A Modern Day Fairy Tale: July 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016

Save Money on Birthdays & More with Groupon Goods {#Groupon #ad @Groupon}

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

In our household, August is the month of the birthdays! My son's birthday comes first on August 4th, then my daughter's on the 19th, and finally my own on the 23rd. My husband is the only non-August birthday in our little family. On the one hand, this makes for a very exciting month! Every time we turn around there is another celebration! More fun, more cake! It's never ending! But with celebrations come expenses! It's basically like Christmastime in August. It may be fun, but being on a budget we have to find ways to stretch our money!

Thankfully, Groupon Goods can make that easier!

I was first introduced to Groupon several years ago through their Groupon Local sites. These allowed me to find great daily deals on services in my own area like spas or automotive or entertainment. To be honest, for quite some time, I actually thought this was ALL Groupon had to offer! Boy, was I wrong! In addition to these great local service deals, they offer offer great deals on goods too!! From fashion to home goods, toys to electronics, we can find great deals on TONS of products that my family will love! This makes it a fantastic place to shop for all of our birthday shopping needs!

Take my son for instance! He loves his video games. Birthdays or Christmas- there is always at least one video game or console that he has on his wishlist. And honestly, these can get VERY expensive. But with Groupon, I can find some of those things he loves for a fraction of the cost! A Playstation 4 for $80 off!? Yes, please! Games for less? I'll take them! Meanwhile for my daughter I can find great toys and more with her favorite characters without breaking the bank. There is a little something for each of our birthdays, helping us to stretch that tight birthday budget even further!

With so many great deals available each and every day, it truly is hard not to fall in love with Groupon and everything they have to offer! I certainly have! You may not have back to back birthday to shop for, but no matter what it is you're needing to shop for, Groupon is sure to have deals to save you money!

And if you're new to Groupon, you can save even more! Choose one deal $25 or more and use code WELCOME at checkout for $10 off your first Groupon! How fantastic is that!?

You can learn more and connect at the links below:

Shop Groupon Goods
Visit on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.

Do you love Groupon? Visit Groupon Goods and let me know some of your favorite deals? How can they help YOU save!?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Journaling for the Nonartist: An HCSB Illustrator's Notetaking Bible Review

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

"I love the idea of Bible journaling, but I'm no artist. I wouldn't know where to even begin!"

When talking to others about Bible journaling, I hear this statement quite often. And being a non-artist myself, I completely get it. When you're browsing through pages upon pages or beautiful Bible journaling art on Pinterest, it can be very hard to feel overwhelmed before even getting started.

Of course, the first thing I always tell people is that it truly doesn't matter how well you draw, Bible journaling isn't meant to be a competition for the best artwork, but rather a creative form of worship between you and God. Still, it doesn't hurt to get a little bit of a hand up, does it? That is just what the Illustrator's Note-taking Bible provides:

 The Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible combines two hot trends: Bible journaling and adult coloring. Through unique illustrations included on every page spread, readers, illustrator’s, and notetakers alike learn to engage the biblical text in a new way. The exceptional design offers a unique balance for everyone from seasoned artists to the creatively challenged, allowing for guided creativity and meaningful personalization of the Bible reading experience. From filigree, Scripture quotes, and unique images, these line-drawn illustrations are waiting to be brought to life.

Features include:

Over 600 images, including text designs, images, and filigree
Unique illustrations on every page spread
Open margin space for creating new, personalized images

Light grey illustrations allowing readers to add color to each image

Lined margins for note taking

Now, this is not the only coloring book Bible on the market, so what sets this one apart from others that are similar? Of course this is a different translation than other similar Bibles, but that's not where the differences end. To me, this one seemed to offer much more of a starting point. In other similar Bibles, the pictures were complete pieces of art ready to color. In the Illustrators Bible, there was a little more variety. These weren't just word arts to color in- though there certainly were some of those. There were also pages with simple doodles with space still left to journal thoughts or add artwork. There were drawings to be colored in and made your own. There were doodles that were simple enough to be added to to truly create one of a kind pages. The lines are very subtle, which really allows you to do more than a typical coloring book would. Sure, you can keep it simple and just color them in, but you can also take it to the next level. You can create your own word art, using the predrawn pages as a mere backdrop. You can build onto those drawings. You can journal your thoughts and keep those drawings in the background to add a little something extra. This Bible more than others like it, truly gives you the opportunity to use it however suits you best!

Whether you are a beginning Bible journaler looking for a great starting point, or an avid jjournaler looking for a unique addition to your collection, the HCSB Illustrator's Notetaking Bible is one that you must check out.

