A Modern Day Fairy Tale: October 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Easy Tips for a Safe Halloween

Party image created by Freepik

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is such a fun time for kids, but with everyone out and about after dark in some cities, it's important to remember that we can have a fun Halloween AND be safe too! So, before you head out to trick or treat tonight, check out these quick and simple safety tips!

  • Plan a Route. I have found that it can be really easy to get turned around after dark... especially if you're new to an area. Plan out your map and get a general idea how long it might take to get back once you're out to avoid getting caught in the dark!
  • Use Reflective Clothing/Glow Sticks. In my neighborhood, we do not have any streetlights, so it can be hard to see people walking from the car. Wear brighter costumes when at all possible, or equip yourself with some reflective clothing, glow sticks, even a flashlight will do.
  • Use flexible props. If the props make a costume, be sure they're not going to poke someone's eyes out! Kids get excited and props start swinging... oh boy! Also on the prop front, make sure that if your child MUST use a weapon prop in their costume that it is CLEARLY fake- no real looking guns, knives or swords! 
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Oh sure, the pretty dress shoes might look better with the costume your princess is wearing, but after walking a few blocks, you might find yourself regretting that decision. Take some photos with the prettier shoes before you leave, then go for the cozy!
  • Make sure costumes are a good length. I'm always one to buy a little larger so there is more use out of it, but make sure the length is good... not too long that your child will be tripping on it. 
  • Skip masks if you can. Masks tend to limit line of sight, so if you CAN avoid them, do. If not, be prepared to be a second set of eyes for your child. 
  • Remind kids of road safety rules before you go. You might have to remind them as you go too, but it's best to go over all the guidelines before you go! Be prepared to be EXTRA vigilant. 
  • Dress for the weather. Here in Indiana, we have some Halloweens that are warm... and some where it snows. You just never know! Tomorrow is supposed to be a cold one, so our plan is to pile on the layers UNDER the costume. Like the shoes, you can also take photos of the costumes without layers before you head out, but better to be warm than cold just to show off the costume, am I right!? 
  • Always take your cell phone. That's standard for most of us right? But make sure it's charged and on hand, just in case. That being said, stop a few places to snap a few pics, but don't be distracted by the phone either! Kids are extra excited on Halloween and it only take a few seconds for them to run off. 
  • And of course, always inspect candy before eating!
I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Easy Halloween Crafts Round Up

Can you believe tomorrow is Halloween!? I'll be honest, it kind of snuck up on me this year and I'm still finishing up my oldest DIY costume... but that doesn't mean we're out of time to enjoy some Halloween crafting does it!?

Today, I'm sharing a few easy Halloween craft ideas from years past to get you started!

Toilet Paper Roll Frankensteins

Popsicle Stick Pumpkins

Easy Handprint Spider

Lollipop Ghosts

Jack-O-Lantern Jello Cups

Diary of A Wimpy Kid Mask

Paper Plate Handprint Spider

Want even more inspiration? Check out this Pinterest board!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Woman Overwhelmed: A Book Review and Giveway #HolidayGiftGuide2017

** Book received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 


  • bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
  • defeat completely.
  • give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
  • have a strong emotional effect on.
  • be too strong for; overpower.
If I were to be entirely honest, feeling overwhelmed is a feeling I know all too well. Running a business, blogging, having a special needs child, having a toddler, not to mention dealing with health issues on top of it all. Whew... is it any wonder I'm constantly overwhelmed? And in this day and age where we women feel like we need to do it all without help, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get very tired of feeling overwhelmed by the stresses. My feeling of being overwhelmed feels very much like those first two definitions--- defeated and drowning in stress. Wouldn't it be great to instead be overwhelmed by the GOOD?

Today I have a book for you that might just help, A Woman Overwhelmed:
DiMarco pin 2

"A Woman Overwhelmed" is a phrase with which many women can relate. But what would happen if we could see the insanity in our pace and embrace our overwhelming God?

There is a reason they say that a woman’s work is never done— because it isn’t! As women, we often are overwhelmed by the demands and circumstances of life, resulting in stress, fear, worry, impatience, fatigue, frustration, and even depression. The truth is that we were created to be overwhelmed . . . not by life but by God! When we learn to be overwhelmed by God, the fruit in our lives goes from rotten to fragrant—filling our days with peace, hope, love, and joy.

In A Woman Overwhelmed, best-selling author Hayley DiMarco shares biblical insights and personal stories to offer a glimpse at the comedy of an overwhelmed life while encouraging us to discover the depths and heights of God’s love and power.

Be empowered to find freedom in becoming overwhelmed with who God is—by learning to focus on what we know about God so that we can hold onto faith even when it seems that all is lost. For it is when an overwhelmed woman gives up the mission of me and exchanges it for the mission of God that being overwhelmed becomes a good thing.

Choose to bask in the abundance of the Father instead of the abundance of life as his unfathomable depths can surely replace our fathomable messes.

DiMarco pin1

When I heard the title of this book, I couldn't help but think that it was a book written just for me. Being a perfectionist, I don't just stress over keeping up with a busy schedule, I also stress about doing it WELL. That leads to me feeling tired and down. When we're overwhelmed by life, it makes it all that much harder to truly let the power of God in! Through her personal stories and gained wisdom, she helps us women to realize that it's okay to let go a little.

If you are a woman overwhelmed, this is a must read book. It is available to purchase now at your favorite book retailers.

Become a woman less overwhelmed by life and more overwhelmed by God and enter to win Hayley's $75 Merry Maids Visa Card Giveaway to help lessen your daily load.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Woman Overwhelmed
  • A $75 Merry Maids Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 3. The winner will be announced November 6 on the Litfuse blog.

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravelet {A Book Review} #HolidayGiftGuide2017

**Book received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon a book by Holley Gerth called 'You're Already Amazing'.

I'd always dealt with issues of feeling not quite good enough and so when I read this book, it truly hit me where I was in that moment. In fact, I loved her words so much that even still to this day I have wall art on my wall as a daily reminder and even on a few coffee mugs too.

The thing I discovered with Holley's books is that it truly is like sitting across from a friend with a cup of coffee having an intimate conversation. Each book is personal and intimate and somehow always just what I needed to hear. Through the years I have come to look forward to each new release and today I'm excited to share with you her newest book, Fiercehearted:

A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they'll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fiercehearted is an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

Having been a fan for all these years, it's safe to say I've come to expect a lot from each new book. And I must say this one far exceeded those expectations. As I mentioned, reading Holley's book really is like talking to a friend. She is so open and honest. She's not one of those people that make you feel inferior because you don't have it all together, but instead admits her own struggles with each one of us. That makes this book so relate-able.

I'm not sure if I would ever consider myself a fierce person, I spend much of my time living in fear to be honest, but this book helps me want to and believe that I truly can do better, and that my fear does not get to win.

Do you want to see what it means to be Fiercehearted? This book is available to purchase now

Friday, October 27, 2017

Celebrate National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month with a Maverick & Me Children's Book Giveaway! #MaverickandMe

**Book received for consideration. Post contains affiliate link. All thoughts are 100% my own.
About a year ago, my daughter and I walked outside to grab the mail and discovered a kitten in front of our home. She was a tiny little thing, nothing but skin and bones and it was a rather chilly day so we brought her in for warmth as we dressed and set out to find her owners. We never did find anyone to claim her and we quickly realized that she had already claimed us. Sometimes our pets are the ones to find us, but other times it's up to us to seek them out... so where do you go?

For many the first thought is to head to a pet store, but for me, I can think of no better place than to adopt a pet that NEEDS a home. I'll be entirely honest, I'm not a big pet person. I actually have a major phobia of dogs and most animals really. Still, when I was growing up my dad rescued many a pet found on the side of the road, or that was otherwise going to be put down and so some of that certainly set in with me. Yes, a pet store might allow you to get a brand new puppy ready to train.... but what about all of those pets in the shelter with nowhere to go? More than any, I feel like they need love too.

October is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and to celebrate I'm excited to share with a brand new book from Katherine Schwarzenegger- Maverick and Me:

Dog lover and animal advocate Katherine Schwarzenegger draws from her own experience with fostering and adopting dogs to create a picture book that introduces children to the concept of “adopt, don’t shop.” In the heartwarming story of Maverick and Me, Maverick is rescued by a kind-hearted stranger after being dumped on the side of the road. The little puppy’s luck takes a turn for the better when young Scarlett meets him at an adoption event. Scarlett is so moved by Maverick’s story that she and her mother decide to give him the forever home he is looking for. Each year, millions of dogs find themselves in shelters and with animal rescues through no fault of their own. Maverick will help teach children about these dogs and empower even young readers to advocate for shelter pups.

If you have a little one that loves animals, this is such a great read. It is a sweet story about pets and their owners, but also that really has a great lesson to learn too. Kids can learn about the importance of adopting a shelter pet over a pet store, but in a way that makes sense to them. I think when we start teaching kids about these important topics at a young age, it is something that will stick with them as they grow up.

Aside from the lesson though, both of my children really enjoyed this story and falling in love with characters. I think for my son at least, it did remind him a little bit of his beloved pet and how she came to join our family.

Want to learn more or purchase a copy for yourself? Visit the links below:

Book Website
Katherine's Website
Maverick's Instagram
Purchase on Amazon
Worthy Kids Website

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gratitude: Finding Ways To Be Thankful When It's Not Easy {+ A Look Inside Illustrated Faith's November Devotional Kit} #IF_Gratitude #IllustratedFaith

**Kit received as part of Dayspring's Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

As the Thanksgiving season approaches, we find ourselves thinking more and more about the concept of gratitude. This is especially true of Christians, as gratitude is such an important part of our faith. In fact, did you know that the idea of giving thanks is mentioned at least 140+ times (varying by translation)?

Sometimes, being grateful comes incredibly easy. It's not hard to be grateful when everything is going as we had planned. When finances are good, when there are no health issues in the family. when there are no major crisis's, when there are no worries--- that's when it's easy. But the Bible doesn't tell us to be thankful in the good moments, but instead tells us to 'give thanks in ALL things'.

Well now, that can be a challenge, can't it? Giving thanks for the negatives in your life can be a lot more difficult to put into practice, but it is in those times more than ever that we NEED that attitude of gratitude. So, where do we find that? Today I'm sharing some quick tips on finding gratitude even in the hard times. 

  • Look for the Good. Yes, that can sometimes be hard when things aren't going well, but there is ALWAYS some sort or good in life. Are your kids healthy? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a good support system? Maybe it's something much smaller, like someone opening a door when you're trying to juggle children and shopping. Look for those moments, focus on them. 
  • Words Matter. Think about the way you talk about the goings on in your life. Do you tend to use words like 'dread, awful, horrible' more than words like 'blessed, grateful, hopeful, love'? These words can have a deep impact on your attitude. Don't get me wrong, I think sometimes we need to talk about the bad things and get it out... but when I vent I personally try to watch my words and often even recall the good points, or acknowledge God's plan in all of it. At some point it might be a little more 'fake it til you make it', but in time I've founding keeping my words positive helps keep my attitude that way too.
  • Make Saying 'Thank You' a Habit. One thing I always teach my children even at a very young age is to ALWAYS say 'thank you'. Not only does it help with keeping that gratitude attitude, but it reminds others that they are appreciated too. Whether it's talking to a customer service agent on the phone or grabbing food from a drive thru, I make a point to ALWAYS say thank you.
  • Say It Out Loud. For many going around the table and saying what they are thankful for is a Thanksgiving tradition, but why not make it EVERY DAY. At dinner every night, have each person share one good thing- big or small- that happened that day. 
  • Learn from the Past, but Don't Live In It. Often times when I'm finding myself falling into that 'woe is me' attitude, I reflect on previous hard times I've had and how God got us through them. It's hard to see God's plan in the bad as you are in the midst of it, but by looking back on those previous times, I am reminded that He IS here, and that this too WILL pass. 
  • Pray Constantly. Prayer is such an important part of our faith and can truly have such a profound impact on our attitudes. When I feel myself starting to let negative feelings creep in, I take a moment and say a little prayer. 
  • Don't Compare. For the perfectionist in me, this one can be tough- especially in this social media world where we see only the best of the best. Am I as good of a mom? Am I as good of a blogger? Why can't I have THAT house or those skills? When we spend our days comparing ourselves to others- or even to things we USED to have- it makes it impossible to truly enjoy and be thankful for the things we DO have. 
  • Journal It. Similar to the idea of saying the things you have to be thankful for out loud, journaling can be a great way to truly have us focus on the good, but the benefit of journaling is that you can look back on everything you're written or the artwork you've created to be reminded again of those moments. 
This November, I am going to make it my goal to do some gratitude journaling in my journaling Bible. This year has not been an easy one by any means, but I want to document the good and end the year with a positive and hopeful attitude. Need to change your attitude to one of gratitude? I challenge you to join me too.

November's new Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit is the perfect way to get started. Take a look:

Join Shanna in documenting how great God is with the Bible journaling tools provided in November's 'Gratitude' Illustrated Faith devotional kit. This devotional kit offers ample space each week to note your thoughts as you reflect on your personal relationship with Father God (week 1), Jesus (week 2), and the Holy Spirit (week 3) and thank each One for who He is. The fourth week encourages you to focus on the Bible and the many reasons you're thankful for God's Word. A full month to be intentional in expressing your heart of thankfulness. "Our God is so GREAT, let's document that together with HUGE doses of thankfulness!!" —Shanna

1 clear stamp collection
1 roll of washi tape
1 thank you card from Shanna
2 sheets of translucent stickers
3 acorn-shaped tip-ins
4 devotional cards
4 journaling cards

If you've ordered a kit in the past, or have just followed my posts, you might notice that this kit is just a little bit different than the norm. First up, the stunning acorn tip ins are perfectly suited for the fall season. I must admit, I might have squealed just a little when I saw this. I loved the hearts from kits past, but this is a great way to mix it up...and tie in the acorn washi too!

Perhaps the biggest difference though are the devotional/journaling cards. In the pasts, these typically feature 4 devotional cards with a fun print on one side and a short devotion for the week on the other. Instead of a typical devotion however, these just feature a print on one side and space to journal your gratitude toward God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God's Word. I love this! To be honest, I'm not sure if I ever stop and think to give thanks for the Bible or even the Holy Spirit, so what a great way to reflect on that. Journaling cards also usually feature a design on one side with journaling space on the other. Instead, these feature double sides journaling spaces with 8 different prompts to reflect on and journal.

Aside from the unique format, I really love the style of this too... simple and perfect for fall, but a fun twist on your typical fall colors too. It also seems to coordinate very well with the Gratitude Documented Collection from Illustrated Faith, so you can buy even more great pieces to take your journaling to the next level.

If you'd like to join me through November in documenting YOUR gratitude, head on over to Dayspring to purchase the kit today!

Stay Healthy This Winter with Natural Products from Healtop

**Products received for consideration, all thoughts are 100% my own.

Brrr... it's truly starting to get chilly around here in Indiana. Frost and potentially snow in the future! Eek! Of course, the kids are getting excited about it, but as a mommy I know that with the cooler weather comes the sickness... or the ickies as we call them in my house!

Now, we might not be able to completely ward off the ickies this winder but there are many ways to keep kids healthy this winter. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Wash Hands Regularly. 
  • Bundle up to stay warm outside. 
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize to combat dry winter skin. 
  • Stock up on chap stick for cheeks and lips.
  • Use a humidifier to combat the dry air. 
  • Up the Vitamin C to boost the immune system. 
  • Keep a nasal aspirator handy or teach your older children to properly blow their nose.
  • Have a naturally stocked medicine cabinet (to avoid getting kids out when they are sick).

Thankfully there are many great products that will help keep your children healthy in the winter months, and Healtop is making it easy with the Toddler Get Ready For Winter Bundle. Inside you'll find:

Natural Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a great natural way to boost the immune system. This natural supplement will help keep your little one from getting sick as easily and speeds up the recovery if and when they do get sick. These simple drops can be taken alone or added to a drink.
Winter Relief Natural Supplement
This natural supplement features an herbal blend ideal for combating cold systems that are so common in the winter months. (Note: while this IS included in the toddler bundle, it does contain alcohol and is advised to speak with your physician.)
Vermor Supplement for Intestinal Worms
It might not be the most pleasant of topics, but Intestinal Worms can be a pretty common issue among children. This can help fight that more naturally.

Soft Lips Natural Lip Ointment
Nothing is worse than chapped lips- for little ones OR grown ups. This is a great natural alternative.

Silky Feet Natural Feet Massage Ointment
Winter weather can REALLY take a toll on feet, but this massage oil can help keep them silky smooth natural ingredients like Shea butter, Calandula oil, Bees wax, and Essential oils: Pine, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lavender, Orange, Citrus reticulata.

This may be called the 'Toddler Package' but the reality is, it's a great bundle to get the WHOLE family winter ready. You can learn more about Healtop at the links below:

Visit Healtop.
Visit Bundles.
Learn more about Healtop. 

What tips you have for keeping healthy in the winter? How can Healtop help?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#ShredTheDay with Savings on Post Shredded Wheat on ibotta #BornToShred #ad

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

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Great Gifts For Girls with SmitCo LLC

Quality, affordable gifts for girls ages 2 to 12. SmitCo LLC has several different locked diary sets for girls in Emoji, Diva and Mermaid themes, as well as scrapbook, nail and play dress up sets and party favors that can be used as stocking stuffers to provide hours of fun.

SmitCo products also include rose gold, gold or rhodium plated jewelry and sets, as well as very popular stretch sets for little girls - all packed in cute gift boxes. 

Find all the great products here:


We trust you will find some or all gifts here for the princesses on your list!

My readers get to save!

Get 20% Off Entire Cart Of Gifts! Go to: http://amzn.to/2a3d3v8 and use coupon code N3CQD6AE on checkout

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Recipes That Crock: Crockpot Pesto Ravioli {#RecipesThatCrock #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias #ad}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. #RecipesThatCrock #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias

In the fall more than ever, there is nothing I love more than sitting down at the dinner table to a warm, hearty home-cooked meal.

Still, I must admit, some days that's tough to do. Fall is a busy season- always somewhere to be or something to do. Personally, my kids and I love spending these beautiful fall days outside. The weather is the perfect blend of not too hot, but not freezing, and you won't find anything more beautiful than fall in the midwest. We want to come in and relax--- not slave over a hot stove! Aside from that, my husband works long hours and is often home long past normal dinner hours. If you've ever tried preparing a fancy meal with little ones around, you know that it can be rather difficult.

Is it any wonder that busy moms like myself swear by their crockpots. Toss it in the morning and by the time dinner rolls around you're good to go. Needless to say, I'm always on the hunt for delicious new crockpot recipes.

Recently, I asked for favorite crockpots meals via social media. There were some great ideas listed but I found that the majority fit into one of two catergories--- a pot roast or a soup. Now, don't get me wrong both are staples in our home too, but I also like to mix it up a bit too. So I went down to my local Meijer to pick up the ingredients for one of my personal favorite crockpot meals.

Crockpot Pesto Ravioli

  • 1-2 Cans Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bag Frozen Ravioli
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pam Olive Oil Pump Spray

  1. First up prepare your crockpot by spraying with Pam Olive Oil Pump Spray. As much as I love cooking in my crockpot, I dread the clean-up, so this will keep the food from sticking! These sprays are great for this, as the pump allows you better control of how much you use and features just three simple ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors to worry about.

  2. Now that you're prepped, add in the ravioli. Being a vegetarian, I use a simple cheese, but you can mix this up if you'd like. You can also substitute the ravioli for tortellini, if preferred.

  3. Cover the pasta with your pesto sauce. You can use your favorite store bought, or make your own. How much you need will really depends on both the size of the container, and your personal preferences, but you WILL want the pasta covered.

  4. Slightly drain your tomatoes. I like to leave a little bit of liquid in there to keep it from drying out, but not so much that it makes the sauce runny. Use 1-2 cans again depending on your preferences. I typically use two.

  5. Finally sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and mix well. I'm not one for measurements, but typically just a few big shakes to start, and then add more later on in cooking and before serving. 
  6. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until the ravioli is tender. (Cooking times will vary by crockpot.)

This meal is so delicious and hearty that everyone will be asking for more. We RARELY have leftovers in my house, but when we do, it reheats very well too. Serve it up with a delicious side salad with Wish-Bone® Dressing and you have super easy dinner, done in no time at all!

Looking for more great 'recipes that CROCK'? Meijer and Conagra have you covered. Head on over here for more great crockpot inspiration. And if that's not enough, you can find even MORE recipe inspiration here.

What's your favorite crockpot recipe on the 'recipes that crock' page? Or do you have another go to favorite? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Win a $100 Walmart Gift Card!

Are you finished your Halloween shopping yet? Today over at Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Janessa is sharing her tips to save the most money on all your fall purchases -- from candy, to costumes, to pumpkin puree and turkeys -- these tips will save you lots of money! Have you tried Flipp yet? Not only is it great for Halloween shopping, it's perfect as a way to help you save money on all of your shopping trips (groceries, clothing, office supplies, sporting good and more). It also makes creating and maintaining a household shopping list SO much easier!

Flipp is available to download for FREE in the App Store and at Google Play.

I'm teaming up with Thrifty Nifty Mommy and a few other bloggers to offer you a chance at a $100 Walmart gift card so you can complete your Halloween shopping using Flipp. If you'd like a chance to win, just enter using the Giveaway Tools entry form below. Good luck!

Disclosures: This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. Flipp is responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is open to residents of the US who are 18 years of age and older. Void where prohibited. A random will will be chosen from all eligible entries received and emailed by Thrifty Nifty Mommy at the conclusion of the giveaway. Entrants will have 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Moms, Treat Yourself with a Jamberry Nails Giveaway {A Ghosts & Goblins Giveaway Hop}

Ghosts & Goblins Giveaway Hop
Welcome to the Ghosts & Goblins 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!


Halloween is almost here, and chances are if you're anything like me you've been focused on getting your little ones ready for the big day! Making or buying costumes, preparing for class parties, doing fun projects with and for the kids...

Moms, we work hard throughout the year, but especially during every holiday, right?

Today I have a treat for YOU! Something that you can do for yourself to make yourself feel beautiful!

Photo Credit Jamberry Nails

We all know with little ones (and housework), painting our nails can be a little bit useless. The colors are chipping before we even have a chance to leave the house. Jamberry nail wraps can help. They take a little bit longer to go on, but once they're on--- they last much longer so you can feel more confident and not worry about those pesky chipped polishes.

So, I am giving one very lucky winner the chance to win a Jamberry nail sheet for themselves. Enter using the giveaway form below:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Driving Research & SAVING SIGHT with Foundation Fighting Blindness {Get a Free Info Packet}

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Foundation Fighting Blindness. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Today I took a walk with my children. As we walked I found myself taking in all of the sights. I saw the leaves as they began to change colors and fall to the ground--- the sheer beauty of living in the midwest in the fall. I saw the clouds in the sky, offering us that bit of shade. I saw the joy in my children's faces as they discovered little treasures like acorns and pine cones while we walked. Not only did I see these beauties but I saw signs that kept us safe- the crosswalk lights and the oncoming traffic, where my children were and that they were out of danger.

On that walk I realized just how much I use my eyes. To see my children, to keep them safe--- eyesight is such a crucial part of our everyday lives. Can you imagine what life could be like without it?

Sadly for many that becomes the reality as they grow older. Sure its an age old joke that as we age we suddenly find ourselves needing hearing aids and glasses, but the reality is it's no laughing matter to those affected. Did you know that every year nearly 10 million Americans go blind due to AMD or Age-related Macular Degeneration?

What is AMD?

AMD is an eye disease that causes the loss of central vision. Specifically, it causes degeneration of light-sensitive cells in the macula, the central portion of the retina which enables us to perceive fine visual detail. The macula helps us with activities such as reading, driving and threading a needle.

For as much as we use our eyes day in and day out, that can be a very harsh reality to experience and one that I would not wish upon anyone. I want to be able to see and make memories with my children and their children after them.

The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, they need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures.

Perhaps the best place we can start in helping is by knowing exactly what AMD is- what to look for and how it can be treated. If you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing AMD, head on over to download this FREE PDF with more information about AMD.

Do you have any personal stories with Age Related Macular Degeneration? Feel free to share in the comments. And don't forget to share this post with anyone who might need it. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Easy & Thrifty Halloween Costumes

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Can you believe that October is already over halfway through? It seems as if it's only just begun and yet, we're less than two weeks until Halloween!

Have your kids figured out their costumes yet. I must admit the month has snuck up on us, and we're still working on that! For us, the struggle is often finding unique costume ideas that are not going to break the bank as store bought costumes so often can. And with time quickly running out, they have to be pretty easy too!

So today, I'm sharing some costume ideas that are easy AND inexpensive.

Bundle of Grapes.
Dress in purple and pin purple balloons to your clothes for this fun costume! Add a green hat for a stem if you have one. If you have the purple clothing, this idea can cost just $1-2! I did this when I was about my son's age and won a costume contest with it!

Okay, it might not be unique, but this classic certainly is thrifty! Cut some holes in an old white sheet and you're set!

A Baby Doll.
Put on a cute girly dress and add some red lips, pink cheeks and some freckles drawn on. This costume is ideal for little girls and grown ups too.

Jake...From State Farm.
A red shirt, khakis, headset and a 'Hello My Name Is' sticker and you're all set! Funny and super simple too. You might have most of the costume already on hand.

Stick Figure. 
Dress in white from head to toe and use black tape to 'draw' arms and legs onto your outfit. You can even create a mask using foam board (Dollar Tree) and old panty hose for the eyes!

Clark Kent.
Some nerdy glasses, button up and Superman shirt underneath and you're set. You can also whip up a quick press badge to complete the look.

Wilson from Home Improvement.
Have a flannel tee and fishers hat? Make a popsicle stick fence with a handle, and you're set. This is one us 90s children can most definitely appreciate.

Crazy Cat Lady.
Throw on a bath robe, pin some plush cats to it and grab some curlers and you're ready to go. Hilarious and pretty simple too!

As you can see from this list, Halloween doesn't have to break the bank, or take months! There are many simple ideas using cheap supplies and/or items already in hand.

What is YOUR favorite simple and thrifty Halloween idea? 

Not A Scaredy Cat {A Book Review + Giveaway Too} #2017HolidayGiftGuide

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

'Mommy, I'm scared.'

I don't know about you, but this can be a phrase that I hear a lot from my little girl. When you're little, you're still exploring the world and well... things CAN be scary!

