A Modern Day Fairy Tale: 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

How To Have Fun with Your Fashion {+ a Deal from Top Tier Style}

Looking to mix up your look this year? Perhaps the greatest place to start is by changing up your wardrobe! But where do you begin? It's no secret that I love fashion and most importantly, having FUN with fashion, so today I wanted to share some of my personal tips for looking your best and enjoying fashion in the new year and beyond.

  • Play With Color. One thing that can be said about my personal style is that I LOVE color. Rarely do I wear black, but when I do, it's always a pop of color. Might as well have fun with clothes, right? I love mixing together unexpected colors--- blue with orange, yellow with purple, you get the idea. One of my go to combinations lately is olive green with plum. Play around with it though, find what works for you and have fun! 
    High Split Maxi Dress in Olive Green. I love pairing this gorgeous green with plum, and a cute pair of booties! You could dress this look up with a cute black belt, heels and a gunmetal necklace. 

  • Know Your Sizes. The best way to look great in your clothing is to get the right fit. Sizes change from company to company, so always take appropriate measurements and follow size charts accordingly. Don't stress about the numbers--- choosing the proper fit, regardless of size, will help you look your best and cause less fashion stress! 
  • Enjoy patterns. While solids certainly have their place in our wardrobes and are definitely staple pieces, don't be afraid of fun patterns either. You can never go wrong with a great floral throughout the year. Plaid is also a must have in my closet, especially during the winter months!
    Long Sleeve Bohemian Plaid Dress with Bow. Plaid is a staple in the winter months, much like a gorgeous scarf! Pair the two for a warm and cozy look! 

  • Use Accessories Wisely. You can start with gorgeous pieces, but it's the accessories that truly make an outfit! Not only are they a great way to bring in some color, a cute scarf or a fun pair of boots can truly take a simple dress and elevate it to the next level. With proper layering accessories, you can also take your typical 'summer' wear and give it new life during the summer months, giving you even more great options! 
  • Mix It Up. Don't feel like you need to stick to just one style if you don't want to! Mix it up--- have some boho looks, some more classic looks, casual, dressy... wear what you like!! My closet is an eclectic mix of various styles I enjoy. Sometimes I can even mix them together for some really fun, unique looks! 
    Bohemian Style Mini Dress with Tassel Detail. Black and olive is another favorite color combination. I made this mini dress a little more cold weather appropriate with some olive leggings. This versatile style can be worn with leggings, jeans or on it's own with some cute boots. 

  • Most importantly, have FUN! Fashion, in my opinion, is supposed to be fun, so don't take it too seriously. Play around, find what works for you... experiment! You may have a few 'what was I thinking?' moments along the way, but as long as you enjoy it, that's all that really matters, right? 
    High Neck Bohemian Maxi Dress with Tie Detail. I loved mixing it up with this higher neckline. This one size dress is flowy and soft--- absolutely gorgeous! I love it on its own, but also looks amazing paired up with yellow for added fun (as seen on Instagram). 

Love the styles featured in this post? I know I do! They are fun to style, beautifully made and just overall gorgeous!  Top Tier Style: Fashion & Clothing provided all of the bohemian summer dresses. If you would like to purchase your own use the coupon code BLOG15 for 15% OFF everything on their store!

Do you love fashion? What are some of your simple tips to encourage? Which pieces from Top Tier Style are your favorites and how would YOU style them?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Comfort Food: Homemade Black Bean Soup

Here in Indiana, winter has arrived in FULL force.

It is COLD. As I write this post, I am covered in a total of three blankets to attempt to keep warm, and can say it's only half effective! But you know what DOES work to warm the body on these cold winter days? A nice hot bowl of soup!

Recently, I decided to try a homemade black bean soup. I'd scoured the web for the perfect recipe, and wasn't able to find one, but instead decided to combine the elements I liked from several to make my own perfect recipe! I shared the photos online and had many asking for the recipe.

