Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Favorite Books Giveaway | Feature

I am starting today with two features in the 
My Favorite Books Giveaway.

I can't wait to share all the great bloggers that chose to participate 
in this great giveaway,
as well as share why they chose the books they did! 

The first blogger I'd like to introduce you to is
Meagan of The Curried Nut.
Meagan is a born-and-bred Washingtonian who likes to wax eloquent on apples, 
Lord of the Rings, and the finer points of Indian restaurants. 
She is an avid reader, and has been blogging since February 2013.
She uses blogging as an excuse to try things she might not otherwise do.

Meagan chose to donate
Morris Goes To School by B. Wiseman
Morris Goes to School is a part of the I Can Read book series,
and is a great book to have on hand for when your little ones first start reading.
When I asked Meagan why this was one of her favorite children's books, she said
"I read Morris Goes to School when I was in early elementary; it’s one of the first books 
I remember reading on my own, and I loved it. 
The pictures, the story, everything. 
I read a lot of books over the years, and this was absolutely one of my favorites. 
Its charm has withstood the test of time, and as I read it now to my nieces and nephew 
(and see nephew pointing, smiling, and tracing over Morris’s antlers), 
I am truly blessed to pass along the love I feel for this little book to the next generation.

The next blogger I'd like to introduce you to is
Chrissy of Shine Bright Little Mama.
Chrissy is a mom of three and created her blog
"in hopes of helping other mamas out there realize that they too
can shine bright
even when their little darlings are in the midst of a full blown tantrum."

We need more people like Chrissy in the world! :)

Chrissy chose to donate
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
When I asked Chrissy why Barnyard Dance was one of her favorite
children's books, she said
“The Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton was given to my son 
as a birthday gift a couple of years ago. 
My kids instantly fell in love with the silliness and musical rhythm of the book. 
I love to read it using different voices! 
We have since read Boynton’s other books, and love them just as much as this one!
I have a couple books by Sandra Boynton for my little man,
and I not only have to agree with Chrissy 
but I promise you they are so much fun to read!

Stay tuned...
More bloggers and great books to come!

There is still plenty of time to enter, 
if you haven't entered yet, just click HERE to do so! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday Collection Preview

The Simply Sweet Prints "Holiday Collection" 
will officially launch next week,
but today I wanted to share a preview of what I've been working on. 

Here are the first two additions now available 
in the Simply Sweet Prints shop!

And I just have to throw this out there. 
Working on this collection makes me wish it was cold and snowy outside, 
while sitting by the fireplace with a peppermint mocha in my hand
and Michael Buble's Christmas album playing in the background. :)

As always I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Currently | 10.28.14

Watching | Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest
For the one hundredth time.
I seriously wonder if I will ever watch adult TV ever again. 
However, if you have little ones and haven't seen this, 
it's super cute and of course festive! 

Reading | the Hunger Games, Mocking Jay
If you have a 22 month old that doesn't nap and sleep you will understand
that sometimes it takes a year to finish a single book. 

Listening To | Taylor Swift "Shake It Off"
because I absolutely love her and until I get the new album,
well this is all I have, haha!

Working On | The Simply Sweet Prints Holiday Collection.
I will be launching the first three cards tomorrow, 
and I am seriously, so excited! 

I am also working on my little man's 2nd (sigh) birthday invitation, 
that needs to go out asap.
All I keep thinking is how on earth is this little thing going to be
turning two already?!

Feeling | A little less stressed, very overwhelmed, 
and so excited for Halloween Friday! 
(I'm obsessed with each and every holiday, 
some holidays being extremely obsessed "insert Christmas here")

Planning | Planning my little man's 2nd birthday.
Now that we have a set location (our home)
I am starting to plan out what and where everything will go, 
and how crazy (or not so crazy) I want to get in the decorating department.
(I tend to go overboard easily.)

Loving | That my husband will be home Thursday, for good.
He's had some out of state training and it's been a stressful month.
Once he gets home, I'm never letting him leave me ever again!

My Favorite Photo | We took the little guy to a Fall Fest this past weekend, 
and I'm not sure if it was the fest in general, the pumpkin patch that he absolutely loved,
or the sucker in his hand... but oh my gosh, this picture! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Favorite Books Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

I am beyond excited to bring you the very first
"My Favorite Books" Giveaway!

I was inspired to do this giveaway by my little man
who at 22 months already absolutely loves reading.
(Okay, more like being read to, but either way he loves books!)

I am very passionate about promoting an early love of reading,
and through this giveaway, I hope to pass that on, as these books
find their way into your home to help grow your little one's book collection.

Starting today you can enter to win 25 children's books 
from 14 amazing bloggers.

Throughout the next week and a half I will be highlighting each
blogger and the book they chose to giveaway,
so keep checking back!

To enter, you have to like each participating shop on 
Instagram, as well as Facebook. 

Share the giveaway picture on Instagram for an additional entry!

Have fun, and good luck to all who enter!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Austin Lloyd | October

 If you've been reading my blog for some time, 
you know my love for Citrus Lane.

Well, this month I was lucky enough to review a new box subscription, 

Austin Lloyd takes the guess work out of choosing toys that your child will enjoy
while gaining skills that aid in their overall development at the same time.

They are fairly new in the box subscription world, 
and just celebrated their one year birthday! (Happy Birthday!)

A few things that made me fall in love with Austin Lloyd 
before I even received my box.
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.
Another plus- no battery operated toys!

One more thing. 
Austin Lloyd boxes only include toys and books. 
I love Citrus Lane, but the food samples are a no-go to me.
Especially since my little man is so picky! 

Right now Austin Lloyd only goes up to the age of 3,
but hopefully they will expand in the future.

Okay, so let's get into the box subscriptions!

Like Citrus Lane, Austin Lloyd offers subscription plans
as a month-to-month, three month, or six month
(no yearly subscriptions just yet). 

Although double the price of Citrus Lane, 
Austin Lloyd is definitely a bug step up from my monthly Citrus Lane box.

When choosing a box, I was recommended to do a 2 year box, 
since my little man is 21 months. That way he will have some products to grow into. 

Great customer service. Check.
I think it's so great they cared enough to suggest that to me.
I feel like they really care about their customers 
and want them to get the most out of their box subscriptions.

So, let's take a look at the box. 

So cute right?!
I love that it was personalized with Jackson's name, 
and it had an envelope describing what was included in the box.

So, before I even opened the box I was excited! 
(I didn't look at the cards until after, I don't like to cheat!) 

Now onto the box.

Austin Lloyd | October Box

Okay, so let's start with The Finger Circus Game book!
I love any time a box subscription includes a book, 
it makes my mama heart skip a beat 
since my little man and I sit and read each and every day.
I love throwing new books into the mix, and absolutely LOVE when they are interactive!

I had never heard of this book before, but it is adorable!
The die cut hole in the middle of this book turns into scenes
where your fingers turn into "finger worms" 
so your little one can play along while you read.

I really wasn't sure how my son was going to react to this book, 
but he loved it! 
He even participated in being a "finger worm."

The illustrations are fun, bright, colorful and very eye catching.
I also love this book because it really encourages a growth of your little one's imagination!

Next is the Lace and Play Lion.
The first thing I noticed was that this was ages 3+
and I was 100% okay with that. 

I loved that this box came with a toy that I could tuck safely away
and bring out later into my little man's second year.

Because, let's be honest. They are showered with gifts the first year,
and then some the second, but by the third I see this trend diminishing! :)

So, with this being 3+ we won't be trying it for some time, 
but this looks like such a great activity to help support the development 
of hand-eye coordination as well as fine motor skills. 

I'm just not sure if it's a one and done project, 
or if you can unlace it and use it multiple times. 
The packaging suggests that one you are done, you can use it as a decoration to hang- 
so either way, it will be a fun activity to do! 

Then, we have these adorable little screwballs.

Seriously. I'm a sucker for adorable looking toys!

These Circus Screwballs are 24 months+ and my son is 22 months today. 
So although I will give them to him to play with, 
I'm not sure he will grasp the concept just yet.

I took them out to give them a try and you have to use a little strength
to unscrew all the pieces,
but again- I'm loving the fact that this is a toy he can grow into.
(Especially since he is outgrowing all his current toys!) 

Even though he may not be able to make the characters himself just yet, 
I love taking toys like this and using them to play WITH my son.
I do this when we build with blocks too, If I'm making something for him
I ask him to hand me certain colors or blocks as I do the building!

Another fun plus, since these two little cuties screw and unscrew,
you can mix and match them to keep things fresh
and create new friends.

And that brings us to the last item in our box this month, 
the wooden Story Circus Train.

I really couldn't get enough of all the great items in this box, 
but this took the cake! 

This toy train came in the little white bag shown in the first picture.
It was later explained that the box this originally came in 
was too big for the Austin Lloyd box, 
and since they still wanted to include this adorable item 
it was unpackaged and repackaged, as well as reassured it was brand new.

To be honest, I didn't think twice about the way it was packaged. 

My only thoughts were:
My son is going to freak out. 

Not only are trains "choo-choo's" his absolute favorite thing in the world right now
but his favorite animal is a giraffe.

This toy is also so great, because the cars are magnetic. 
This is great for little ones because it eliminates the frustration 
of having to "hook up" cars.
(I'm not sure if this is only an issue with mama's to little boys, 
but it's a real issue, I promise. Haha.)

Plus they are small enough for little hands to carry.

Okay- one more thing.
How great is this?!

Right now they only take toys and books from the Austin Lloyd boxes,
but either way I think giving back is such a great thing to promote!

Before I get into the the total value of my box, I got an email the day after I received it.
There was a mistake with the Story Circus Train,
and the card they sent was printed with the wrong picture, and wrong retail value.

The retail value stated was $30 when in fact it was $15.
So this actually decreased the value of my October box by $15.
Luckily, I don't get too worked up about these things.
They made it right, by giving each customer a $15 credit, so in the end it all works out. :)

So the actual value of my October box as I got it was $51.93.
If the value of the Story Circus Train was correct, I would have gotten a 
$66.93 value for just $49.99.
So I would have come out ahead $16.94.

That's a pretty good deal in my book! 

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

I absolutely loved each and every item in my box. 

I'm so passionate about promoting an early love of learning and reading, 
and I think it's so important to start when your little ones are young, 
before they get to school! 
This monthly box subscription is perfect for just that.

With toys that are not normally found in retail chain stores, 
it give you a step outside the box, and refreshing, austin new toys each month 
that are not only fun, but educational for your little one!

Austin Lloyd comes highly recommended, and if you are willing to spend
a little extra money (then on a subscription service like Citrus Lane & Bloom)
you will definitely get some really great, high quality products
for your little one to enjoy! 

Are you a member of Austin Lloyd? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Raising Up One | Adoption Auction

So, by now you've heard about Raising Up One.
(A free fundraising platform for adoptive families!)

Well today starts their October auction for the Chasteen family. 

The Chasteen family just welcomed their fourth daughter Zoe 
home from Shanghai last month.

I'd love to share their story with you, 
so please visit Raising Up One to read their story here.

Although their adoption is final, there are still costs to the family that
they need our help with. 

Money raised for the October auction will help with the Chasteen family
and go towards some of their travel expenses.

The auction starts Thursday at 8am and ends Friday at 8am.

It is going to be held on the Raising Up One Instagram Page,
so please head over there to view all the great items being auctioned.

I'm so excited to be able to help this family
by donating a Simply Sweet Print birth announcement.

The winner is able to pick any birth announcement from my shop, 
and I will happily work with them until they are 100% happy with their final product.

Also-there is still time to pre-order a t-shirt for November, 
all proceeds go to Raising Up One & the featured family of the month! 

To purchase a shirt click here!

I've been so honored to work with such a great organization,
who is doing such great things for this world and for others.
Itruly hope they grow to be very successful, and that they are able to help
many more families in the future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Raising Up One | Design Contest

Because so many of you lovely ladies voted, 
I wanted to post an update.

For those that don't remember, 
Raising Up One is a free fundraising platform for adoptive families.

The held a design contest for a limited addition t-shirt for November's Adoption Day. design WON!
But as excited as I am that my design was chosen,
I'm more excited for the great cause that this will go to! 

"Erica from Simply Sweet Prints was the winner of our Design-A-Tee Contest! 
Her awesome family tree design will be printed 
on a comfy Women's tri-blend American Apparel tee. 
This tee is up for preorder and will also be available in *limited* quantities come November."

And the most amazing thing about these t-shirts,
all proceeds benefit Raising Up One and it's featured adoptive families! 

Another great thing...
since the contest results were SO close, 
they decided to print the runner up's design for pre-orders only!

Below is the design from Lisa of the Copper Anchor,
isn't it beautiful?!

Again both t-shirts are available for preorder-
and come November the Simply Sweet Print design will be offered in limited quantity.
After November both designs will be discontinued!

If you would like to place an order, just click HERE.
Preorders only go through the end of the week!

I had such a great response, that I also went ahead and listed my design
as a print in the Simply Sweet Shop

This print is great for all families. 
I truly believe the statement "Love makes a family."
And it's one I've been holding close as my own family goes through
some big changes this coming year.
I firmly believe love is what holds everything together.

Big thanks again to everyone that voted,
I absolutely love knowing that my design is going to such a great cause!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Playtime For Mommy & Mini Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone!
Today I am thrilled to be collaborating with some incredible shops
to bring you the
Playtime for Mommy & Mini Giveaway!

This giveaway is all about play and inspiration
for mommies and their minis.

Take a look at what you could win:

One winner will win over $500 in prizes for them and their little!
Second prize winner a surprise prize from A Pretty Life Shop.

Check out the list below to see all of the wonderful shops who are participating
and pay them a visit to see what neat treasures you will find!


 FRESHLY PICKED                       TNEE'S TPEES

MONROE & HARLOW                          BABY JIVES   

               GULUSH THREADS                    PEANUT BRITTLE ART              

                   AGNES & DORA                        SIMPLY SWEET PRINTS                

OH LOVELY DAY DESIGN                         BANNOR TOYS   


                                                        FRECKLED LEMONADE PHOTOGRAPHY

Each day of the giveaway, Siri,
 from Of Pumpkin Thieves and Buffalo Wings,
 will be doing features on the shops involved 
so you will get to see their products
and all of the prizes
in action!

When you comment on her daily posts,
you will receive one extra entry per day!

I'm so excited for this giveaway, 
this is the second time I've worked with Siri, and she is such a sweetheart.
Definitely check out her blog,
for nothing else, the adorable pictures of her daughter! :)

For this giveaway, I created the custom print I shared with you
just a few days ago,
And it quickly grew into one of my absolute favorites!

Don't miss the opportunity to win this print along with all the other AMAZING
prizes from so many great shops!

Enter with the rafflecopter below!
Good luck everyone!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway