A Modern Day Fairy Tale: October 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Case for Hope: A Book Review #FCBlogger

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

Earlier this year, I read and shared a fantastic book called The Case For Grace. In this book, Lee Strobel too a deeper look into the grace God has given each of us. With his investigative style of writing, this could have been named 'A Skeptic's Guide To Grace'. He didn't just quote the Bible verses on the subject and tell us to believe because the Bible says so. That's not going to convince anyone, is it? No. Instead, he shares stories of those he's interviewed on the topic and even his own story as a former skeptic himself. I instantly fell in love with his style of writing. So often, people DO assume that Christians just take it all on blind faith but this book made a convincing argument that there really was something to it all. It was a truly great book and one that I will recommend to anyone that asks.

So, when I heard about Lee's new book The Case for Hope, I couldn't wait to dive in.

Can you really trust in hope? Lee Strobel proves that you can!

Lee Strobel’s trademark investigative style paired with an uplifting message of the hope found in Jesus Christ. Lee’s timeless message walks readers through why holding on to hope is so crucial, why we can trust in the hope of Jesus Christ, and how that hope can change our lives for the better.

Lee Strobel has already helped millions delve deeper into their faith and investigate the how and the why of what they believe. His cases for a creator, Christ, and faith are air-tight and convincing to even the most stalwart skeptic. The Case for Hope is sure to inspire and ignite hope into the hearts of those who thought they were without hope. 

Let's be honest, most of us have had those moments where it seems the bad things are just never going to to end. We know in our heads that eventually there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel just seems to be never-ending. When you lose hope, those bad situations can quickly go from bad to worse. We have to remain hopeful to make it through. But what is hope exactly? Is it just wishful thinking that things will get better? That things will go our way? In the book, Lee Strobel takes a look at just what it means to have biblical hope- to be confident in the promises that God has made us.

Now, as I said, I really loved the investigative style of his previous books and looked forward to more of the same in this one, I must say that it was not quite as in depth as expected. It was still a great and insightful read, but if you're reading expecting to read a ton of interviews and a ton of investigative research, you may be let down a bit. But don't let that keep you from giving it a chance. It may be different than his previous works, but it's a fairly short read and worth the time! It is more of a gift book than a more in depth read, but is perfect for anyone who is new in their faith, or who just needs a little extra encouragement!

The thing that I love most about this book is the hope journal at the end. This space offers verses to reflect upon for 30 days, with space to write your thoughts on the subject. This gives readers the chance to not just read about the subject, but to truly dig deeper themselves and journal THEIR thoughts too...again, making it the perfect gift for those needing a little more hope in their lives.

The Case for Hope is available to purchase now at Family Christian.

You can find more from Lee Strobel 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 
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Friday, October 30, 2015

Christmas: A Gift For Every Heart {A Book Review & Giveaway} #FCBlogger #HolidayGiftGuide

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

Do you have a favorite Christmas book that you read again and again each and every year?

When I was growing up, my mom- from whom I have inherited my Christmas love- always had a ton of Christmas books for us to enjoy. Stories like 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever', 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas', 'The Littlest Angel', 'A Christmas Carol' and so many more. Each year, we would bring out those books and enjoy reading them over and over throughout the holiday season.

This is one tradition that I have kept going with my own family, adding new holiday books every year. A lot of them are more for the children of course, but I too love having meaningful books to get myself into the spirit of Christmas. But finding those books for myself can be a little more difficult. I want great books that I WANT to come back to again and again, but that also are fairly quick reads that fit into my already pretty busy holiday schedule! Today, I'm excited to share one such book that I recently discovered, Christmas: A Gift for Every Heart:

In his first ever Christmas book, beloved pastor Dr. Charles Stanley takes us back to our truest and best reason for celebration—the birth of the Christ child. By revisiting the people and events of that first Christmas, Dr. Stanley reveals the unique lessons that long ago starry night offers to each of us still today. Such timeless truths as . . .
  • True peace and joy are found only in Christ, not in the things of this world;
  • Christmas itself is undeniable evidence that God always keeps His promises;
  • The Lord God not only lives and reigns, but He is intimately involved in every circumstance of our lives; and
  • The perfect gift for us to give Jesus is the gift of our own heart.
Filled with Scriptures, insights, and Dr. Stanley’s own personal thoughts and memories, Christmas: A Gift for Every Heart is a treasure you’ll want to open again and again.

With so much going on during the holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in all the lights, all the bows, all the gifts, all the excitement. Though we may have every intention of keeping Jesus in the forefront of our festivities... it's easy to get distracted by it all! This book truly is a great way to remember and reflect on the true spirit of the season. It is a beautiful look at the reason we celebrate!

But it's not just the words that are beautiful... it's the book itself! It is packed full of beautiful Christmas images, with quotes taken right from the book displayed beautifully. While I fully suggest reading the book in its 
entirety, these images are really fun to look at when you need that little bit of Christmas spirit! This is a book that you are not going to want to put on a shelf! You are going to want to leave it on the coffee table, a side table, or work it into your holiday decor. It truly is beautiful in every way!

This is a book you are going to want to read year after year, and a great gift idea as well! It is available to purchase now at Family Christian.
Find more great ways to keep Christ in your Christmas 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 have the chance 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

NEW We Love Disney Album Available Today {A Music Review} #WeLoveDisney #O2O #HolidayGiftuide

I participated in the We Love Disney album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

It's no secret that I absolutely, positively love Disney! It's evident when you walk up to my doorstep to be greeted with a Disney doormat. It's evident when you see my keys- not only do I have a Frozen key chain...my key itself is Frozen too! It's evident in the Little Mermaid locket I can often be found wearing. It's even evident in my blog name and the story behind it! Yes, I absolutely, positively LOVE Disney. And it's a love that I have passed down to my children too!!

But seriously, who doesn't love Disney? They offer such fun, magical films that the whole family can enjoy together. Lovable characters, great stories, and my personal favorite- the music!! I seriously cannot get enough of Disney music. Not only does much of it remind me of my childhood, but again its something that I can feel good about playing in the car with my children- without fear of what type of messages they may be picking up!

So when I heard about the new album, We Love Disney... I could not have been more excited!

This album features top artists singing Disney classics in this fun compilation. Now, I'll admit, there are many of the artists featured in this album that I'm not typically a huge fan of. It's not that they're not talented of course, it's just that again I prefer to listen to music that is safe for my kids! But with this album, I can enjoy their talent without having to be a huge fan. This really is all about the Disney! So, if you look at the track list below and think, 'Man, I love Disney, but I just not a fan of all of the artists!'... I urge you to give it a chance!

So, just what can you expect to find on the album? Take a look:

  • NE-YO “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin)
  • Jessie J “Part of Your World “(The Little Mermaid)
  • Jason Derulo “Can You Feel the Love Tonight / Nants’ Ingonyama” (The Lion King)
  • Gwen Stefani “The Rainbow Connection” (The Muppet Movie)
  • Ariana Grande “Zero To Hero” (Hercules)
  • Jhen√© Aiko “In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice” (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Fall Out Boy “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” (The Jungle Book)
  • Tori Kelly “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas)
  • Kacey Musgraves “A Spoonful of Sugar” (Mary Poppins)
  • Charles Perry “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
  • Jessie Ware “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (Cinderella)
  • Lucy Hale & Rascal Flatts “Let It Go” (Frozen)
  • Various Artists “It’s a Small World”

Bonus tracks on Deluxe CD, Vinyl, and Picture Disc:

  • Brenna Whitaker “It’s Not Easy Being Green” (The Muppet Show)
  • Yuna “A Whole New World” (Aladdin)

These tracks feature a variety of styles, which to me was a great indication of just how universal the love of Disney is! I loved hearing my favorite Disney songs in a whole new way! Of course in my Frozen obsessed household, our absolute favorite was Lucy Hale and Rascal Flatt's country remake of Let It Go! I also couldn't help but love Ne-Yo's Friend Like Me or Jessi J's Part of Your World- all from some of my favorite Disney films!! This is such a fun album and a must have for every Disney fan.

And for the ULTIMATE Disney fan, We Love Disney will also be available as a Collector’s Edition Box Set, which includes:

the digital deluxe album
limited-edition double vinyl,
standard-edition double vinyl
limited-edition CD
standard-edition CD
limited-edition double-picture disc
four numbered lithographs
a DVD of “The Magic Behind We Love Disney”
a limited-edition T-shirt featuring a one-time only design
an exclusive tote bag
and a Certificate of Authenticity 

If you have a Disney lover on your holiday shopping list, this is one album you will want to see for yourself! It is available to purchase TODAY!

Learn more and purchase your copy at the links below:

Are you a Disney music fan? What's your favorite Disney song? Who do you have on your Christmas list who would love this album?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

5 Simple Ways to Thank a Veteran {+ Great Clips Veterans Day FREE Haircut Promotion} #sp

As a military wife, I have seen firsthand the sacrifices that the men and women of the military have to make. There are frequent moves, time away from family, long hours, less than ideal sleeping conditions and missing of milestones... to name a few. But they do so willingly so that we can all have those freedoms that we so enjoy. And most of them do it without complaining too!

With Veterans Day quickly approaching, there is no better time to tell a service member thank you for all that they do. But beyond a simple thank you, how else can you show your appreciation? Today, I'm sharing 5 simple ways...

5 Simple Ways To Thank a Veteran

Send a Care Package

Perhaps the most common way we think of to thank a vet is to send a care package to those deployed! When it comes to care packages, I always try to send a mix of practical and fun. Practical things like socks (lots of socks), toothpaste, deodorant and snacks are a great place to start, but don't stop there. If you're sending a package to someone particular that you know, think about their interests and go from them- comic books, favorite characters, etc. One unexpected item that turned out to be a huge hit during my husband's 4th deployment was coloring books! (Before grown up coloring books were a thing!). Get creative and have fun with it! (I will be sharing more fun care package ideas very soon! Stay tuned!)

Bake Something

Who doesn't appreciate a delicious sweet treat? Now, you can send these in a care package of course (be certain to wrap and package VERY well), but generally speaking, you actually don't have to go that far! Instead, consider dropping them by your local recruiter's office! As a recruiter's wife, I can tell you that these are some of the hardest working men and women in the service, and they deserve an extra special treat! Not a baker? Something from the local bakery says thank you just as well!

Volunteer Your Time

Now, I know that this isn't an option that we can all do, but if you can, it's certainly something to consider! Volunteer with your local military organizations, visit wounded warriors in the hospital, or use any talents you might have to help in any way needed- mow the lawn or rake the leaves for the new mom whose husband is deployed, etc. 

Get the Kids Involved

When my husband returned home from his third deployment, I wanted to have a huge welcome home celebration for him-involving the whole family and friends too. Unfortunately, flying them all out to California to greet him just wasn't an option...so instead I asked everyone I knew to make him a small welcome home sign that I would line the walls with. We ended up with some pretty great little posters, but perhaps my personal favorites were those from the children! So, get your little ones involved with the appreciation. Have them write letters or draw pictures to send to a veteran! (I'll soon be sharing a super fun and easy kids' craft perfect for Veteran's Day as well. Stay tuned!)

Give Them a Free Haircut

Most of you probably are pretty familiar with the military haircut. Super short, super clean cut. Did you know to keep that look most military men have to have their hair cut each and every week! They may look super handsome, but it can certainly make a dent on the bank account! A haircut to say thank you for your service just makes sense!

And with Great Clips' Veterans Day promotion, it couldn't be easier to make that happen! It's as easy as getting a haircut yourself!

For the third year, Great Clips is giving you the chance to gift a free haircut when you get a haircut yourself! Visit any Great Clips on November 11 for a haircut and you'll receive a FREE HAIRCUT CARD to give to a veteran of your choice! (Card is for use by veterans and active duty military members only. Family members do not qualify.) Every active or retired military member that goes in on November 11 will get a free haircut (or haircut card) as well! Great Clips is the only major salon brand that offers customers such a way to thank a veteran and I for one think its pretty genius! You can learn more about this amazing promotion here.

(Free haircut cards are while supplies last and are valid until December 31st.)

Thank the veterans in your life and visit your local Great Clips on November 11th to redeem a free haircut card to share with a veteran of choice! Visit this link to find a location near you!

Will you be visiting Great Clips on November 11? Who will you be gifting the free haircut to? What others ways do you thank the veterans in your life?

A Girl & Her Doll {#TBT #BabyAmaze @VTechToys}

**Product received from Vtech for this post. All thoughts are my own. 

No, I'm not trying out new filters to create an old photograph look. That sweet baby might look like my Finley, but it's actually ME! The resemblance is amazing, isn't it?

But it's not just my golden locks that she gets from me, she also got my love of baby dolls!

That's me in the red pjs! 

I loved dolls as a child...what little girl didn't? I remember hearing my great grandmother on more than one occasion making the statement that EVERY little girl needed a baby doll. (This statement was usually made on Christmas day, when that is exactly what she got each of us granddaughters!)

As much as I loved dolls as a child, I do believe my Finley might love them EVEN more! She is always carrying a baby doll around- feeding them, nursing them, sitting them on the potty or putting them to sleep. She loves to take care of her babies, just as I take care of her.

But baby dolls sure have come a long way since I was a kid! This holiday season, I could not be more excited to introduce the new VTech® Baby Amaze™ Learn to Talk & Read Baby Doll™, an innovative and interactive doll for the littlest generation!!

I cannot wait to share more about this new doll with you on Monday (with a chance to win!), but in the meantime I want to hear your favorite doll memories in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Ultimate Bathroom Experience with Quilted Northern & a DIY Bath Salt #CraftedExperience #Ad #Cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftedExperience #CollectiveBias

Today we're talking bathrooms.

I know, I know... who wants to talk about bathrooms, right? Kitchens? Sure! Living rooms? Great. But bathrooms? No, thank you! Let's be honest, it's not the most fun room in the house. I don't know about you, but when it comes to DIY and decorating projects, the bathroom tends to be the last room on my list. But... it's also one of the most used! So isn't it about time we started giving our bathrooms a little more attention and start creating the ultimate bathroom experience?

Today, I'm sharing a fun DIY that will do just! We're making Easy DIY Bath Salts! Check it out:

DIY Essential Oil Bath Salts

  • 1 Cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 Cup Sea Salt
  • Essential Oils of Choice
  • Jar for Storage

  1. First up, blend your salts together.
  2. Next, choose your essential oils. Think about what type of bathroom experience you want to inspire. For relaxation, consider calming oils like lavender, sandalwood or clary sage. Want something a little more invigorating? Orange can be a great option that will wake you up and helps with anxiety. Colds got you down? Try a little eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon. Or try a fun holiday scent with peppermint!! Create your own unique blends, or use a premade blend from your favorite essential oil company.

  3. Now that you've decided on your oils, slowly mix them in with the salt, making sure to blend well so that all salt comes in contact with them.

  4. Store in a jar or other closed container for use.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of your salts to a warm bath and allow to dissolve.
  6. Relax and enjoy!

These bath salts are not just super easy, but they make bath time super relaxing too!

But we all know that baths are not the ONLY thing we do in our bathrooms! And nothing can make a bathroom experience go downhill than the wrong toilet paper! In fact, when it comes to *ahem* that type of bathroom experience, perhaps the best ones are the ones that we don't remember!

While we were shopping for our bath salt ingredients at our local Walmart, we made stop in the toilet paper aisle to find a product that would do the job so well, we would not remember it, for all the right reasons. We found that in Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong® Bath Tissue!

The way I see it, there are two TP mishaps that can make your bathroom experience a memorable one...for all the wrong reason. Your toilet paper can be too rough, causing discomfort in the most uncomfortable of places. Or your toilet paper can be too weak...and fail to get the job done! No one wants that! Thankfully, Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong offers both softness AND strength. With it's Cleanstretch® design, it has a unique construction that helps limit ripping and separation while still flexible and soft. It's wonderfully crafted for maximum comfort and durability (and it's swer and septic safe too!). With it's 100 year history, it's truly no wonder that Quilted Northern® is the go to for forgettable bathroom experiences!

With Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong® Bath Tissue and these fantastic bath salts, you cannot help but have an amazing bathroom experience! What are you waiting for? Give your bathroom the attention it deserves!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jack O Lantern Jell-O Cups {An Easy Hallowen Treat}

When it comes to holidays-any holidays- I love going all out and making it fun and exciting for my kids. But I have to admit, though my ideas may be grand- my actual skills do not match up. I would love to create elaborate festive treats for them, but they just would not be the fun Pinterest-worthy creations I so admire. Aside from that, many schools- my son's included- have a no homemade treats policy. That can certainly put a damper on things! But this year I came up with the perfect solution- a fun, festive treat that will make Halloween more exciting BUT is still store bought and easy enough for even the worst artists!

Jack O Lantern Jell-O Cups

  • Orange Gelatin (I used Jell-O, but you can use whatever brand you prefer!)
  • Sharpie
  • Green Spoon
  1. Separate gel packs, if connected.
  2. Take the Sharpie and draw a Jack O Lantern face onto each cup.
  3. Serve with a green spoon as the stem.

That's it! This is so simple, but kids will have a blast with it! You can even make it an interactive activity by allowing them to decorate their own pumpkin- it's a safe (and yummy) alternative to carving!

What other easy Halloween snack ideas do you have? Any tips for those with no homemade policies in place? I want to hear all your thoughts in the comments below.

Enter To Win a #MyAllAmerican Prize Package { with $25 Gift Card!!}

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Clarius Entertainment. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Are you a football fan?

I'm going to be honest... I honestly don't know the first thing about football. Oh, I know a touchdown is good and I know that a quarterback...well, plays football... but beyond that I'm pretty clueless. It's not just football, it's really sports in general. I just never could quite understand them.

But though I may not be an avid sports fan, I DO love a good inspirational sports story! Strange? Maybe, but they are hard not to love. I love stories of the underdog overcoming, a player beating the odds and a team working together to become a team. When it comes to inspirational stories, sports movies kinda rock!

Today, I'm sharing an all new movie that fits the bill: My All American-

My All American

Studio: Clarius Entertainment
Opening November 13, 2015
Rated PG

About the Movie:
What Freddie Steinmark wants most in the world is to play football. Deemed too small by the usual athletic standards, his father trains him hard, and Freddie brings a fight to the game that ultimately gets him noticed - by none other than legendary University of Texas coach Darrell Royal. Awarded a scholarship and a chance to play for the Longhorns, Freddie sets off to Austin determined to make the team. Alongside his old teammate Bobby Mitchell and new pal James Street they rise to the occassion, giving the Longhorns a real chance to turn the team around. But just when they’re reveling in the success of the season, Freddie suffers an injury that leads him to a shocking diagnosis and the biggest challenge he will ever face.

Sounds pretty great, doesn't it? I for one cannot wait to check it out when it releases on November 13th! You can find out more and stay connect at the links below:

Visit all the Sites: #MyAllAmerican

To help us celebrate the release, Clarius Entertainment has provided a wonderful prize package for one lucky winner. The prize package will include:

  • $25 Gift Card
  • My All American Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • My All American Hat
  • My All American Cinch Sack

    Giveaway is open to US only. 
    If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again.

Are you ready to win? Enter using the Rafflecopter for 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 

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Pescetarian's Guide To Eating Seafood {National #Seafood Month} + A Fresh Baby Fish Tacos Reipes #MyPlate

** A huge thank you to Fresh Baby for sponsoring today's post! All thoughts are my own.

How often does your family eat seafood? Once a week? Once a month? Never?

As a pescatarian (a vegetarian that eats fish), seafood is a staple in my own home. But so often when I talk to others about it, it seems seafood is a rarity. But did you know that eating seafood is actually really good for you? Fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to help with memory, psychological issues and behavioral issues as well as development and eye health! It's no wonder that USDA recommends eating seafood twice a week!! 

So, why aren't people eating it more? In my experience, it comes down to three simple excuses- lack of options, budget and taste. Today, I'm sharing my answers to those excuses.

  • "There's no seafood available in my area!" Okay, so this is a semi-valid excuse. When we lived in California, I loved being able to go into our local grocery store or fish markets and have the greatest selection of fresh seafood available. Mahi mahi, salmon, swordfish... YUM! When we moved to Indianapolis, the fresh seafood selection was much smaller, though I can generally find a good salmon and catfish at least. But where I grew up? A small middle of nowhere country town. I honestly cannot recall ever seeing fresh fish in the stores back then! Still, while I certainly love and prefer fresh fish when possible, frozen can be a great alternative too, so don't count it out completely. Even canned tuna or salmon can make a delicious meal that still gives you the nutritional advantages of fish. You may not have fresh seafood available at all times, but there are suitable alternatives no matter where you go!

  • " It doesn't fit into my budget." One of my favorite dishes I've ever prepared for my family was a delicious tomato and feta stuffed sea bass. Absolutely delicious! But the cost? The fish alone was over $30 to feed my family of 4! Delicious, yes. Budget friendly, no. It was great for a fun, not-your-every-day-meal kinda meal but we couldn't afford to eat like that twice a week every week, that's for sure! When we think seafood, we see dollar signs and as you can see, that certainly can be true! But it doesn't have to be! Tilipia is a very versatile option that is very inexpensive-fresh or frozen. Catfish tends to be a bit higher (in my area at least), but still very budget friendly and often cheaper than many meats. Even salmon- another favorite of mine- can often be found on sale at times. When you watch for deals and sales, even fresh fish can be made to fit into your budget. But again, frozen and canned can be great budget friendly options as well. Salmon patties have always been a favorite for my oldest child- made with canned salmon, onions, whole grain Ritz crackers, eggs, etc- this tasty meal was as simple as it was inexpensive. A delicious tuna melt on whole wheat? Even using the more expensive (and admittedly tastier) white albacore tuna is still cheaper than most meats! When you add in extras like onion and celery, it can take your basic ol' tuna salad to a whole new level- while still within your budget!
  • " Yuck! I cannot stand fish!" or "My kids would NEVER eat it." Can I make a confession? When I first stopped eating meat, I wasn't a fish fan either. Truly, it was only a compromise with my mom who felt that I needed a better source of protein in my diet. I was only 13, so I agreed. But I didn't like fish much at all. That all changed when I got married, moved to California and actually started playing around and trying new things with seafood. If you think you don't like fish, I encourage you to try again and get creative! Try new seasonings- I love a good Cajun spice on my fish, and smoked paprika is fantastic too! Try fun sauces or different cooking methods like grilling or broiling. But most importantly (especially for kids)- think outside the filet! I've found that if you make it fun and appealing to them, kids are much more willing to eat 'non-kid' foods than we give them credit for! Those salmon patties I mentioned earlier? Kids love them! Another kid favorite? Pasta! Toss some shrimp in for a delicious twist on your typical spaghetti. We've even made a Cajun Shrimp Pizza that my son loved! But perhaps my absolute favorite way to prepare fish for my family is Fish Tacos!!

    Until moving to California, I'd never even heard of fish tacos...and when I first spotted them listed on the menu, my first reaction was 'eww'. But after one bite, I was hooked! But you don't have to live on the west coast to enjoy this amazing dish. Check out this delicious recipe from Fresh Baby-

Fish Tacos

Created By Chef Kelly Armetta, Hyatt Regency Boston

  • 1 lbs. - Catfish or Tilapia or other firm white fish
  • 8 - Taco Shells, soft and/or hard shell. Tortillas can be used as well.
  • 1/2 cup - Sour Cream, low fat
  • 1/2 cup - Mexican Cheese Blend, low fat
  • 3 - Tomatoes, plum
  • 1 can - Chilies, green, chopped
  • 2 - Limes, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch - Scallion/Green Onions 
  • 1 cup - Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp. - Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. - Cajun Spice
  • 1 tsp. - Dried Cilantro
  • 1 tsp. - Cumin
  • 1 - Avocado, sliced (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (S&P) to taste
  1. Cut fish into 1 inch strips and toss with Cajun spices and 2 Tbsp. of oil. 
  2. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until done.  
  3. Meanwhile, chop tomato and scallions.  
  4. Mix tomatoes with cumin, 1 Tbsp. oil, juice of 1 lime, cilantro and S&P 
  5. Build taco with favorite toppings in a soft or hard shell tortilla.     

These tacos are absolutely delicious! Such a fun-and kid friendly- way to incorporate seafood into your diet!

In honor of National Seafood Month, I would love to encourage all of you to consider these tips and give seafood another chance! Seafood doesn't have to be boring or expensive, and truly can become a regular part of your healthy diet. Need more inspiration? Check out the 10 Tips to Help You Eat More Seafood. And this post from Fresh Baby offers great information on kids and fish too.

Fresh Baby has also shared these delicious recipes for inspiration:

Pecan Crusted Mackerel

How often does your family enjoy seafood? What tips do you have for getting your whole family-kids included- to eat fish? Any favorite fish recipes for kids? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!

Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Eczema {Eczema Awareness Month} #AveenoEczemaTherapy #IC #ad

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for AVEENO® Eczema Therapy. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Let's talk eczema!

Did you know that more than 30 million people in the Unites States live with eczema? This month is National Eczema Awareness Month, a month to try to spotlight the reality of living with eczema. 

Perhaps you're reading this and thinking, 'What's the big deal? Why a month of awareness? It's JUST a little dry skin, right? Maybe a little itch, but no big deal...right?'

I'll be honest, I used to believe the same thing... until my daughter! Now, I GET IT! Eczema is no joke. It is more than just a little dry skin and a mild itch. It is being up all night with a child who cannot stop scratching. It is changing your routine to avoid any triggers that might set off a flare up. It is watching what you put on your child- both in skincare products and clothing- so that they are not irritated. It is buying product after product, medicine after medicine trying to find the right combination that will do the job for you/your child.

Over the last year, through our journey with my daughter's eczema, I have certainly learned a lot. One thing I have learned is that it can be a little different for every person... what works for MY daughter, might not work for you. But there are some tips that tend to be true for all:

Avoid Triggers: For my daughter, we have found there are a few triggers that make her eczema worse- including some foods, like gluten. You might not find food to be an issue, but perhaps certain types of clothes, skincare products, etc. Try to determine what those triggers are for you, and avoid them when possible. 

Prescription Medications: Now, I am usually the last one to suggest prescriptions, but for my daughter, even the best management techniques were ineffective until she was put on a prescription allergy medicine daily. Once the medicine helped take the edge off of it, our daily care routines actually started to work too. So, if you've tried it all, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor to see about what medications might work for you. Then, use the next tips to keep it maintained...

Bathtime: During baths, you want to be sure that you are using lukewarm water and using gentle products that do not dry out or irritate your child's skin. Avoid heavily scented products. Rather than rubbing with a washcloth, pat instead. Also pat dry after the bath as well.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: I cannot say this enough! After the bath is over, don't wait for skin to dry before lathering it on! Moisturizing wet skin will help keep that moisture locked in. Moisturize throughout the day as needed- morning, bedtime, with each diaper change, whatever works for you. Keeping skin moisturized is one of the best things you can do to keep eczema under control.

When it comes to skincare products, one of the most recommended products I found was the AVEENO®/AVEENO® Baby Eczema Therapy Collection! This line was developed with leading dermatologists and has been awarded the National Eczema Seal of Acceptance for its gentle soothing and superior ingredients!  They are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic with soothing ACTIVE NATURALS® Colloidal Oatmeal that targets the four main issues associated with eczema: itch, roughness, dryness and irritation. We love the soothing relief that these products provide. With the aid of her daily allergy medication, they work together to help keep her eczema symptoms at bay- making for a much happier mom and baby! It's truly no wonder that it comes so highly recommended- not just by dermatologists and pediatricians- but by those living with eczema every day! It works great, is readily available AND won't break the bank.

If you're looking for great products to help maintain your or your child's eczema, be sure to give the AVEENO®/AVEENO® Baby Eczema Therapy Collection a try!! Visit this link to learn more about ecezema and AVEENO® products. 

Do you or your little one struggle with eczema? What tips and tricks have you found to keep it under control? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dear Mary: Lessons From the Mother of Jesus for the Modern Mom {A Book Review}

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

Growing up in church, I always knew the story of Mary- a virgin chosen by God to carry His son. 
It's a pretty hard story to miss, right? We hear the story every year as the holiday season approaches, and it truly is a great story and one that I have always loved.

But to be honest, it wasn't one that I fully grasped until I became a mother myself. I didn't know about both the joys and the hardships that pregnancy took on the body. I didn't know the love that you felt immediately knowing that there was a child growing inside of you. I didn't know the protectiveness that sets in immediately when your little one makes their appearance. Now, knowing what I know about being a mother, this story of Mary is even more astounding. How many would have said yes? Would I?

Truly if there was ever an example of someone to look up to when it comes to being a good Christian mom, you could do no better than Mary. After all, who knows better than Christ's mom herself. This is just the topic at hand in Sarah Jakes' new book, Dear Mary. 

Mary is a remarkable example of a quiet, resilient faith in the face of adversity--from the angel's first announcement of her pregnancy to the death and resurrection of her son. She was witness to our Lord and Savior in a special way, and modern-day moms can learn valuable lessons from her life.

In Dear Mary, Sarah Jakes explores biblical stories about Mary--as well as stories from her own life--to better understand what living for Christ can look like today and how to model that for your children. Maybe you struggle to trust God's will for your life. Or perhaps you have fears and insecurities that keep you from realizing the joy God wants for you. Through the example of Mary, discover the freedom that only true faith can bring, and get a fresh perspective on the amazing love and compassion of Jesus.

If you're looking for a great book on Christian motherhood, this truly is a great one to choose. Like I said, there really is no greater example of what it looks like to be a good Christian mom, to trust God fully with our children than Christ's mom. We all know that we should trust God with all things, including our children- but as moms we worry about everything. Mary shows the greatest example of trusting God with your children. She trusted God through her miraculous pregnancy and remained faithful as she watched her son die on the cross...oh, to have that kind of faith!

This truly is a great read and one that I highly recommend to every mother. Dear Mary is available to purchase now at your favorite Christian book retailers.

Friday, October 23, 2015

NIV Bible For Teen Girls: Growing in Faith, Hope, Love. A Review & Giveaway #FlyBy #HolidayGiftGuide

As many of you probably already know, I LOVE Bibles!

I don't just mean I enjoy reading the Bible... but I truly enjoy collecting them too. There are so many great translations, so many great varieties (journaling, study, devotional, bibles for the mom, etc). With so many different options out there, there really is a unique Bible out there for everyone.

The love of Bibles for me started back when I was in high school with my very own Teen Study Bible. I loved that this Bible gave a deeper look into the Bible and how it applied to MY life as a teenager. The Bible is the same for each and every one of us, but our struggles as moms are not the same as those teens deal with. Teen Bibles offer devotionals designed with just that in mind. If there is one must have gift for the teen on your list this Holiday season, a great Bible should be it. Today I'm sharing one of those, the NIV Bible for Teen Girls:

Today's teen girl needs reassurance that no issue is too big for God.  The NIV Bible for Teen Girls, designed specifically for girls ages 13 to 18, will do just that.  This Bible is packed with daily readings, highlighted promises of God, challenging insights, smart advice, and open discussions about the realities of life.  This Bible is designed to help teen girls grow in faith, hope, and love.  It is as sincere about a teen girl's walk with God as they are, helping them discover his will for all areas of their life, including relating to their family, dealing with friends, work, sports, guys, and so much more.  

  • DAILY READINGS by popular Christian female authors including Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer), Annie DownsChristine Caine, Nicole WeiderElsa Kok ColopyCrystal KirgissBekah Hamrick MartinDenise Van Eck, and more
  • CHARACTER PROFILES of women in the Bible
  • BOOK INTRODUCTIONS for each book of the Bible
  • HIGHLIGHTED PROMISES OF GOD are verses worth remembering
  • A CONCORDANCE for help in finding verses
  • The bestselling NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) of the Bible 

First and foremost, this Bible is gorgeous! I love this beautiful bird/doodle design. Oh, I know... never judge a book by its cover and all that, but let's be honest- teen girls do tend to enjoy pretty things! I know I certainly did! (Okay, I like pretty things even NOW!) Perhaps the first step in getting some teens to WANT to read their Bible more is to give them something a little more appealing. This Bible certainly has that.

And it doesn't stop there. The beautiful design carries on throughout the pages with fun features like Women in the Bible, or deeper looks into select passages to help teen girls grow in faith, hope and love. Each book starts out with a fantastic introduction giving readers the chance to see the when, the who and the what to give them a greater understanding of what they are about to read. Important for Bible readers of any age! Perhaps one of my favorite features (aside from the design, of course) is the topical index. This is something that I find useful even now, but did even moreso as a teenager. Dealing with peer pressure? They can easily look it up and find a selection of verses fitting for the topic!

This truly is a wonderful Bible that I wish I'd had as a teenager myself. If you're looking for a great Bible for the teenage girl in your life, this is certainly a must see!

You can learn more at the links below:

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy for themselves! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

"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.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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