Today, I'm sharing that with all of you:

Homemade Black Bean Soup

  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can (or equivalent) veggie or chicken broth
  • onions
  • green peppers
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • cilantro
  • olive oil
  1. Chop onions and green peppers. Saute in olive oil until tender.
  2. Pour in 2 cans of black beans (undrained) and the broth. I used veggie broth myself to make this a vegetarian meal, but if that's not important to you, chicken will do just as well. 
  3. Add in your seasonings. I do not measure on this, just added to taste. Like it spicy? Add more spice, need something more mild and kid-friendly? Add more slowly! 
  4. Heat to boiling, then allow to simmer for approximately 45 minutes- tasting every so often and adding seasonings as need. 
This soup is absolutely delicious on it's own, but you can have fun with other pairings too-- top with cheese or a drop of sour cream, serve over rice, or as we did--- serve with some corn chips! There are plenty of delicious options to choose from. 

This would also be great in the crock pot too! Just toss in all your ingredients and let it cook all day! 

Do you love soups in the winter? What are some of your go to soup recipes? 

Julep Mystery Grab Bags- Just $20 ($140 Value) + More Great Deals!

**Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas this year?

I must say, I didn't want a lot anyway, but I did get the things I asked for...aside from ONE thing. Some new makeup/nail polishes! But let's be honest, that IS something I like to buy myself anyway, as I can be just a little bit picky on those! Besides... we all know the best time to buy is after the holidays when it's all marked way, way down!

Today, I am sharing a few cannot miss deals from Julep.

End of Season Sale

Right now, you can grab a mystery grab bag for just $20 ($140 value!). Each bag includes a random selection of 10 mystery nail polishes. These are valued at $14 EACH, so talk about a bargain... not to mention a great way to expand your collection and possibly add some colors you would not have chosen otherwise!

As though this were not a great enough deal, it doesn't end there!

While supplies last, Julep is offering a free gift with any purchase of $30 or more with code GLOSSME! GWP, Glossed in Translation, with any $30+ purchase with code GLOSSME features a duo of our Sheer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in two delectably wearable shades. Plus, a bonus cosmetic bag to stash all your lip goodies in style. This is a $49 value, absolutely FREE! With other great gift sets on sale up to 75% off, you can stock up to reach your $30 minimum to apply this additional freebie! The deals are still great without this extra of course, but who doesn't love extra freebies!? 

Take advantage of these amazing offers today! Supplies are limited and when they are gone, they are gone.

If you are needing to refresh your nail polish or lip gloss collection, this deal cannot be beat! We're talking hundreds of dollars worth of product for just $30, and shipping is FREE over $10. Hurry over, these deals are only available while supplies last!

FINE PRINT: End of Season Sale offers valid while supplies last. No additional discounts allowed. All items purchased from the End of Season Sale catalog are final sale, absolutely no exchanges or returns. No adjustments on previous purchases. Offer expires 1/22/18 at 11:59 PM PT, or while supplies last. Promotional code GLOSSME must be entered at checkout, and is valid for 1 free gift per order. To receive free gift, add the Glossed in Translation set to shopping bag, in addition to $30+ of other julep.com products. End of Season Sale offers valid while supplies last. No additional discounts allowed. All items purchased from the End of Season Sale catalog are final sale, absolutely no exchanges or returns. No adjustments on previous purchases.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

3 Induction Cooktop Recipes To Try During Your Next Family Camping Trip

It's no secret that proper nourishment is essential for any type of camping trip, whether you're
pitching a tent or renting a cabin. That's just one reason many seasoned campers are investing in
portable induction cooktops to make cooking easier than ever during any camping endeavor. The
basic principles of induction heating have been applied to manufacturing since the 1920s, but
induction heating technology is also used in culinary applications due to the fact that it provides
an even cooking surface that doesn't require wood or charcoal or emit smoke. If you're heading
out into the wilderness for a camping trip anytime soon, it's important to be prepared. Here's a
quick appetizer, entree, and dessert idea to try on your induction cooktop during your next
camping trip.

Appetizer: Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes

This recipe is particularly popular with kids. Plus, it's very versatile -- the recipe calls for bacon
but can easily be substituted with a variety of vegetarian ingredients to suit all dietary needs. It's
easiest to prep the mashed potatoes used in this recipe beforehand, especially if you're working
with limited space. Plus, only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable for drinking, so doing as much
preparation as you can before leaving for your trip can help cut back on the amount of fresh or
bottled water you need to lug along with you. This recipe is available at Spend With Pennies and
yields about eight servings. Feel free to get creative with what you add!

Entree: Honey Glazed Chicken

Staying energized is critical during a hiking or otherwise physically demanding camping trip, so
it's important to make sure your body has enough protein throughout the day. Chicken is one of
the best low-fat protein options, and when combined with honey, creates a delectably sweet and
savory dish that you're sure to love. Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person
per year, so there's a very good chance that you already have a bottle of honey in your cupboard
at home. After that, there are just a few required ingredients, including red pepper flakes, olive oil,
soy sauce, and of course, chicken breast. This recipe is provided by AllRecipes, can be prepped
and cooked in about 20 minutes, and yields about four servings.

Dessert: Fried Apple Rings

As a delightful alternative to s'mores, this kid-favorite recipe will make you feel like you're at the
fair again. It just requires a few simple ingredients: granny smith apples, flour, salt, sour cream,
buttermilk, and beer. It helps to prep the apples beforehand by washing, peeling, and coring them.
If you want, you can even slice them and prepare the batter ahead of time as well. If you come
prepared with the batter and the sliced apples, this recipe, provided by Just A Pinch, can literally
be ready to devour in a matter of minutes!

Ultimately, there are countless ways to take advantage of your induction cooktop's convenience
and versatility. It just takes a bit of experimentation and creativity in the kitchen. With some prep
work, you can whip up delicious camping meals for your entire family in no time at all!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

12 Strong in Theaters January 19 {A $50 Fandango Giveaway} #12StrongMovie #ad

Welcome to the Ice, Ice Baby Giveaway hop hosted by MamatheFox and  Rita's Reviews.

Cold weather keeping you in? We've got you covered! Hop along to all participating blogs from now through January 31st to win some great giveaways! There is no limit to how many you can win so be sure to enter them all!


**This post was written by me on behalf of Warner Bros. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

If we were asked to name one moment in our lifetime that would forever change the course of history--- what moment would come to mind?

For so many of us, that moment would of course be 9/11. It is a moment that will stick with us throughout our lives. I was only in junior high, but I remember that moment hearing about the attacks so vividly and even at that young age remembering that our world would be forever changed by those attacks, even if I did not fully understand the full scope of that in the moment.

When we speak of 9/11 we often share our personal stories, or we hear the stories of those living in New York on those days. We hear about servicemen and women who decided to join after 9/11, knowing the risks they were going into. Thinking about it however, I cannot say that *I* often hear the stories from those who were already enlisted--- those very first troops to go in. What is THEIR story?

The new movie, 12 Strong offers us a glimpse at those moments:

Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton's best-selling book, "Horse Soldiers," it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

What a powerful movie this is certain to be! I must admit that while war movies are not typically my go to choice, I look forward to experiencing this one. I know that it will help us to gain a better understanding of the amazing sacrifices and acts of heroism shown in those days by our military. It might not be an easy one to watch- especially as the wife of a Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, but such a worthwhile film to see. This is however not one for the children, of course. It is Rated R for war violence and language throughout.

12 Strong will be in theaters everywhere on January 19.

A soldier is as strong as his word. Tickets on sale now for #12StrongMovie: bit.ly/12strongtix

Learn more and connect at the links below:

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #12StrongMovie

In celebration of the film's theatrical release, one very lucky reader is going to win a $50 Fandango Gift Card to see the film for yourself plus a 12 Strong sweatshirt perfect for these snowy days. Enter using the giveaway form below:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

4 Simple Ways to Update Your Home Without Breaking the Bank {+ A Deal from Lock & Hinge}

** This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lock & Hinge. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

With the new year, there's certainly a feeling of NEW in the air! We want a new look, a new wardrobe... even a new home. But let's get honest... while the look and clothes might be a little easier to come by, a new home? Well, that's not something most of us can do on a whim, am I right?

Still, that doesn't mean we cannot make our existing home feel like new, right? Today, I'm sharing some simple ideas that can help bring new life to your home--- without a complete renovation required:

