A Modern Day Fairy Tale: June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Benefits of Coffee for Skin {+ a DIY Coffee Scrub}

Coffee image created by Jigsawstocker - Freepik.com

Oooh coffee... who else is a coffee fan!?

If you are, then you already know how amazing coffee is to drink... but did you know there are actually great benefits to the skin too? Take a look at some of these amazing benefits I found in my research:

  • It exfoliates and softens. I'm a big fan of a good scrub for exfoliation, but most of us think of sugar or salt... not coffee. Still, coffee is a great exfoliate too! See the recipe below for a fantastic scrub that I cannot get enough of. The result? Super soft, touchable skin!
  • It tightens skin. Dealing with fine lines or wrinkles? Caffeine can be great for minimizing the appearance of fine lines! It can also help with puffiness and dark circles.
  • It's an anti-oxidant. Coffee is rich in anti-oxidants and can help reduce redness!
  • It reduces cellulite. Say what!? The caffeine in coffee dehydrates your fatty cells, and makes your skin look smoother. 
Like I said... amazing, right? I've been having some issues with my skin lately and my regular scrubs just weren't doing it, so I thought...why not give it a try, right? So I created a little scrub using ingredients I had in hand-

DIY Coffee Scrub

  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used brown, you can use white too)
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. If its not already, get your coconut oil into a liquid form. Allow to cool, but make sure it doesn't solidify.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Store in a jar or other airtight container.
  4. Use as desired over face and body.
Now, I'll be honest... this isn't a pretty scrub... you might look at it and think, 'No way I'm putting that on MY face or body'... but take a sniff. It smells AMAZING! The blend of the coconut, coffee and cinnamon is heavenly. And all three have their benefits too! Cinnamon is great for acne, anti aging and more!

Now, honestly... I cannot tell you if these ingredients can really do all that they claim to do. I'm not a doctor and I cannot pretend to be. However, I can tell you that after a week of using this scrub every other day, I could tell a huge improvement in the overall feel and look of my skin. I'd been dealing with some dry patches on my cheeks, and they are now smooth to the touch...and while the dark circles aren't entirely gone (I might need some more sleep for that), I feel like I look more awake too! This has definitely become a regular addition to my beauty routine, and I love that I don't need to buy anything special!

And if nothing else, it's a great exfoliate that smells heavenly!

Have you ever tried a coffee scrub? How did you like it? If you decide to try this one, I'd love to hear your results!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baby on a Budget {Tips to Help You Save on Baby Needs}

Sale image created by Phduet - Freepik.com

There must be something in the water! Everywhere I look, it seems someone else I know is expecting a baby!

And while babies are exciting and fun, they can also be... well, expensive! So while the baby days are over in my own household, I wanted to pass along some of my personal tips on saving for baby!

  • Ditch Disposables. Perhaps one of the greatest ways that I saved money with my daughter was by using cloth diapers. There are many ways you can save even further on those, but even just by using cloth, you're savings a TON over using disposable.
  • Use Coupons. There are ALWAYS coupons available for baby essentials like diapers and wipes, even baby soaps, etc. While breastfeeding is certainly cheaper too, there are also always formula coupons too. Take advantage of those. Also don't forget to look for store coupons too! These can help you save on those larger purchases that you cannot as easily find coupons for.

  • Comparison Shop and Price Match. This is with any kind of shopping, but I've found baby product can have a HUGE difference in price from store to store, so check around and use price matching when available! 
  • Buy Used. Now, there are some things I might not recommend buying used (carseats for example), but many other things can be purchased at a fraction of the cost just by shopping secondhand. With clothing especially, you might find pieces worn once! Babies grow so quickly that many baby items see minimal use. When buying used, keep recalls in mind too! While stores like Once Upon a Child are supposed to check these, other thrift stores or individual owners may not realize. 
  • Enter Giveaways. This one is of course a game of chance, but enter them regularly and come back daily to increase your chances to win. I was able to win many big ticket items- a playpen, infant carseat, etc- for my daughter AND even more smaller things too. Did you know there are giveaway linkys devoted to cloth diaper giveaways!?
  • Set Up a Registry. Even if you're not having a shower, set up a registry. Many places offer rewards on any registry purchases, AND discounts at the end of the 'event'... you can take advantage of these discounts and rewards with your own purchases. Plus, did you know that many places offer freebies when you set up a registry!? Toys R Us and Buy Buy Baby both offer sample bags- these are mostly sample sizes, but can include things like bottles too...AND typically have coupons too. Watch for Target deals on starting a registry. With my daughter I was able to find a coupon for a free gift card just for signing up! Amazon also offers a registry, AND will give you a Baby Box worth about $35 when you sign up, complete your registry checklist AND make a $10 purchase from your registry.

  • Don't procrastinate. Start shopping early! You may not be able to buy clothes, etc right away, but start getting what you can as soon as you're comfortable. Not only does this allow you to watch for deals on the items you need, but it spreads that spending out over time so it's not such a shock to the pocket book.
  • Keep It Basic. Shopping for a little one can be overwhelming, but remember, babies don't NEED it all. A place to sleep, something to eat, diapers and clothes. The rest is nice, but not essential. If your budget is tight, don't feel like you have to have it all... just get what YOU personally need and can get. 
Are you expecting or know someone who is? What money saving tips would you offer to a soon to be mom looking to save? 

Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse Giveaway

 If you've been looking for the perfect playhouse for your little ones, look no further than the Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse, sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us! We're thrilled to be able to give one of these darling cottages away to one of our readers, thanks to our friends at Step2.

 Here are details about this playhouse, from the Step2 website: This Step2 cottage playhouse gives little ones a cozy place to call their own. Youngsters can use the working, electronic doorbell to let their friends know when the have arrived for the fun! Children can have their own imaginative dinner party with the attached outdoor dining table. This sturdy kid’s playhouse features an open-design concept that allows little ones to play with their friends both inside and outside! Made in the USA of US and imported parts.
  • Little ones can use the built-in kitchen sink, swivel faucet and outdoor eating area to have an afternoon of imaginative play!
  • Large, open-air design allows for multiple children to play while allowing parents to keep a watchful eye
  • Real, working doorbell chimes to let kids know when their guests have arrived
  • Large window planter boxes allow for children to plant flowers!
  • Realistic stone and wood design will bring years of pretend play fun
  • Exclusively available at Toys "R" Us!
  • Adult assembly required
  • Recommended for ages 2 and up
Open to the continental US only, ages 18 and up. Ends 7/13/17 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
Disclosure: One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Month with Jason's Deli {+ A Giveaway}

Did you know that June is National Cancer Survivor's Month?!

Now, THAT's a reason to celebrate!

Those that know me know that this is a cause that is very near to me personally. Several years ago, I received the phone call that no child wants to receive from their parent. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about scary! Thankfully, she was diligent due to our family history of breast cancer and cancer in general. She caught it early, and I am happy to say she is now cancer free.

Like I said, Cancer Survivor's Month is TRULY a reason to celebrate.

And Jason's Deli is doing JUST that!

They are seeking to educate on the importance of good nutrition on cancer treatments through its partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center. They are doing so with the introduction of the Salmon Pacifica Salad.

Now through April 2018, 50 cents from the sale of every Salmon Pacifica Salad at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants will be given to MD Anderson. Since 2013, Jason’s Deli has donated more than $726,000 to the world-renowned cancer center. Amazing, right?

Created in collaboration with MD Anderson's dietitians and cancer prevention researchers, the 450-calorie salad is full of nutrient-rich ingredients, including:

·        Wild-caught Alaska sockeye salmon with Omega-3 benefits
·        Avocado filled with more potassium than bananas
·        Grape tomatoes full of lycopene 
·        Fire-roasted Piquillo peppers, cucumbers and pickled red onions add to the variety of plant-based ingredients
·        USDA-certified organic field greens free of pesticides
·        New cucumber-dill vinaigrette

Now, I've not yet had the chance to try this particular salad for myself, BUT I know it will be amazing. Everything I've tried from Jason's has been! I love that this is one that I can feel great about both in it's healthy eating AND the important cause it supports! And don't forget, Jason's Deli offers FREE ICE CREAM... so it's the perfect treat for the whole family. Head on over and make a difference today. You can learn more here.

Pretty amazing, right? But it doesn't end there.

Jason’s Deli has teamed up with its wild-caught Alaska salmon provider Trident Seafoods to offer customers the chance to win an all-expenses paid Alaskan Adventure fishing trip for two on August 10-12, 2017. Through the end of June, guests at participating Jason’s Deli restaurants can enter the trip giveaway and a chance to win a $10 gift card by texting the keyword SALMON to 35350 and then entering the daily code displayed on signage in the restaurant. One winner will be chosen for the trip at the end of the month.

And  Jason's Deli is offering one very lucky reader the chance to win a $100 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. 

Pool Safety Tips for Your Little Scuba Explorers

Summer is officially here, which means it's pool season for you and the kiddos! While this should be a season filled with fun in the sun, it's important to practice proper poolside safety to ensure your kids have a safe and happy summer vacation. Here are a few important tips that you need to keep in mind.

Swimming Lessons

The first step in getting your kids ready for the pool is enrolling them in swimming lessons. Even the 3.27 million people who participated in scuba diving in 2015 had to start somewhere! Learning the basics of swimming and water safety is incredibly important, especially at a young age. And you've got options, too! From private lessons to classes you can take with your children, getting involved in swimming lessons is easy and essential.

Always Supervise

No child should be allowed in the pool without adult supervision at all times. If there is a group of adults at a pool party, there should always be at least one parent watching the water. In addition, younger children should always be within reach of a parent or a strong swimmer. This ensures that if they're struggling, they can always receive help from someone nearby.

Know Your Floaties

Flotation devices are a great way to give children greater mobility and parents more peace of mind, but remember: floaties don't guarantee safety in the pool. Water Safety Magazine's Jenelle Lockard writes, "Because water wings are used on the upper arms, they prevent a child from using the correct swimming stroke ... if a child raises their arms above their head, their head can sink down below the water's surface."

So before you buy the first pair of floaties you see, make sure you're doing your research to see which flotation devices provide greater security for your child in the pool.

If you follow any pool safety guide this summer, let it be this one. These safety measures are absolutely essential for your child to have. Once you've mastered all these things, it's time for you and your children to have a wonderful, fun-filled summer!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Moms Like Myself Love MLM/ Direct Sales

Admit it... you saw MLM in the title of this post and shuddered a little bit, didn't you?

MLM- or multi level marking- gets a bad reputation. So often our newsfeeds are loaded with someone trying to sell us something different, or asking us to join their teams. Hey, I'm a director with Paparazzi, and even I find it to be a lot at points- I totally get it!

But what's the appeal of these businesses? Why are so many women (and yes, some men) jumping on board? Today, I'm sharing my thoughts-

  • Extra Income. Let's be honest, life is expensive. As much as we would love to, it is hard to live on one income these days! These companies allow stay at home moms like myself to contribute something to the family budget. Some might argue that earnings in these companies is minimal at best--- but here's the thing, when you're living paycheck to paycheck, that extra $100-200 is a HUGE difference! (Though I do recommend everyone have reasonable expectations--- while it's possible to make a great income, it's not always as easy as some make it out to be--- it IS work!)
  • Work From Home. Listen, there's a reason that these businesses appeal so much to stay at home moms--- again it's the income from above, but we can get that from any ol' job right? But with these companies like Paparazzi or Scentsy, etc... we can work from home and spend more time with our families--- and we don't have to worry about high childcare costs. 
  • The Community. Being a stay at home mom can be isolating at times, we spend day in and day out with little people who aren't the best conversationalists. When we start with these companies, it can be a great outlet for us for adult interactions- both with team members and our customers. Money aside, some women love it just for that!
Aside from all of that, the products are often amazing! Even those companies I don't represent are among some favorites of mine. My closet overflows with LLR. My jewelry box is filled not JUST with Paparazzi, but Stella & Dot too. My daughter's closet? Dot Dot Smile. Don't even get me started on my Scentsy stash! There are so many great companies out there, there truly is something for everyone.

Wanting to learn more about the various MLM brands out there? Check out this link for a look at the 50 Best Companies of 2017. Whether you're looking to join or looking to shop, you're sure to find some interesting options!

Celebrate National Chocolate Pudding Day with S'Mores In a Cup

There are a lot of random holidays throughout the year aren't there? Some of them are a little crazy, and have you scratching your head... but others give us a fun reason to celebrate. Like today. Did you know that June 26 is National Chocolate Pudding Day!? 

I don't know about your family, but in ours, any excuse for a delicious sweet treat is a good one! So today we are revisiting one of our favorite ways to take a simple chocolate pudding and take it to the next level.

S'Mores In A Cup


  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Graham Crackers 
  • Marshmallow Creme
  • Clear Cups

  1. If you are not using premade chocolate pudding, prepare this first using the directions given. Allow to cool. 
  2. Prepare your graham crackers! Place in a large Ziploc bag and use either a rolling pin or meat mallet to crush the crackers to desired consistency. This is a fun way to get kids involved as well... mine certainly love this part!!
  3. Now, it's time to create your s'mores. Start by adding a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of each cup. Continue adding layers of each ingredient until you reach near the top. There is no right or wrong way to do this... three single layers gave it a nice clean look, but alternating in various patterns create visual interest.
  4. Finish off your layers with marshmallow creme-to resemble whipped topping- and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. (You could also add some shaved chocolate to the top, or a few mini marshmallows, if desired!)
  5. Eat and enjoy!

What is your favorite way to enjoy chocolate pudding? How are you celebrating today? 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mommy's Little Bag of Tricks: Diaper Bag Essential At All Ages {+ Baby & Toddler Snacks from Beech-Nut}

**Product received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

When you become a mom, a few things in your life will inevitably change.

  • Your body will be forever changed... not in a bad way, just different than before.
  • You will never be allowed to pee again without an audience or little fingers peeking under a door.
  • You'll likely never have a meal to yourself. 
  • You'll continuously know the themes to shows like 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse'...and may even find yourself watching after the kids have gone to sleep. 
  • You will have have to carry a mom bag... with lots of room for EVERYTHING.
Let's talk about those bags, shall we? When our little ones are babies, we rightfully call it a diaper bag... but the reality is, as our children grow out of diapers, we STILL find our bags being taken over by the little ones. Forget a diaper bag--- it should be called 'Mommy's Bag of Tricks'!

But how do you pack the perfect mom bag? What's inside?

Today, I'm sharing my tips for packing a diaper bag/mommy bag- no matter your child's age!

Traditional Diaper Bag (Infants)

What's inside? 

  • Diapers and wipes- cloth or disposable. As many as you think you'll need, plus a few extra. Trust me, you'll appreciate those extra.
  • Wet Bag for Cloth Diapers.
  • Change of Clothes. Or two.
  • Bottles + Formula and/or nursing cover- if desired.
  • Baby carrier.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut baby food. 
  • A small toy, if desired. 
  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lipgloss.

To be honest, I sometimes feel like my kiddos require less at this age... I keep it pretty simple. Diapers and a change of clothes plus something to eat are truly all you need! My children are breastfed so we don't have to worry about bottles which is a plus! I don't even always carry a toy at this stage, as my kids aren't typically all that interested yet. 

The 'Little Big Kid' Diaper Bag (Potty Training-Preschool)

What's Inside?

  • Diapers and/or training pants, depending on where your child is with potty training. 
  • Change of Clothes. Especially pants and underwear!
  • Wet Bag in case of accidents. Whether you used cloth diapers or not, these will be a lifesaver during potty training! 
  • Wipes. Even beyond potty training, these are handy for messy toddler hands. 
  • A favorite toy or small book, something to keep your little one entertained.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut toddler snacks.
  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lipgloss. 
At this stage kids are starting to get busier--- so some small entertainment is a must. We usually keep a favorite book or a phone toy, etc handy just in case. The diapers may be gone, but even if your little one does well in the potty at home, personal experience has shown that its always a good idea to have back up, just in case. And snacks are a MUST! Is it just my toddlers that are always hungry? Better to go prepared than have to stop through a drive thru along the way! 

The 'You're Never Getting Your Bag Back' Mommy Bag (Preschool and Beyond)

What's inside?

  • Mom essentials- wallet, phone and lip gloss.
  • Rocks.
  • Pinecones.
  • Barbie Dolls.
  • Cars.
  • Books.
  • More Books.
  • Fresh Kleenexes
  • Dirty Kleenexes.
  • 'Do I even want to know what that is?' Mystery objects.
  • Your child's favorite Beech-Nut snacks. 
This is where it gets interesting... once your kids are out of diapers and exploring on their own, you'll find things in your bag that YOU didn't put there. My daughter is a real scavemger and is always collecting rocks and pine cones and dropping them in my bag. Between that and the toys that always seem to make their way inside--- it's like a Mary Poppins bag. Never ending, and you'll never know what you might find inside.

Some of the contents of your bag might change as your child grows, but the key at all stages is to always be prepared. Keep them clothed, keep them entertained and keep them fed! 

For keeping them fed, Beech-Nut has us covered! For those early days of baby food, we especially love the pouches. They fit easily into your diaper bag and can be a lot less messy for little eaters too. To be honest, my kids enjoy these well into their child and preschool years too--- the pouches are just a fun treat no matter their age. Cereal Puffs are the right size for snacking! I've not seen a kid yet who doesn't love these. For the older toddlers/kids, nothing can beat the oat bars! You might find yourself sneaking one yourself! They're the perfect size to toss into those already overflowing bags and for kids to grab on their own!

The best part about Beech-Nut? They strive to keep their products as close to homemade as possible. They use minimal ingredients so that every child can enjoy REAL food at any age. There are no artificial ingredients and they are non-GMO. Some varieties are even gluten free. These are snacks that I as a mom can feel great about feeding my kids.

Is it any wonder they're a staple in mom bags everywhere?

You can see more from Beech-Nut and connect at the links below:

Visit the Website.
What's in YOUR diaper/mom bag? What are your essentials? Which Beech-Nut products make the list?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Encourage Summer Reading with Bright Books from Silver Dolphin {A Stormin' Into Giveaways Hop Event}

Welcome to the Storming into Giveaways Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!
Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!


**Books received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

What makes a good children's book?

I suppose this answer is subjective, but to me there are a few things I always look for when choosing new books for my children:

  • A story that captivate their interest. Maybe it's a character they already love, a favorite animal or a subject that stands out to them, but it has to have something that makes a child reach for it.
  • A story that flows well. If a story doesn't have a natural flow to it, I find my daughter seems to grow pretty bored with it pretty easily.
  • A story that makes sense. I love a story with a good lesson, but it has to be understandable to kids. When kids understand the story, they want to read it again and again. 
  • Illustrations that draw them in. That can mean different things to different kids, but personally I tend to look for vibrant color and simple, but captivating artwork. Something interactive is always a plus too.

Seems simple enough, right? And thankfully, there are plenty of books out there that fit the bill. Today I am excited to share with you three new board books from Silver Dolphin Books that my daughter has fallen in love with.

Join a young bear and his mother for their very busy day in the forest with Bright Books: Baby Bear's Busy Day. This visually stunning board book features bright neon elements, soft touch-and-feel bears, and shiny foil that will capture baby's full attention and imagination. With sweet, soothing text and gentle illustrations, this engaging book will become a bedtime favorite. Follow along as baby bear has a day full of fun!

Swim along with Bubble in the deep, blue sea in Bright Books: Bubble’s Ocean Friends! Follow Bubble on her adventure and discover turtles, starfish, crabs, and more. Lively rhyming text, bright, colorful illustrations, and shiny foiled details invite young readers to have hands-on story time. Page after page, babies and toddlers will have fun counting all of Bubble's new ocean friends.

Shadow is a very adventurous cat, but his favorite time for adventuring is at night. He loves saying hello to the moon, strolling around on rooftops, stargazing with friends, and so much more! Read along and explore the night in this storybook with rhyming text, colorful elements that illuminate the dark, and a soft touch-and-feel cat to guide you through the night. Bright Books: Shadow's Nighttime Adventure is a delightful bedtime book for babies and toddlers.

These books certainly had everything we look for in a great children's books. The stories were simple, my 3 year old could easily follow along and pick up on bits and pieces of the story. They're short enough for bedtime reading and/or short attention spans too, which is great because my daughter is certainly a 'one more time' kind of girl. But what I really loved about these particular books was the artwork. Each page only had a few simple colors, but they popped beautifully--- modern and captivating... they used textures like a soft velvety material, metallic and glitter to draw in the eyes--- and the hands for a full sensory experience. They certainly drew me in...and my daughter too. She enjoyed reading them over and over again. Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way, but I think Shadow's Nighttime Adventure was our favorite. It reminded my children of their own pet and encouraged them to read to her too, getting the whole family involved.

These adorable books have quickly made their way into our regular evening reading rotation! You can find these and more great children's book selections from Silver Dolphin Books at the links below:

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

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy of these books! 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.

If you’re a blogger looking to connect with brands: Join The Hopping Bloggers database and get started today! If you’re a brand looking to work with a network of professional bloggers: Check out the creative campaigns The Hopping Bloggers has to offer!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple Tips To Encourage Summer Reading

Rain, rain go away... we don't want to wash our summer away!

It's another rainy day here in Indiana, and that means being stuck inside all day. Aside from watching TV or playing on electronics, what can we do to keep the kids entertained! For us- reading is a go to! My son loves to read, and my daughter loves being read to. I'm pretty lucky in that respect, but how do you encourage summer reading in kids who DON'T like to read?

Today I'm sharing a few tips:

Find Something That Interests Them.
Simple enough, right? My son Shaun is a fantastic reader... but he can be rather particular when it comes to book selections. I am always on the lookout for books that will catch his attention. Take whatever your child loves, and find as many books as you can on the topic! When he started reading, it was all about trains. These days he loves anything with humor. Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are his absolute favorites! 

Comic Books... Are Still Books!
Reading is reading. So encourage your child to read whatever they like best! Billboard signs, newspapers, closed captioning on the TV... these helped my son grow his learning skills long before we found books to hold his interest! Comic books are an ideal way to keep kids who may not otherwise be interested in reading interested! 

Make Reading an Experience.
Take whatever it is your child is reading and make an experience out of it! Make fun crafts to go along with the book. Check out this post on our Captain Underpants puppets. Reading Green Eggs and Ham? Find a recipe for... you guessed it, green eggs and ham! Or have a whole Dr. Seuss Day! Make it fun beyond the pages!

Reward Them For Reading.
Who doesn't love being rewarded for their hard work? Kids are no different! Check your local library to see if their offer a summer reading program that allows them to earn prizes for their time spent reading. Nothing local? Create your own reward system! It doesn't have to be anything fancy, maybe just collecting money for the ice cream truck for time spent reading! 

Let Them Read What They Like.
My son was an advanced reader, teaching himself to read when he was 2. By the time he was in first grade, even kindergarten he was more than capable ability wise to read chapter books, but up until very recently (and even still on occasion), he would still read picture books like The Magic School Bus--- or even chapter books that were well below where he was capable-- like Junie B Jones. It took me a little bit of time to realize that what was okay! Let them read what they WANT to read, the rest will come later! 

Lead By Example.
Perhaps this played a role in my children's reading habits--- they see me reading all the time too! We have shelves full of books to choose from, and its just always bee a natural part of our lives.

Do you have a child who loves to read? What tips would you share for encouraging that love of reading? What are some books or series that you would recommend?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Learned About Marriage {+ Wedding and Anniversary Gifts from Dayspring} #LiveYourFaith #Dayspring

**Post contains affiliate links. Thoughts are 100% my own. 

There has been a lot of talk about weddings this month, hasn't there?

Let's face it--- it's wedding season. Everyone dreams of that beautiful summer wedding, and so everywhere you look it seems like someone is celebrating yet another wedding. I love a good wedding as much as the next girl... in fact you'll routinely find me binge watching 'Say Yes to the Dress'... but sometimes in all that glitz, all that glamour, all that excitement, the reason for the wedding gets lost... the MARRIAGE.

So today, let's talk marriage!

I was married at the ripe ol' age of 19. I didn't have that fancy wedding- planning a wedding when you're marrying into the military is tough... but that didn't matter to me. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my prince, and saw no reason to wait. To some degree, I knew that marriage was going to take work and would not be the fairy tale in the Disney movies I loved so much, but I must admit, at 19 years old, I still couldn't imagine everything life would eventually throw at us. And boy did it- we went through deployments, we were given a special needs child, we suffered pregnancy loss, we suffered mental health, we endured cross country moves, we survived recruiting duty (one of the most difficult jobs in the military), we went through loss of income... the list goes on and on and on. We have encountered so many obstacles in our 10.5 years or so of marriage that have torn apart even the strongest of relationships, and somehow we came through it together. I'm not saying we have a perfect marriage--- far from it, there are always places we need to work on. We're human. But today, I am sharing some things that I have personally learned about marriage.

The Reality of Happily Ever After.
Obviously, I'm a big fan of the fairy tale. I love those stories that end with a 'and they all lived happily ever after'. But that's not the reality. Marriage is wonderful and beautiful and good... but it's not all sunshine and roses every single day. You'll fight, you'll disagree, you'll face hard time. Marriage doesn't come wrapped in that tidy bow our favorite fairy tales end with. And that's OKAY! We just have to know that before we go in, so we can better handle it when those moments come.

Be Stubborn.
When people have asked how our marriage has survived all that we've seen and even just the fact that my husband and I are complete and total opposites.But one thing we have in common is our stubbornness. So even when things aren't going according to plan, we hang on and work it through. You need that in a marriage, or it can become too easy to walk away.

Fight For Each Other. 
One of my favorite songs is Warren Beddingfield's 'Love Is Not a Fight'. There could never be a truer love song out there, 'Love is not a place To come and go as we please It's a house we enter in And then commit To never leave. Love is a shelter In a raging storm Love is peace In the middle of a war
If we try to leave May God send angels To guard the door No, love is not a fight But it's something worth fighting for.' Powerful words, aren't they? These are words that I try to live my marriage by. Even when we disagree, we're not going to let that be that. Again, I think that's where that stubbornness comes in to play! 

Pray For Each Other. 
If you can pray with your spouse, even better... but that's not always possible in all marriages. Instead, pray for your spouse and your marriage. Every single day. Prayer is such a powerful force, so why would you now want to have a little prayer power standing behind you?

Trust in God's Plan For Your Marriage.
That's a tough one, isn't it? I'm a planner. I like things to go my way. When I got married I had ideas of how things would be, and those plans might have changed ever so slightly over the years, but mostly stayed pretty well on track. Until they didn't. Sometimes you find yourself asking, 'THIS is God's plan? Why would He put us through this!?' Sometimes you just have to step back and remember those hard times are blessings in disguise and we just have to wait for His timing to make the reasons clearer. Put God at the center of your home, and when things get tough, remember He is there!

For keeping Christ in your home and marriage, Dayspring has many great wedding and anniversary (or just because) gifts to serve as daily reminders. It's amazing how a simple phrase like, 'Blessed and Grateful' can remind us as we go on about our day, just how blessed we are in our marriages and force us to stop and thank God for them!

Check out these other great wedding and anniversary gifts:

Are you a newlywed or a seasoned wife? What lessons have you learned from your own marriage or those around you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What To Do If Your Child Has A Dental Emergency

Catching baseballs, running around the house, roughhousing with their sibling -- All sorts of activities could be risky for your child's teeth. While teeth are quite durable and are able to withstand general bumps, dental emergencies do happen. If your child comes running to you with a tooth problem, the American Dental Association recommends that you try to visit your dentist ASAP.

"For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible," Mouth Healthy, an ADA publication, recommends. "Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so be sure to call your dentist and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room."

For specific dental emergencies, follow this guide to take the best action for your child's situation. By acting quickly, you can get your little one smiling in no time.

  • Cracks And Chips: A cracked or chipped tooth may be immediately painful and scary for your child, but can be fixed easily if you take the right steps. Start by having your child rinse their mouth with warm water, cleaning the tooth of bacteria. While you call your child's dentist to secure the first available emergency appointment, apply an ice pack to your kid's face to control any swelling.

  • Knocked Out Tooth: If your child knocks out a tooth, be sure to keep them calm and tell them that the dentist will fix it. Especially if this is a permanent tooth, place it in milk to keep it from drying out. If you happen to have an ADA-approved preservation liquid on hand, this is even better. Be sure to visit a dentist as soon as possible and address any other injuries that may have occurred as well.

  • Severe Toothache: This type of pain can have a variety of causes, so start by checking your child's mouth for any caught food. Then have them rinse with warm water to clean the area and remove any other particles. If your child's pain persists or they are unconsolable, visit a medical clinic or emergency room right away.

  • Bitten Lip: Steps to treat a bitten lip vary depending on the severity of their injury. If your child bites their lip and you think they might need stitches, be sure to take them to an urgent care facility, 85% of which are open seven days a week. You can also call 9-1-1 to get in touch with the closest emergency dentist. If they don't seem to have injured their lip too severely, simply apply a cold pack to the area to reduce swelling. Offering a popsicle may also console your child.

Remember that the best way to keep your child's teeth strong is to keep up with their semiannual dentist appointments. Most people wait an average of three years between appointments, which could let dental problems go unnoticed. By committing to preventative care and addressing dental emergencies, you can keep your whole family sporting healthy smiles.

Getting Started With Bible Journaling: Finding the Right Bible {+ A Hole Mess Journaling Kit Deal + Facebook Party}

**Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

I've been Bible journaling- and blogging about Bible journaling- for almost two years now. During this time, I have been asked many, many questions on the subject. Perhaps there is no question than, 'What Bible would you recommend?'

Pretty basic question, isn't it? After all, it's pretty crucial in starting to Bible journal. These days there are many options out there... so which one is the best one?

Honestly, that all depends on YOU.

What are you looking for in a Bible?
Do you want a full page to work on, or just the margins?
Do you need a larger print?
Do you want predrawn pictures?
If so, do you want them precolored or color yourself?
Do you want to be able to build on to those illustrations?
Soft Cover/Hard Cover?

As you can see...there is a LOT to consider! But today, I'm giving you a look at some of these Bible types side by side to help you make the decision that best fits your journaling needs.

Layout Options

Single Column
If I had to choose one favorite, this is probably mine. Personally, I like having just the margin to work with and this is just the right size for me. In addition, I find it extremely readable with the single column layout.

Double Column
As far as margin size, etc... this type of Bible isn't much different at all than the single column, the text is just in two columns rather than one. If you're used to and comfortable with that layout, this would be a great layout to use.

Double Column Bible

Large Print Editions.
If you need a larger font, consider a large print edition. These are also great if you like the idea of margins, but want a little more space to journal in. Because of the larger page sizes, the margins are larger too!

Large Print Inspire Bible

Coloring/Illustrated Bibles.
Not an artist? These can be a great option to give you the fun and relaxation of Bible journaling with predrawn pages for you to color in. My Creative and Inspire are a few great options to check out, both with beautiful fully drawn designs. Notetaking Bible Illustator's Edition is another one, but these tend to be more subtle and would be great to add onto with your own work. For fully colored pictures, you have The Beautiful Word (also available in coloring). Each of these also has additional pages with blank (lined) margin for additional artwork/notes.

Notetaking Bible Illustrator's Edition
The Beautiful Word Bible


Don't want to be confined to the margins? The Interleaved is for you. Next to each full page of text is one full page for your artwork! These Bibles do tend to be much larger than your other journaling Bible options, but definitely open up more options for artwork too!

Interleaved Bible

Cover Types

Soft (Leather-Like) Covers.Personally, this is my go to type of cover. I find the flexible covers allow me to work more easily as the Bibles stay open better, in my opinion.

Hard Covers. 
One of the benefits of the hard covers I've found, is they are easier to make your own. This was a simple canvas hard cover Bible that I embellished with rhinestones to make my own. Aside from that, it's really again a matter of preference.

Leather Cover.
One of the most highly desired Bibles I've seen among journaling Bibles is the leather covered Bible. This is a higher end Bible as far as pricing goes, but it's made beautifully with a leather cover that wraps and ties. It's certainly stunning and a great keepsake, but I did find it a little harder to work on myself with the flap getting in the way on occasion.

Like I said, choosing the right Bible really is all up to YOU and what you want in your Bible... but by knowing the options out there, you can better decide what fits those needs. Find the cover style and layout you like, and chances are you'll be able to find the perfect Bible in your preferred translation too.


Now that you've decided to start journaling and know what to look for in a Bible... what else do you need to get started? I'll be sharing more tips in the future, but today I'm super excited to share a fantastic deal with you!

The Holy Mess has put together an amazing Trust in the Lord Bible Journaling Kit that has everything you need to get started journaling! And starting today through June 26--- it's on sale! Just $18!!!

What's included?

  • Bible Reading Plan
  • Fonts and Doodles :Quotes & doodles to trace or copy in your Bible or notebook.
  • Bible Verse Cards: Bible memory work notecards, also great for artwork practice.
  • Traceable Margin Strips :Trace margin strips in your Journaling Bible or use as bookmarks.
  • Calligraphy Practice Sheets: Practice your hand lettering.
  • Daily Journaling Pages :Pages to journal your thoughts, prayers, gratitude lists, and artwork notes.
  • Bible Journaling Instruction Guide: Step-by-step instructions for how to get started Bible Journaling.

This is a digital download, so you can buy and print... no wait to get started!

AND it doesn't end there! She's having a Facebook party! Come join the fun for more Bible journaling tips and tricks AND some great giveaways too. If you've considered Bible journaling and want to get started...this is the place to be! Head on over now and check it out.