A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finley Grace, 14 Months.

As much as I try to fool myself out of believing that Miss Finley is no longer an infant but a toddler, reality is sinking in more and more as she continues to learn and grow each and every day. At 14 months old, our girl has continued to entertain and amaze us at how quickly she is learning. Here's a look at where she's at this month:

  • We'd moved her into 24 month clothes a bit early last month (to avoid buying more fall clothes that she would outgrow before then end of the season), and this month has certainly proved that was a good plan she has started to outgrow some of the 18 months she had left! So, I think it's safe tto say she's officially more in 24 months/2T clothing now! Whoah!
  • Her vocabulary is expanding all the time. Granted many words sound the same at this point, the intention is clear. For example, 'mimi' is typically milk...but could also mean Minnie Mouse at times, when said while holding, pointing to or wearing Minnie! 'Nini' means nose and is generally accompanied with a finger on or in her nose...not to be confused with 'nana' which means Anna or 'nananana' which means Frozen (from the opening song). 'Bebe' when pointing to a tummy means belly/belly button or baby when playing dolls. Mama, dada and bubba have now become mommy, daddy and bubby, though she used both phrases. She says 'hi' and 'bye'. Perhaps my favorite of her new words is 'dini', which means Disney. Adorable.
  • She loves singing along to Frozen songs (generally meaning 'nananana' to the general tune of each song, though there are points in some songs where she's a little more accurate- such as the 'tick toc' in Do You Want to Build A Snowman?. 
  • In addition to the 6 teeth she already had, she has two more making their way through. She has also recently discovered the art of taking off her teething necklace. The combination of the two has been quite interesting, to say the least.
  • She has become quite the little climber! If there is a way to climb something, she WILL find it. 
  • She loves all things pretty and girly- princesses, sparkles, shoes, jewelry, headbands...you name it! We like to give her options for clothing and have found she almost always gravitates towards the most frilly option (unless it features a Disney character, of course!).
  • Did I mention Disney? She LOVES it! Of course Frozen is #1, but she loves Princesses in general, as well as Minnie Mouse and The Muppets.
  • She also really enjoys Veggie Tales and Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • She loves shoes. I know I've said this already, but it's worth mentioning twice. She likes putting people's shows on them, wearing her own shoes and even putting things in shoes. You have to watch your boots around here lately. 
  • Her favorite game is 'Where'd Finnie Go?'...her version of peeek-a-boo, covering her face with whatever is handy. He also loves doing the motions for itsy bitsy spider and pat-a-cake. 
  • She also loves looking at books. Her favorites are of course her Frozen books, but she'll 'read' anything...from instruction manuals to Bubby's Captain Underpants.
  • She loves food. Her favorites are still probably black beans- she goes CRAZY for them! Adorable. She also loves munching on carrots and apples. Guacamole is a huge hit as well. Unfortunately, she cannot eat anything with wheat/gluten as it makes her eczema horrible. No fun!
Overall, Miss Finley is the happiest, sweetest little girl we could ever ask for. I so love watching her develop her own interests (and love even more how drawn she naturally is to all things girly) and her sweet, loving personality develop as well. She's growing much to quickly but I cannot wait to see what she learns next!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Gift for the Little Gamer: Petz Beach 3DS Game Review { #PetzBeach #CleverGirls #sp}

When it comes to my son's holiday list this year, he is all about the video games! Like many boys (and girls) his age, he would play all day if given the opportunity. So as a mom, I am always on the lookout for kid-friendly game options...something that I can feel comfortable with my son playing- no violence, language, etc. One such game option is Petz Beach for the Nintendo 3DS.

This popular franchise has sold over 23 million copies worldwide and is back and better than ever just in time for the holidays! Players can embark on the ultimate adventure with Petz Beach- caring for animals and completing quests to expand their village and connect. Sounds pretty great, right? I thought so too, and was thrilled to receive a copy for my son to try out for himself. Let's take a look a what makes the game so great:

Tons of Variety. Petz Beach offers a wide variety of playing options. From dogs and cats to dolphins and whales, there are plenty of animals to choose from- more than 50 as a matter of fact! Every child will find an adventure to suit their tastes, The game environment changes with each season so they can have fresh adventures all year long. With all the variety, it certainly keeps kids short attention
spans going and keeps the game from getting boring!

The Game Expands. The more you play, explore and meet new friends, the more the game grows. When you help those new friends, the game expands further. If the variety didn't keep the game interesting, this certainly will!

It's educational.Video games and educational are not terms usually found in the same statement, are they? But this game certainly is both. Petz Beach has actually partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica  so not only will kids have fun taking care of their pets and completing their mission, but they will actually learn real facts about animals, plants and insects. I must say this is perhaps my favorite part of the game. My son has actually been very into animal science lately as well, so this is great for him.

It's FUN! Of course, for the kids, this is the most important factor isn't it? My son enjoyed exploring the island. I'm not much of a video game player myself, but found the game to be super cute and appropriate for kids of all ages. The game is a little slower moving (less action packed) than some other games on the market, but I think that's actually a great thing, and a welcome change in my son's game collection...and one he didn't seem to mind.

Overall, this is a fantastic game for kids and one your child will sure to have hours of fun playing. It's perfect for both the video game addicts like my son, or those who are more casual gamers as well. It is certainly a great addition to the holiday list for the little gamer in your life. And if you think they'll love this one, be sure to check out Petz Countryside- the same great adventure with a whole new environment. You can learn more and purchase at Amazon.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cloth on a Budget: Selling Your Used Cloth

Selling your used diapers can be a great way to make back a bit of your investment and make cloth diapering even more affordable. You can sell those that you've tried and didn't work as well to purchase those that do...or to clear out your stash once baby is out of diapers. This is certainly one of the great advantages of using cloth...who wants to buy a used disposable!? Personally, I prefer to sell locally- either via an online yard sale type site, Craigslist or my local cloth diaper store. I'm lucky enough to be in a larger area where I've never had any troubles selling my used cloth...but many are not in that position and instead have to sell them online. This is still a great way to destash your old diapers, but is not without its risks.

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips for buying cloth diapers used online. Most of these steps were to insure that you knew exactly what you were getting and avoid getting scammed. Sadly, there are all too many scammers out there, and it's not just the buyers getting taken. Sellers are not safe from scammers either.So, how does the SELLER manage to get scammed? The most common ways I've heard are either claiming the item was received not as described...or not received at all. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to protect yourself as the seller as well:

Give Detailed Descriptions & Photos.
For buyers, its important to ask questions, but for the seller it's important to be forthcoming with every last detail of the diaper(s) you are selling. Is there is small, barely there stain, a slight stretch in the elastics? Anything that can be seen as a flaw, make notice of...with pictures ideally. Describe the quality to the best of your ability. It's better to over describe than risk someone claiming item was not as described. Many groups ask that posts be removed once an item is sold, if this is the case, consider taking screenshots before deleting. Also be certain to include the full description in your invoice.

Always Use Paypal.
Paypal is there to protect buyers and sellers, so be sure to use it! If seller offers to mail a check, send via Western Union, etc...just say no. You are likely to be out your money and your product.

No Money, No Shipping.
Always make sure that the payment has cleared before heading to the post office. Unfortunately, if you ship first before payment is received, there is really no way to get your money if they decide not to pay. Of course we want to believe the best in people, but unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Get Tracking.
As I said, one of the common scams on the seller is for the buyer to claim the package was never received...if you include tracking, this will let you know exactly where your package is going and provide proof that you did in fact ship. Of course, sometimes accidents truly do happen and packages are lost in the mail, so purchasing insurance is a good idea as well.

Keep Track of Everything.
Hold on to your correspondence with the buyer, take screenshots, keep the photos of the product before shipping, etc. Chances are your transaction will go smoothly with no issues at all, but on that chance that something goes wrong, this will help to prove that you were in the right and protect your from scammers.

Have YOU sold cloth diapers online? What tips and tricks do YOU have to share?

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Place To Call Our Home {A Dayspring Review & Giveaway}

**Product received for review.

In our nearly eight years of marriage, my little family has lived in five different homes. FIVE! Getting to experience new and exciting places was a fun part of the military life, but it was also very tough. It's hard to put down roots and truly call somewhere home when you never know when the next change of duty station will come along. Still, it was a sacrifice that we made.

Earlier this year when my husband learned that after 11 years of service he would not be staying in the Marine Corps as he'd planned, the news certainly came with a mix of emotions. Of course, we were sad to be saying goodbye to the life that had truly been an amazing blessing for us and scared of what the future would bring. Still, there was certainly one silver lining we could see...

