Friday, December 05, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide | Toddler Edition: Part Two

And now today, I bring you part two of 
the Mini Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide | Toddler Edition!

Again, all items I am highlighting are under $12
and are handmade with love AND can be found on Etsy!

The first shop I want to share with you today is Pips Emporium.
Jen is the woman behind the shop and makes a wide varitey of items 
She use a local natural wood and non-toxic paints and varnishes.

One of my favorite items from Jen's shop
has to be her hand painted memory games.

With a variety to choose from, each set is cuter than the next!

Jen was so kind, and sent me a Farm Animal Memory Game.

"Your child will love to match these cute farm animals 
which include sheep, cows, roosters, pigs, and ducks. 
This set comes with a hand made drawstring bag for easy store and travel."

Each wooden game piece measures 2-1/4"W x 3-1/8"T
and is hand stamped and painted with acrylics and sealed with a non-toxic varnish.

Seriously, I can not say enough about how stinkin cute these

little matching cards are!

These are made to order-

and they are hand stamped / painted with such great detail! 

I absolutely love that these are so different from any matching game you
can buy at the stores, and the quality is amazing! 
As with the other gifts yesterday-
an added bonus / major selling point,
they are small enough to fit in your purse | diaper bag
and SO GREAT for entertainment on the go! 

And, now the last shop / item in my Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide,
I bring you Pretty Girl Designs.

"Glitter, Shimmer, Personalized Gifts- their ideas are endless 
and because they're small and nimble they can work with you 
to create the perfect invitations, announcements, cards or gifts!"

Pretty Girl Designs offers invitations, personalized stationarynote cards, prints
and THIS:

I can not even BEGIN to tell you just HOW MUCH I am in love 
with My Mom Snaps, a book (by: Kari McGarath & Darcy Jerome)
 that Darcy was sweet enough to send me.

"What does Mom do while her little ones explore the world around them? 
She snaps, of course."

"Mom stands by with her camera while kids enjoy everything 
from splashing in the pool and learning to ride a bike to baking a cake 
and snuggling up to sleep. 
Bright colors, cheerful illustrations and playful rhymes 
engage kids who’ve ever felt they’re being followed by the mom-arazzi." 

"What's more, in heartwarming verse, 
Mom Snaps reveals the endearing reason why Mom snaps so much: 
To preserve childhood's sweet memories for a lifetime."

Seriously, for all the crazy mom "photographers" out there...

I am beyond obsessed with taking photos of my little man.

Want proof?
I take a handful of pictures daily (how many, I wont say)
and have them organized by date on my laptop.

And just when I think I have enough photos-
I take a few more, just in case! 

This book is an absolute perfect way to justify all
the times Mom snaps,
and would make a great gift for your Mommy friends 
or your family photographer... if she's a mom of course!

OR because I love reading to my little man,
it now sits on his bookshelf.
So many people that you can give this sweet little book too!

And, if the text in this book was not sweet enough,
the illustrations are simply gorgeous! 

This is a book you can not get in the bookstore (unfortunately!)
and at just $9.95, you can even treat yourself this holiday season,
because this book is a must have
no matter who you get it for! 

Thank you all for stopping by, if you missed yesterday's Gift Guide Ideas
you can click HERE to see it!

I hope I was able to help you out this year, 
we all know how hard those toddlers can be to shop for! *wink*


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide | Toddler Edition: Part One

I can not believe it's that time of year again.
I really am trying to stay ahead of the game this year,
and as always- trying is always the key word though.

I always see so many gift guides this time of year-
husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends,
but now that I'm a mom, 
my focus is always on my little man.

With his birthday being just a couple weeks before Christmas
I'm finding that I need to think outside the box more and more
(this will be his third Christmas, even tho he will only be turning 2!)

To say he is spoiled loved would be an understatement,
and I find that there are only so many gifts for his age range in the stores.
And after his birthday a handful of my ideas turn into
a fun day of returns errands.

So, I've taken my search to Etsy this year.
I decided to break this up into two posts-
because I want to take the time to highlight these four AMAZING Etsy shops.

I chose to do a Mini Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide,
because that is always where I struggle.
(My husband makes up for my lack of SS creativity!) 

All items I am highlighting are under $12
and are handmade with love AND can be found on Etsy!

So keep supporting those small business this year, 
and check out these first two Etsy shops! 

The first shop I want to share with you is Saras Daisy Love.
Oh my goodness does this shop have some adorable handmade items.

My absolute favorite are Sara's crayon rolls, 
but she also makes adorable coffee sleeves, bookmarks

But back to the crayon rolls...
You have three options: 
either a 8 count, jumbo, or a 16 count crayon roll. 
Added bonus:
All the patterns she uses are SO STINKIN CUTE!

Sara sent met the Bermuda Pigs Jumbo crayon roll, and it's perfect!

"This crayon roll holds 8 toddler or triangular crayons (crayons not included). 
All products are made of 100% cotton fabrics and they
easily roll up and close with a coordinating elastic band and button. 
No ribbons to tie for little fingers and no noisy Velcro in church!"