HCSB Illustrator's Notetaking Bible is available to purchase now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oh, The Places They Will Go...with Silver Dolphin Kids Books {A Giveaway Hop Event} #backtoschool #bts

Welcome to the Oh! The Places You'll Go Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island. Enter my giveaway, then hop along to find more great prizes to enter to win!!! From back to school and beyond, these giveaways are going to be amazing! **********************************************

**Books received for review, all thoughts are my own.

If you have a little boy in your life, you know that they tend to love things that go. Planes, trains and automobiles! I don't know what it is about these things that little boys are just drawn to...at least mine was! Now, my son was of course a big train lover, but before trains came firetrucks! Much like his father before him, he went crazy for them. For his first birthday, we celebrated with a firetruck themed birthday party and he received a ride on firetruck, a favorite toy until trains came along! When he moved up to his very own big boy room, it too had that firetruck theme. As I said, he-like so many boys at that age- loved his firetrucks. And if it's not firetrucks, it's construction vehicles. Kids love the bright colors of these trucks and the digging, the dumping... everything that goes with it. Like I said, little boys love things that go.

And that's not exclusive to boys either. Though she's not as crazy about them as my son was, even my daughter enjoys playing with play vehicles like firetrucks and construction crews.

So, when I was given the chance to review two fantastic new interactive books with these themes from Silver Dolphin Books, I jumped at the chance. Take a look:

Dig deep and start building as you learn about the mighty vehicles used at a construction site in I Love Construction Vehicles ($19.95; ISBN: 978-1-62686-562-4; Ages 5 and up). This complete activity kit allows kids to read, play, and explore the world of working vehicles, including diggers, dumpers, bulldozers, and enormous tunneling machines. Full-color photos throughout the book present these hardworking vehicles in full detail, and the included poster and reusable stickers complete the kit. Once kids have pored over the pages of the book, they can build their own construction site utilizing the shaped box and cardstock pieces, and put the model dump truck to work!

*32-page fact book
*Model dump truck
*52 reusable stickers
*23 x 16-inch poster
*47 model pieces to build a construction site


Turn on the flashing lights and siren as you learn about the powerful vehicles that respond to emergencies in I Love Rescue Vehicles ($19.95; ISBN: 978-1-62686-561-7; Ages 5 and up). This complete activity kit allows kids to read, play, and explore the world of modern rescue vehicles, including fire trucks, ambulances, helicopters, and rescue boats. Full-color photos throughout the book present these mighty machines in full detail, and the included fire truck poster and reusable stickers complete the kit. Once kids have pored over the pages of the book, they can build their own fire station utilizing the shaped box and cardstock pieces, and then wheel out the model fire truck to save the day!

*32-page fact book
*Model fire truck
*52 reusable stickers
*23 x 16-inch poster
*26 model pieces to build a fire station

Now, I have had the chance to review many fantastic books from Silver Dolphin Books and they have always been a hit in my home. Though they have varied greatly in topics and style, they've all had two things in common- they were all interactive, and they all made learning and reading FUN! These books are no different! In fact, these just might be the most interactive yet. Not only do your little ones get to read through the fact books and learn more about these fascinating vehicles, but they get to bring them to life too. Each kit includes a vehicle and model pieces that allow them (with the help of a grown up perhaps) build either a construction site or fire station. How fun is that!? And while that may be the coolest part, its not the end of the fun! Each kit also includes 52 reusable stickers and a fun poster too! (I don't know about your kids, but my kids LOVE posters!) This truly does bring reading to life in a way that makes kids WANT to open the books! And when it comes to kids, I think that's what reading should be all about. It shouldn't be a chore that they have to do...but something they love.

While my son thinks these are pretty fantastic even now at almost 9 years old, I know that as a preschooler he would have found them even more fascinating. Likewise, my daughter who is only mildly interested in trucks and such still find this to be a fun kit!!! If you have a child who loves firetrucks or construction vehicles, these books are going to be a must have!

You can see these and more from Silver Dolphin Books at the links below:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SilverDolphin, @SilverDolphin

And one very lucky reader is going to have the chance to win them 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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mommy Needs a Raise (Because Quitting's Not an Option): A Book Review

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

Whoever said that parenting was easy...well, either they've never been a parent or they just flat out lied. Parenting- though rewarding as it may be- is perhaps one of the toughest jobs that any of us will ever face. It has endless hours, no breaks and well... the pay...if only love and kisses would pay the bills, right? Sometimes the best way to get through those moments of motherhood is to just have a laugh...and that's just what you'll find in this new book by Sarah Parshall Perry:

Mommy Needs a Raise
(Because Quitting's Not an Option)

Um, excuse me, but . . . do these children come with dental?

Sarah Parshall Perry knew that raising kids would be different from climbing the corporate ladder. But she wasn't ready for just how different. Wasn't a job just a job? And what was that on her shirt? Sarah left the corporate world with a plan to win at mothering and was downright blindsided. Nothing went as planned, everything was foreign, and her bosses didn't always understand her value to the organization. 

With her signature wit, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-mommy Sarah says what all of us are thinking when we trade annual reports for homework help and sleepless nights. Sarah invites you to laugh alongside her in the "Are you kidding me?!" moments that come with the job of growing people. Crossing the divide between "employee" and "mother" is hard. But thankfully, it's also hilarious.

This book isn't just her story. It's your story. The story of every mother who gives up one thing to get something better--and ends up finding out what she's worth along the way.

Now, I'll be honest, I'm probably not the most ideal audience for this book. You see, I was married very young- just 19 years old- and had my son just before turning 20. I had not had time to establish a career before becoming a mother, so I wasn't really giving anything up. Don't get me wrong, I'd had jobs before- fast food, working at a theme park, tutoring... but these are simply jobs. They were not careers I had studied for and worked towards, they were not my life. They were simply a way to have a little extra spending money. When I started my family, I knew right away that the plan was for me to stay home with my children. It was never even really something I had to give much thought to, that's just what seemed most natural for myself and my family. My experience in becoming a mother was vastly different that of Sarah Parshall Perry.

Though I couldn't relate to every of her story, there were many parts that I think were truly universal to us all...the unexpectedness of it all, the challenges, the joys, the laughs. I found myself laughing and nodding right along with her. So, while I may not be the target audience, I still enjoyed it. Still, I know that this is one that those mamas who did give up a career will enjoy even more. They will see themselves and some of their own experiences and come to the realization that they are not alone in this motherhood journey and those thoughts and feelings that they have felt.

Ready to laugh right along the journey from career woman to mom? Mommy Needs a Raise is available to purchase now.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Who Inspires YOU? {Born This Way Season 2 Premier & Target Gift Card Giveaway} #BornThisWay

 **Gift card received in consideration for this post. All thoughts are my own.

Let's talk inspirational people!

When you hear that term 'inspirational people', who comes to mind? Maybe it's an athlete who has overcome great obstacles, a teacher who saw something in you that you didn't know existed, a friend that has been through hard times and kept their faith, the person who never gave up. Maybe it's someone famous, or maybe it's just an every day person you know or know of in real life.

When I hear this term, there are many people that come to mind for many different reasons. I think of my mom who has fought and beat cancer and kept her faith through it all, who opens her heart and her home to those she loves. I think of my dad who many may think is a little rough around the edges, but who in reality is a big ol' softie who loves his family and does everything he can to make sure they are cared for. I think of my husband who is perhaps the hardest working person I know, putting his whole self into whatever it is he is doing to provide for our family.

And I think of my son, the boy who first made me a mom. Shaun was diagnosed with autism at age two and I must admit, the last 7 years since that diagnosis has certainly had its ups and downs. I have watched him struggle with those things that come so easily to most... making friends, focusing on tasks, potty training, even every day things like just going to a busy store. But he just keeps right along doing his thing. He's smart, he's sweet, he's just altogether amazing. He has faced struggles that no child his age should have to face...and for that he truly is an inspiration to me. I know that as parents we are supposed to teach our children, but the reality is he has taught me. He has taught me patience, he has taught me to keep on moving, he has taught me to overcome, he has taught me to love wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Just by being just as he was born- just as God made him. That's something worth celebrating, isn't it?

AE's fantastic show Born This Way does just that. BORN THIS WAY chronicles the lives of a group of young adults born with Down syndrome as they pursue their passions while defying society's expectations. The series also follows their parents who share their own journey of joy, sacrifice, and unconditional love.  It shows that being born differently does not mean that they cannot overcome and pursue their dreams. With so much negativity in the world and on TV, this is the kind of show I want to watch...and the kind I want my son to see too! 

If you missed the first season, now is a GREAT time to get caught up. The seconf season will be premiering on AE 
next Tuesday, July 26.

And in celebration of the Born This Way Season 2 premiere, we have a giveaway celebrating the inspirational people in YOUR life. Share your stories for a chance to win a $25 Target gift card. 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.

#WhatMattersToU During That Time of the Month: An Essential Oil Bath Salt Recipe {+ U by Kotex® & @walmart Deal} #ad

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

Ladies, today we're getting real...and real personal. We're talking about that time of the month.

As women, this is something we all experience, but I can't say there is one of us that looks forward to it. No, we count down those days in dread. For some, maybe that dread is purely out of inconvenience...maybe it limits our fashion choices or interferes with plans. But for many of us its also a matter of how it makes us feel. Honestly, having a period stinks. It leaves you feeling achy all over, lacking energy and just plain ol' blah. Am I right?

U by Kotex® and Walmart care about what matters the most to us during our periods, which is why they are asking women everywhere, 'What Matters to U?'

When that time of the month rolls around, what helps to make you feel like yourself? Do you indulge on sweet cravings? Perhaps you have found yoga or another exercise routine that helps keep you feeling your best? Maybe it's a beauty routine that makes you feel beautiful even when you don't feel at your best?

For me, nothing is more important than just feeling better. I want to find those solutions that truly help me get back to my every day life. As much as I would love to just lay in bed for those first few days and veg out with a favorite TV show and comfort food, with two little ones to care for, that's simply not an option! One thing that has always made me feel a little better no matter what ails me has been essential oils. Thankfully there are also many great oils that are ideal for that time of the month too! So, I created a bath salt to help us all get back to us.

'That Time of the Month' Essential Oil Bath Salt

  • 1 Cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 Cup Sea Salt
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Clary Sage Essential Oil
  • Jar for Storage

  1. First up, blend your salts together.
  2. Slowly mix the essential oils in with the salt, making sure to blend well so that all salt comes in contact with them.
  3. Store in a jar or other closed container for use.
  4. Add a few tablespoons of your salts to a warm bath and allow to dissolve.
  5. Soak in a warm bath and forget about those period pains.

This super simple essential oil recipe truly can help make you feel more like your old self and get you back to your real life, no matter what time of the month!


Now that we've found some relief we also have to talk about the other products that we need to get through that time of the month... pads and liners! I know that I can trust Walmart to have everything I need at a great value including personal care items, so I headed to my local store to find just the right products to get me through, which I found with U by Kotex®!

As I mentioned earlier, for me, nothing matters more than getting back to my every day life. I want to be pain free and comfortable. I don't want to feel like I'm wearing a diaper, I want products that make me feel like myself--- to keep me comfortable and confident as I go on about my day.  It's not just about leak protection, it's about finding a product that makes you feel good...that makes you feel like your best self... not just you during your period self! Products that don't make us feel limited or like they affect our lives in a negative way. Your period is truly such a personal thing for women and U by Kotex® at Walmart offers a variety of great products that fit your needs and your life... check out these great new products:

U by Kotex® Cleanwear® Ultra Thin Pads

  • Unique 3D Capture Core* with Xpress DRI* cover for crazy fast absorption to help stop leaks.
  • They stay secure with uniquely shaped Tru-Fit® wings
  • Super soft sides for your comfort

U by Kotex® Barely There® Liners

  • So comfortable you’ll barely know it’s there!
  • Made to feel just like your underwear to help you stay clean and fresh every day – or when your period is light.
  • Bold colors and designs

The Style N' Store packs are new at Walmart and feature 4 unique designs that make that time of the month a little more fun and personal! They even feature a convenient drawer for easy storage! With U by Kotex® at Walmart your period doesn't stand a chance! You'll save money, live better, feel confident and make every day matter!

And for an even greater value, who doesn't love to be rewarded for the products they are already buying!? Get up to $25 in custom rewards when you buy 2 U by Kotex® products at Walmart!! Here's how it works:

  • Offer is live through 9/30/16
  • Purchase 2 packs of U by Kotex® products at Walmart (Any Variation)
  • Text UbyKotex to 811811 and upload a photo of your receipt
  • Go to UbyKotexrewards.com and register to choose your customized reward!

U by Kotex® & Walmart = Trust, Value & Convenience!

Now you know what matters to ME during that time of the month and how I feel better.. but Walmart and U by Kotex® want to hear YOUR answer too! Share your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #WhatMattersToU and don't forget to tag @Walmart too.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finding Strength in God {Journaling Through Illustrated Faith's I Am Strong Monthly Devotional Kit} #IllustratedFaith #DaySpring #IF_IAmStrong #Biblejournaling

**I received this devotional kit as part of the Illustrated Faith Launch Team with Dayspring. All thoughts are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

Today I have a little challenge for you. I want you to go stand in front of the mirror and repeat these words:

I Am Strong.

That's easy enough, right? Now, do it again... but this time, I want you to truly MEAN it.

That's a little bit harder isn't it?

I must admit, I hadn't been feeling very strong lately. In fact, more often than not, I've felt like I'm barely keeping it together. I have dealt with issues with anxiety for as long as I can remember, and for the most part have been able to deal with it pretty well. Oh sure, I have my rough moments but was generally always able to stay pretty positive through it. I have lived by those words, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I would repeat it in my head over and over and over again and I would get through whatever was causing that anxiety at the time.

Lately more than ever my strength has been tested. As many of you may recall, my husband recently got out of the military rather unexpectedly. This was never part of our plan. The plan was that he would stay in for 20 years so that he could retire. At 12+ years in, he was just 8 years away. But that plan like so many fell apart. Due to military downsizing, that just wasn't an option anymore. The military is certainly not without challenges of course, but having married straight out of high school, it was the only adult life I knew. I was comfortable with it, and despite the unpredictability, there were many things we could depend on. We could depend on a steady paycheck, always knowing the dates they'd come and how much they'd be. We could depend on great health coverage should we need it. We could count on special pay JUST for our housing. For a long time, we thought we could count on a job that would be there. There was a security in the military that we had grown accustomed to. Losing that truly felt like our world was turned upside down. To say it has been a struggle has been an understatement. We have struggled to keep afloat and try to figure out what this new life outside of the military will look like.

If that weren't enough to figure out, add in a special needs child going through a serious regression and a toddler entering those terrible threes (which seem to be much worse than terrible twos). So often I find myself feeling like I just cannot catch a break...and I just cannot do it all. When I look in the mirror, it's hard to say "I am strong". I see the dark circles from sleepless nights, I see hair in desperate need of some work that I cannot afford or have time for, I see bruises from dealing with aggressive meltdowns. I see weakness. I feel like saying instead, '"I'm just not strong enough".

When I heard that August's Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit from Dayspring was called 'I Am Strong', I truly felt like it could not have come at a better time for me. I needed that reminder that I knew deep down but was having trouble finding... that I do not have to be strong enough on my own, because God was strong enough for us both. That through Him all things were possible. Through Him I could once again find my strength and my bravery. With Him, I can and I will get though this. This devotional reminded me of these truths...

As I made my way through the devotional, journaling along the way, I was reminded that I AM strong, and I CAN be brave and overcome whatever life throws at me because I am not in this battle alone. My strength doesn't come from me, it comes from Him and Him alone. Even when I don't feel like being strong, He is there with my 100% so that I don't have to be. I was reminded to lean on Him and to hand it all over. I may not be able to handle it all, but He can.

To me, this is what Bible journaling is all about and why these kits are so amazing.They allow us to take a deeper look at ourselves and our relationships with God. They are not just pretty art supplies (though they are certainly that too), they truly are tools to help us spend time with Him in the word.

For me, this month's I Am Strong devotional kit was just what I needed. If you need a little reminder of just how strong you are, this is one that you must check out. Take a look at what you'll find inside:

Feeling spiritually weak...overwhelmed...worried?  Embrace this 14-day devotional journey with all your heart, expecting God to meet you right where you are and to empower you with His strength for all things!  Wilna Furstenburg welcomes you to join her in trusting and discovering God as "my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invicible army..."  —Habakkuk 3:19 AMP

Devotional message:
My Personal Bravery
Wilna Furstenburg
I am Strong

Items in kit:    
1 devotional booklet (14 devotionals)
1 stamp pad
1 clear stamp collection with 1 sheet of cut outs enclosed
1 roll of washi tape
1 package of 3 Scripture sharables
1 sticker
1 bow clip

This kit was packed full of vibrant pinks, oranges and yellows--- a few of my personal favorites I must admit. While some of the elements themselves may have been more understated than kits in the past (the die cuts and stamps primarily featuring words for example, or the very subtle washi design), but in this simplicity it allowed for the messages inside to truly be the star. (You can take a deeper look inside with my unboxing video here.)

Throughout our lives, we will all be faced with tough times and we will all need that little reminder that through Christ, we are strong. If you- like me- are going through that time now- this is definitely the kit for you. Illustrated Faith I Am Strong Kit will be available to purchase TOMORROW at Dayspring.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Make Heart Hands For Farm Animals #ShopWithYourHeart

Aside from the people who are vegan, most everyone I know buys meat, eggs, or dairy at some point during the week/month/year. And those of you who do – have much more buying power than you probably even realize. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals.
Just an average size family spends hundreds of dollars a month on meat. Imagine if every single consumer used that buying power to purchase welfare-certified meat instead of the meat from inhumane factory farms. What a difference that would make!
As you may already know, most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. And animals are not the only affected, as factory farms impact human health—they can be breeding grounds for dangerous pathogens and the antibiotics used to prevent disease create the potential for dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria to develop.
To fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals, the Shop With Your Heart initiative launched by the ASPCA gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.
Everyone who signs the pledge also gains access to an exclusive Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.
Make Heart Hands for Farm Animals!

Pose with your hands in a heart shape and post a photo using the tag #shopwithyourheart and @ASPCA to let your friends know you believe in a more humane world for farm animals. Don’t forget to tell them where you shop to find more humane products—give the stores a shout-out by tagging them, too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful: A Kids Book Review & Giveaway #FlyBy

Little kids pick up everything.

Seriously, they are like little sponges... you may not think they are paying attention, but they're absorbing it all...the good and the bad. I don't know about you, but I would much rather they pick up those good things! So, even before my children could speak let alone read, I started introducing them to books and music that glorified God. Though I knew that they would not fully understand everything I was reading yet, I wanted these little sponges of mine to start absorbing these basics from the beginning.

Perhaps one of the earliest lessons that children can truly understand is the idea that God created it all. I know this was certainly my son's first understanding about God! So, I am always looking for those fun ways to help remind them of this. Today, I am excited to share with you a sweet new book that will do just that: All Things Bright and Beautiful.

About the book:
First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:
Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

Jacketed hardcover
Page count: 32
Reading age: 4-7
Category: juvenile fiction/Christian
Retail price: $15.99

Now, if you are already familiar with this old hymn, of course you are going to love this book that takes you through each lyrics with beautiful illustrations depicting it all and captivating little eyes. Personally, this is not a hymn that I was familiar with so I loved turning each page to see what came next. With each page I was drawn deeper and deeper into both the beautiful words and the gorgeous artwork inside. Through it all my children were getting this beautiful reminder that from the birds in the sky to the mountains and everything in between, God made it all. It reminded us to take a moment to take in the beauty all around us and to truly stop and appreciate God creation. He is the ultimate artist.

When I first read the title of this book, I for whatever reason assumed that this would be a book more suitable for my daughter...I thought of flowers and butterflies...those things that little girls tend to love. But though two of the three children we see throughout the book are little girls, this book truly is a great one for every child. I know that this is one that our family will enjoy reading time and time again for many years to come.

All Things Bright and Beautiful is available to purchase now.

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy for their own family. 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.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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, July 14, 2016

Spoiler Alert: God Wins! #BibleJournaling #IllustratedFaith

Here on A Modern Day Fairy Tale, I really try to keep it a positive place! Rather than focus on anything negative that may be going on in my life, I try to focus instead on what is going well and the many blessings I have to be thankful for. I do the same on my personal social media accounts. And let's be honest, that little bit of positive space is much needed these days, isn't it?

Every time we turn on the news we are bombarded with more negative, more tragedies, more hate. It's everywhere we look. And it can be so easy to get caught up in that. I'll be honest, many times I find myself worrying about what our country is becoming and what it is going to look like for my children's future. It truly is a scary time. But in times such as this, it's such an important time to remember that we already know how it's going to end....

Several weeks ago I saw a fun graphic with this saying... 'Spoiler Alert: God Wins'. I loved that.

I've been dealing with a lot of personal anxiety issues in my own life, completely unrelated to those things going on in the world around us. I've truly been struggling to keep it all together and to just hang in there. It's just been one of those times in life where things seems to be piling on one after the other and though you try it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. These words spoke to me. Yes, it's a little humorous, but it's also 100% true. No matter what hard times we are going through, there IS hope. God has already won this war... It may be difficult right now, but one day that day will come.

When I heard these words, I knew I had to journal them so I went straight to those last pages of Revelation. The end of the Bible, but not the end of the story. This page was done very simply- the background created with a black dotted Illustrated Faith washi tape (found in the List By Faith devo kit) and a simple focus not on the art being over the top, but on the powerful words on the page.

This page was created just days before the shootings in Dallas. Again, this was created in an effort to help me get through my own personal struggles with anxiety but as I thought about these events, I could not help but think that this was an important message for ALL of us to keep in our minds and our hearts right now. Though we may not see it yet, one day we will see that happy ending...and so I share these words and this page with you in hopes that they touch you as they have touched me.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

-Revelation 21:1-5 ESV

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

FREE Clothes For Back To School? Find Out How with Schoola {Kids, Women & Maternity} #BackToSchool

Just when it seemed like summer was just beginning, it's already time to start thinking about back to school!! And more importantly, back to school shopping!

When you are on a tight budget, back to school shopping can be something we dread... but I have great news for you! It doesn't have to be! There are many ways to save a ton of money on back to school shopping, but perhaps one of the best is to buy used! Of course it's nice to have a new outfit for back to school, but I would personally much rather spend less money on more quality used clothing myself! But what if you don't have a good secondhand store in your area? Today, I want to share with you once again a website that I personally use and love- both for myself and my children- Schoola!!

What is Schoola and why is it so unique?

Here are some quick facts from their website:

  • It’s easy to find great items when you create a custom collection.
  • It’s affordable because every item we sell is up to 70% off the original retail price! You can stretch your family’s dollar even further by earning rewards for spreading the word about Schoola!
  • It’s impactful because when you purchase clothing from Schoola, you are directly supporting our network of over 20,000 participating schools.
  • All of the inventory on our site was donated on behalf one of our 20,000 participating schools. Anyone can donate to Schoola—individuals, corporations, and retailers have all donated to support our mission of helping kids reach their full potential at school.
Basically you get great deals on great used clothes, AND help support schools across the country in the process! Even with no additional discounts, these clothes of all sizes (kids, juniors, women and even maternity) can be bought at quite the bargain, BUT the savings don't stop there!!

  • When you sign up, you will receive a FREE $20 credit PLUS free shipping. There is no minimum purchase to use this credit. If you spend $20 even, you'll pay NOTHING for whatever items are in your cart (credits can not be used with new with tags clothing). 
  • You can earn even more credits by referring your friends. They also receive that $20 credit AND you'll earn an additional $20 for ever friend who signs up and places an order! Even if they only spend their free $20 credit!! 
  • As if those free credits aren't awesome enough, it still doesn't stop there. You can use promotional codes on top of that! There are always new promo codes coming out which you can usually find on RetailMeNot or similar websites, but here are few that are current as of this posting:

    ----BACK2SVGS will give you 30% off your purchase of $30 or more
    ---get50off will give you 50% off your entire purchase, but is only available to NEW members

    Again, these great coupon codes can be used in combination with your credits, which means it can help stretch that free $20 even further! New members can get $40 of clothes absolutely FREE!! Already a member? If you have $20 credit, you can get $30 of product for just $1... or if you're out of credits, you can still get some GREAT savings regardless!!
I know, I know... this sounds too good to be true, right? But it's legit! I have personally purchased from Schoola several times and all have arrived and come as described. In fact, the one time that there was an error in sizing in the listing, I was refunded my credit PLUS some and was able to keep the item too! They have great customer service! And it's not just for kids' clothes! I've ordered for myself too! This is definitely one website that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to save money on clothes for the family!

Ready to start saving and shopping for free? Join Schoola NOW!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout- Available on DVD TODAY!

If you were a kid in the 90s... chances are, you watched Power Rangers! And if you watched Power Rangers, chances are you also played them and always had your favorite that you wanted to be. For me, that was the Pink Ranger. (Okay, for most of my girl friends!). There was just something about this show that we could not get enough of.

Looking back as an adult, I sometimes have to wonder why we loved it so much... but I guess it was just that idea of ordinary 'kids' taking care of the bad guys, being the heroes. That's a story all kids want to hear and want to live, right? So, I suppose it's truly no wonder that it's still a theme that kids love today. In fact, did you know that Power Rangers is still being made today? Of course the show has evolved many times throughout the years. The days of Might Morphin Power Rangers are long gone, these days its all about Power Rangers Dino Charge!

My son was super excited to have the chance to review the Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout on DVD...check it out:

Saban’s Powers Rangers are back in action with Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout, arriving on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD, and On Demand July 12 from Lionsgate. The Red, Black, Blue, Green, and Pink Rangers must once again rely on each other and their new dino-charged powers as they battle to defend the Earth from the villainous Sledge. This all-new Power Rangers series ranked #1 in its time period across all TV with kids 2-11. With an ever-growing fan base, Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout will be the biggest, and most shocking, Power Rangers adventure yet when it arrives on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.
The Power Rangers will have to outsmart a puzzling villain, save a prince, and try to defeat Sledge's monsters. When the evil Fury unleashes the powerful Ptera Zord, only the Power Rangers can regain control with the help of their newest ally – the Gold Ranger!

Though much may have changed about this show I loved as a child, in many ways, it's still the same ol' show we all grew up with!! It's action packed, while still being child appropriate. It's a little cheesy and over the top, but in a way that makes it fun for kids. It's got crazy villains and of course, the Power Rangers always come to the rescue! My son loved watching them beat the bad guys! It truly is a great choice for those days when rain keeps us inside this summer. It's also a fun way to share a little piece of my own childhood with him too, but in a more modern package that maybe he'll relate to just a little bit better! 

If you have a little one that loves Power Rangers or action and adventure, this is certainly one you'll want to add to your collection! It is available to purchase on DVD TODAY, July 12!

Did you love Power Rangers as a child? What child in your life now would love this new DVD?

Monday, July 11, 2016

God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book Review #ColoringAmerica

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

There are certain times of year where it seems every one of us seems to break out the red, white and blue and celebrate the USA. Memorial Day, 4th of July, even Veteran's Day can bring out the patriot in all of us.

The 4th of July may have come and gone already, but if you ask me, it's always a good time to show a little patriotism and celebrate the country we live in. As a military family, this has certainly always been something that has been very important to our family.

So, when I heard of the new coloring book celebrating just that, I could not wait to get my hands on it! 

About God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book

Enter the pages of this coloring book for adults, and you will find a peaceful way to reflect on what makes America a truly amazing country: our values of equality, opportunity, faith,family, character, generosity, justice, and perseverance. Each coloring page features an original design from one of nine different artists, illustrating an inspirational quote from one of the Founding Fathers, an historic document, a patriotic hymn, or another of America’s heroes.

Slow down, quiet the noise, and express creativity as you color your way through history.

So grab your colored pencils or markers, find a comfortable spot to relax, and spend some time celebrating America. To help set the perfect patriotic mood, a link to the “Coloring America” playlist is included inside.

My husband is the type of person who will just randomly look up topics on American history...just for fun. And he remembers everything he researches too. That's not me. I mean I may remember the major events from history class but that's about it. It's just not something that I am easily motivated to do for fun. But there are so many important people, places and events throughout history that we really should know and remember. So often I talk about coming at learning from something that they like as a way to get kids interested in learning too... but honestly the same can be said about adults too! I may not have much interest and picking up a history book and reading it... but I DO love coloring! This coloring book allows me to color those famous moments and quotes in the history of the country...and then gives me the chance to read a little bit more about the person or event that inspired those pages. It truly is a great reminder about the history that makes our nation so great! 

Whether you a military spouse, a history buff or just an American who loves adult coloring books, this is certainly one you'll want to check out! God Bless America is available to purchase now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow? {Our Swimming Pool Garden 6 Week Update}

Back at the end of May, I shared a little project with you that the kids and I were working on this summer- a swimming pool garden. You can read the full story here. Basically, we took an old kiddie pool that  the kids had outgrown, drilled some holes in the bottom and made it into a little container garden. I said I'd update on the progress, so now that we are about 6 weeks out, here's a little glimpse of our garden now:

As you can say, things are definitely growing!!! Right now, we have tomatoes and zucchini actively with fruit coming. Our eggplant is still growing wonderfully but no produce just yet! We started with these 3, plus lettuce, peas and squash. So, here's the update:
  • The lettuce grew wonderfully at first, and then kind of hit a standstill. These were in a separate smaller container so I question if perhaps my container just wasn't large enough. We had a few days of extreme heat and despite watering several times a day, what little plant was there seemed to have gotten scorched. We will try again next year! 
  • Our squash plants had just the slightest bit of growth when we transferred them over and just never took off beyond that. These may have been older seeds that we took a chance on, I'm not 100% certain. 
  • The peas were definitely older seeds- 2 years old and technically expired. We've read various things on whether or not they were still usable but we took the chance. They did produce a small plant, which seems to still be alive at least, but hasn't grown much beyond that. We keep watering and watching, but I think these were just too old to be fruitful. 
  • We actually have two tomato plants that we have growing. One was in the pool, the other in a separate container. The pool tomatoes have grown like crazy! I was actually shocked at just how large they've gotten. When we'd had tomatoes before, they didn't get very large at all, so I was anticipating that...with the better soil, they have really taken off. We really could have have a pool dedicated solely to tomatoes I think...which is my plan for next year! The separate plant has grown well and has fruit coming as well, but not nearly as much as the one in the pool has. Again, I think perhaps a larger container would have been a bit better, but it's certainly doing well too!
  • Our eggplant has grown greatly and has blooms on it, but no eggplants yet. I'm looking forward to seeing those continue to grow.
  • Our zucchini has also flourished and again grown larger than I could have expected! It seems these will be ready to eat before long at all! I cannot wait!
Overall, I've been really thrilled with it. We've definitely learned a few lessons on what to do next year, but we will definitely be continuing on with more pools and more experience!!

Have you tried starting a swimming pool garden? How has your experience been so far?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Life We Never Expected {A Book Review & Giveaway} #lifeweneverexpected #flyby

When you think of having a child, you dream of many things. You dream of first words, you dream of all the fun things you will do, the sports and activities they will participate in, the experiences they will have. You expect this ideal childhood...the 'normal' stuff.

But in parenthood you very quickly learn that there is simply no such thing as normal. Everything you expected goes right out the window and motherhood throws you for a loop. I tend to think this is probably true for every parent... but for no one more than the parents of a special needs child. This is just the topic at hand in the new book by Andrew & Rachel Wilson: The Life We Never Expected-


What do you do when hard or painful circumstances turn your world upside down, resulting in a life you never expected? Andrew and Rachel Wilson grappled with this question after both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. Refreshingly honest, this book explores the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, reflecting on the broader question of how to cope with suffering of all kinds. Sharing personal stories from their lives and encouragement rooted in the truth of God’s Word, Andrew and Rachel highlight lessons they’ve learned related to fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials—ultimately pointing readers to Christ, the One who promises to make all things new.

Now, I've got to start this review by being 100% honest and upfront. When I first started reading this book, I almost immediately dropped it and said, no way. It threw me for a loop and I found myself wondering how on earth I was going to write this review when I could not make it through the first few chapters.

Here's the thing- as you all know my oldest child was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old. But perhaps you've also noticed that I also try to keep a really positive attitude about it here on my blog, and even in my personal life for those that know me. Though I haven't always- especially in the beginning- these days I try to keep my sharing about the hard stuff to a minimum. This isn't because I want to sugar coat it. This isn't because the struggles are no longer there. This isn't out of fear of judgement. This is simply out of respect for my son and for other individuals with autism who may read my words.

You see, there are organizations out there who claim to support individuals on the spectrum who cause more harm than good. Chances are you know the one I mean- the big one. Rather than spreading acceptance, they spread stories of fear...stories of 'look how hard my life is' from parents of  autistic children. They put out videos of parents talking about thinking of killing themselves and their children...with their children seen within earshot. And you know what? People living on the spectrum have been speaking up for themselves. They've been crying out and telling us that these organizations don't speak for them and that reading and seeing these stories is incredibly hurtful and demeaning. And so I am careful because while it's true that parenting a child with special needs most certainly does come with a unique set of challenges, while it can be trying and yes, even painful at times, I NEVER want my son or any autistic individual to read my words and be hurt by them. I want them to read my words and instead know that despite the challenges, I love and accept and truly try to do the best that I can.

But when I started this book? Honestly, the beginning felt very much like that same spread of fear that I cannot stand. That same distaste for autism that so many living with it have spoke out against. I thought this was a story about spreading hope... not fear? As I said, I almost put it down. In fact, if I hadn't been reviewing it, I might have. Listen, I know better than anyone the struggles of having an autistic child. I've had those sleepless nights when your child is unable to sleep and wakes every hour on the hour screaming. I've had (and still have) a body covered in bumps and bruises from physical aggression. I've had negative comments and judgement towards myself as a mother and my child. I have pulled my hair out wondering if potty training will ever finally click. I've worried and waited and wondered. But I choose to focus on the positive. This book in those first few chapters seemed to be all focused on the negative.

But I kept on reading...and honestly I'm thankful I did. I realized that they got it, they really did. They understood that in spite of the struggles, there are blessings. They understand that while it's not the life they expected, it was not an awful life. There is good, and through it all- the good and the bad--- there is hope. Receiving the diagnosis of autism for your child is a process and more often than not that process starts with feelings of uncertainty and fear. Through time (and prayer), you reach that point of accepting and adapting to your new normal. There are still times of struggling and fear, but you start leaning on the positives more...and this book truly is a great depiction of that process. We see those moments of weakness and fear, and likewise we see those moments of coming to terms with it all. And while I still may not agree with every aspect that they discuss, perhaps this is truly what new to the diagnosis parents need...a book that says you're not alone in these fears and struggles... but hang in there, you'll come to this point too. So, check it out, give it a chance...don't let those first few fool you about what is to come...

The Life We Never Expected is available to purchase now at your favorite book retailers.

And one lucky winner 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.  Or 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.