Finally, we could put down roots. We could stop renting and (once things are settled of course) buy a home of our own. We could stop paying rent and really, truly settle into the home where are children will grow up. As scary as our future still might be at the moment, it is this thought that keeps us moving forward. I look forward to finding that forever home and making it 100% ours, 100% unique.

So, when I saw the Letterpress collection from Dayspring, I knew that it could be the perfect addition when that home comes along. A way to personalize that home and make it our own. Unlike other inspirational type word art pieces that we've seen, this collection allows US to choose the words that have meaning to us. Words are pretty powerful aren't they? I wanted it to be the perfect reflection of us. So, what word would we choose? I had a few ideas...

Home? Family? Faith? Strength? All were great words and meant a lot to our family. This would be the place we called home, where we raised our family and it was our faith in God's plan for us that has kept giving us the strength to get there. Still, all of those words seemed generic...words we could find anywhere and in any house. And so the answer seemed quite clear...

Our last name. There was no better way to say that THIS will be our home...100% OURS! This will be where our memories our made and our lives are lived. It truly was the perfect word to make that house a home.

For now, it sits and waits for the forever home...Will it be on the wall- held together easily by the handy connecting clips and surrounding by family photos? Will it be on the mantel of a stunning fireplace where we will gather each Christmas morning? Time will only tell, but wherever it ends up, we know it will be exactly where God intends us to be and these blocks will help us tell OUR story!

Want to see more from the Letter Press collection or create your own word? Follow the links below:

Shop the Collection.
Like Dayspring on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.

And one very lucky reader will have the chance to win a $50 Dayspring gift code. You can use it on your word, or on many of the other great gifts and home decor available! 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.

How would you use Letter Press blocks from Dayspring to tell YOUR story?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Color Your Way Through The Bible: A What's in the Bible? Coloring Book Review & Giveaway {+FREE Printables!}

**Product received for review. Post contains affiliate links.

A few weeks ago, I shared a fun DVD Series called 'Buck Denver Asks What's In The Bible?'. In case you missed it, this fun series by Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer takes a fun, but very informational look through the Bible...sharing the history of the books and helping kids to better understand its words. Unlike Veggie Tales which tends to put more focus on the lessons rather than historical accuracy, this series truly tries to share the facts (with some silliness thrown in of course!). I absolutely loved the series, so when I heard there was an accompanying coloring book, I was thrilled to have the chance to receive a copy to review.

The coloring book features all the great characters and stories available in the series, making it the perfect compliment to your bible lessons. All 200 pages are reproduce-able. Personally, we are using our copy at home, so this makes no difference to us, but because this series is a great resource for Sunday school, this is a great feature for those that use it as such. Your little one (or students) can color along as they watch...making learning about the bible even more fun! They will love the fun images and you'll love that they're learning something important.

Personally my favorite pages were those with the bible verses. I love the idea of having your little ones color these pages and having them framed in their play areas/bedrooms. Not only is it an adorable piece of artwork by them, but can also serve as a great reminder for them as they go through their day.

Whether you plan to use at home or in church, this coloring book is ideal. Use it in addition to the DVD series for a complete bible lesson, or on its own for some super fun and inspirational coloring pages. It is a great addition to your collection!

Want to try for yourself? Enjoy this FREE printable coloring page featuring one of my personal favorite verses (pictured above)... or download more here.

Find the DVD series, coloring book and much more at Family Christian Stores. See everything they have to offer and connect at the links below:

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamilyChristian 
Follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/ 
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyChristian?ref=bookmarks 
Follow on Tumblr: http://family-christian.tumblr.com 
Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/familychristian

You can also follow What's in The Bible? at the links below:

And one very lucky reader will win a $10 Gift Certificate ro Family Christian! You can buy this fun coloring book, the accompanying DVDs or whatever else you like! (Psst, the Veggie Tales Christmas combo packs are $10!!) 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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Treat Yourself with Initials Inc {A #TreatYourself Giveaway}

We’re just a couple of weeks away from Halloween and there’s one thing that’s on everyone’s mind… treats! Welcome to the Treat Yourself Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network! In this Hop, you’ll find lots of special treats to keep your entering giveaways until it’s time to go out and gather your own, so be sure to hop around to all the giveaways in the Hop Linky below and don’t miss the AMAZING Grand Prize Giveaway - from Step2!

A huge thanks to Initials, Inc Independent Consultant, Mandy Mills for sponsoring today's giveaway.

When you think treating yourself, what do you think of? For some it might be a dinner out and a fancy dessert. Maybe a new look or a massage...or maybe a little retail therapy? Oh yes, retail therapy tends to be my treat of choice...and generally I find that when I shop for myself, my purchases come from one of two categories home or fashion. So, today I'm excited to feature a company that features products for both- Initials, Inc. with  Independent Consultant Mandy Mills.

For those unfamiliar with Initials, this is a direct sales company that offers fun personalized products like bags, home storage and even jewelry! The best part? Personalization is always free! They also offer great specials like this month's: Spend $35 and you can purchase a Townie, Soho Sling, Out & About or Day Tripper for 1/2 off!! With so many fun styles and prints to choose from, there is sure to be something to fit every need!

Personally, I love the home organization. Everyone could use a little more organization in their life, right? (And I know I tend to feel more motivated to get organized when my organization is cute!)They also feature many fun products that are ideal for holiday entertaining like the Double Dish or Party Tub! Looking for something a little more for everyday? There are lots of totes and fashion styles to choose from too!

Of course, as a direct sales company, that also means you have the chance to earn free/reduced products by hosting a party with your friends...or make money by becoming an independent consultant yourself.

You can find out more about all the great products from Intitials, Inc...or about hosting your own party or starting your own business by connecting with Mandy at the links below:

Shop Mandy's Website
Like on Facebook.

And as part of the Treat Yourself giveaway hop event, Many has offered one very lucky reader the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to shop with her! 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. So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Treat Yourself participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Support Autism with One Simple Vote

As an autism parent, wandering is perhaps one of the biggest fears we face. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no worse feeling than the panic of discovering your child has gotten out of the house. You can take all the precautions and be the most attentive mother in the world, but it takes only minutes- a quick bathroom break, preparing supper, loading the dishwasher. When you are near a body of water, this fear is even worse. This is why it is so important for kids on the spectrum be taught to swim. It truly saves lives. So, when my good friend and President-Elect of Autism Society San Diego -Cindy Facteau contacted me about a wonderful opportunity to show support to an amazing woman doing just that, I knew I had to help get the word out:

One click. One vote. One chance at $100,000 to improve the lives of all affected by autism!!!

Please take a moment to read this post, cast your vote, and share with your friends.

Tammy Anderson-Lee is the founder of Aqua Pros Swim School and the Autism Society San Diego's Surf Camp for individuals with autism. She's written a book called "Swimming With Autism," and has made it her life's work to teach people with Autism how to swim and navigate water safely. She currently sits as a director at-large on the Autism Society San Diego's board of directors, and has selflessly given her time and expertise to this organization and our community.

As many of you likely know, wandering is very common with individuals who have autism. Many times, they are also attracted to water, and this can be a recipe for tragedy in many cases, particularly when the individual cannot swim. Tammy's programs are saving lives, and to date, she has taught hundreds of persons affected by autism how to be safe in the water. This is a gift more precious than gold to our community, and Tammy is even more special to us all because she has no direct connection to Autism herself. She's just a great person with a phenomenal heart and one heck of an inspiring mission. She cares about each of our kids like they are her own...and it shows in the quality of the programs she develops.

Tammy is also a NASCAR fan, and every year, the NASCAR Foundation awards the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award to one NASCAR fan who exemplifies the spirit of the foundation's philanthropic efforts. If she gets the highest number of votes, she will win $100,000 for the Autism Society San Diego, her chosen grassroots charity. The Autism Society San Diego is a 501C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all affected by autism. Their entire board is all-volunteer, and they have only one paid employee. This enables the organization to dedicate nearly 100% of donations directly to serving families and individuals through bilingual support groups in multiple locations, family recreation programs, summer camps, information/awareness and support training for local businesses and institutions that service families, grants and scholarships, and many other opportunities that families would otherwise not have access to. 

Voting is open until December 4th, and you can vote daily. Tammy is the only finalist who represents an autism organization, so we ask all of our friends and fans to please...vote for Tammy using the link below. Share with your social networks (copy and paste this description to share with the link), and vote daily. Thank you so much in advance for your support! For more information about the Autism Society San Diego and the inspiring work they're doing to make the world a better place for those affected by autism, please check out their website at www.autismsocietysandiego.org 

Thank you in advance for your support! A vote for Tammy is a vote for ALL of our families!