Photo Credit: Lock & Hinge Facebook

  • Paint. One super quick and simple way to change the look of your home is to do some painting! Paint the walls a fresh new color, give the cabinets a face lift with some simple paint--- even paint your front door for some more curb appeal. Old furniture that just doesn't match the look you now want? Paint it. The possibilities are endless.
  • Change the linens. It truly is amazing to me how much difference things like curtains can have on a room. And while buying a new couch when the mood strikes may not be an option, some new pillow (or covers) can bring in new life and new colors. You can also throw in some pretty throws for texture and warmth! Super easy, and if you look for deals, can be pretty reasonable too. 
  • Move furniture. I am constantly rearranging furniture in my house because it truly is another great way to change the feel of a room using what you have on hand. Sometimes I'll mix up pieces from one room to another, other times I'll just experiment with the layout with what's already there. Either way it keeps things fresh and fun. 
  • Look at the small details. Be honest, when is the last time you gave much thought to little details throughout your home--- like the switch plates, doorknobs, vent covers, even the handles on your cabinets? These might be small details but can have a HUGE impact on the overall look and feel of your home. Switching the handles on your cabinets can completely change the look---with or without fresh paint. Switch plates and vent covers may not be something we look at often, but if you gave them a fresh new look it can take the whole room to another level--- it gives it a look and feel that every last detail was taken into consideration. Even the simple detail of a door knocker or an updated house number can add great curb appeal to your home too! Take a look at these small details around your home and consider changing some out too!
To help you with that last bit, Lock & Hinge has us covered. Lock & Hinge is a division of Real Metropolitan Hardware. Real Metropolitan has been providing commercial, residential, and builders’ hardware to some of New York City's finest interior decorators, builders, and contractors for more then 55 years. Their online store offers all shoppers from professionals to DIYers, a wide array of high quality Brass Accents Door Hardware, Knockers, Handles, Push & Pulls, catalog includes Renaissance Collection Accessories, Bathroom Accessories, Cabinet Hardware, Door Hardware, Door Knockers, Floor Register, Hinges, Kick Plates, Knobs & Levers, Mail Slots, Push & Pull Plates, Switch Plates, etc. Everything you need for those finishing touches on your home. They offer a wide variety of designs to best match your personal style and give your home a complete and polished look.

And I am excited to offer you all an exclusive deal!

Use the code RANDIKAYE to take 10% off your total purchase! Head on over and update your home for the new year today! 

Looking to update your home without breaking the bank this year? What other ideas do you have? How can Lock & Hinge help? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Making Bible Learning FUN for Kids!

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

Kids are like sponges.

Seriously. Sometimes I look at my 4 year old and am truly astounded at just how much she picks up from the world around her. For example, as I was starting the post, she came to me pretending to shop and announced... "Oh no! I forgot my money at home! That's okay, I'll pay with my phone." Now, I don't personally pay with my phone, but this was something she'd picked up from commercials in passing. Hilarious. 

But just goes to show you just how much kids truly do pay attention... even when you think they aren't. So, there truly is no better time to introduce them to the Bible than right now! Not only will they pick it up easily, but it can inspire a love that they carry with them as they grow.

But how can we make learning the Bible more fun for them? Today I'm sharing a few ideas:

  • Read Fun Books. There are many great Bible storybooks that draw kids in with their fun illustrations and easy to understand stories. Find one that your children love.
  • Act it out. Whether its through finger puppets or dress up, bring it to life!
  • Create Bible Crafts. Another great way to bring stories to life is through simple crafts that go along with the stories you are reading.
  • Play Games. Use fun trivia games or even silly games to make learning exciting! You're sure to find lots of great ideas on Pinterest to get you started, or recreate basic kids games to go along with your theme.
  • Reward them. Now, I'm not saying you should bribe your children to learn the Bible, but kids DO love rewards--- even as simple as a sticker for remembering a verse or answering trivia questions correctly can be a huge motivator! 
  • Sing it! My kids love music, and more importantly, they remember music! Find some fun Bible songs, or if you're creative--- rewrite some old kids favorites yourself. The sillier the better! 

As you can see through these tips, the best way to make learning the Bible more fun for kids is to make it an interactive experience. I don't know about your kids, but mine hate being lectured, so often times trying to just read or explain the Bible to them with simple words can seem much like that...and they tune it out. By keeping it interactive, they will better take in what you are teaching and enjoy doing so, and that is something that they can take with them throughout their lives- knowing that reading the Bible does not have to be so serious!


Today, I also wanted to share a fun new resource that can help, THE BIG PICTURE INTERACTIVE BIBLE STORY COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK:

Filled with more than 200 coloring pages and more than 150 activity pages for young children, this Bible Story Coloring and Activity Book from The Big Picture Interactive provides hours of fun. Here are some of the great activities your kids will love: word searches, mazes, connect the dots, hidden messages, fill in the blank, secret code, matching, find it, unscramble, and more!

If your children already have and love The Big Picture Interactive Bible, this will be the perfect compliment to their collection. It features more of the same great artwork they have come to love, but with more interactive activities--- from coloring to word searches and more. 

Not yet experienced The Big Picture books? That's okay too! It truly is great as a stand alone too. It offers a wide variety of different activities--- from simple coloring to fun searches. My daughter loves the various mazes, while my son is a big fan of the word games--- searches, scrambles, etc. Something for everyone. 

The Bible Story Coloring and Activity Book is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailers. 

What tips and tricks do YOU have for teaching kids about the Bible? 

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year Closet Clean Out {Tips & Tricks}

Clothes retail Free Photo
Background image created by Mrsiraphol - Freepik.com

Next up in our New Year clean outs... the closet. Now, I must admit that this is one I dread because... well, I love clothes! And I love having choices. But there truly is no better time to get it done, is there? So... where do we start?

  • Take It All Out. For me, I've found the easiest way to force myself to do it is to take everything out of the closet and pile it on the bed. If I want to sleep, it has to get done, right?
  • Go Through Each Piece. Ask yourself these questions: Do you love it? Does it fit? When was the last time you wore it? 
  • Sort Accordingly. If it's something you love and wear frequently, right back into the closet it goes. These are my for sure keeping pieces. With anything you'd like to get rid of, sort into a sell pile and a donate pile. 
  • Consider. Have some pieces you're just not sure about? I know I usually do when I'm sorting. I stick these in a maybe pile as I go, and then revisit when I finish. In my revisit, I consider why it's a maybe... do I not wear it? Why not? Do I need something to properly style? Do I have other similar pieces? Which do I prefer? You get the idea. This usually helps me narrow this pile down even further. 
  • Get Rid Of It. Now that you've sorted, actually get rid of it! Don't just keep it in boxes around the house where you're tempted to grab them back out... take them to a consignment shop or store like Plato's Closet or use online sites like eBay, Mercari, etc. Need to refresh the wardrobe? Use these funds to help pay for new pieces you WILL wear.
Need some more help? Here are some more useful tips I've learned:

  • Turn Hangers. Hang every hanger in the closet backwards. Once you've worn a piece and it comes time to rehang, hang it correctly. Revisit in a few months to see what pieces you still are not wearing. 
  • Don't Hold Onto 'Skinny Clothes'. Now, some might argue that these are good for goal keeping, etc and that might be true... but at least keep it to a minimum. And be reasonable too. A size or so smaller... something that almost fits but just needs a little push, those are great... pieces you haven't fit into for 10 years? Well, it might be time to reconsider. You'll feel a lot better with a closet of clothes that fit and flatter well. 
  • Try It Out. If you're REALLY unsure about parting with clothes, try a little experiment. Put those maybe clothes into a box (or separate closet in your house if you have one). Out of sight, out of mind. Revisit in a month or so... did you miss them? Could you do with the clothes you had if these went away? You might find that after some time apart, they're a little easier to let go of.
Are you cleaning out your closet to start the year? Love it or dread it? What tips have you found work well for you?

Bible Journaling for the Typical Journaler {A Teen Bible Review}

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

When you think of Bible journaling... what comes to mind?

For many if not most of us, we specifically think of Bible ART journaling, as this is the type of journaling that seems to get the most attention. But what about those who prefer a more standard form of journaling? The writers and the thoughtful readers? Can Bible journaling still benefit them too?

Absolutely! Here's how:

  • Allows them to reflect on their faith where they are NOW.
  • Allows them to write down prayer requests--- how their prayers were answered and when. Were they answered how they'd hoped. What can they learn from the waiting or those answers?
  • Allows them to 'speak' to God in a way that makes more sense. Some of us are better with written words than we are with typical conversations, and why should our communication with God be different?
  • Allows them to take notes and dive deeper into what they are reading.
  • Allows them to express themselves creatively through writing. It doesn't have to be artwork to be creative, writing poetry in the margins of our Bibles is another great creative way to connect.

Today, I'm sharing a journaling Bible for teen girls that is perfect for the more typical journaler- the NIV Journal the Word for Teen Girls:

Reflect, respond, and grow closer to your heavenly Father. With hundreds of journaling prompts and plenty of space for notes, art, and doodles, the NIV Journal the Word™ Bible for Teen Girls provides a place to capture your thoughts while reading Scripture. Journal your feelings, dreams, and hopes. Create art, color, and doodle. However you wish to creatively express yourself, engage with God’s heart and get to know the One who knows and loves you.

Like most journaling Bibles that can be used for ANY type of journaling, this Bible offers plenty of room in the margins for notes or artwork, whatever you prefer. However, unlike most journaling Bibles that are completely free in the margins, this particular Bible also offers several prompts throughout to help girls truly reflect and relate to what they are reading. They can then use those margins to write their reflections based upon those prompts. There is still plenty of room to write down other thoughts, prayer requests, etc throughout. You could even still use for art journaling if you'd like, or a combination of several styles... the possibilities are endless.

Aside from these great features, its also absolutely stunning. I love the simple and gorgeous floral design on the cover. While we know that the cover is not nearly as important as what is on the inside, it's still nice to have something pretty too, isn't it? Especially for teenage girls I think.

For the teen girl who loves a more typical style of journaling, this is a must see. It is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailers.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Make Winter Learning FUN with Teacher Sherpa!

***This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Teacher Sherpa. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Snow Day!

When I was a kid, I loved getting those calls letting us know that school was OUT. Didn't you? As a mom, when those calls come in I find myself wondering... 'now what?' Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having my kids home with me, but as snow days go on and build up... boredom sets in. How do we keep them occupied--- aside from electronics and mindless TV? How can we keep them learning and growing even when school is out?

Today, I'm sharing a resource with you that just might help: Teacher Sherpa.

So, what is Teacher Sherpa?

Teacher Sherpa offers classroom resources for teachers by teachers. They offer all grade levels and have fun themes perfect for any time of the year. All content is pre-approved before being offered so you can be sure you're getting high quality lessons, and you can preview them before downloading to know that you are getting JUST what you're looking for! Pretty cool, right?

Like I said, this is designed for teachers BUT can be great for parents too. First of all, if you home-school, these can be a great addition to your lesson plans! They're cute, they're seasonal--- your kids will love them. But for us parents with kids in public schools on those snow days or breaks or even just for the child who needs a little extra practice, we can find that here!

Just take a look at these perfect for winter downloads I found:

Fun in the Winter Printables: This cute printable set offers a variety of winter-y themed lessons in language and math--- perfect for kindergarten and first grade. Featuring fun winter graphics, your kids can color and learn all winter long.

Winter Science Pack: If you're REALLY looking for a way to bust the boredom this winter, or even some fun indoor recess ideas... this pack has you covered! It offers a wide variety of winter-y science experiments that I know I for one cannot wait to do with my children. It includes both the instructions and pages to track their results. They'll have so much fun, they'll forget they are learning.

Winter Color By Code Math. Is it art or is it math? It's a little bit of both! What a fun way to get some practice on addition! Kids solve the problems, and color accordingly with the answers. Each page features a winter friendly design that kids will love to color.

As you can see, Teacher Sherpa offers a variety of fun resources for all ages and all occasions that teachers and parents alike can benefit from. Head on over to check them all out.

Are you a teacher or a parent? How can Teacher Sherpa help you help your child meet their academic goals? Which activates are YOUR favorite?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tips to Reach Your Bible Reading Goals in 2018 {+ A Look At the New Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit} #IF_Goals

**Kit received as part of the Dayspring Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 
"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:14


January certainly is the month of goals isn't it? We've set New Years Resolutions for our fitness, our diets, even our homes. THIS is the month that we vow to get it all done and to start making improvements on our lives for the better.

For Christians, a common resolution that many share is that to read the Bible. That's a great goal, isn't it? But the common issue with resolutions is--- they're often so hard to keep! So today, I'm sharing some thoughts on how to best keep those Bible reading goals in 2018. 

  • Consider Your WHY. First and foremost, it's important to consider why you plan to make Bible reading your goal. Is it because you feel like you *should* as a 'good Christian'? Or is it because you truly want to strengthen your relationship with God? I've found it's much easier to stick to these goals when it's something you truly want to do. 
  • Schedule It In. Sometimes in the craziness of life, we can get to the end of the day and realize you didn't get any time to read your Bible that day. So rather than waiting for the time to open up, schedule it ahead of time. It doesn't have to be long- 15 minutes while you drink your coffee in the morning will do- but make it a point to add to your day. 
  • Use a Reading Plan. If your goal is to read through the Bible in a year, find a reading plan that helps you to do so. Many Bibles have this resource, or you can find many reading plans online too. If your goal is just to read the Bible more, consider at home Bible studies or topical reading plans too. 
  • Join a Study Group. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to have someone to be accountable to. Joining a study group at your church can help with that... but also helps you to dig deeper by getting various perspectives on what you are reading. 
  • Find the Right Bible for You. I think to truly accomplish your Bible reading goals, you'll need to find the perfect fit for you. You'll want a translation that is readable and easy to understand for YOU. Consider styles and how you best connect to the Bible- study? devotional? journaling? When you have a Bible you love, it helps to make you want to reach for it. 
  • Try, Try Again. I think the issue with many resolutions is that when we fail, we feel that the new year is over and it's too late now. We figure we can just start again NEXT year... and so the cycle continues. But if we make it a DAILY goal, each day is a new day to try again. We're human, life happens, but just keep moving forward. 
  • Make It Personal. Reading the Bible is not a one size fits all. Some people thrive on history and connect best when they learn the history of the Bible. Some people are social and thrive on connecting with others through their Bible reading in a group. And for some, like myself, we crave a more creative aspect to connect to what we are reading and have found that connection via Bible journaling. Find out how YOU connect to the Bible on a more personal level and make it your own unique experience. 

If you are a creative person and want to start connecting with God on that level, the start of the year is a great time to dig into Bible journaling. And the new kit, appropriately titled #Goals can certainly help. It is available to purchase TODAY at Dayspring.

And for THREE DAYS ONLY with every kit purchase, you will receive the Illustrated Faith - Topics - 47-Piece Tabbies Set absolutely FREE! They will be added to your order automatically at checkout. Don't forget to use the code IFSHIPSFREE for free shipping!

Do you have goals to read your Bible in 2018? Or to start journaling? How can Bible journaling/Illustrated Faith help? 

Family Movie Night Alert: Paddington 2 in Theaters January 12!

**This post was written by me on behalf of Grace Hill Media. All thoughts are 100% my own. 
When I was a little girl, I remember reading about the lovable little bear Paddington! How about you? It was such a great story, that it truly is no wonder that it continues to be a favorite among children today. It's also no wonder that the film based on the book was a huge hit as well. In fact, it's one that my kids have recently fallen in love with and have watched over and over again. I'm not saying I know every single word or anything yet...but we're getting there!  It's sweet, it's funny and is truly a movie that we can enjoy as an entire family! Needless to say, we were more than a little excited to hear about the second movie coming soon:

Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it.  But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.
Paddington 2 stars: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Sally Hawkins (Jayne Eyre), Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm), Julie Walters (Mamma Mia) and Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown
) as the voice of Paddington.

Take a look at this little peek at the movie:

Eek! Sounds pretty fantastic, right? We are looking forward to even more laughter and excitement with Paddington in my home and cannot wait to see his latest adventures. And the wait is almost over! Paddington 2 will be in theaters January 12th!

Do you have a Paddington fan in your family? Are you excited to see the next movie? How will you celebrate? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year Pantry Clean Out {Tips & Tricks}

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Food vector created by Freepik

Confession Time: When was the last time you went through and cleaned out your pantry?

If I'm to be entirely honest, this is something that I don't get around to nearly as often as I would like. Honestly, unless I'm looking for something particular, I just don't really give it much thought. But with the new year beginning, I am hard at work clearing out the old and bringing in the new... and that includes my pantry. You might be surprised once you look at just how badly you needed a clean out! So let's get started, shall we?

  • Empty. The best way to start is to take absolutely everything out of your pantry/shelves. Put them on the counter, the floor, the table... wherever you can easily sort them. 
  • Sort. Now that everything is in one spot, start sorting. For me, the first step in doing so is checking expiration dates. It can be tempting to toss out absolutely anything that is past expiration, but the reality is many foods are actually good past their expiration. Canned goods generally expire in 1-4 years, but in reality can be good for 3-6 if stored in a cool, dry place. Likewise, pasta is generally a food that can be used well past expiration (though I'll admit, pasta doesn't usually last that long in my home). Sort by order of expiration.
  • Donate. While sorting via expiration, also make a pile for foods that you don't believe you will eat before those expiration dates--- perhaps a brand you didn't care for or bought too much of, etc. Make a pile to donate to your local food pantry. Again, because canned goods are usually good longer, many WILL take certain items past those dates, so be sure to check with your pantry on these. This helps make room for items you WILL put to use, and helps families who can use them as well. 
  • Take Inventory. No, you don't actually have to take a true inventory and write down each item you have--- though if that's your thing, it certainly wouldn't hurt. Otherwise, having a mental inventory will do the job. Think about what you have on hand, and particularly those items that need to be used soon- expired goods or expiring soon. Create your menu plan around these items to get them used quickly. 
  • Put Away. Now that you've sorted, donated and know what you have, it's time to start putting things back. I like to sort by type of food, with those expiring the soonest towards the front so I'm most likely to grab them first. 
This is just my really basic way to sort and renew my pantry, but you could certainly go more in depth with it if you'd like... make an actual physical inventory to aid in shopping, invest in some organizational items to make it look great and be more functional (hint: Dollar Tree can be great for organization products on a budget), etc. Whatever helps keep you on track.

And while I tend to clean out my fridge MUCH more frequently, this can be a great time time to go ahead and get that done as well. I use the same general method here, but will freeze things that I know we WILL use, but might not use before expiration dates: lunch meats, refrigerated pasta, etc.
Are you planning a big pantry clean out? What tips and tricks have you found helpful? 

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Year, New You: My Top 5 Beauty Essentials {+ Savings at Sally Beauty} #deal

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

The new year is in full swing, and many of us are taking the opportunity to start over with an all new YOU. Sometimes that means changing habits--- becoming more organized, etc... but sometimes it can be fun to create an all new look too!

Throughout the month, I will be sharing a few tips and how tos for some of my favorite looks, but for now I wanted to share with you my top 5 beauty must haves to create your new look this year.

Beauty Spa Feminine Concept. Different Make Up Beauty Care Essentials Cosmetics on Flat Lay Pink Background. Top View. Above. Free Photo
Background image created by Valeria_aksakova - Freepik.com

  1. Curling Wand. I love a great curl--- there's just something so feminine and pretty about that style, isn't there!? Throughout the years I have tried many sizes and styles of rollers and irons and have never found one that worked well for more frequent use... until I tried a curling wand! They offer a tapered curl giving you a fuller curl up top and tighter as they go down... gorgeous and they seem to be much quicker too. I can usually have my hair done in about 25-35 minutes give or take, and I have extremely long and thick hair. I have found the key to getting a good curl if finding the proper size. Again, my hair is thick and long, and I prefer the look I get from a larger wand. My daughter's hair much finer and thinner, not to mention shorter, and we found a thin works best for her. You can even mix and match (wider for lower layers, thinner for the top) to find the perfect look for you! Either way a curling wand is definitely my top hair must have.
  2. Mascara. I actually tend to keep a VERY basic makeup routine, only 3-4 products on any given day, but a good mascara is definitely a must. I already have long, thick lashes anyway, but love getting something that thickens and really makes them stand out. Without anything else, mascara can truly brighten up your look in an instant.
  3. A Bold Lip Color. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I really enjoy a bold lip. The rest of my makeup is very simple, but my lips is where I have the fun. You can never go wrong with a gorgeous red, but play around with other fun colors like a deep plum or rich brown. Personally, my go to lip color is Lipsense, but there are many great colors and stains if that's not your cup of tea!
  4. A Good Foundation. Like I said, my makeup routine is very simple... in fact, I've listed it all right here--- mascara, a bold lip and a good foundation! That's pretty much it. A good foundation will help even out any uneven skin tones and help you look your best. I'll occasionally use a powder over it or some concealer if absolutely necessary, but for the most part, the foundation is all I need.
  5. Moisturizer/Sunscreen. Good skincare in general is key, but more than anything for me a moisturizer is a must. I have dry skin so this just helps keep my skin from going flaky, etc. I tend to use an anti-aging moisturizer as I figure it's best to be proactive there. When possible, I try to choose either a moisturizer and/or a foundation that includes some sunscreen too. 
And those are my beauty basics--- it may be simple, but it creates an impact and doesn't take long either--- very important for me as a mom! Another huge importance for me when it comes to my beauty routine is that it fits into my budget--- while still working well!

Today, I am excite to share with you a great deal to help you update your beauty routine for the new year. Today and tomorrow only (January 8-9), you can save 20% off your $50 purchase at Sally Beauty Supply with the code 888306. Head on over to grab this deal while it lasts!