A Modern Day Fairy Tale: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Say Goodbye to the 'Whatever' Attitude: A Whatever Wanda Book Review

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Do you ever just find that your kid has days where their attitude is just awful? That attitude of 'Whatever. I don't wanna, so I'm just going to complain about it the whole time'. A few months back, I started to notice this more in my son. Perhaps its an age thing, because friends with children of the same age group said the same! And let me tell you- there is nothing more annoying than the whatever attitude...and puts a damper on everyone's day!!

That's just what we learn in the third book in the Shine Bright Kids series (a book series that provides children and families with tools to teach the importance of making good choices, exploring topics such as using good judgement, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude and demonstrating perseverance)- Whatever Wanda:

Wanda is in serious need of an attitude adjustment! She doesn’t want to accompany her family to the Rubber Duck Days Festival, and once there, she won’t participate in any of the events or join in with her friends. Soon Wanda receives some helpful advice and learns that:

“Sometimes you have to believe something will be great before it actually is. Being positive is a choice that makes everything better, not to mention, a whole lot more fun!”

About the author:

Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins, and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her Shine Bright Kids picture book series. Christy, her husband, and their twins live in Atlanta, Georgia.

About the illustrator:

Paige Billin-Frye lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., where she gardens and grows food in her city yard. She has illustrated numerous children’s books and works in a studio over a neighborhood hardware store. Coincidentally, Paige has amassed a collection of rubber duckies of all sizes across the years.

You can find the other titles of the Shine Bright Kids series HERE

Does this story sound familiar? It certainly did here! This fun story taught a great lesson on the power of having a positive attitude in a way that kids can relate to. Telling your child to make the most of their situation, or think about having fun and they will have fun may very well go in one ear and out the other...but this story gives that same message in a way that is both fun and relate-able. We loved it!

This is actually the first book we have read in the series, but if the others are as good as this, we cannot wait to get our hands on them! Fun stories + positive messages... what could be better? Visit the website to see more great titles.

Stay up to date with Shine Bright Kids at the links below.

Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.
Follow on Pinterest.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Double the Fun Giveaway {Win a Step2 Igloo Wagon w/ Cooler for You AND a Friend!!} CLOSED

Welcome to the Step2 Igloo Wagon with Cooler Giveaway,
hosted by Thrifty Nifty Mommy and Viva Veltoro and sponsored by Step2!

Spring is here and if your little ones are ready to get outside and play, we've got just the thing for you! Step2 has just released their NEW Igloo Wagon with Cooler and they've combined two great things into one - a wagon AND an Igloo cooler!

 Here's some information about this COOL new product from Step2:

The Igloo® Wagon with Cooler by Step2 is the perfect ride-on for long days trips for the little ones. It’s a 2-in-1 wagon and cooler that will keep your kiddos comfortable and your food nice and cool. This durable blue wagon provides youngsters with an enjoyable ride around the neighborhood, campground, zoo or amusement park. Your family can have a picnic in the park with all the snacks and refreshments the Igloo® Wagon with Cooler can hold! Made in USA of US and imported parts from China.
  • Functional 10” (25.4 cm) tall cooler bag with durable zipper lid comes with a convenient top hatch door to grab bottles or snacks
  • Cooler bag accommodates bottles of all types and comes with soft lift-out handles for easy removal and transport
  • Soft, removable cooler is easy to load and transport from the refrigerator to the cooler
  • Large 10” (25.4cm) diameter wheels for an enjoyable ride
  • Two convenient cup holders up front for parents
  • Comfortable handle folds underneath for storage or transport
  • Large, removable canopy provides shade
  • Recommended for ages 1.5 and up
  • Available exclusively at Sam's Club for $139.99.
Ruth from Viva Veltoro created an ultimate toddler tailgate experience with her Step2 Igloo Wagon with Cooler and Janessa from Thrifty Nifty Mommy recently took hers to the park for a picnic where her kids had fun enjoying the classic Dirt dessert - be sure to check out her recipe!
Since this innovative new wagon takes two great products and DOUBLES the fun, we're giving one lucky reader the chance to win TWO Step2 Igloo Wagons with Coolers - one for themselves and one for a friend!
Open to the Continental US only. Ends 4/13/14 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by the Step2 Company. All images are courtesy of Step2. Viva Veltoro, Thrifty Nifty Mommy, and the participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. 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.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies: A Book Review

When you hear the word 'prisoner', what comes to mind?

If I were to be 100% honest, I would have to say the first word that comes to my own mind is fear.

Intentionally or not, I was at a young age (like many of us) taught to be afraid of prisoners. I grew up in a prison community, and we were told early on that picking up hitchhikers was very dangerous because of this. On the rare occasion that someone would escape, we knew to take extra precautions as well. Of course, I know that we are not supposed to judge, and yet with messages like these, it's hard not to, right? We're only human, and this fear seems to come pretty naturally.

Now, imagine opening up your home to not one, but SIX prisoners, fresh out of prison. Could you do it? Again, if I were being entirely honest...I'd have to say that this sounded pretty crazy to me. And yet, this is exactly what Brenda Spahn did. She felt God calling her, and she listened. In Miss Brenda and the Loveladies, she tells this remarkable story:

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies
 tells the story of entrepreneur and businesswoman Brenda Spahn and how she went from rags to riches to redemption. Brenda lived a very wealthy lifestyle until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God. 

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama. What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside. 

This is the story of the first unlikely year of her "Whole Way House" and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her "Miss Brenda." It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.

This sounds like the makings of a Hallmark movie, doesn't it? It certainly did to me... I found myself thinking that this couldn't possibly, REALLY be a true story. But it WAS! With each passing page, I found my preconceived ideas of the idea of prisoners changing.I am not saying I condone the choices made...but I can see how people can be put into a situation where they truly feel that crime is the only way of life. It's a sad reality that many face, and few are willing to take the chance to give these prisoners a second chance.

But beyond being a story of redemption, it's more importantly a story about stepping out of your comfort zone and giving in fully to God's plans for your life. Even to Brenda, this idea seemed a little bit crazy and scary...but she knew that it was what God was calling her to do, so she did it! I could not help but be reminded of a verse my son recently shared with me:

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised... Hebrews 10:36

Brenda's 'Whole Way House' was not without its challenges... there were in fact MANY. But she kept moving forward, and God took care of the rest. It truly is an amazing story and one that I'm glad to have had the chance to read.

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies is available now to purchase at Family Christian. Find more great inspirational stories and connect with them at the links below:

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 

Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Veggie Tales Easter Celebration Egg-stravaganza!!

I love Easter. 

Christmas may get all the glory, but if you ask me, Easter is just as wonderful! I am always looking for ways to make the holiday just a little more exciting for my little ones, while still making sure we keep Jesus at the center of it! I try to include Christian gifts in their Easter baskets each year, incorporate books and movies that celebrate Christ into our holiday festivities, etc. So, this year when my son announced that he would love a Veggie Tales Easter basket, I knew it would be perfect!

But I didn't want to stop with his basket. I decided to set out to create the coolest Veggie Tales Easter Egg-stravaganza... with a little help from Family Christian! Want to join in the Veggie fun? Here are a few quick ways to have the ultimate Veggie Tales Easter event!!

Egg Decorating- Veggie Style!

Easter wouldn't be Easter without the eggs, so what better place to start our celebration!? Did you know that there is actually a Veggie Tales egg decorating kit? There are character wraps, stickers, googly eyes... everything you need to dye your eggs in the perfect veggie fashion. So much more fun than boring ol' egg dying, right?

For us, we decided to take it one step further... we made some hand painted decor eggs to last for years to come! The great thing about Veggie Tales is that the characters are super simple. I'm no artist, but found creating these fun, festive eggs to be easy!! Even kids can join in on the crafting fun. All it takes is some blank craft eggs and a little paint!


Very Veggie Entertainment.

The perfect entertainment for a Veggie Tales event? Well, a Veggie DVD of course! Choose from Easter greats like 'The Easter Carol' or 'Twas the Night Before Easter'... or mix it up with a few every day favorites! (Hint: Noah's Ark features a fantastic Easter silly song!).

Pick up a few great Veggie CDs to play during outdoor festivities, or some fantastic books for a Veggie Tales story time! My kids both personally love 'The Great Easter Egg Hunt'!


DIY Veggies

Kids love craft time, don't they? And puppets! So, DIY Veggie stick puppets seemed like the ideal craft for our Egg-Stravaganza. These are super simple, quick and fun to make.

  • Construction Paper/Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Popsicle Sticks
  1. Cut out the shape of your little one's favorite Veggie character, and have them draw their face onto the cutout.
  2. Glue the figure onto the popsicle stick, and let dry.
  3. Put on puppet shows to recreate their favorite Veggie moments!


Veggie Tales Themed Basket

Now, for the truly fun part! Creating the perfect Easter baskets. I tend to find myself going all out when it comes to Easter baskets, which is one reason I like having a theme- it keeps me on track and keeps me from going too crazy. But with so much great Veggie goodness available, even a Veggie themed basket can be overwhelming. To help, I've broken it down into three easy Veggie Basket shopping guides with just a FEW of the many great options for each theme!

For the Boys: A LarryBoy Easter

For the little boy who loves superheroes, you can do no wrong with a LarryBoy themed basket. DVDs, toys...there are even new Veggie Tales comic books! Take a look:

Veggie Tales Super Comics Volume 1 // LarryBoy Plush // Veggie Tales Super Comics Volume 2 //
LarryBoy's Get Rid of the Fib Game // LarryBoy Super Hero Power Pack // LarryMobile Wooden Pull Toy

For the Girls: A Veggie Princess Easter

Now, I'll admit, when I started creating my daughter's Easter basket, it was only supposed to be a general princess basket...but I found it becoming more and more of a VEGGIE princess basket as time went on. There are many great Princess DVDs, toys and more featuring SweetPea Beauty! You're sure to find everything you need for your little princess!

For the Family: A Very Veggie Easter

Prefer to keep it more general? There are certainly plenty of options that the entire family will love- DVDs, tattoos, games... there are even Veggie blankets! The hard part won't be finding great gifts to fill your veggie baskets...it'll be narrowing down the options!

Mini Velvet Poster w/ Markers // A Very Veggie Easter // My Great Big Veggie Storybook //
Veggie Checkers // Veggie Tales Bible // Veggie Tales Throw Blanket

So, whose ready to join me this Easter with a Veggie Tales celebration? You can find all your Veggie Tales needs for Easter and throughout the year at Family Christian! Want to see more? Connect at the links below:

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

How would YOU create the ultimate Veggie Tales Easter celebration?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Make Toddler Meals Easier with Zak Toddlerific! {A Review}

Are you looking for the perfect non-edible goodies to fill your little one's Easter baskets? If your children are like mine, chances are they really don't NEED anymore toys, I'd much rather spend money on something that is a little more practical... but still fun! And for that the new Zak Toddlerific line is PERFECT:

Every parent knows that teaching toddlers how to feed themselves can sometimes be a trying – and messy – proposition. With Zak’s new ToddlerificTM line, it no longer has to be. Featuring a complete assortment of mealtime products that are all created meet the unique needs of toddlers – from durable plates and bowls with high sides and wide bases, to arched flatware and innovative insulated cups that adapt to growing thirsts – the Toddlerific line is designed to make mealtime fun for toddlers and easier for parents.

Now, I'll admit when it comes to kids plates, cups, etc... I'm a little bit addicted! There are so many cute options available, and I want them ALL! But some of our favorites are most definitely from Zak! So, I was thrilled to have the chance to receive Toddlerific Set including a plate, bowl, flatware, and Sip Cup.

First and foremost, can we just talk about how absolutely positively ADORABLE these are. I love the color combination, the chevron, the owls...all of my favorite things rolled into one adorable design. Now, obviously we went with the more feminine option, but they also offer a fun monkey print for a more boyish/gender neutral option. Like everything from Zak, the designs could not be any cuter!

Now, let's talk function. Now, admit it...how many of you saw this bowl and thought, 'hmm, looks like a mini dog bowl!'? I know I certainly did, because, well, it does. But there's a reason. Both the plate and bowl feature this unique shape to add stability and keep them from spilling. As moms, we all know that our little ones love to make messes, so anything to minimize those messes is a good thing! The inside edges are designed to go perfectly with the flatware to make scooping much easier for little hands as well! My daughter loves these great pieces and can feed herself easily with all.

Perhaps the biggest struggle we've come across for toddler dinnerware is finding the perfect sippy cup. Now, I don't know if it's just MY kids, but both of mine have struggled with this skill. Neither ever had bottles, so that transition from breast to cup was pretty extreme. My son eventually figured it out, but my daughter at 19 months is still learning. We've tried many, many cups and have found primarily those that she can figure out are leaky... and those that are leak free she cannot figure out! I was on the verge of giving up and just dealing with the messes as they came. But the Sippy Cup we received features a 
Perfect Flo™™ valve, just twist to the desired flow rate. We found that it worked wonderfully for her- much better than other brands we'd tried. 

In addition to this particular cup, the Toddlerific line also offers a toddler cup, also featuring the Perfect Flo valve. We happened to come across the Frozen versions of these, and naturally had to buy one (I'm telling you- addicted!). These are designed for older babies/toddlers (18 months +), and while they didn't come quite as easily, she has been able to figure this one out as well. Both cups work great, and most importantly- don't leak! These have certainly become our go to favorites for on the go!

Overall, we absolutely LOVE this new Toddlerific collection and cannot wait to see what new designs will become available in the future. But don't just take our word for it. Try them for yourself! 

Don't forget to connect with Zak at the link below:
Shop the Website.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Pinterest.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding Beauty in the Messes: A Sand in My Sandwich Book Review & Giveaway

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

If ever you question that God has a sense of humor, a quick look at my life is all you need.

You see, I've always what people have referred to as 'painfully shy'. With a diagnosis of social anxiety, I don't particularly care for attention on myself. I am perfectly content to blend into the background, I like calm and quiet... I don't want things to be overly exciting or unpredictable. I rather enjoy boring.

Sending an adventurous Marine into my life was the first clue that God had something else in mind for my life. He was not going to stand by and let me be content in a boring existence. I was thrown into the confusing, unpredictable life of a Marine Corps wife.

And then I became a mother, and at two years old my oldest son received a diagnosis that would further change our world: autism. And let me tell you, raising a child with autism is anything but calm and predictable. Quite the contrary, life with autism is confusing, ever changing and at times downright messy.

Life with autism is:

  • a constant stream of meetings, therapies and appointments.
  • missing out on every day experiences, because it is too overwhelming thanks to sensory issues. Going to the movies, church, some museums, all out of the question.
  • a sudden unexplained fear of the color red, which naturally happens to occur on the day his soccer team is playing the red team.
  • begging for McDonald's, and then having a meltdown when you finally give in and are given a Happy Meal in a bag, rather than a box.
  • obsessing over that one hard to find toy that your child is convinced with 100% certainty that Santa will bring.
  • noticing even the slightest of change in a favorite theme song opening, and not being happy about the change.
  • scrubbing poop out of trains and tracks because someone decided to reenact his favorite 'stuck in the mud' moments.
  • just scrubbing poop in general... because at 7.5 years old, potty training still has never sank in.
  • facing judgement when out and about because your child 'looks normal' and is 'so smart'... so his behavior issues much solely be a result of poor parenting.

Yes, raising a child with autism can be, quite literally, very MESSY! Some days- when I find myself cleaning yet another pair of dirty underwear or fighting my seven year old to pick up after himself or do his homework or follow directions when asked- I think it would be exceptionally easy for me to feel sorry for myself. This parenting a child with autism business is no joke. It's hard, its sometimes frustrating and it's emotionally and physically exhausting. But then I realize that if I dwell on these things, then I miss out on the beauty... because in the midst of the chaos, autism can be pretty beautiful too.

It has taught me to love unconditionally. It has taught me not to take anything for granted, to treasure the moments and the milestones no matter how seemingly small they may seem to others. It has taught me that perfection is overrated. It has given me an amazing little boy who is as sweet as he is brilliant. A little boy whom I would not trade for anything in the world. God has certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone with my son, but He has also blessed me much more than I could ask for.

It is this- the beauty among the chaos that Sarah Parshall Perry speaks of in her new book, Sand in My Sandwich:

You know that thing when you're in Walmart at noon before you discover you haven't brushed your teeth? Sarah Parshall Perry gets that. She also gets weird things showing up in her bed, her daughter asking for war paint, and her son crawling into a giant blue sock on Christmas morning. Mainly, she gets that conflicted feeling of finding her kids hanging out in the dogs' cages and happily realizing they have stopped getting into trouble for a minute.

According to Perry, "The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God," and readers get to watch the systematic destruction of her carefully planned life, laughing at her missteps, aching at her tragedies, and recognizing themselves along the way. A mother of three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum, she has experienced plenty of ups and downs, but from the chaos of her "ordinary" life she pulls the universal truths of motherhood, addressing them with humor, poignancy, and a naked honesty that will make the reader think, "That sounds a lot like my crazy life". Perry helps mothers realize they aren't alone, even if they've fallen off the straight and narrow of their intended path and are instead lying in the ditch next to it. Life's a mess. But as Perry reminds us, it's all for a purpose. Perfect for mothers, this book will encourage, inspire, and enlighten.

As a fellow autism mom, I found myself relating to Sarah's story which in so many ways was similar to my own. How refreshing to read stories of someone else fighting the same battle. But while life raising a child with autism might be messier than most, motherhood can be full of twists and turns regardless. Moms of all kinds can truly appreciate and learn from Sarah's story as well. Motherhood is not a one size fits all experience. We will all be filled with our own fair share of challenges and messes, but if we turn to God, He will show us the blessings among the mess.

Sand In My Sandwich is available to purchase now at Family Christian.

Find more great parenting selections and connect at the links below:

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
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And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy for themselves! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cooking with Kids: A Berenstain Bears Country Cookbook Review

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

Not long ago, I read an article talking about how when asked most children had no idea where their food truly came from. I suppose in a society where eating out and already prepared convenience type foods are readily available, this should come as no surprise but it was still eye opening for me. I wanted to be sure that if my children were asked the same questions, they would know the correct answers. One big way we set out to accomplish that was to start a garden. Last year was our first year at that attempt, and quite honestly, the results were less than ideal. We will continue to try again, BUT I don't want that to be the only example we give them. So, I've also been bringing my son into the kitchen to help me cook when he can- and will do the same for my daughter as she gets older. Not only is this a great reminder as to where their food is coming from and the work that goes into it, but it's also a life skill that I believe every person should have- and sadly, many don't!

So, I am always looking for recipes that are kid friendly to make learning to cook more fun for my little guy. When I heard that there was a Berenstain Bears cookbook, I knew it would be a great addition to our cookbook collection. Take a look:

It’s The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook! Bear lovers everywhere are sure to find favorite recipes for fun food in this new kid-friendly, cookbook—ranging from Bear favorites that use honey and berries to delicious main meals and breakfasts, and even Berenstain favorites like Jan Berenstain’s famous Green Lasagna.
Featuring breakfast, lunch, main meal, and dessert recipes as well as kid-friendly cooking tips such as food and measurement conversions, this is sure to become a go-to cookbook for delicious and fun recipes kids can cook with an adult.

First and foremost, what kid doesn't love the Berenstain Bears? I know I certainly did as a child...and now my own children enjoy hearing this fun stories as well. It's probably one of my son's favorite series! So, it only made sense that he would love the cookbook as well. And love it he did!!

The recipes were absolutely perfect for any beginning cook. Super simple and easy to follow. In fact, some of them were simply a matter of making food more fun and kid friendly! From mini pizzas to cakes to oatmeal...there was a little something for every tastebud!! I also found the handy kitchen measurement guide to be super handy for kids and grown ups alike.

Many of the recipes featured the bear favorite- honey! My son is a huge honey fan as well, and truly loved this...but what he loved even more was the quick facts page about all things honey. Though he loved the recipes, I think this may have been his favorite part!!

If you're looking for a fun way to get your little ones involved in the kitchen, The Berenstain Bears Country Cookbook is PERFECT! You and your cubs are sure to love it!

Do you have a little cub who loves to help in the kitchen? What are your favorite kid-friendly meals to prepare?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Finish the Sentence. Life is ___. {A Book Review}

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Ah, the meaning of life... it seems like the question everyone is dying to have answered. There are books written on subject. Movies too. Even songs. It seems we could easily spend our whole lives trying to discover how to finish one very simple sentence... 'Life is...'

If you were to ask everyone you come across today to finish that seemingly simple sentence, you would come up with a variety of answers, such as:

Life is...

  • spending time with family and friends.
  • finding your passion.
  • being successful in your career.
  • raising a family.
  • exciting.
  • exhausting.
  • a roller coaster.
  • messy.
  • an open book.
  • an adventure.
Throw in a few more cliches and it's easy to see why it can be so confusing!

It is just this sentence that author Judah Smith digs into his new book, Life is ____. Take a look:

Life is ____. How would you finish that sentence? 

Pastor and author Judah Smith believes Jesus shows us how to live life to the fullest. In this follow-up to his New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Jesus Is ____, Judah completes the sentence again and again, revealing how:

  • Life is to be loved and to love
  • Life is to trust God in every moment
  • Life is to be at peace with God and yourself
  • Life is to enjoy God.

Judah writes in way that benefits new believers, lifelong followers of Jesus, and even the merely curious. He shows us the love of God that defies human logic and the life that God intends for us to have in the here and now. With excitement and humor, Judah looks at the stories in the Bible from his unique angle and shows how life is all about loving God and loving others.

Now, I love reading books like this from pastors and fellow Christians because while I might think I have a pretty decent understanding about certain topics in the Bible, I've found it helpful to get a different point of view, especially from someone a little more knowledgeable on the topic. But do you ever read these types of books and find yourself thinking, 'Look, I'm sure you've got a great point, and you're probably even right on the topic, but honestly, I have no idea what I've just read. Pass me a dictionary. What does this mean?' You walk away feeling more confused than you were to begin with. It's not that these writers aren't brilliant, or even correct.. it's just that they're speaking above your level of comprehension on the topic. Surely, I'm not the only one, right? These types of books are great for the experienced, well studied pastors, but for me I need something a little more relatable. And I most definitely found this in Judah Smith.

Now, perhaps you read the book description and thought it seemed like the question was already answered right there on the back of the book. Life is about loving God and others. Simple enough, do we really need a whole book on the topic? To put it simply, YES! Oh sure, it's easy enough to sum it up with one simple sentence but the book goes much deeper than that. Judah shares real life instances of truly living the life that God wants us to- a life of loving him. He speaks not as a pastor who knows all the answers and does it right all the time, but as a human being who like all of us makes mistakes, wants to do things his own way and still finds himself in awe of the grace and love we have all been given. He uses scriptural references, intertwined effortlessly with every day examples that we can all relate to. He speaks as a friend, and truly helps to paint a picture of the life that God has intended in a way that we can all understand, regardless of our levels on knowledge of the Bible.

If you are looking for just one book on the topic of life, this is certainly the one I would choose! You can purchase your own copy of Life Is ___ at Family Christian. And while you're there be sure to check out Judah Smith's previous bestseller, Jesus Is ____ and a variety of study guides to go along with both!

See more and connect with Family Christian at the links below:
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
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Teaching Kids About Jesus: A Jesus Sees Us Review {+ Discount Code} #JesusSeesUs

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

With Easter just around the corner, there has never been a better time to really start teaching your little ones about Jesus... but where do you begin? How do you teach even the smallest of children the true significance of Jesus in a way that they can understand? Books, dvds and Sunday school classes are all great of course, but how much are they really understanding and relating to?

Two moms- Kelly and Maureen- saw the need for a product to really make the story of Jesus engaging and relatable to their preschool age children and created the Jesus Sees Us doll and book:

Faith based Jesus doll and book for children. Jesus Sees Us is a beautifully relatable tool for introducing Faith, Jesus and His teachings into your child's life. Imagine your child took the same interest and wonder in Jesus and the Christian message as they did in princesses, fairies and elves? The Jesus Sees Us doll and accompanying book are tools to assist you in engaging your child and starting the conversation with them about Jesus' teachings.

Sounds pretty genius, right? I could not wait to have my kids try one out! The first thing I noticed when I opened our package was that it's super cute...much cuter in person. I think! The Doll has a warm and loving face and inviting, open arms that mirror the image of the illustrations in the Lesson Book. My daughter couldn't wait to get her hands on it! It was soft, and friendly looking- and the perfect size for her small hands! She has loved playing with her 'Esus'.

My son on the other hand was all about the book! He loves Bible stories and learning about Jesus, but those stories are not always easy for him to translate into his every day life. This book however gives him real life examples of just how he can act like Jesus. Seeing this friendly face in both the stories and the doll, Jesus became much more relatable. He didn't seem like a figure who was unattainable, but a true friend who is with us in our day to day life. Even as adults, couldn't we use that little reminder?

This is ideal for kids age 2-6, but both my under two and over six year old loved it as well! If you're looking for a great way to encourage your little ones to have a meaningful relationship with God, this is a must see! Truly, the perfect addition to any Easter basket! You can learn more at JesusSeesUs.com.

Ready to buy one for your child/grandchild? They are available to purchase at Amazon using this link, and you can save $10 on your purchase using the coupon code: JSBlog10. Shop today!

And don't forget to stay up to date with Jesus Sees Us at the links below:

Visit the Website.
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What little one in your life would love the Jesus Sees Us doll and book? What other ways have you found to teach your little ones about Jesus?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hop To The Music with a #‎disneymusic Giveaway! ‬‪#‎enmnetwork‬ CLOSED

I received the Hop To The Music pack as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.

No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain 

affiliate links.

I suppose it's not secret by now that we absolutely, positively LOVE Disney in our home. We have the movies, the jammies, the jewelry, hairbrushes...and then there's the kids' stuff! No doubt about it...we're a Disney family. I mean seriously, what's not to love? The stories are fun, the characters are cute and of course, the SONGS! Who doesn't love the Disney music!? Even when the movies are over, we can often be found jamming out to 'Let It Go' or 'Hakuna Matata'! With Easter fast approaching, I could not think of a better Easter basket surprise for your little ones than finding their favorite Disney music!! Treats may be fun...but once they're gone they're gone. With Disney CDs the fun just keeps on going!!

This spring get ready to Hop to the Music with your favorite Disney Music albums!

To celebrate the season, Disney has put together some fantastic treat bags filled with the best of the best:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1
  • Into the Woods Soundtrack
  • Frozen The Songs
  • Dj Shuffle 2
When our treat bag arrived, I could not wait to start listening! What to put in first? The great thing about this selection is there was truly a little something for everyone! Guardians of the Galaxy and Into the Woods are a bit more grown up for older audiences (though my 7 year old loves them as well!), DJ Shuffle is PERFECT for toddlers and preschoolers like my 19 month old, and Frozen...well, doesn't every family have at least ONE Frozen mega fan? (Ours has 3!)

Naturally, Frozen made it into our CD player first. We loved jamming out to our favorite songs from the movie in the car, as we cleaned...anywhere and everywhere! Honestly, we randomly burst into these songs on a daily basis anyway, so it only makes sense to have the actual album!!

My husband immediately put his claim on Guardians of the Galaxy! He's not usually a huge soundtrack fan, but this one is pretty amazing! I love that this is an album that the whole family can listen to together and TRULY enjoy (not just tolerate!) Truthfully, is there anyone in the world who can resist belting out Hooked on a Feeling or Ain't No Mountain Hight Enough when they come on? I don't think so!!

DJ Shuffle features a selection of music from Disney Junior favorites like Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins. We loved hearing these familar songs once again...and loved that most are fairly short which is great for short kid attention spans. This one is definitely becoming a playroom staple.

Into the Woods was an all new one for us. We've not yet seen this movie, but if the soundtrack is any indication...we cannot wait!

With so many great choices, there is certain to be a Disney CD perfect for every Easter basket! You can find all of these great albums, in addition to the rest of your Disney music favorites at http://www.disneymusicemporium.com/. And one very lucky winner is going to win all 4!! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional 

blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.

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.

Dancing Through It: A Book Review #FCBlogger

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

When I was a little girl, I was always fascinated with ballet. I remember having this adorable pink ballet slipper wall decor hanging in my bedroom that I would stare at and dream. In my young mind, ballet was the complete and total definition of glamour. The frilly tutus, the beautiful makeup, the graceful moves... I was intrigued. Though my family never had the money for lessons, I found myself reading books on the topic and attempting to learn what the various positions were, what all the terms meant and basically just soaking anything in I could. But mostly, I would just dream about the glamorous world of ballet.

As I grew a little older, I did of course learn that it was not always as glamorous as I'd once imagined, but I was still intrigued and found myself drawn to movies like Center Stage or fictional tales on the subject. Even now as an adult, I'm drawn in, so I was thrilled to be given the chance to check out the new book by principal dancer Jenifer Ringer- Dancing Through It:

Jenifer Ringer, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was thrust into the headlines after her weight was commented on by a New York Times critic, and her response ignited a public dialogue about dance and weight.

Ballet aficionados and aspiring performers of all ages will want to join Ringer behind the scenes as she shares her journey from student to star and candidly discusses both her struggle with an eating disorder and the media storm that erupted after the Times review. An unusually upbeat account of life on the stage, Dancing Through It is also a coming-of-age story and an inspiring memoir of faith and of triumph over the body issues that torment all too many women and men.

From the very first pages I found myself being brought back to those childhood fantasy days. Jenifer spoke of ballet with such a fondness and naturalness that I could not help but be drawn into this world. Early on, I found myself thinking, 'Dancing through...what?' It seemed that ballet in many ways came very naturally... though she worked hard always, of course, I wasn't seeing much TRUE struggle. But that changed when Jenifer was a teenager and a struggle that is all too common in the world of ballet reared its head- issues with body image and disordered eating. While anorexia is probably most often thought of when associated with ballet, for her it was a back and forth struggle between under and overeating.

Weight issues are a funny thing, aren't they? No, not funny haha, but funny in that there are so many contradictions. I've always been exceptionally thin myself. In my freshman year of high school, I (naturally) weighed a mere 87 pounds. On one hand I would have people who worried about me and telling me I was much too thin (and given supplements to try to gain weight)... and on the other I would have other girls coming to me and praising my size with comments like, 'Oh, you're so thin! I would kill to have your body'. It was very confusing... how could I be both too thin and just perfect? And I was not in a world where body truly mattered... a world like ballet!

In Dancing Through It, Jenifer shared her very personal struggle with overeating, and how the resulting weight gain led her to be fired from the ballet. But she also shared how during her time away, she turned to God and was able to overcome her issues and ultimately return to and fall back in love with dance. Later on, this struggle even led her to help touch lives of young girls everywhere during a very public attack on her weight from a critic.

The world of a ballet dancer is one that is entirely different than what most of us can relate to, but in many ways this story is universal. Weight issues are not exclusive to performers. It is something we see among girls in all walks of lives. (Boys too, of course!) But aside from issues of weight, we are also faced with other struggles- depression, anxiety, job loss, sickness. Jenifer's story is not just a story of a dancer... but the story of a person who turned to God in her time of crisis and came out on the other side. It is also a story of God using that struggle to create something beautiful. So, whether you have interest in ballet or you don't, this is a universal story that we can all take away from.

Dancing Through It is available now to purchase at Family Christian.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Killing Christians: A Book Review

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

When I was a teenager, my preacher shared a story one Sunday about two gunned men who entered a church. They went on to tell everyone worshiping there that night that they could deny God and leave to safety...or be killed for their faith. Many walked out, while still many stayed. The gunmen proceeded to take their own seats among the worshipers and declared they wanted only to worship with those true believers, willing to sacrifice themselves rather than denying God for their own safety. 

It was a rather interesting story and one that I found has stuck with me throughout the years. I couldn't help but ask myself the question- would I have the faith to stand up for my faith, even if doing so meant laying down my life? I like to believe so...but the reality is that for most of us, this is a scenario we cannot imagine being put in. Here in America, we are typically pretty safe to practice our religions as we see fit. This idea of being killed for our faith sounds like something out of a Hollywood film rather than reality.

But in other parts of the world, Christians face just that. Turn on the news and you're likely to see it. It is this devastating reality that Tom Doyle shares with us in his new book, Killing Christians.

Could you retain your faith even if it meant losing your life? 

In Killing Christians, Tom Doyle takes readers to the secret meetings, the torture rooms, the grim prisons, and even the executions that are the “calling” of countless Muslims-turned-Christians. The depth of oppression Jesus followers suffer is unimaginable to most Western Christians. Yet, it is an everyday reality for those who choose faith over survival in Syria, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, and other countries hostile to the Gospel of Christ. 

Each survivor longs to share with brothers and sisters “on the outside” what Christ has taught them. Killing Christians is their message to readers who still enjoy freedom to practice their faith. None would wish their pain and suffering on those who do not have to brave such misery, but the richness gained through their remarkable trials are delivered—often in their own words—through this book.

First and foremost, I must say this is not an easy book to read. Typically, I'm the type of reader who can read on and on and on until I have to sleep, or I've finished the book. With this book, I found instead that I had to take frequent breaks between stories. It was not because it wasn't a great read (it was), it was simply that the enormity of the stories and knowing that were were 100% true was a lot for my tender heart to take in at once. These stories are heartbreaking. They're heavy. And yet, despite it all, they are rather inspiring as well.

As I read each story, I find myself feeling very blessed. The stories like those told in Killing Christians are so foreign to me. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where practicing our religion is safe...where we do not have to fear being given the choice to live or die for our faith. This book was an excellent reminder not to take those freedoms for granted.

You can purchase Killing Christians at Family Christian.

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