I'm always reminding my daughter than she is never alone, but sometimes I need just a little more help to show her that in a way that she can better understand. Today I'm excited to share with you a new book that helps to do just that- I'm Not a Scaredy Cat:

I’m a big cat. I’m a strong cat. I’m not a scaredy-cat . . . except when . . .

From New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado comes I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat, a hilarious new picture book to help kids manage their fears and worries and learn to trust God.

Follow a silly series of misadventures as scaredy-cat faces his worst fears: an appalling abundance of (gulp!) yellow and pink sprinkles on his donut, an elephant on the verge of a ginormous sneeze, and the terrifyingly loud chime of a clock. For each of the fears, Max provides this reassuring child’s version of Philippians 4:6–9:

“God, you are good.

God, you are near.

God, you are here!

And, God, you love me.”

A fun read for children and parents, I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat will open doors for important conversations about fear in a nonthreatening way and help you instill godly bravery in your kids.

 They may say never to judge a book by its cover but I must admit my daughter was in love with the book at first sight. Kitty cats and donuts with sprinkles... everything she loved, drew her right in. Still, the cover might have drawn us in, but it was the fantastic story that kept us coming back over and over again. We have read many Max Lucado books over the years- adult and children's alike and have loved every one. This is no different. It offers a great rhythm and lots of repetition that kids can catch onto easily and will keep them intrigued. But most of all, it was a great message. It didn't say 'don't be scared', which can make children feel like their concerns aren't being listened to, but instead reminds us what to do when we ARE scared...to turn to God and remember that he is always there.

This is a sweet little book that would be a welcome addition to every child's collection, and a great gift to find under the tree this Christmas season.

You can purchase your copy here.

Want to win one for yourself? Visit here to enter to win!

The Same Kind of Different As Me {A Flash Giveaway} #SameKindMovieL3

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

The holiday season is very quickly approaching, and I for one cannot wait. It truly is a great time of the year isn't it? It seems that from the start of November through Christmas, people are in an especially giving spirit. It's not just the gifts that we place under the tree, but now more than ever it seems to me that people are giving their best efforts to help out those in need. 

It's also a time of thanksgiving, and perhaps that is what leads to that spirit of giving. When we truly take a look at our lives, we'll often find that despite the bad, we're generally pretty lucky. When we're thankful for what we have, it encourages us to want to pass it forward. 
The reality is, life happens to everyone and we could very easily find ourselves on the other side of the fence. When we think about it like that--- doesn't it make you want to get up and do something for those who are not as blessed?

If that doesn't the new movie Same Kind of Different As Me just might. Take a look:

“Nobody can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody.” Words of wisdom from a homeless drifter; words that never would be shared with the world if not for a wayward husband, a forgiving wife, and an unforgettable true story that brought the three of them together.
With more money than they could ever possibly need, Ron and Debbie Hall have everything they could ever want … except for a loving marriage. When Ron’s unfaithfulness is brought to light, Debbie invites him to stay—as long as he remains truthful and does what she asks of him. But when her request includes serving the homeless at an inner-city rescue mission, Ron would prefer to write a large check instead.  Guided by her faith and spurred on by the dream of a homeless man she senses will change their city, Debbie befriends a disenfranchised man named Denver. More surprisingly, so does Ron. Despite vast differences, their lives begin to intersect and they all are changed … forever.
I must admit I am very much looking forward to this movie! It might be coming out in this season where service is on our minds, but it's truly a message that I think we all need to hear throughout the year too. It can be really easy to look down upon others who are less fortunate, but the reality is we don't know the circumstances that lead to that point. This movie seems like it will be a great reminder to stay humble and to give back... something much needed in today's world. I for one cannot wait to watch this movie with my family.

The Same Kind of Different As Me is in theaters TODAY! Find ticket info here.
LEARN MORE and connect at the links below:
And one very lucky winner is going to win two Fandango movie passes to see the movie in this FLASH giveaway! Enter using the giveaway form below: