A Modern Day Fairy Tale: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm Happy For You {Sort Of...Not Really}- A Book Review & Giveaway #HydrateForTheHolidays #FLYBY

Social media can be a really great thing. It can allow us to connect with friends and family easily no matter where we live. It can help us share the funny stories of our little ones with the masses. It can allow us to ask questions and get advice from other moms on questions we have on motherhood. Yes, when used correctly, social media truly is a wonderful thing.

But it can also lead to a lot of discontentment.

Perhaps you're have financial hardships and your newsfeed is filled with photos of fancy dinners and vacations your friends are taking. Perhaps  you're struggling with infertility and your newsfeed is filled with pregnancy and new baby announcements. Perhaps your child is struggling in school and your newsfeed is filled with honor roll report cards. Perhaps you're stuck renting a house you hate and your newsfeed is filled with brand new homes.

Or perhaps its not even that serious. You are bombarded with fancy craft projects when you can barely color inside the lines. You see endless pictures of fancy Pinterest worthy treats and you burn toast. You see stylish moms with young kids AND perfectly put together wardrobes and you can barely manage to squeeze a shower in once a week. You see all these elaborate, well thought out Elf on the Shelf setups and you're lucky if you remember to move him to another shelf.

The list goes on and on. Of course, we know that social media is not always the most accurate portrayal of someone's real life. We know that we see only the best of people- the things that they are choosing to let us see... but even knowing so, it's still hard not to compare ourselves to other. We all want those Pinterest worthy meals and crafts and homes. It's hard to be content in a world where comparison is the norm.

That's just the topic at hand in Kay Wills Wyma's new book 'I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really)':

About I'm Happy For You (Sort Of...Not Really)
Our cultural obsession with comparison is undercutting relationships and sapping contentment. With disarming candor and humor, Kay Wills Wyma explores how to trade comparison for compassion and rediscover what life is all about.
It's easy to get caught in the comparison games we play with our appearances, our kids, and our homes. Kay reminds exhausted families about tried and true remedies from the pressures of competitive living.
In her warm, relatable style, Kay confronts the comparison epidemic raging in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our social-media feeds, offering remedies along the way.
With candor and humor, I'm Happy For You (Sort Of...Not Really) explores the troubling effects of living in an excessively competitive culture and reveals simple yet effective ways to escape the comparison trap.

About the Author
Kay Wills Wyma is a blogger, mother of five, and the author of Cleaning House through which she has appeared on The TODAY Show, CNN, Glenn Beck, The New York Times, Focus on the Family, and more. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company, and Bank of America. Kay lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Jon, and their family.

Join Kay and her family as she's started to #HydrateForTheHolidays on her blog posts to learn how to recapture contentment and joy, especially in Nov. & Dec.!!  She'll be sharing thoughts throughout the season!

This is one book that I think we could all benefit from! I tend to think that I'm a fairly content person... but even I have those moments where while I am happy for someone for the good things that come to them, it's hard not to be envious on occasion. We're only human. This is a quick read, but well written and gives a lot of food for thought. I particularly love the 'You're Not Alone' sections which feature stories from other real life women so that we truly can see that we are not alone in this feeling of not living up to our own impossible expectations. It's also a fantastic book to read with your book club or mom's group and even offers discussion questions to help!

With the new year approaching, there is no better time to take a look at our attitudes and try to live a more content life...and for that, this book is a must read!

You can learn more and connect at the links below:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE - keep up with the #HydrateForTheHolidays topics here & see interviews, etc

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.”

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 

Teaching Kids the Spirit of Giving: A DIY Sparkle Box #FCBlogger

**A huge thanks to Family Christian for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are my own. 

Children's Christmas books are my favorite! I love finding books that are not just entertaining for my children, but help teach them valuable Christmas lessons as well. Books that teach them the true Christmas spirit. A few years ago, we discovered one such book that has become a favorite of mine. The Sparkle Box:

The moving story of an uncommon gift and how giving to others shows a little boy the true meaning of Christmas.
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, anticipating holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift -- a sparkly box sitting on the mantel above the fireplace. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's parents explain that the things that they've been doing for others are, in fact, a gift for Jesus -- for Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him. This heartfelt story will inspire readers to adopt this faith-centered tradition in their own homes. Ages 4-8.

Includes a glitter-coated fold-out Sparkle Box!

What a great lesson to teach our children, right? After all, we celebrate Christmas to honor Christ's birth...so shouldn't He get a birthday present from us! Like I said, it became a favorite in my household.

The included Sparkle Box? Well, let's just say it did not last long at all! It was an adorable little box, but it didn't stand a chance against my destructive kiddos! It survived (barely) for just one Christmas!

This year, we decided to keep the Sparkle Box fun going by creating our own Sparkle Box-something a little sturdier that will last for several Christmases to come! Want to create your own? Here's how:

DIY Sparkle Box

  • Unfinished Craft Box
  • Glitter Paint
  • Embellishments (Sequins, Stickers, etc)
  • Glue (if needed)
  1. First up, decide how you plan to design your box. You can keep it simple with a silver sparkle like the one in the book or you can make it festive with lots of green and red. For my box, I decided to go with a very classic Christmas look with red glitter and sparkly snowflakes! 
  2. Now that you've decided, start painting! I used a basic glitter craft paint (mine was fine glitter which isn't noticeable in the photos, go with a more coarse glitter for a more extreme look), but you can use a spray glitter paint or even mod podge and loose glitter. Basically, it just needs to sparkle! Allow to dry.
  3. Now, decorate! This is where you can get creative and truly make it your own. Use sequins, rhinestone stickers, sparkly snowflakes...whatever you like to bring in more fun and more sparkle. Let the kids go crazy and make it their own!
  4. Fill it with good deeds throughout the holiday season!
Are you ready to start your own Sparkle Box Tradition? You can pick up your copy at Family Christian!

Need more holiday inspiration? Check out this fun board for more great Christmas ideas!

And be sure to keep up to date with Family Christian 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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Grandparent Gifts? No Problem with Portrait Innovations! #sp

**A huge thanks to Portrait Innovations for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are my own.

Holiday shopping is now in full swing and if your list looks like mine, there are many people to shop for! Aside from the children, perhaps one of the most fun people to shop for is GRANDPARENTS!  They're also one of the EASIEST to shop for. After all, there is nothing that most grandparents love more than to show off their grandchildren!! What better way to do that than with photos?

When I was growing up, this was the typical grandparent gift every Christmas. They always knew it was coming, but they were always thrilled to get them nonetheless. There was nothing my grandparents loved more than having us all on display throughout their home. Over the past couple of years, I too have continued on this tradition. Whether it was a collection of prints or a photo gift, I have tried to include pictures of my little ones in whatever we gave! And just like my own grandparents, they have loved them.

But can I make a confession? Up until this year, all of those photos (aside from my son's school photos) have just been simple shots I've taken of my children myself. Believe it or not, despite my love of pictures, we had not had family pictures taken since my daughter had arrived- in August 2013!! Needless to say, our trip to Portrait Innovations was long overdue!

And well worth the wait!

Now, I must admit, I'm usually not a huge fan of portrait type studios. On the one hand, they're great because they're a very affordable option for everyone. On the other hand, when we've gone to department store type portrait studios, the experience had been less than desirable. The sessions felt rushed, the photos were the same boring photos everyone got and even the quality was just not great either.

But Portrait Innovations was not like that at all!

Even being the busiest time of their year, we went in and did not feel rushed at all! We started with our Christmas portraits, doing a large selection of both family, just the kids, even a few of my husband and I alone. Now, if you have ever had pictures taken with little ones, you know that patience is a must... kids and sitting still? Yeah, right! With a child with autism in the family... well, it takes even more patience! But the photographer and his assistant did wonderfully. When my daughter needed a break, they gave her a break. When the kids were being silly, they didn't try to rush them along. They took their time and made sure we got just the pictures we wanted!

Then-unlike many other portrait studios I'd been to- we were able to do a complete wardrobe change and do some more casual, less holiday-themed photos! Here there were many backgrounds to choose from- fall scenes, winter scenes...but I prefer a more classic look so we kept it very simple. They allowed us to give our input on what we wanted, and had we wanted to we could have brought our own props too! Again, we never felt rushed and they never lost patience with my kids who were now getting a little bored with the whole experience! In fact, after it seemed the kids were done for the day and we settled in to look at all the pictures, they even let us know that if we thought of something else that we wanted to try we could go back and snap a few more, no problem. As I said, they truly wanted us to be happy with our photos! And we were!! In fact, narrowing them down was quite the challenge! We wanted them all! Needless to say, we walked out with many more prints than expected! And yes, we walked out the door with our photos! We do have to return to pickup some photo gifts that they could not print there, but the prints themselves were in hand when we left! Awesome!

And those photo gifts? They offered many great choices like calendars, canvas prints, mugs, ornaments and more! You can order them along with the rest of your prints, OR order later online. This truly is a great way to give one of a kind photo gifts with good professional pictures- which is not usually an option with other photo gift sites when using copyrighted photos!

The best part of the whole Portrait Innovations experience?

It truly is very affordable! Take a look at their current promo:

Pretty amazing, right? For just $20 you can get Christmas gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles too!! 

Now, I'll be honest sticking to just ONE pose will be tough, but even adding additional poses is cheaper than many other options! And again, you can order more later as the budget allows!

Overall, I was thrilled with our Portrait Innovations experience and highly recommend them to anyone looking to get good quality holiday or family portraits without breaking the bank! I wasn't the only one impressed either! My photo hating husband said we should make this a yearly trip, and my son who usually tells me, 'just ONE picture' asked to go back the next day!

Ready to schedule YOUR family portrait session with a Portrait Innovations near you? Visit here to find a studio and schedule today.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What Moms REALLY Want for Christmas #MyFavoritePJs {PLUS a HUGE Pajama Giveaway with Richard Leeds International}

This is a sponsored post for Richard Leeds International organized by Southern Mom Loves

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring. Not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads..."

Wait a minute... the children were nestled? Snug? Dreaming?

I don't know about you, but this does NOT sound like a Christmas night in my house... or any night for that matter! No, its full of 'I'm thirsty!' or 'When is Santa going to be here?' with a little bit of 'Can I sleep in your bed?' tossed in for good measure. A long winters nap? Not for this mama. Let's be honest, by the end of the celebrations, I'm wishing for a Silent Night!

I'm not the only one! In fact, I'd guess if you asked most moms what they truly wanted for Christmas it would not be fancy diamonds. They wouldn't request a designer handbag or a new pair of shoes. No, most moms would simply request a good night's sleep.

Unfortunately, that's something that even Santa cannot fit into his bag... but he can bring the next best thing- a super comfortable pair of PJs!

For that, Richard Leeds International has you covered with their variety of fun styles- like their women's long-sleeved plush pajama set with matching socks.

When it comes to getting a silent night around here, to me there are a few key factors that all pajamas must have:

  • Comfort. Who can sleep if they are wearing pajamas that just aren't comfortable? Not me! But with these PJs you won't have that problem! They are so very soft... if I could let you feel them through the computer screen, I would. It would be all it would take to be wanting a pair for yourself. But they're not just soft, they're super warm too. Wearing these pajamas is like curling up in a soft blanket...but when you have to get up, the blanket goes with you too! I also love that the included socks truly do keep you warm and cozy from head to toe.

  • Style. Okay, okay... I suppose cute pajamas may not actually help me sleep better... but it certainly makes me feel better! I love an adorable pair of pajamas! During the day, I'm not a big fan of t-shirts or character clothing for myself. But night time? It's fair game! Bring on the characters! These pajamas are available in Hello Kitty, Batman, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Eeyore, Minions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, & Betty Boop. With so many options, you are sure to find just the right style to suit your tastes!

  • Affordability. For moms on a budget, worries about money can definitely affect our sleep. But these are pajamas you don't have to feel guilty about! In fact, they're part of Walmart's Black Friday sale for just $10!! Find them in the sleepwear section in-store or online!!

No, Santa may not be able to give us the sleep we're really wishing for, but with these plush pajama sets from Richard Leeds, he can give us a little something to help us sleep more comfortably!

Find more great pajamas and connect with Richard Leeds International at the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardleedsint/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/richardleedsint
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/richardleedsint/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/richardleedsint/

And to help you sleep even better, Richard Leeds International is offering a FANTASTIC giveaway where 24 will win!!

1-(One) 1st prize: 4 pair of Pajamas
2-(Two) 2nd prizes: 3 pair of Pajamas
3-(Three) 3rd prizes: 2 pair of Pajamas
18-(Thirteen) "Bonus" prizes: 1 pair of Pajamas
24 winners total
SRV $ 340
Designs are randomly chosen (from the styles above) and sent to the winners in the size they state in the giveaway widget.

Amazing, right? Enter using the giveaway form below:

Giveaway begins on 11/27/15 at 1:00 am CST and ends on 12/11/15 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 years or older, open to residents of the US only. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. All entries will be verified. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email; Please add southernmomloves@gmail.com to your whitelist. Richard Leeds International will be responsible for prize delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, or any other social media platform. The participating bloggers were compensated for this post.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"We Never Outgrow the Need for Family": National Adoption Month #NAM15 #perfectparent

**This is a sponsored post. All thoughts are my own.

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month?

When we think of adoption, many times we think of babies...but the reality is adoption is needed for children of all ages! In fact, the theme for National Adoption Month is "We Never Outgrow the Need for Family" because all kids have many more milestones they need a family for.

There are 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 108,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids’ maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 25,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt through the website.  Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionately represented – approximately 41 percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17 percent of those adopted have been in this age group.

Why Older Youth?

  • All of us – and that includes older youth in foster care who are waiting to be adopted – need and want families throughout life to support us and to share important life events. Learning to drive a car, applying for higher education, and birthday and holiday celebrations are just a few examples of the times in life we need and want to share with family. 
  • Older youth are overrepresented in the foster care population, as they generally wait longer to be adopted, and have lower overall adoption rates.    
  • On adoptuskids.org, roughly 41 percent of the children and youth actively photolisted are between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. About 58 percent are male. (Most recent stats as of May 31, 2015) 
  • Families who adopt older youth, are providing them with the support and stability of a family during a critical period of normal adolescent concerns and additional self-identity issues.

Are you interested in adopting, but think that it's not something you can do due to finances or otherwise? Adoption may be more possible than you thought.
ome of the Misperceptions about Adoption from Foster Care: 
  • Adoption is expensive.  Unlike the private adoption of an infant or adopting internationally, there are virtually no costs associated with adoption from the US child welfare system. In addition, the vast majority of youth adopted from foster care are also eligible for monthly adoption assistance up to the level of the foster care rate. 
  • You have to be married. You do not have to be married to adopt in most states. Many children have been very successfully adopted by single parents. Single-parent families accounted for 29 percent of all adoptions from foster care in 2014 (AFCARS). 
  • You have to have a college degree. Having a high school diploma or college education is not required. What is important is that you are stable, flexible, and compassionate, and that you have a good sense of humor. Most importantly, you must have the support and commitment to raise a child and to be there for him throughout his life. 
  • You have to own a home and each child has to have their own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment or a mobile home so long as your living situation is a stable one. 
  • You have to be of child-bearing age to adopt. Experienced parents and empty-nesters are encouraged to adopt. In most instances, you’re eligible to adopt regardless of age, income, marital status or sexual orientation.  
  • You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you. Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations apply.  
  • You can’t adopt if you’re in the military. Military families stationed overseas and within the U.S. are eligible to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system.    
Ready to learn more? Visit adoptuskids.org or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish) to receive the latest information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

Keep Christ in Christmas with Stocking Stuffers from Family Christian! #FCBlogger

**Thanks to Family Christian for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are my own.

Recently, we made a little trip to Santa Claus, Indiana to visit my family. While we were there, we naturally had to go pay a little visit to Santa Claus himself. Let me tell you, this Santa is AWESOME! Not only does he look the part (my mom and I are convinced he may just be the real deal), but he also truly gets the reason we celebrate and wants kids to remember that it's not just about him. As each child sit on his lap, he doesn't just ask them what they would like for Christmas as so many Santas do, but he also asks them if they know why we celebrate Christmas (and gives those with the right answer an enthusiastic high five).

I could not have been more proud when my Shaun (who typically struggles with why questions) answered that question with a simple, "because of baby Jesus". As a Christian mom, while I love the festivities of Christmas, the music, the lights, and yes even Santa Claus, I really want to be sure that my kids truly understand why it is we are celebrating. Each year I try to add a little something to our Christmas collection to remind them just that through small gifts like music, books and DVDs.

For that, Family Christian is our go to! They are never short on great products to truly help me keep Christ in Christmas for my kids. From decor to toys and everything in between, they have it all... including lots of great stocking stuffers!

Today, I'm sharing a few of my personal favorite stocking stuffers to help you teach your little ones the true meaning of Christmas.

1. Believe Kids CD- "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"-Buddy the Elf. This fantastic album has many great Christmas classics that will have them singing along and learning the true meaning of Christmas through music!
2. Why Do They Call It Christmas DVD- This is a favorite in my house! This is part of the What's In The Bible Series by Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer and truly teaches kids so much about not just the reason we celebrate, but also where certain customs came from and how they evolved! Definitely a MUST in my book!
3. Veggie Tales Silent Night Book- You cannot go wrong with Veggie Tales! Or sound books! This is the perfect stocking stuffer for toddlers and one that my kids personally LOVE.
4. Veggie Tales Christmas DVDs- Who doesn't love Veggie Tales? These fantastic Christmas double features give your little one two episodes to choose from...and ALL of them are fantastic! We love Veggie Tales Christmas!
5. A Christmas Celebration Sticker & Activity Book- If your little one loves The Beginner's Bible (or even if they don't), this is a great addition to any stocking! This has several fun activities that your little one will enjoy- all while reminding them of Christ's birth!
6. Our Daily Bread for Kids Christmas CD- Do your kids love listening to music where its kids singing for kids? Then this will be a great CD for them!
7. The Berenstain Bears The Very First Christmas- My son loves The Berenstain Bears- who doesn't? This story of the very first Christmas will sure to be one that your kids will LOVE!
8. 25 Sing-A-Long Christmas Songs for Kids- If you ask me, you can never have too many Christmas CDs! This is another fantastic option for kids!
9. The Stable That Bob Built- Again, you really cannot go wrong with Veggie Tales! This one is another adorable option that's a little more suitable for the older Veggie fan!

And it's not just stocking stuffers for kids! Family Christian has wonderful stocking stuffers for every member of the family... from ornament shaped lip-glosses, jewelry, music and more, you are sure to find something great for everyone! Their $5 deals makes the PERFECT stocking stuffers! See it all in store or online!

Want to see more? Stay connected 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


BOGO with The Little Bee Co's Diaper Drop With a Twist! {+ A Cloth Diaper Giveaway}

Earlier this year, I shared a fantastic cloth diaper company called The Little Bee Co. (You can read my original review here.)

I have to say that as far as cuteness goes, my daughter's Oui Oui in Paris diaper has remained a favorite! It has held up beautifully through many washes and is just as pretty and vibrant as it was from day one! With its cute design, it was pretty easy to fall in love with.

But that wasn't the only reason that we fell in love with this wonderful company. More important than the cuteness, we loved that this was a company that gave back. For every diaper purchased, they donate the exact diaper to an orphan in need. Not a lesser quality, cheaper diaper...the exact diaper! They feel that all babies, no matter their circumstances, deserve the same great quality! That's pretty wonderful, right?

Like I said, it was pretty easy to fall in love with The Little Bee Co.

Today, I'm sharing yet another fantastic reason to love this company- their Diaper Drop with a Twist!

From November 27-December 6, for every diaper purchased they will be providing YOU with a second diaper. Their heart is in helping those in need, but they know that we all could use a break, so they're leaving the giving up to you. Perhaps you are trying to build your stash and cannot afford a lot. Keep the diaper for yourself and enjoy, they're happy to help you cloth diaper your little one successfully! But if you don't need the extra diaper, pay it forward and share your story of giving with The Little Bee Co! They are giving their customers a firsthand look at how their giving works and saying thank you for your support in that mission!

Amazing, right? This is one event you don't want to miss!

Be sure to shop at The Little Bee Co from November 27-December 6 to participate.

You can learn more and connect at the links below:

Shop the Website.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.

And they're also giving one very lucky reader the chance to win a diaper! 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 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Home & Garden Devotions: A Book Review #FCBlogger

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

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.- Colossians 3:17

I love devotionals! Though I love reading my Bible, I must admit, I'm not always the best at truly understanding what it all means, or more importantly how it applies to my life. Devotionals can be great for that. It's not just reading your Bible, but actually looking deeper into and reflecting on God's word, and how it applies to my day to day life. And with a daily devotional, it also gives me an easy and convenient way to fit more time with God into my day.

But you know what else I REALLY love about devotionals?

There are so many options to choose from! There are devotionals written for the athlete. There are devotionals written for the new mom. There are devotionals written for the military. No matter your hobbies or your lifestyle, chances are there is a devotional that is written for you- applying those important lessons from the Bible to those important areas of your life.

Take The One Year Home & Garden Devotions by Sandra Byrd for example:

The One Year Home and Garden Devotions offers an encouraging, applicable, sometimes humorous, and always personal word each day for contemporary women of all ages who delight in being busy at home. The devotions are written in first person, offering transparency and personal life lessons like the following:

“There is something poignant and meaningful about upcycling an abandoned planter with its well-earned patina while considering how the lines life has etched on us actually make us more appealing.”

I've always said that when it comes to my children, I like teaching them new things but coming at them from something that they already enjoy. Learning is much more fun for them when its coming from something they already enjoy. But this isn't just true for children, sometimes even us as adults need that little extra bit of encouragement to learn and grow. That's just what devotionals like this one do. As I was reading some of the devotions, I could not help but think that aside from the lack of photos, I could see some of these devotions being mixed in with some favorite home and garden magazines! It beautifully incorporates the lessons from the Bible into topics like gardening or cooking or diy. It's such a great reminder to glorify God not just in worship on Sunday mornings, but everywhere my life takes me throughout the week.

This devotional starts on January 1, making it an ideal gift to begin at the start of the new year, but the great thing is you can really pick up anywhere without feeling as though you've missed something. Each devotion holds their own, so if you start late or happen to miss a day, you can just start back on that day. I love that this is done not just in a 365 day format, but that each devotion has a specific date, as I know personally the devotions I want to read in July are going to be a lot different than those I want to read in December. This format allows the devotions to be relevant to the season we are currently in. Each devotion is just one page, making it easy to fit into our schedule with no problem.

Perhaps my favorite part of this devotional are the openings to each month. Some months feature a recipe, some a DIY project and some just a story. This definitely sets this devotional apart from the rest, and is something that every home and garden fan is sure to enjoy and make use of!

I will admit that I have not yet finished this devotional, but I am loving what I've read so far and look forward to continuing my reading! If you love home and garden projects and you've been looking for the right devotional for you. this one is sure to be a hit!

The One Year Home and Garden Devotions is available to purchase now from Family Christian.

Find more great devotionals 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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Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope {A Book Review & Family Christian Giveaway} #FCBlogger

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

Advent is nearly here and I could not be more excited!

If you read my previous post on the topic, this is the first year that I've really known what Advent was. Until recently, I did not realize it was actually a tradition and celebration all on its own, but thought that it was just a fancy name for a countdown to Christmas. Now that I truly know what Advent is all about, I cannot wait to celebrate. In my previous post, I shared various ways to celebrate Advent with children and why that's important... but it's not just important for them, its as important for us too.

I don't know about you, but my holiday schedule is already filling up quickly! There are holiday parties and family gatherings to attend. There is holiday shopping to finish and presents to wrap. There are halls to be decked and trees to be trimmed. There are cookie to bake and stockings to stuff. There are so many holiday festivities to enjoy...and so little time to enjoy them. With so much to do, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with it all. We can forget to take the time to truly reflect and remember what the holidays are all about.

And that's just what celebrating Advent allows us to do, it gives us those daily and weekly reminders to focus on Jesus. Aside from the lighting of the Advent candles and counting down the days on an Advent calendars, there are many great resources to help put our hearts in the right place... like a great Advent devotional.

Today, I'm sharing one such devotional- Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope.

It comes the same time every year.

Christmas. We have plenty of time to anticipate it, or in some cases...dread it. And, before we know it, it's gone as quickly as it came. What's it all for? Is there really hope for today in the story of a baby born so long ago? These questions and others are answered in the promises of Advent. Advent is simply a season of expectant waiting and preparation. Most often, the arrival of an event or a person is made all the more sweet by our anticipation. How could waiting and expectation change your Christmas season?

Join pastor and author Louie Giglio in an Advent journey to discover that waiting is not wasting when you're waiting on the Lord. Take hold of the chance to uncover the vast hope offered through the journey of Advent. In Waiting Here for You, readers will find peace and encouragement for their souls as anticipation leads toward celebration!

Starting on November 26, this fantastic book features a brief devotional leading up to Christmas day. Each day includes a passage from the Bible, thoughts to reflect upon, a poem/song to meditate on and a prayer. Now, perhaps you're thinking that with your packed holiday schedule, you simply don't have time to add in a daily reading. But the great part if that these devotions are very brief... perfect to read and reflect upon over your morning coffee, lunch break or whenever you can take a few minutes in your day. But despite their short length, they are packed full.

Now I will admit, I haven't actually finished reading this book in its entirety, as I do plan to read myself during the Advent season, and wanted to do so with a fresh look each day. Instead, I read a few passages throughout to get an idea to share with all of you...and so far I am really loving what I read! I found this to be a great read not only in anticipation for Christmas, but for anyone who is waiting for anything- be it a new job, trying to have a baby or any one of the many occasions that keeps us in a state of anticipation. I cannot wait to dig deeper into this devotional as the holidays draw closer.

Waiting Here For You is available to purchase now at Family Christian.

Find more great Advent resources and connect with Family Christian at the links below:

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And one very lucky reader is going to win a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate. 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 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Say Happy Holidays with Re-Play Kids Dinnerware { A #HappyHolidaysHop Giveaway }

Happy Holidays

Welcome to the 1st Annual Happy Holidays Giveaway Hop hosted by Karen’s Got Mail! I have teamed up with a fantastic group of bloggers to share some awesome giveaways with our readers. Be sure to hop around to the participating blogs listed below and enter some fabulous giveaways, all of which are worth a minimum of $25! Also, make sure to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway$50 Gift Card to Incredibundles!

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

Christmas is just a little over a month away, which means if you haven't already, it's time to get that holiday shopping going! But with so many toys on my children's lists, it can be overwhelming! I want to give them fun gifts that they will love, but I don't want to go overboard on the toys either. So, I try to mix it up and make sure in addition to the toys, I'm also giving my children gifts that are practical too. Things like books, clothes and even fun dinnerware!

When it comes to dinnerware for kids, one of my personal favorites is Re-Play!

Re-Play is a division of Re-Think It, Inc., a family owned, family-focused company. They are manufactured, assembled and tested in the USA...Made from recycled milk jugs, they truly are a great option for parents looking for greener options for their children. The Re-Think It brand strives to fulfill 5 Tenets of Responsibility that they feel are most important: sustainability, safety, durability, functionality, and affordability. You can read all about how they accomplish this in my first review here.

But today, I just want to focus on the truly fun stuff! Like the style!

When you think of children's dinnerware, many of us think of the fun characters that many feature...and those are great, but Re-Play doesn't need all that to be absolutely adorable! They pull that off with their unique design and fun, vibrant colors! The deep divided design is great for keeping food separate for those picky eaters and is deep enough to help reduce some of the messes that little ones tend to make. It also helps give them a fun, unique look.

But the colors are really my favorite part! I love that I can choose to have colors to coordinate with my kitchen while still being kid friendly, or choose a rainbow of fun vibrant colors for my kids to enjoy. I can keep it simple with a single color for the whole set, or mix and match for fun new looks!

And with the holidays coming, they even have fantastic holiday sets to get you into the spirit. There's the classic red and green in the Merry Christmas collection, the red and white of Candy Cane, or a fun new vibrant twist of Grinchmas...and for those who celebrate Hanukka instead, there's even a collection for that! These fun festive sets work wonderfully for the holidays, but with no holiday prints, they can be used year round too!

Whether you go with festive collections or choose a favorite color for your little one, this is one gift that your child will love for longer than a month or two! It's a gift that's practical and fun, and inexpensive too!

Find out more and connect at the links below:

Visit the Website.
Like on Facebook.
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And as part of the Happy Holidays Giveaway Hop, one very lucky reader is going to win a set 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. Disclosure: Karen’s Got Mail and the Happy Holidays Giveaway Hop participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media are not affiliated with this giveaway.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Introducing PINCHme: A Free Sample Subscription Box Service {+ $1000 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes!}

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

Do you love subscription boxes?

Okay, honestly- who doesn't? Getting a fun package in the mail each month? Getting to try great new products? What's not to love?!

Oh, that's right, the price! Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of reasonably priced subscription boxes available, but personally, I'm quite...well, let's just be honest...I'm cheap! I don't want to spend money for something I may or may not like. I'm a try before I buy kinda girl!

If that sounds like you too, I have a great service to introduce you to: PINCHme!

So, what is PINCHme?

PINCHme is a fantastic subscription service that allows you to sign up to receive FREE samples delivered to your door every month! A FREE subscription service? Sounds to good to be true! What's the catch? Okay, there is one small thing- they DO ask for your feedback for the products you receive... but that's easy enough! You get to try great products with no cost to you! Awesome! And you get to choose the samples you want, so there's no clutter of items you won't use and no spending time providing feedback for unnecessary items!

So, what type of samples are available?

Here's a look inside my special blogger box featuring a variety of the products available in November:

I received a bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn, Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant, Sinful Colors Nail Polish, Starbucks Iced Coffee K-Cup, Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash, Special K Chewy Nut Bar, Playtex Sport Combo, Enfagrow Next Step Milk Drink, Act Advanced Care Mouthwash, Gold Bond Ultimate lotion, plus some smaller samples and coupons too! So much fun stuffed packed into this box!!

This is just a selection of the samples available in November, check out the full list:

  • Orchard Valley  Harvest Grab and Go  Bags and Multipacks 
  • Pop Works & Company Popcorn 
  • Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash 
  • Sinful Colors Nail Polish 
  • Clinical Strength Secret
  • Playtex Sport Liners 
  • Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion 
  • Align® Probiotic Supplement 
  • Breathe Right  
  • ZzzQuil™  Sleep Aid 
  • PURELL Hand Sanitizing Wipes
  • Enfagrow®  Next Step® 
  • Gerber® Good Start® Gentle for Supplementing Formula 
  • Scotch Brite 
  • Pro Plan Pet 
  • Iams $5 off Coupon 
  • Beyond® Grain Free Wild Salmon Recipe Wet Cat Food 
  • Beyond® Grain-Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food
  • Beyond® Grain Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food
And the samples change every month! So, if you miss Sample Tuesday, or find nothing you like that month, you can check back again later!

Ready to sign up? Go here and get started! And don't forget to connect with PINCHme on Facebook and Twitter too!

And in addition to their monthly samples, they're also having an AMAZING sweepstakes!!! One lucky winner will win a $1000 Holiday Shopping Spree with a gift card of YOUR choice! Awesome, right? ENTER HERE!