Each crayon roll is machine washable and measures 
approximately 10"x5" (un-rolled) and approximately 3"x5" (rolled)

Now, I have two things I must say about this product...
One- It's genius.
Two- The quality is AMAZING.

Sara was a sweetheart as well, 
and I know there is competition as many shops make Crayon Rolls on Etsy.
however, I'm highly recommending Saras Daisy Love,
I promise, you will not be disappointed!

And  if I didn't sell you already, the price, totally affordable.
(Small- $6 | Jumbo- $9 | 16 Count- $12)

As a mom to a (almost) two year old, 
I am never without some paper and crayons.
My son LOVES to color. 
And it keeps him busy... win WIN.

This product keeps each crayon neatly in place, 
and eliminates loose crayons falling to the bottom of your purse / diaper bag.

Plus, how cute does this look all rolled up and ready to go?!

Next, I want to share Hearts Desire
Hearts Desire is run by Karen and her husband,
and they hand make so many great items for your little ones.
just to name a few! 

Karen sent me a set of their Lacing Buttons
and at just $8 this is a perfect gift for any toddler.

"These are great little buttons for toddlers and small children to learn lacing. 
Emphasizes eye-hand coordination 
and can be used for teaching them colors as well."

"Each set comes with 6 brightly colored maple buttons that are 1.5" across, 
a shoelace, and a 100% cotton muslin bag for storing."
(Recommended age: 3+)

These buttons are the PERFECT size for little hands,
and with their cute little storage bag,
they are perfect for all the Mamas out there to toss in their purse.

Busy bags are very much IN right now, 
and why? 

Well that's obvious. 
They keep your little ones BUSY! :)

These buttons are so perfect for plane rides, restaurants, 
or for around the house when you need a minuet to yourself!

Yes. Even the most amazing Mamas need a break, 
even if it's for just a few short minutes! 

And not only are these lacing buttons perfect for lacing-
 you can also use the shoelace for learning to tie, 
knots, bows, you name it!

You still have time to get your orders in before the BIG rush 
of the last minuet Christmas shoppers.

I hope you loved these two items as much as I do-
and I hope they make their way into your little one's stocking
this holiday season! 

Tomorrow, I will be sharing two more items
that you won't want to miss out on. 

I promise! :) 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Austin Lloyd | November

So, as excited as I was to bring you my first
Austin Lloyd box review last month, 
(click here if you missed it!)
I'm even more excited to be able to share their November box 
with you this month! 

One of the things that makes the
Austin Lloyd box subscriptions stand out, 
(and I totally forgot to share this last month)
is that each month
they have a theme which their boxes are centered around. 

I absolutely love that! 
Not only do I think it makes it so much fun for the little ones,
it's even more fun for the Mama's to be able to tie all the fun toys 
together for some really great play time!

here is a look at November's theme!

Austin Lloyd will release the theme of their box
prior to you recieving it... so if you purchase your box monthly
it gives you time to decide if you want to continue your subscription
and if you purchase a 3 / 6 month subscription-
it gets you really excited to start thinking about what you  may receive!

Here is a look back at some previous themes,
and there is not one that I would have passed up! 

If you missed my original post, you can click here for all the details,
but for now, I will just recap your subscription options.
Again, you can do a monthly, three month, or six month subscription plan,
and Austin Lloyd boxes go up to age three! 

And just in case you are wondering just what an Austin Lloyd box consists of:

Austin Lloyd boxes include unique high end toys that are not
typically sold at chain retail stores, and toys that are bpa and phthalate free.
They include engaging toys that are targeted at improving fine motor and cognitive skills.
They typically include a book- and no food, snacks, or samples!
Another plus- no battery operated toys!

Okay... so lets get to the good stuff,
here is a look at my November box! 

Isn't their packaging beautiful?
It also comes customized with your little one's name 
which I absolutely love! 
It's the little things, right?!

And here is what was in our box...

Austin Lloyd | November Box
Goldilocks & The Three Bears (Book) illustrated by Gavin Scott | Retail $5.99
Owl Wizard Pupped from Trudi | Retail $29.99
Rolling Story Blocks from edushape | Retail $9.95
Knight Arthur Battle Puzzle from Janod | Retail $15.99

All of the items this month were so amazing I don't know where to start, 
but we love books, so let's start there! 

I absolutely love that all Austin Lloyd boxes include a book,
as we are ALWAYS looking to grow our little library!

We don't have any "fairy tale" books just yet,
so I was so excited to see this little cutie,
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in our box this month!

Everyone knows the story of little Goldilocks...
she enters a little cottage to get some food and rest,
and ends up meeting three grizzly bears.

This story is not only so fun to read, (my son already loves it)
but the illustrations are beyond adorable, and that is always
such a great bonus!

Next up is our Owl Wizard Puppet.

Seriously... how  beautiful is this little guy?!
Not only is he super adorable, but the quality is unbelievable! 

With this month's theme being "fairy tales and make believe"
I could not think of a better toy!

We haven't come up with a name for him yet
(suggestions welcome!)
but I see him joining us for LOTS of story times in our future!

Then, we got this super bright, colorful, and fun

This is a 12 piece jigsaw puzzle that is just perfect for little hands!

My son gets the 2 year box, and this is such a great toy 
to help with shape recognition, while enhancing fine motor skills as well.

While my son is just a little on the young size for "big boy puzzles"
he is not far behind being ready to dominate them!

The best thing about this item-
the plywood puzzle has a cut out on the frame that allows you 
to easily take out all of the pieces, 
and then, there is a removable poster underneath!
Having the poster to help is great for beginners, 
but then removing it gives your little ones more of a challenge 
as they get older.

I have never seen a puzzle like this before, and think it's a genius idea! 

And last but not least,
we received these amazing Rolling Story Blocks

Now I had heard of story blocks before, but never paid much attention,
so I am here to tell you, don't ignore them like I did!

These are SO great, and SUCH an awesome way to help children 
refine their imagination, and help their creative thinking skills grow!

So how do these work?!
So. Simple.

With each cube having a different theme,
you start with one cube, toss it, and you start telling a story with the
image that is on the top.

Then you can either toss a second cube, third cube, and so on
adding to the story and watching it grow-
OR you can toss all the cubes at the same time,
and create a story right from the beginning linking all the cubes together.

We love story time in our home, 
and this just made it a little more exciting.

I can't wait to take a different approach, and help my little one's
imagination grow!
I honestly feel like every home should have a set of story telling  blocks!

AND remember that little owl at the beginning of this post,
I think he would be a GREAT help telling some of these stories! 

November Box Summary:

I was sent my November box to review courtesy of Austin Lloyd, 
but I promise you that all views are mine and mine alone.

Austin Lloyd went above and beyond and exceeded my 
expectations two months in a row.

With toys that are not normally found in retail chain stores, 
the Austin Lloyd box subscription service
 gives you a step outside the box, and refreshing new toys each month 
that are not only fun, but educational for your little one

As my son gets older, I find myself getting more passionate about
making sure my son enjoys, and hopefully loves learning new skills,
and of course reading.

These toys are not only engaging, and educational, but so much fun!

As far as the value of my box,
a monthly box subsctiption will run you $49.99 per month
and this month my box retailed at $61.92
so I came out ahead $11.93! 

(The savings is of course greater,
if you purchase a three or six month subscription!) 

If you are looking for a unique gift this holiday season,
I highly recommend giving an Austin Lloyd box subscription
it's not only fun for the Mama 
to get new toys to help her little one grow each month,
but so much fun for their little ones as well! 

I have personally given box subscriptions as gifts,
and they have always been a hit! 

(I have to hid my box until I get pictures taken, or my son freaks out!)

If you are looking to sign up for yourself, or as a gift for the holidays,
don't wait!
You only have unitl November 30th to sign up for the December Box!

AND here is a sneek peek at the theme..

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Traditions

So, my family has MANY more Christmas traditions
than we do Thanksgiving traditions.

I'm actually kind of sad that I can only think of four.

1. We watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Yes. I am aware it's pretty awful,
and I'm sure I'm not alone, but my husband hates parades.
However, I always remember watching it growing up, 
and to me it doesn't feel like the holidays unless it's on the TV.
Plus, who doesn't get the biggest feeling of holiday cheer
when they see Santa arrive at the end on his sleigh-
marking the official beginning to the holiday season!

So, although silly, this is one tradition I plan on passing down 
to my little man.
PLUS a little birdie on the street told me Thomas will be making 
an appearance this year,
so I'm pretty sure my little man is going to think
I'm the coolest mom ever for this great tradition. 
Well, at least for this year.

2- Thanksgiving dinner.

We do not switch it up. 
Side dish for side dish- the same every year
and I absolutely love it.

Sorry, Ryan. :)
(Ryan is way more adventurous in the food department,
my family knows what they like-
and we don't typically stray!) 

3- What we are thankful for.

When I was younger we always went around the table
and said what we were Thankful for.
My family doesn't have a ton of deep conversations,
and not that this is deep by any means-
but it's nice to hear what everyone is most thankful for
in their own lives year to year.
Something I will definitely continue with my little family.

4- My husband and I do not cheat on the Black Friday Ads.

Meaning- we do not look at any deals online, 
we wait until Thanksgiving Day to grab TWO papers
so we can be surprised at all the (no so great) deals
that are going to be offered on Black Friday.

We get so excited, hence the two papers
and I know it's silly, but I love being surprised! 

With a lot of the stores opening on Thursday now
(which I am a million percent against)
this has lost a lot of it's excitement in terms of
being motivated to wait in lines for items I really don't need.
However, it's something we've done since our first holiday together,
and I love our little tradition.

So now that my little man is going to be two,
I'd love to focus more on the Thanksgiving holiday-
and add some new traditions next year.

So this is where I need your help!
What are some your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
I'd love for you to share!

And because I couldn't resist...
I added two new Holiday Prints to the Simply Sweet Shop

I'll be announcing Black Friday deals for the 
Simply Sweet Shop tomorrow on my Instagram,
so make sure you are following along! 

Follow Simply Sweet Prints On Instagram Here: