A Modern Day Fairy Tale: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sleep Well with SwaddleSure by HALO {A #2Cool4Drool Giveaway}

Welcome to the Too Cool for Drool Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Mommy Island & The Kids Did It
From August 31-September 14, hop along to participating bloggers to find great giveaways all about BABY, with prizes valued at $15+!!

If you've been following for long, you probably already know that we are big HALO fans in my home! Even in the hospital, we had my daughter swaddled and comfy in her HALO Sleepsack Swaddle. As she grew, a regular Sleepsack became a staple. These products were wonderful in helping our little miss stay warm and comfortable and most importantly, sleeping safely!

Today, I'm excited to share with you an all new product from HALO... the SwaddleSure by HALO!

At a price of $14.99, the SwaddleSure™ adjustable swaddle pouch is designed to compete with the SwaddleMe brand. Unlike SwaddleMe, the SwaddleSure™ by HALO is designated as hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, making it safer and more secure for baby. 

As moms, most of us probably already know about the many great benefits of swaddling, but here's a little recap:

The Benefits of Swaddling
After being tightly cuddled inside mom for nine months, it's no wonder that some babies enjoy being swaddled after birth. It makes them feel snug, warm and secure. Swaddling can help calm many fussy or crying babies and even help them sleep longer in the first few months of life. In fact, many cultures have been swaddling their infants for thousands of years.  Basic benefits of swaddling:
  • Swaddling is a great way to soothe and calm a fussy baby by giving him a feeling of security, similar to being in the womb.
  • A newborn cannot regulate his temperature as well as an adult, so swaddling keeps his body warm. (Just make sure that he doesn’t become overheated.)
  • Swaddling often helps a baby sleep longer because it prevents the sudden movements (startle reflex) that can cause him to wake up.
  • Swaddling can help a baby focus on breastfeeding, helping to keep his arms and legs out of the way.
  • Swaddling prevents a newborn baby from scratching himself with his nails.
I loved swaddling my children as babies, and I love that HALO has come out with this other great option to help make it easier.

SwaddleSure by HALO versus receiving blankets
  • Perfect fit – SwaddleSure has large adjustable fasteners as well as a large area for the fasteners to connect ensuring a perfect fit every time. SwaddleSure also adjusts easily as baby grows
  • Resists breakouts – unlike a receiving blanket, the SwaddleSure has patented three-point fastening system that makes it harder for baby to bust out
  • Roomier pouch design – SwaddleSure supports hip health, it does not constrain the legs but rather allows baby to put them in a natural position and move as needed. Receiving blankets can restrict movement
  • Easy access to diaper – the SwaddleSure pouch opens up on the outside making it easy to access baby’s diaper without needing to unswaddle
If you have a little one, or a little one on the way, the new SwaddleSure by HALO is certainly going to be a must try on your list! You can learn more and see all the great products to help your baby sleep safely at the links below:

And as part of the Too Cool for Drool Giveaway Hop, one very lucky reader is going to win a SwaddleSure by HALO 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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Go Green for Back to School with ECOlunchbox


Welcome to the 1st Annual Back to School Giveaway Hop hosted by Karen’s Got Mail. I have teamed up with a fantastic group of bloggers to share these giveaways with our readers. Be sure to hop around to the participating blogs and enter some fabulous giveaways! Also, make sure to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway which features n Ultimate Back to School combo from Mabel's Labels!


Back to school! With back to school comes back to school shopping...and with back to school shopping comes a lot of waste! Have you ever stopped to wonder if there was a greener way to send your kiddos back to school? The good news is there ARE!

Take a look at these super simple ways to go green for back to school:

Buy Used. Eliminate some excess waste by buying used where you can. Check out your local thrift stores for great used clothing, shoes and backpacks. Still have school supplies from previous years? For things like rules, scissors, etc there is no reason to buy new each and every year.

Buy Greener Options. For those things that you DO have to buy new, consider greener options like recycled pencils or organic clothing. 

Walk/Carpool/Ride the Bus. If you live close enough to your child's school, consider walking or biking to and from. If that's not an option, consider carpooling or having your child ride the bus for a more eco-friendly option!

Recycle Papers. There isn't much we can do to stop the crazy amount of papers sent home each day, but we can control what we do with the waste. Rather than tossing all those newsletters and completed homework, set aside a special bin just for recycling those papers!

Pack A Green Lunch. Perhaps one of the greatest ways we can go green for back to school is packing a green lunch... it's green in more ways than one! First and foremost, it gives us complete control over what our children eat. We can choose healthy, delicious options that we can feel great about and know that our kids will love.

We can also use eco-friendly options to pack that lunch! One of my favorites for eco-friendly lunchbox options is ECOlunchbox, and their Splash Box Kit. Take a look:

The Splash Box Kit is a plastic free lunchware set that includes a leak-proof Splash Box™ with a matching organic cotton lunch sack and bamboo spork!

The Splash Box™ lunch container has a non-toxic silicone lid which offers leak-free convenience like plastic -- without any of the chemicals commonly found in plastics! The high-quality stainless steel lunchbox bottom is designed to stack for compact storage.

Also included is a matching organic cotton Blue Water Bento lunch sack featuring a screen-printed marine animal of your choice. The lunchbag measures 10 1/2 high with a 7 by 4 1/2 inch bottom. It carries with a sturdy cord handle and closes with velcro. To top off your set, we've included a nifty bamboo spork.

Sounds pretty great, right? But they aren't just eco-friendly, they are practical and cute too! I love the simple design of the Splash Box. The vivid blue and wave design is simple enough to not be over the top, but fun enough that kids will still love it. This makes it an ideal option for kids and grown ups alike! The unique silicone lid design is super easy for little hands to grasp and open on their own, while still remaining leak free!

The lunch sack is just the right size too! It's easy to carry on its own, and compact enough to toss into your child's backpack. Having limited kitchen space, I also love that the bag takes up little one when not in use (and the Splash Boxes stack compactly too!). But my favorite part about the lunch sack is that it is super easy to toss in the wash when your child inevitably makes a mess of it! That's a definite must in my home!

Eco-friendly, cute AND practical? Is it any wonder that ECOlunchbox has quickly become a back to school favorite in my home? You can learn more and see everything that ECOlunchbox has to offer at the links below:

Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/w0KTb

And as part of the Back To School Giveaway Hop, one very lucky winner is going to win a Splash Box Kit 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.  Karen’s Got Mail and the Back to School Giveaway Hop participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power {A Book Review & Giveaway}

"Life's tough...get a helmet."

Ah, life lessons from Boy Meets World! Those who know me know that I'll pretty much take any excuse to toss out a BMW quote, just for fun. But this one...well, this one truly is a great lesson isn't it? Life is tough. Things go wrong, our best laid plans fall apart. Jobs come and go. Tragedies happen.

As a mother, the greatest tragedy that we could ever imagine is something happening to our child. It is something that I cannot even imagine going through...something I do not even WANT to imagine going through. How does a parent go through that and make it through? How do they face that tragedy and still see the light at the end of the tunnel? How do you go through something like that and keep the faith?

Pastor Levi Lusko shares this very experience in the new book Through The Eyes of a Lion:

Do you fear life's uncertainties? As a parent who lost his young daughter, Pastor Levi Lusko has been there. More a manifesto for high-octane living than a manual for grieving, 
Through the Eyes of a Lion will help you turn your journey into a "roar story." Whether you’re currently facing adversity or want to prepare yourself for inevitable hardship, it’s time to look at the adventure of your life through Jesus’ eyes—the eyes of a Lion.

First and foremost, I must admit this was not an easy book to read. Again, as a mother, the idea of losing a child is almost unbearable, but that is just what the Luskos experienced when their daughter 5-year-old daughter Lenya left this world unexpectedly after an asthma attack days before Christmas. What should have been the most magical time of the year, turned into the most tragic. As I said, it was not an easy book to read. Many times, in the midst of the story I found myself having to put the book down and step away, wondering if I would be able to finish. But still, I read on...and I am glad that I did!

This is not just a story of tragedy. This is a story of hope, of love and of living life. It is a story about facing those impossible moments. It is not a story that says it's easy, and that we should not mourn our losses. It is not sugar coated to make us feel better. It acknowledges that life is not easy, but it encourages us not to live in fear but to instead embrace life and face those fears head on. We may never experience the loss of a child, but we will face hardships. We will struggle in our marriages, in our jobs, with our families. We will face hard times, but through Christ we can get through. We can face our fears, and roar through like a lion.

Through the Eyes of a Lion is available to purchase now at Family Christian.

Find more great Christian books and connect with Family Christian 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 
Follow on Tumblr: http://family-christian.tumblr.com 
Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/familychristian

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy of the book 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. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Get Prescription Sunglasses Without Breaking the Bank with GlassesShop.com {+ Coupon Code}

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

Let's talk sunglasses!

Since high school, I have struggled with horrible frequent migraines. Sunlight has always been one of my biggest triggers. On a particularly bright day just stepping outside can bring it on. I was told that I needed to wear sunglasses each time I went outside. For most, sunglasses are just a fun fashion accessory, but when you wear glasses, they can be a bit of an annoyance! You can wear sunglasses over your regular glasses, but finding glasses large enough to do so comfortably? Not easy! And prescription sunglasses... well, they're a great option of course, but super expensive...RIGHT? I certainly always thought so! I could never have imagined that they would actually be affordable enough to fit in my budget... so for years, I just did without.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to GlassesShop.com:

GlassesShop is an American owned and operated online retailer of eyeglasses. Since the website launch in 2004, we have delivered over a million pairs of eyeglasses while maintaining our standard of providing the highest quality at affordable prices. We are a group of eye doctors that understands your struggle with the high cost of eyeglasses. We strive to make your experience with GlassesShop.com one that is not only user-friendly but also professional and reliable. Being able to deliver superior eyeglasses at an unbeatably-low price has allowed us to help people all over the world see clearly and, in turn, has provided our team with a more rewarding experience than we could have ever anticipated. We guarantee your satisfaction.

Right away, I loved that I could find a large variety of prescription eyeglasses for a fraction of the cost that I could find at an eye doctor. Cheap glasses? That still looked great? And that you could shop for at the convenience of your home computer? Yes, please! Could they get any better?

To put it simply, YES!

Not only does GlassesShop offer cheap prescription eyeglasses, they also offer great deals on prescription sunglasses too! In addition to their wide variety of eyeglasses, they also have a pretty fantastic selection of sunglasses as well. They have prescription sunglasses, general clip-on sunglasses and even glasses with clip-ons designed just for them.

For me, that seemed like the best solution, so I went with the Jose Wayfarer with Clip-On. These gave me the sun protection of typical sunglasses, but with a few added benefits. First of all, the clip on attaches quickly and easily, making it much more convenient than switching from eyeglasses to sunglasses. But for me, it also was a fun way to try out a little something different when it came to frame shapes! I typically stick with something classic and small, so I loved mixing it up with a larger frame for more options... and I actually found that I really loved the option to have this larger frame for my everyday too! They truly are the greatest deal!

And to make it an even BETTER deal, use the code GSHOT50 to receive 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses(sale frames excluded). Wow! This deal truly is too great to pass up! If you're in need of new eyeglasses or sunglasses, GlassesShop is a must see!

Have you taken a look around GlassesShop.com? What frames do you love?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Being A Military Family... Again!

When my husband and I first met, he had already finished his first four years in the Marine Corps, and had enlisted again. I knew from Day One that the military was THE plan. I knew that he planned to stay in the Marine Corps until he was able to retire. That was the only plan, and it was a pretty good one. Though the military life was not always easy, I adapted and became quite comfortable with it. Having married my husband less than a year after graduating high school, the military life was the only life I'd truly known as a grown up.

So, last year when my husband received the news that after 11 years, he was going to be unable to reenlist thanks to military downsizing...well, needless to say this was quite a blow! Still, we made the most of the situation we were given. We were in a place that we had come to love, where our oldest child was thriving in school and where we were a short drive away from both families. I have always been a firm believer that everything always works out according to God's plans, and though it was a stressful time, I looked forward to finding out just what exactly He had planned for our family.

The transition out of the military was not an easy one. My husband, not one to sit and feel sorry for himself, quickly found a job working part time busing tires and changing oil at a local garage. It wasn't much, but kept money coming in at least. He put forth that same effort and hard work he'd always shown in his military career, and after just a few months, he was promoted from part time entry level job to assistant manager. Things certainly seemed to be looking up. But for all the work and dedication he was putting in, he wasn't get much back in return. He worked 6 days a week, and while our family is just that short drive away, we weren't able to visit because of his busy schedule. We saw less of him as a mechanic than we did as a recruiter. Crazy! And he was making much, much less...adding more stress to an already stressful transition.

This is the part where we learned that God truly does have a sense of humor.

Just days after a serious discussion weighing our options and knowing that this job- while something he did enjoy with a company he liked- was just not going to cut it, something interesting happened. My husband got a phone call from a friend of his who had worked as a Marine Corps recruiter with him, and had gotten out under the same circumstances right around the same time. He was calling to talk to my husband about following the same path he had made- joining the Indiana National Guard as a recruiter.

If you know anything about the military, you'll probably understand why I say again that God certainly has a funny sense of humor. You see, there is a bit of- let's say friendly competition- between branches of the military. Each thinks theirs is the greatest and makes sure to let the others know. It's all in good fun, of course, but still- the idea of becoming a soldier? Oh yes, there were many a joke!

But it was also an amazing opportunity. He could go back in as a SSgt, receive the same pay and benefits he'd been receiving and still be just nine years away from retirement. NINE YEARS! It would be silly to pass up, right? As a recruiter, we would have more stability as far as moves and deployments were concerned (though not guaranteed by any means). It was as though we could get back those many things we missed about being a military family, but with less of the things that we didn't. Could we turn that down?

Simply put, absolutely not. I am proud to say that last week- on August 20th (exactly 12 years to the day he graduated boot camp and became a Marine), my husband swore in to the Indiana National Guard! We are officially a military family, once again! God truly is amazing, and I truly believe this is just what He had in mind for us.

Right now, we wait for him to officially begin as a recruiter, but already I feel as though a weight has been lifted. I see the light at the end of this stressful year... it's unexpected. It's not something I would have believed had I been told just a year ago. But it seems right. I cannot wait to see where this new adventure takes us! I am proud of my husband no matter what he does, and I am proud to yet again be a military family!

Oh, what a ride it has been..

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Introduction To Bible Journaling #FCBlogger #FCJournaling

A huge thank you to Family Christian for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Have you seen the recent craze to take over the Christian blogging/Pinterest/Instagram world? Are pictures of beautiful artwork written in the margins of Bible pages taking over your news feed?

That's right, I'm talking about Bible Journaling! This is certainly not a new idea, but it is one that seems to be becoming more and more popular...with good reason! The more I see photos fill up my new feed, the more fascinated I have become with the subject. Recently, I finally took the leap into this exciting adventure and today I'm sharing all about that experience and how you too can begin!

So, what is Bible Journaling?

The most simple description of Bible Journaling is right there in the title.... it's simply journaling in your Bible. It can be as simple as taking notes, writing prayers and underlining words that speak to you or as in depth as creating beautiful full page works of art right there on the pages! It truly can be whatever you make of it. In fact, you might even find that you truly have been Bible journaling all along!

But, what if I'm not an artist?

When you look at some of the beautiful works of Bible journaling seen on Pinterest and Instagram, it can be very overwhelming! While I was intrigued by the subject, I will admit that I too was quite apprehensive for this very reason! I am not an artist... far from it! I can draw simple doodles...kind of, but these elaborate works of art I've seen on the web? Nope, not going to happen.

But as I said above, Bible journaling truly is what you make of it. If you're an artist, by all means, create those stunning pieces that we all love to admire. But if you're not, don't think that it counts you out. Bible journaling is NOT about how great of an artist you are, it is about connecting with God however you connect with God best. If you are a doodler, doodle. If you're a poet, write poetry. If you're a researcher, take notes. If you're a crafter, get creative with washi tapes, etc. Write your notes, write your prayers, write your hopes, write your thoughts. Write what is on your heart. It does not have to be fancy or perfect. It just has to be genuine.

What supplies do I need?

First and foremost of course, you'll need a Bible. You can use one you already have, but I personally prefer an actual Journaling Bible. These are already set up with space in the margins for you to take your notes or draw your pictures. I personally have this ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, and I love it. Not only does it have just the right amount of space for my doodles and notes, but it's leaf design is just stunning...the most beautiful Bible I own! You can also find Journaling Bibles in nearly every translation, if ESV isn't your top pick!

Once you have your Bible, next up is your journaling supplies. The supplies you need are completely up to you. I'm always of the opinion to start with the basics. A pencil, pen and some colored pencils will give you a great start without a huge upfront investment. Once you become more comfortable, you can decide where to go from there. You may find that colored pencils are truly all you need, or you may-like me- decide that a convenient Bible Journaling Kit will take your doodles to the next level. Watercolor pencils, stickers, inks and stamps, washi tape, stencils... the possibilities are endless! Do be mindful of pens/markers and look for pens like the Micron that do not bleed through on these thin Bible pages!

How do I get started?
You have everything you need to get started...now what?

Now, it's up to you! For me, I simply started with some of my favorite verses! For some, I just came up with doodles that went along with the verse and used some word art to write the scriptures themselves. Others, instead or journaling the verse itself, I journaled my takeaway from it or created drawings that shared how these verses spoke to me personally.

There's no right or wrong way to start, just jump in! Is there a verse that is speaking to your life right now? A topic that you are studying in your church on in your home Bible reading at home? Start there. Already in the midst of reading your Bible or doing a Bible study? Start there. Someone you need to pray for or thoughts that have been going through your mind? Start there. Grab your Bible and your pencil and just get started!

But, WHY should I start Bible Journaling? What's the point? What are the benefits?

The reasons for starting your Bible Journaling can be as numerous as the ways to go about it. These are just a few of the great reasons/benefits to join in:

  • Grow closer to God. I believe that God has blessed each of us with our own sets or talents and interests, and that we should use those to strengthen our relationships with Him. Those who love music can worship Him through song, those who have been given a gift for speaking can preach... Bible Journaling is a great way for those who have gifts of art, or writing to use those gifts to grow closer to him!
  • It makes reading the Bible more enjoyable. For some, reading the Bible is fun. They enjoy it, it comes naturally to them. For others, it's much more of a chore. For those people, journaling their way through can make it much more enjoyable. It takes an otherwise boring task and makes it fun. I don't know about you, but I for one learn much more when I am enjoying the learning.
  • Keeping a record of your spiritual journey. Just as keeping a journal will allow you to look back on your life as a whole, Bible Journaling will allow you to look back on your spiritual journey and see how far you have come. You can see what verses spoke to you at points in your life, thoughts you had and how you have grown in Christ. It is also something wonderful to pass along to your children too!
  • It's FUN. Okay, so perhaps this is a frivulous reason to get started, but it doesn't make it any less true! Despite my initial fears, I have truly fallen in love with Bible journaling and am having such a blast with it! Isn't that reason enough?

So, are you ready to get started? Family Christian has everything you need to get started! You can see it all and 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 
Follow on Tumblr: http://family-christian.tumblr.com 
Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/familychristian

Are you a Bible Journaler? What tips and tricks do you have for the beginning journaler?

Stay tuned for more on my Bible Journaling Journey to come!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Say Cheese with Tea Collection {Tips and Tricks for an Awesome School Photo} #TeaAdventurer

A huge thanks to Tea Collection for sponsoring today's post! All thoughts are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

Now that school is back in session, it means that school picture day will be coming up soon too! Exciting, right? I have a love/hate relationship with school photos. I love the great keepsake to keep and watch my son grow year by year, but as a photography enthusiast I dread the bad school photo! We've all had them, right? I mean it's a topic of many a TV show- those bad school photos that will haunt us for life- the sneeze caught on camera, the haircut gone bad, the bad choice of backgrounds... well, you get the idea! We cannot always avoid the pimples or the silly faces, but there are some school picture mishaps we CAN avoid!

Today, I'm sharing my tips to help you make sure your child has a great school picture this year!

Choose your background wisely.

At some schools, you may not have much choice when it comes to the background, perhaps a simple color or two to choose from. Others you are given too many to name- multiple color options, fall scenes, starry scenes... you name it! But for me personally, I think simple is better! First and foremost, this is a photo of your child, and a simple background is going to ensure that they are the focus! A fancy background may seem like a good idea at the time, but makes it more difficult to plan outfits and if you plan to display your school year progressions together, you'll want to keep a similar looks throughout! I personally always choose a simple grey or blue- it suits my child's skin tone, coordinates with everything and doesn't detract from your adorable child!

The night before picture day is NOT the best day for a new hairstyle. 

We've all seen those bad haircut school photos, right? If you're planning a new hairstyle for your little one, it's always best to try it BEFORE picture day, not the night before. For haircuts, give it a week or two if you can. Not only will this keep you from having a hair disaster right before the big day, but we want our children to look like THEM, so a huge change before pictures might not be the best idea anyway!

Pack a 'clean' lunch!

Typically, my son has always had lunch after pictures, but just in case... it's probably not the best day to pack your leftover spaghetti in the thermos! Or a pb&j, heavy on the j! Be mindful of the mess when you're packing your little one's lunch on picture day!

Plan your outfit in advance.

Just like you need to choose your background wisely, you need to plan your outfit wisely too! Choose colors that look great on your child, and that will work nicely with your background. Have everything laid out and ready beforehand so that you are not rushing at the last minute to find the finishing touches...and so that if you're running late that morning, it's already ready to go!

Be mindful of t-shirts/designs.

Personally, I prefer not to go with t-shirts at all for photos, BUT if that's all your child wears then go with it... but be mindful of the designs. You don't want to choose something with a phrase that will be cut off mid-statement, likewise with a graphic. When it comes to tees, I personally once again find that simple is best. Take these two great tees from Tea Collection for example:

The first has a great design with lots of visual appeal, but no graphics to worry about no matter how close the crop. I personally found this tribal print to be a really fun choice, giving a little extra something to plain ol' stripes (though stripes are another great option).

This second one again has a great pattern, but offers a great alternative to those who love a good graphic tee! It offers this fun whale's tale design, that isn't overly busy and in which again nothing will be missed in a closely cropped photo.

I also love the idea of pairing these simple t-shirts with a bright hoodie tee...this dresses up a plain tee a little more and adds an extra splash of color. (And can even be worn on its own too!)

Let your child show off their own style.

Sure, a photo of your child dressed to the nines might be absolutely adorable...but if your kid is a jeans and t-shirt kinda kid, it's not really going to look like THEM. So, give them some say in what they wear! It's fine to make it a dressier version of their everyday style of course, but make sure it's still them.

For the kid who loves to wear a t-shirt, again, simple designs and layering can be great ways to turn their everyday style with a little more excitement for picture day!

My son happens to love button ups so we like finding bright colors and fun prints that look great on him. They are great on their own, layered or even with our favorite fashion accessories like suspenders or bow ties! When it comes to boys, you cannot go wrong with a great button up.

Remember, it's only a picture!

At the end of the day, even or most careful planning cannot keep our kids from making a silly face...so remember, if it doesn't turn out perfectly, it is just a photo!

If you need the perfect outfit for picture day, Tea Collection cannot be beat! In fact, every piece featured in this post is from Tea! Tea Collection offers wonderfully unique kids' clothes that truly will help you create fun, one of a kind looks for picture day and beyond. More importantly, the quality was amazing and evident from the moment I opened the package! I love knowing that not only will these pieces-whichever we decide on- look great in his school photos, but will hold up well far beyond that day too! As an added bonus, we found that they mix and match very well, even in unexpected combinations, making to super easy to layer and style for one of a kind looks!

To celebrate the start of an all new school year, they've introduced a super fun campaign, "This Year I Will..."

With every order, you will receive a "This Year I Will..." poster for your child to complete:

At Tea, we believe every day is an adventure. Ask your little citizens about their plans for new adventures this school year (and beyond!) and use ‪#‎TEAADVENTURER to share your poster with us on Instagram or directly upload your photos here: http://www.teacollection.com/kidslovetea

How fun is that? As you can see, my little guy has big plans to learn to run super fast (like The Flash!). From silly to serious, I love this idea of inspiring kids to dream and set goals!

What will you little adventurers do this year?

From school pictures, first day of school and throughout the year, Tea Collection has just what you need to get your kids there in style! Be sure to keep up to date on all the great sales and connect at the links below:

Shop Online.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.
Follow on Instagram.

Are you ready for school picture day? What other tips do you have for getting a GREAT school picture?

Get it All for Fall! Save up to 20%

Mommy Scene Sizzling Summer Giveaway

Summer may be nearing an end, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the last few sizzling days with an awesome giveaway! We are also celebrating Mommy Scene's recent Green Scene Mom Award Winners, celebrating Eco-friendly product design! These sponsoring brands designed products to help kids and families beat the heat, make mealtimes easier, and stay clean, safe and cozy. Some of Mommy Scene's favorite products are featured in this giveaway; Yummi Pouch, SweatyBaby, Sudsy Dough, It's the Balm, the Olie, Suki Moon, BabySpa, FunBites and Bun Maternity!
Bun Maternity and nursing tank top, Short sleeve tee shirt, & Long striped tank top
SweatyBaby organic performance onesie
Sudsy Dough Moldable Soap with surprise toy
Suki Moon Sound Sleep Crib Cushi & sheet
The Olie Minkey Cat or Dino gloves, scarf and hat all in ONE!
FunBites food cutter - squares, hearts or triangles!
BabySpa Splish Splash gift set & biodegradable wipes
It's the Balm Natural Facial Regimen
Yummi Pouch Brights reusable food pouches

Enter to win all of these great prizes!

This contest is hosted by Mommy Scene and is open to US entries. One winner will be chosen and displayed on the giveaway widget after the contest ends on Sept. 2nd, 2015. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for sponsoring brands who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Prizes will be shipped individually directly from each brand.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Gluten Free on a Budget

What do you think when you hear gluten free? 

Healthy? A fad diet? Complicated? Expensive?

Whether you believe there are benefits in a gluten free diet or you think its just silly, chances are you hear those terms and automatically see dollar signs. Yes, we all know that eating gluten free can make your grocery bill soar! Over the last year with my daughter being gluten free, we have found many ways to help from overspending. Today I'm sharing a few of those tips:

  • Ask For Coupons. Coupons for gluten free products may not be a common find in your weekly paper, but did you know that many companies (GF and non alike) will send you coupons if you send an email and simply ask? Try writing to some of your favorites, and leaving your address in the email for easy sending. You can also sometimes find printable coupons right there on their websites too!
  • Keep It Simple. We often think that eating gluten free is going to be super complicated, but in reality, it doesn't have to be. There are many foods that we can eat that are naturally gluten free. Meats with a simple seasoning, fresh vegetables and potatoes, fruits, cheeses- these are very simple options that taste great and are great for you, no gluten required. 
  • Don't Shop the GF Section! Now, that might sound like strange advice, but here is what I have found: you can find many great snacks and other food options that are gluten free for MUCH less than what you find in the actual gluten free section. When they are specifically marketed as GF, the price seems to rise accordingly. For instance, Chex cereals (and Cheerios soon) are gluten free, and quite affordable. Likewise rice crackers or tortilla chips makes great snack options and are typically lower priced than specialty chips and crackers found in the gluten free section. Just take a walk around your grocery store and you are sure to find many great options.
  • Stock Up on Sale Items. Like any food product, it's always great to stock up when you catch a sale! I've found that GF products don't go on sale nearly as often as other products, but if you keep an eye out, you will occasionally find a great deal. If it is a product you will use, create a small stockpile (be mindful of expiration dates and only purchase what you can and will use!). 
  • Shop at Aldi. For the most part, I really don't buy all that much specialty gluten free foods and instead try to feed my daughter fresh meats, cheeses and produce, but on occasion it's nice to have a fun treat like mac and cheese, pizza or chicken nuggets. I discovered that when it comes to GF products like these (and even flours, etc), Aldi has a wonderful selection at MUCH cheaper prices ($1-3 cheaper, depending on the products!). They also taste great, which is a definite plus! It is not a place that I would have though of for specialty food, but it has become my go to place.
These are just a few of the great ways that your bank account can survive a gluten free diet. You might still find that you are spending a bit more, and there certainly is a little more planning and thought that must go into your shopping, but it really is possible to go gluten free on a budget, and I hope that these tips will help!

Are you gluten free? What tips have you found for saving money?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fall Reading For Kids with NEW Books from Peter Pauper Press {A Hangin' On To Summer Giveaway}

Welcome to the Hangin' On To Summer Giveaway Hop
hosted by Planet Weidknecht & LeahSay's Views
August 20-31

Summer is coming to an end and we're celebrating with a giveaway hop! Enter my giveaway, then hop along to the other participating blogs to enter to win more great prizes valued at $25 +!
Good luck and happy entering!


It's hard to believe that summer is coming to an end, and yet here we are. School is back in session, summer fun is winding down and fall will be here before we know it. As much as I want to hang on to those carefree summer days, I cannot help but look forward to fall. The baking, the colors, the fashion... and of course, cuddling up with my kids under a warm blanket with a great book to read together! Truly, is there anything better?

Today, I'm excited to share three great new books from Peter Pauper Press:

All the Lost Things by Kelly Camby (August 2015; $16.99; Ages 4-8)

Olive is the only spark of color in her otherwise drab world, but her city’s sour disposition never crushes her resilient spirit. One day, as she’s out for a walk, a mysterious noise from a nearby manhole piques her curiosity, leading her to an underground world full of boxes and boxes of the city’s lost things—from keys and dolls to dreams and courage. Inspired, Olive grabs a scoop of “memory” for her granddad, who always loses his glasses, some “eyesight” for her father, though he hasn’t completely lost his yet, and most important of all—a great big jar of “hope,” which she spreads across the city, bringing color and joy back to its occupants and showing young readers that even the smallest person can make the world a better place. With a combination of engaging art, playful language, and an uplifting message, this buoyant tale will delight readers of all ages.
While I loved all of the books I am sharing today, this one just might be my absolute favorite! It is such a sweet story of finding hope. It is quite a simple story, perfect for kids like my own who might have a short attention span, but absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. While the story is beautiful in itself, it truly is all about the artwork for this one. When we're first introduced to the city, it's all black and white, with complaints of all kinds floating from the windows. Olivia truly is the only bit of color throughout the city. As she fills each jar with lost gifts for those she loves, we see more beautiful color until the very end as she pours hope among the city- filling it with color and optimism. Hope can be a rather big, confusing concept for kids to grasp, but this idea of bringing color into a boring, negative world is something that even children can understand. I absolutely love this book, and cannot wait to read it over and over as we inevitable will!

No Yeti Yet by Mary Ann Fraser (September 2015; $16.99; Ages 4-8)
On a snowy winter day, two brothers set out on a quest to find a Yeti. As they skate and sled their way across the landscape—unwittingly helped along by the Yeti they seek—the eldest brother patiently answers question after question, teaching his younger brother everything he knows about the mysterious monster. Parents will recognize the unique relationship between an older and younger sibling in the boys’ endearing banter. The short and snappy dialogue will keep young readers engaged to the very end, when the boys finally come face-to-face with the furry creature and an unexpected twist turns the littlest brother into the teacher, as he befriends the Yeti and shows his frightened big brother that it’s not really a monster after all. Parents will appreciate the underlying message that you can’t judge a book by its cover, while children will delight in reading this charming tale all year long.

Oh, what a fun story this is! A story of adventure and of fun...perfect for the fall/winter season! As these two boys go on their hunt for the mysterious Yeti, we as the readers enjoyed spotting him all along, hidden in the scene.  This was the most fun part for my children! But the story itself is wonderfully written too- a conversation between the brothers. I don't know about you, but as a mom, there is nothing I love more than hearing the (at this point simple) conversations between my own children, so I really enjoyed this fun banter. It's short and sweet, perfect for young readers or good night stories! We loved it and I know it will be read often in the coming colder months... it may even inspire us to go on some Yeti hunts of our own.
Mina’s White Canvas by Hyeon-Ju Lee (September 2015; $17.99; Ages 4-8)
Mina is tired of her dreary, colorless world, so she sets out with a magical crayon to make her mark on its blue and white canvas. Along the way, Mina meets several forest creatures who need her help: she uses her crayon to draw a ladder so Grandfather Woodpecker can climb down from his tree, creates a door for Mr. Bear to escape his cave, and makes socks for Miss Frog so that she can join in the winter fun. By the end of the day, Mina has not only brightened the gloomy forest with her kindness and creativity, she’s forged new friendships and formed lasting memories. Lee’s gentle story shows young readers the power of thinking outside the box, and their own boundless potential to make the world a happier place. Parents will love reading this uplifting tale with their own artistic children on gray winter days, encouraging them to use their talents to reimagine the world and connect with the people around them.

As a kid, I grew up in the country... and I just don't mean I leaved in a country-like town... no I grew up in a 'town' with no post office, no stores and gravel roads. There truly was nothing to do. Perhaps this is why I began writing, I so enjoyed the escape of imagining great adventures and great destinations right where I was. So, this story definitely took my back to my own childhood...letting my imagination run wild! Kids today so often have electronics that don't require them to explore their imaginations as I did as a child, so I love having this fun tale to remind them- and myself- the fun and importance of using your creativity and letting your imagination soar. Mina's magical crayon and a little imagination were all she needed to take a boring snowy day inside and turn it into an amazing adventure. This is truly a fun book for all ages!

These books truly are a great way to welcome the cooler weather and say goodbye to the summer days! You can find more great books from Peter Pauper Press and connect at the links below:
Follow Peter Pauper Press on Twitter: @PeterPauperPres
Like Peter Pauper Press on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterpauper?fref=ts
Follow Mary Ann Fraser (YETI) on Twitter: @MaryAnnFraser
Follow Kelly Canby (LOST THINGS) on Twitter: @kelcanby
Like Kelly Canby on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyCanbyArt

And one very lucky reader is going to have a chance to win a copy of all three books! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

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

Ultimate Back To School Giveaway!


 Welcome to the “Back to School Giveaway”! This giveaway features some of the best back to school products that have been featured on Karen’s Got Mail. I have teamed up with a great group of bloggers to bring you this giveaway!

The Back to School Prize Package Includes -

Teach MyTeach My – One (1) Teach My Kit (winner's choice). Teach My Kits are now available at Walmart and Toys''R''Us – ARV $39.99 Connect with Teach My on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterestInstagram   SF_PNC Peppercorn Kids - Gift Card - ARV $15 Connect with Peppercorn Kids on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterestInstagram yummysnack6 YummyHealth - One (1) Case of YummyHealth Snack Bars - Peppermint - ARV $25.99 Connect with YummyHealth on FacebookTwitterPinterest Milkdot MilkDot - Lunch Tote - ARV $26.99 Connect with MilkDot on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram little missmatched LittleMissMatched - Gift Card - ARV $25 Connect with LittleMissMatched on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram ReSqueeze Pouches ReSqueeze Pouches - Set of 4 pouches - ARV $9.99 Connect with Resqueeze Pouches on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram Reduce Reduce - Frost Thermal Bottle & WaterWeek Sports - ARV $34.98 Connect with Reduce on FacebookTwitterPinterest ZK123_Frog_1 Zoku - Character Pops - ARV $7.99 Connect with Zoku on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram PicMonkey Collage2 Mama Chia - Organic Chia Vitality Bars - one each of the four flavors, Organic Chia Vitality Granola Clusters - one package each of the three flavors, Organic Chia Squeezes – one each of the six flavors - ARV $35 Connect with Mama Chia on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram logo2 Sprouting Threads - $100 gift certificate for 1st box Connect with Sprouting Threads on FacebookTwitterInstagram  

 One lucky reader is going to win this prize package valued at over $300! This giveaway is open to the US only. Giveaway ends 9/3/15 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!  

  Karen’s Got Mail and the participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.