. Alcohol is toxic to dogs and it could make little ones very sick. Consider having a non-drinking pal watch the party so everyone goes home safe. Store all alcoholic beverages out of reach of both pets and kids. If you notice signs of disorientation, drunken behavior, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or seizures, get your pet to a vet immediately.

Check your pets and your kids for ticks after celebrating in the woods. 

This tip is good for both kid and pet: If you’re headed to the woods for your big celebration, keep kids in light, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Once you get home, check your kids (and your pets) for ticks. For your pet, pay special attention to the feet, ears, armpits, head, and tail. Rub your hands through their fur (reaching to the skin), if you feel a lump, pull the hair away to see if you can spot a tick. For kids, check their hair, underarms, and behind their legs.

Designate a no-fly zone for kids and pets when the BBQ is hot. 

Another double whammy: The barbecue. The barbecue is just as dangerous as a stove (if not more so). The barbecue should be a kid-free zone. Consider setting up a child gate around the area to keep pets and kids away. Make sure to store any propane tanks away before beginning fireworks to avoid serious accidents.

Kid Safety

Every July, hundreds of people die or are injured while participating in Independence Day celebrations (In 2015, 11 people died and 11,900 people went to the hospital after firework-related injuries), the CPSC reported. Factor in the injuries and deaths from car and swimming accidents and the Fourth of July might feel scary for anyone - especially kids. Below are some ways to stay a little safer this year, especially with your children. Follow these, and you can enjoy a burger at your backyard barbecue in peace. (Fun fact: Americans buy some 190 million pounds of burger every year in preparation for festivities.)

Take a snapshot the day of your party so you remember what your kids are wearing if they get lost.

When the crowds begin to swell, it’s easy for little ones to wander away. A simple tip to make them easier to find is to take a photo of your little ones the day of your festivities. You’ll be able to show any police officer or helpers exactly what your little one was wearing, making them easier to spot in a crowd.

Use ID tattoos to help little ones get back to you if they are separated in a crowd. 

One fun trick is to get temporary safety tattoos for your kids with their name, address, and phone number. Put these on their shoulder where a stranger can’t see it, but your child can easily access to show a police officer. You can make your own by writing the information on their skin with eyeliner and then covering the ink with high-end hairspray, clear nail polish, or a liquid bandage.

Make the kids easier to spot in a crowd with a glow stick lantern or matching hats.

Make it harder to lose your kids by using small mason jars to create a glow stick lantern. Simply clean out an old jar and fill it with water. Break large glow sticks (to activate the mixture), then cut them open with scissors. Pour the mixture into the water and seal the lid tightly.  Alternatively, you can use tealight candles in a small jar.  You may also consider matching shirts or hats for the entire family.

Protect their hearing with headphones and stay a football field away from explosions.

While fireworks are fun to watch, they can be dangerous in more than one way. In addition to being a fire and burn hazard, being too close to a firework explosion can cause hearing loss. Health experts recommend keeping little ones at least 500 feet away from the source of firework explosions (that’s about 1 ½ football fields away). Doctors recommend keeping children under 1 completely away from the loud noises.  Alternatively, you could invest in protective earmuffs to keep their ears safe.

Prevent sparkler burns with a paper cup over the hand. 

Keep little hands safe from sparklers (which can burn at more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit) by turning a cup upside down and poking a small hole through the top. Slide the sparkler stick through the hole and have the kids hold the stick inside the cup.  Any sparks will hit the cup and not their hands. If you’re feeling a little craftier, this adorable star option from The Nerd’s Wife is a good choice. In addition, make sure your little ones aren’t wearing clothing that is too loose and tie any long hair back in a braid or ponytail.
Most importantly, remember that while fun, sparklers are dangerous. They are very hot. Always watch little ones while they enjoy these hand-held fireworks.

Know the 4 S's of water safety: Supervise, Secure, Save a life, Swim and survive.

If your Independence Day celebrations include swimming, you’ll want to be extra careful around the water. To keep everyone safe remember the four S’s:
•  Supervise: Always have a responsible adult with kids at the pool or lake. Make sure there are enough adults to supervise all the kids and do not rely on kids to monitor their younger siblings.
•  Secure: Pool areas should have a safety gate or locked door when not in use to prevent little ones from sneaking out without notice and falling into the pool.
•  Save a Life: Consider getting CPR certified so you know how to help in the event of an emergency.
•  Swim and survive: Teach your little ones how to swim. Knowing how to swim will keep them safer (though supervision is still essential for young kids).

Give the kids sunglasses to protect against firework debris.

Keep little eyes protected from sparks and embers flying off fireworks you set off at home. Keep children as far back as possible from the person lighting the fireworks and consider letting your little ones (and the firework lighter) wear protective glasses - even sunglasses will offer some protection.
If a firework hits someone in the eye, check out the damage. If there doesn’t appear to be any tearing or bleeding, try flushing the eye out with saline solution. If the damage is more severe or there is vision loss, cover the area with a hand and get to the doctor immediately.

Soak used fireworks to prevent fires. 

Do not relight dud fireworks and hose down any explosives (duds and ones that exploded) to prevent fires. This applies to used sparklers as well. A good dousing of water should prevent fireworks from causing damage. The Miami-Dade Police recommend soaking used (or old) fireworks in water overnight then wrapping them in plastic bags before tossing them out.

Take extra precautions with backyard games by wrapping stakes in bubble wrap.

There’s nothing like a good backyard game to get the entire family excited. Barring any family brawls (because that never happens), there are a few other ways you can keep the family a little bit safer.
•    If you’re planning on putting up a volleyball net or other game, consider wrapping stakes in bubble wrap. This will keep shins and knees safe if someone should trip.
•    Set a designated play area that’s far away from any grills, yard equipment or other hazards and don’t forget to stash yard tools in a locked shed.
•    Set up a play yard: If any games involve throwing (Ladder Ball anyone?), set up a play area for smaller kids to hang out so a stray ball doesn’t whack them in the noggin.
•    Double check all playground equipment before guests arrive to prevent accidental falls.

Double down on food safety by keeping foods in a cooler when you're not eating.

There’s nothing quite like food poisoning to ruin a holiday. Keep the pesky food-borne illnesses at bay by keeping meats, eggs, dips, and cheese in a cooler or the refrigerator. Keep fruits and veggies covered too. You can keep some items cool longer outside by filling a large bowl with ice and placing a smaller container filled with your food on top.
•    Store perishable foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Pack more food into the cooler to keep it colder longer.
•    Keep drinks in a separate cooler so you don’t have to open the food every time someone needs a drink.
•    Toss any perishable foods after they’ve been sitting out for more than two hours (or more than an hour if temperatures soar over 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
•    Pack water, soap, and paper towels so everyone can wash their hands (especially anyone in charge of food prep).
•    Always cook food to the proper temperature (pack a meat thermometer if necessary).

Have fun, and remember to enjoy your purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain safely this year!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Month with Jason's Deli {+ A Giveaway}

Did you know that June is National Cancer Survivor's Month?!

Now, THAT's a reason to celebrate!

Those that know me know that this is a cause that is very near to me personally. Several years ago, I received the phone call that no child wants to receive from their parent. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about scary! Thankfully, she was diligent due to our family history of breast cancer and cancer in general. She caught it early, and I am happy to say she is now cancer free.

Like I said, Cancer Survivor's Month is TRULY a reason to celebrate.

And Jason's Deli is doing JUST that!

They are seeking to educate on the importance of good nutrition on cancer treatments through its partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center. They are doing so with the introduction of the Salmon Pacifica Salad.

Now through April 2018, 50 cents from the sale of every Salmon Pacifica Salad at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants will be given to MD Anderson. Since 2013, Jason’s Deli has donated more than $726,000 to the world-renowned cancer center. Amazing, right?

Created in collaboration with MD Anderson's dietitians and cancer prevention researchers, the 450-calorie salad is full of nutrient-rich ingredients, including:

·        Wild-caught Alaska sockeye salmon with Omega-3 benefits
·        Avocado filled with more potassium than bananas
·        Grape tomatoes full of lycopene 
·        Fire-roasted Piquillo peppers, cucumbers and pickled red onions add to the variety of plant-based ingredients
·        USDA-certified organic field greens free of pesticides
·        New cucumber-dill vinaigrette

Now, I've not yet had the chance to try this particular salad for myself, BUT I know it will be amazing. Everything I've tried from Jason's has been! I love that this is one that I can feel great about both in it's healthy eating AND the important cause it supports! And don't forget, Jason's Deli offers FREE ICE CREAM... so it's the perfect treat for the whole family. Head on over and make a difference today. You can learn more here.

Pretty amazing, right? But it doesn't end there.

Jason’s Deli has teamed up with its wild-caught Alaska salmon provider Trident Seafoods to offer customers the chance to win an all-expenses paid Alaskan Adventure fishing trip for two on August 10-12, 2017. Through the end of June, guests at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants can enter the trip giveaway and a chance to win a $10 gift card by texting the keyword SALMON to 35350 and then entering the daily code displayed on signage in the restaurant. One winner will be chosen for the trip at the end of the month.

And  Jason's Deli is offering one very lucky reader the chance to win a $100 gift card!!! 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. 

Pool Safety Tips for Your Little Scuba Explorers

Summer is officially here, which means it's pool season for you and the kiddos! While this should be a season filled with fun in the sun, it's important to practice proper poolside safety to ensure your kids have a safe and happy summer vacation. Here are a few important tips that you need to keep in mind.

Swimming Lessons

The first step in getting your kids ready for the pool is enrolling them in swimming lessons. Even the 3.27 million people who participated in scuba diving in 2015 had to start somewhere! Learning the basics of swimming and water safety is incredibly important, especially at a young age. And you've got options, too! From private lessons to classes you can take with your children, getting involved in swimming lessons is easy and essential.

Always Supervise

No child should be allowed in the pool without adult supervision at all times. If there is a group of adults at a pool party, there should always be at least one parent watching the water. In addition, younger children should always be within reach of a parent or a strong swimmer. This ensures that if they're struggling, they can always receive help from someone nearby.

Know Your Floaties

Flotation devices are a great way to give children greater mobility and parents more peace of mind, but remember: floaties don't guarantee safety in the pool. Water Safety Magazine's Jenelle Lockard writes, "Because water wings are used on the upper arms, they prevent a child from using the correct swimming stroke ... if a child raises their arms above their head, their head can sink down below the water's surface."

So before you buy the first pair of floaties you see, make sure you're doing your research to see which flotation devices provide greater security for your child in the pool.

If you follow any pool safety guide this summer, let it be this one. These safety measures are absolutely essential for your child to have. Once you've mastered all these things, it's time for you and your children to have a wonderful, fun-filled summer!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Moms Like Myself Love MLM/ Direct Sales

Admit it... you saw MLM in the title of this post and shuddered a little bit, didn't you?

MLM- or multi level marking- gets a bad reputation. So often our newsfeeds are loaded with someone trying to sell us something different, or asking us to join their teams. Hey, I'm a director with Paparazzi, and even I find it to be a lot at points- I totally get it!

But what's the appeal of these businesses? Why are so many women (and yes, some men) jumping on board? Today, I'm sharing my thoughts-

  • Extra Income. Let's be honest, life is expensive. As much as we would love to, it is hard to live on one income these days! These companies allow stay at home moms like myself to contribute something to the family budget. Some might argue that earnings in these companies is minimal at best--- but here's the thing, when you're living paycheck to paycheck, that extra $100-200 is a HUGE difference! (Though I do recommend everyone have reasonable expectations--- while it's possible to make a great income, it's not always as easy as some make it out to be--- it IS work!)
  • Work From Home. Listen, there's a reason that these businesses appeal so much to stay at home moms--- again it's the income from above, but we can get that from any ol' job right? But with these companies like Paparazzi or Scentsy, etc... we can work from home and spend more time with our families--- and we don't have to worry about high childcare costs. 
  • The Community. Being a stay at home mom can be isolating at times, we spend day in and day out with little people who aren't the best conversationalists. When we start with these companies, it can be a great outlet for us for adult interactions- both with team members and our customers. Money aside, some women love it just for that!
Aside from all of that, the products are often amazing! Even those companies I don't represent are among some favorites of mine. My closet overflows with LLR. My jewelry box is filled not JUST with Paparazzi, but Stella & Dot too. My daughter's closet? Dot Dot Smile. Don't even get me started on my Scentsy stash! There are so many great companies out there, there truly is something for everyone.

Wanting to learn more about the various MLM brands out there? Check out this link for a look at the 50 Best Companies of 2017. Whether you're looking to join or looking to shop, you're sure to find some interesting options!

Celebrate National Chocolate Pudding Day with S'Mores In a Cup

There are a lot of random holidays throughout the year aren't there? Some of them are a little crazy, and have you scratching your head... but others give us a fun reason to celebrate. Like today. Did you know that June 26 is National Chocolate Pudding Day!? 

I don't know about your family, but in ours, any excuse for a delicious sweet treat is a good one! So today we are revisiting one of our favorite ways to take a simple chocolate pudding and take it to the next level.

S'Mores In A Cup


  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Graham Crackers 
  • Marshmallow Creme
  • Clear Cups

  1. If you are not using premade chocolate pudding, prepare this first using the directions given. Allow to cool. 
  2. Prepare your graham crackers! Place in a large Ziploc bag and use either a rolling pin or meat mallet to crush the crackers to desired consistency. This is a fun way to get kids involved as well... mine certainly love this part!!
  3. Now, it's time to create your s'mores. Start by adding a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of each cup. Continue adding layers of each ingredient until you reach near the top. There is no right or wrong way to do this... three single layers gave it a nice clean look, but alternating in various patterns create visual interest.
  4. Finish off your layers with marshmallow creme-to resemble whipped topping- and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. (You could also add some shaved chocolate to the top, or a few mini marshmallows, if desired!)
  5. Eat and enjoy!

What is your favorite way to enjoy chocolate pudding? How are you celebrating today? 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mommy's Little Bag of Tricks: Diaper Bag Essential At All Ages {+ Baby & Toddler Snacks from Beech-Nut}

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

When you become a mom, a few things in your life will inevitably change.

  • Your body will be forever changed... not in a bad way, just different than before.
  • You will never be allowed to pee again without an audience or little fingers peeking under a door.
  • You'll likely never have a meal to yourself. 
  • You'll continuously know the themes to shows like 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse'...and may even find yourself watching after the kids have gone to sleep. 
  • You will have have to carry a mom bag... with lots of room for EVERYTHING.
Let's talk about those bags, shall we? When our little ones are babies, we rightfully call it a diaper bag... but the reality is, as our children grow out of diapers, we STILL find our bags being taken over by the little ones. Forget a diaper bag--- it should be called 'Mommy's Bag of Tricks'!

But how do you pack the perfect mom bag? What's inside?

Today, I'm sharing my tips for packing a diaper bag/mommy bag- no matter your child's age!

Traditional Diaper Bag (Infants)

What's inside? 

  • Diapers and wipes- cloth or disposable. As many as you think you'll need, plus a few extra. Trust me, you'll appreciate those extra.
  • Wet Bag for Cloth Diapers.
  • Change of Clothes. Or two.
  • Bottles + Formula and/or nursing cover- if desired.
  • Baby carrier.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut baby food. 
  • A small toy, if desired. 
  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lipgloss.

To be honest, I sometimes feel like my kiddos require less at this age... I keep it pretty simple. Diapers and a change of clothes plus something to eat are truly all you need! My children are breastfed so we don't have to worry about bottles which is a plus! I don't even always carry a toy at this stage, as my kids aren't typically all that interested yet. 

The 'Little Big Kid' Diaper Bag (Potty Training-Preschool)

What's Inside?

  • Diapers and/or training pants, depending on where your child is with potty training. 
  • Change of Clothes. Especially pants and underwear!
  • Wet Bag in case of accidents. Whether you used cloth diapers or not, these will be a lifesaver during potty training! 
  • Wipes. Even beyond potty training, these are handy for messy toddler hands. 
  • A favorite toy or small book, something to keep your little one entertained.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut toddler snacks.
  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lipgloss. 
At this stage kids are starting to get busier--- so some small entertainment is a must. We usually keep a favorite book or a phone toy, etc handy just in case. The diapers may be gone, but even if your little one does well in the potty at home, personal experience has shown that its always a good idea to have back up, just in case. And snacks are a MUST! Is it just my toddlers that are always hungry? Better to go prepared than have to stop through a drive thru along the way! 

The 'You're Never Getting Your Bag Back' Mommy Bag (Preschool and Beyond)

What's inside?

  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lip gloss.
  • Rocks.
  • Pinecones.
  • Barbie Dolls.
  • Cars.
  • Books.
  • More Books.
  • Fresh Kleenexes
  • Dirty Kleenexes.
  • 'Do I even want to know what that is?' Mystery objects.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut snacks. 
This is where it gets interesting... once your kids are out of diapers and exploring on their own, you'll find things in your bag that YOU didn't put there. My daughter is a real scavemger and is always collecting rocks and pine cones and dropping them in my bag. Between that and the toys that always seem to make their way inside--- it's like a Mary Poppins bag. Never ending, and you'll never know what you might find inside.

Some of the contents of your bag might change as your child grows, but the key at all stages is to always be prepared. Keep them clothed, keep them entertained and keep them fed! 

For keeping them fed, Beech-Nut has us covered! For those early days of baby food, we especially love the pouches. They fit easily into your diaper bag and can be a lot less messy for little eaters too. To be honest, my kids enjoy these well into their child and preschool years too--- the pouches are just a fun treat no matter their age. Cereal Puffs are the right size for snacking! I've not seen a kid yet who doesn't love these. For the older toddlers/kids, nothing can beat the oat bars! You might find yourself sneaking one yourself! They're the perfect size to toss into those already overflowing bags and for kids to grab on their own!

The best part about Beech-Nut? They strive to keep their products as close to homemade as possible. They use minimal ingredients so that every child can enjoy REAL food at any age. There are no artificial ingredients and they are non-GMO. Some varieties are even gluten free. These are snacks that I as a mom can feel great about feeding my kids.

Is it any wonder they're a staple in mom bags everywhere?

You can see more from Beech-Nut and connect at the links below:

Visit the Website.
What's in YOUR diaper/mom bag? What are your essentials? Which Beech-Nut products make the list?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Encourage Summer Reading with Bright Books from Silver Dolphin {A Stormin' Into Giveaways Hop Event}

Welcome to the Storming into Giveaways Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!
Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!


**Books received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

What makes a good children's book?

I suppose this answer is subjective, but to me there are a few things I always look for when choosing new books for my children:

  • A story that captivate their interest. Maybe it's a character they already love, a favorite animal or a subject that stands out to them, but it has to have something that makes a child reach for it.
  • A story that flows well. If a story doesn't have a natural flow to it, I find my daughter seems to grow pretty bored with it pretty easily.
  • A story that makes sense. I love a story with a good lesson, but it has to be understandable to kids. When kids understand the story, they want to read it again and again. 
  • Illustrations that draw them in. That can mean different things to different kids, but personally I tend to look for vibrant color and simple, but captivating artwork. Something interactive is always a plus too.

Seems simple enough, right? And thankfully, there are plenty of books out there that fit the bill. Today I am excited to share with you three new board books from Silver Dolphin Books that my daughter has fallen in love with.

Join a young bear and his mother for their very busy day in the forest with Bright Books: Baby Bear's Busy Day. This visually stunning board book features bright neon elements, soft touch-and-feel bears, and shiny foil that will capture baby's full attention and imagination. With sweet, soothing text and gentle illustrations, this engaging book will become a bedtime favorite. Follow along as baby bear has a day full of fun!

Swim along with Bubble in the deep, blue sea in Bright Books: Bubble’s Ocean Friends! Follow Bubble on her adventure and discover turtles, starfish, crabs, and more. Lively rhyming text, bright, colorful illustrations, and shiny foiled details invite young readers to have hands-on story time. Page after page, babies and toddlers will have fun counting all of Bubble's new ocean friends.

Shadow is a very adventurous cat, but his favorite time for adventuring is at night. He loves saying hello to the moon, strolling around on rooftops, stargazing with friends, and so much more! Read along and explore the night in this storybook with rhyming text, colorful elements that illuminate the dark, and a soft touch-and-feel cat to guide you through the night. Bright Books: Shadow's Nighttime Adventure is a delightful bedtime book for babies and toddlers.

These books certainly had everything we look for in a great children's books. The stories were simple, my 3 year old could easily follow along and pick up on bits and pieces of the story. They're short enough for bedtime reading and/or short attention spans too, which is great because my daughter is certainly a 'one more time' kind of girl. But what I really loved about these particular books was the artwork. Each page only had a few simple colors, but they popped beautifully--- modern and captivating... they used textures like a soft velvety material, metallic and glitter to draw in the eyes--- and the hands for a full sensory experience. They certainly drew me in...and my daughter too. She enjoyed reading them over and over again. Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way, but I think Shadow's Nighttime Adventure was our favorite. It reminded my children of their own pet and encouraged them to read to her too, getting the whole family involved.

These adorable books have quickly made their way into our regular evening reading rotation! You can find these and more great children's book selections from Silver Dolphin Books at the links below:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SilverDolphin, @SilverDolphin

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy of these books! 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.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple Tips To Encourage Summer Reading

Rain, rain go away... we don't want to wash our summer away!

It's another rainy day here in Indiana, and that means being stuck inside all day. Aside from watching TV or playing on electronics, what can we do to keep the kids entertained! For us- reading is a go to! My son loves to read, and my daughter loves being read to. I'm pretty lucky in that respect, but how do you encourage summer reading in kids who DON'T like to read?

Today I'm sharing a few tips:

Find Something That Interests Them.
Simple enough, right? My son Shaun is a fantastic reader... but he can be rather particular when it comes to book selections. I am always on the lookout for books that will catch his attention. Take whatever your child loves, and find as many books as you can on the topic! When he started reading, it was all about trains. These days he loves anything with humor. Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are his absolute favorites! 

Comic Books... Are Still Books!
Reading is reading. So encourage your child to read whatever they like best! Billboard signs, newspapers, closed captioning on the TV... these helped my son grow his learning skills long before we found books to hold his interest! Comic books are an ideal way to keep kids who may not otherwise be interested in reading interested! 

Make Reading an Experience.
Take whatever it is your child is reading and make an experience out of it! Make fun crafts to go along with the book. Check out this post on our Captain Underpants puppets. Reading Green Eggs and Ham? Find a recipe for... you guessed it, green eggs and ham! Or have a whole Dr. Seuss Day! Make it fun beyond the pages!

Reward Them For Reading.
Who doesn't love being rewarded for their hard work? Kids are no different! Check your local library to see if their offer a summer reading program that allows them to earn prizes for their time spent reading. Nothing local? Create your own reward system! It doesn't have to be anything fancy, maybe just collecting money for the ice cream truck for time spent reading! 

Let Them Read What They Like.
My son was an advanced reader, teaching himself to read when he was 2. By the time he was in first grade, even kindergarten he was more than capable ability wise to read chapter books, but up until very recently (and even still on occasion), he would still read picture books like The Magic School Bus--- or even chapter books that were well below where he was capable-- like Junie B Jones. It took me a little bit of time to realize that what was okay! Let them read what they WANT to read, the rest will come later! 

Lead By Example.
Perhaps this played a role in my children's reading habits--- they see me reading all the time too! We have shelves full of books to choose from, and its just always bee a natural part of our lives.

Do you have a child who loves to read? What tips would you share for encouraging that love of reading? What are some books or series that you would recommend?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Learned About Marriage {+ Wedding and Anniversary Gifts from Dayspring} #LiveYourFaith #Dayspring

**Post contains affiliate links. Thoughts are 100% my own. 

There has been a lot of talk about weddings this month, hasn't there?

Let's face it--- it's wedding season. Everyone dreams of that beautiful summer wedding, and so everywhere you look it seems like someone is celebrating yet another wedding. I love a good wedding as much as the next girl... in fact you'll routinely find me binge watching 'Say Yes to the Dress'... but sometimes in all that glitz, all that glamour, all that excitement, the reason for the wedding gets lost... the MARRIAGE.

So today, let's talk marriage!

I was married at the ripe ol' age of 19. I didn't have that fancy wedding- planning a wedding when you're marrying into the military is tough... but that didn't matter to me. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my prince, and saw no reason to wait. To some degree, I knew that marriage was going to take work and would not be the fairy tale in the Disney movies I loved so much, but I must admit, at 19 years old, I still couldn't imagine everything life would eventually throw at us. And boy did it- we went through deployments, we were given a special needs child, we suffered pregnancy loss, we suffered mental health, we endured cross country moves, we survived recruiting duty (one of the most difficult jobs in the military), we went through loss of income... the list goes on and on and on. We have encountered so many obstacles in our 10.5 years or so of marriage that have torn apart even the strongest of relationships, and somehow we came through it together. I'm not saying we have a perfect marriage--- far from it, there are always places we need to work on. We're human. But today, I am sharing some things that I have personally learned about marriage.

The Reality of Happily Ever After.
Obviously, I'm a big fan of the fairy tale. I love those stories that end with a 'and they all lived happily ever after'. But that's not the reality. Marriage is wonderful and beautiful and good... but it's not all sunshine and roses every single day. You'll fight, you'll disagree, you'll face hard time. Marriage doesn't come wrapped in that tidy bow our favorite fairy tales end with. And that's OKAY! We just have to know that before we go in, so we can better handle it when those moments come.

Be Stubborn.
When people have asked how our marriage has survived all that we've seen and even just the fact that my husband and I are complete and total opposites.But one thing we have in common is our stubbornness. So even when things aren't going according to plan, we hang on and work it through. You need that in a marriage, or it can become too easy to walk away.

Fight For Each Other. 
One of my favorite songs is Warren Beddingfield's 'Love Is Not a Fight'. There could never be a truer love song out there, 'Love is not a place To come and go as we please It's a house we enter in And then commit To never leave. Love is a shelter In a raging storm Love is peace In the middle of a war
If we try to leave May God send angels To guard the door No, love is not a fight But it's something worth fighting for.' Powerful words, aren't they? These are words that I try to live my marriage by. Even when we disagree, we're not going to let that be that. Again, I think that's where that stubbornness comes in to play! 

Pray For Each Other. 
If you can pray with your spouse, even better... but that's not always possible in all marriages. Instead, pray for your spouse and your marriage. Every single day. Prayer is such a powerful force, so why would you now want to have a little prayer power standing behind you?

Trust in God's Plan For Your Marriage.
That's a tough one, isn't it? I'm a planner. I like things to go my way. When I got married I had ideas of how things would be, and those plans might have changed ever so slightly over the years, but mostly stayed pretty well on track. Until they didn't. Sometimes you find yourself asking, 'THIS is God's plan? Why would He put us through this!?' Sometimes you just have to step back and remember those hard times are blessings in disguise and we just have to wait for His timing to make the reasons clearer. Put God at the center of your home, and when things get tough, remember He is there!

For keeping Christ in your home and marriage, Dayspring has many great wedding and anniversary (or just because) gifts to serve as daily reminders. It's amazing how a simple phrase like, 'Blessed and Grateful' can remind us as we go on about our day, just how blessed we are in our marriages and force us to stop and thank God for them!

Check out these other great wedding and anniversary gifts:

Are you a newlywed or a seasoned wife? What lessons have you learned from your own marriage or those around you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What To Do If Your Child Has A Dental Emergency

Catching baseballs, running around the house, roughhousing with their sibling -- All sorts of activities could be risky for your child's teeth. While teeth are quite durable and are able to withstand general bumps, dental emergencies do happen. If your child comes running to you with a tooth problem, the American Dental Association recommends that you try to visit your dentist ASAP.

"For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible," Mouth Healthy, an ADA publication, recommends. "Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so be sure to call your dentist and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room."

For specific dental emergencies, follow this guide to take the best action for your child's situation. By acting quickly, you can get your little one smiling in no time.

  • Cracks And Chips: A cracked or chipped tooth may be immediately painful and scary for your child, but can be fixed easily if you take the right steps. Start by having your child rinse their mouth with warm water, cleaning the tooth of bacteria. While you call your child's dentist to secure the first available emergency appointment, apply an ice pack to your kid's face to control any swelling.

  • Knocked Out Tooth: If your child knocks out a tooth, be sure to keep them calm and tell them that the dentist will fix it. Especially if this is a permanent tooth, place it in milk to keep it from drying out. If you happen to have an ADA-approved preservation liquid on hand, this is even better. Be sure to visit a dentist as soon as possible and address any other injuries that may have occurred as well.

  • Severe Toothache: This type of pain can have a variety of causes, so start by checking your child's mouth for any caught food. Then have them rinse with warm water to clean the area and remove any other particles. If your child's pain persists or they are unconsolable, visit a medical clinic or emergency room right away.

  • Bitten Lip: Steps to treat a bitten lip vary depending on the severity of their injury. If your child bites their lip and you think they might need stitches, be sure to take them to an urgent care facility, 85% of which are open seven days a week. You can also call 9-1-1 to get in touch with the closest emergency dentist. If they don't seem to have injured their lip too severely, simply apply a cold pack to the area to reduce swelling. Offering a popsicle may also console your child.

Remember that the best way to keep your child's teeth strong is to keep up with their semiannual dentist appointments. Most people wait an average of three years between appointments, which could let dental problems go unnoticed. By committing to preventative care and addressing dental emergencies, you can keep your whole family sporting healthy smiles.