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:

Monday, November 24, 2014


Currently | 11.24.2014

Watching | Everybody Loves Raymond
(thank you Netflix)
It is almost 1 in the morning where I'm at, and I should be sleeping
but I'm really trying to stick to my blogging schedule,
so here I am. 
Eyes half open, so I hope this all makes sense!
Dedication... Right?!

Reading | the Hunger Games, Mocking Jay
Really... I'm still reading it. 
I feel as though I'm safe for another week or two since 
refuse to see a movie right when it comes out. 
One- I hate crowds.
Two- I hate crowds.

Listening To | Taylor Swift "1989"
I'm seriously obsessed. 
And I have to confess, sometimes I sneak the Christmas station
for a song or two when I'm in the car.
I can't help it... I'm trying to hold off until Friday 
BUT it just puts me in such a good mood! 
Valid reason to cheat, right?

Working On | Sticking to a blogging schedule.
Really... Why is it so hard?!
Oh I know...
because I have an (almost) two year old and do nothing
but play with
all day, every day.
Which leaves me with little to no time to do my "chores"
so I do those when my husband gets home.
Then by time I get my little man to bed I'm 
pretty much as useful as a walking zombie! 

Feeling | SO EXCITED!!
Okay, yes I love Thanksgiving
In my family it's always been tradition to 
Seriously- I was brainwashed.
the older I get the harder it gets, and now especially with my little man
it's near impossible.
BUT I try my hardest. 
Michael Buble is waiting to keep me company and 
I've yet to stop at Starbucks to get a red cup...
(white chocolate peppermint mocha thank you!) 
I'm also itching to get my tree and decorations up!
BUT I can (hopefully) wait just four more days, 
until after I have a belly full of Mom's amazing Thanksgiving dinner,
and I've shopped until I can't take the crowds anymore (I really do hate them).

Planning | Planning my little man's 2nd birthday.
I know he's only going to be two and under no circumstance
will he remember his 2nd birthday party,
but that doesn't mean that as a Mama 
I don't want it to be anything but perfect!
No spoilers now- but I can't want to share it with you all! 

Loving | The feeling this time of year brings.
Everyone is a little more cheerful, and I absolutely love it! 

My Favorite Photo | Last weekend we took our 2014 family photos,
and I'm beyond obsessed with them.
I'm not sharing too many just yet, 
because we are using them for our Christmas cards,
and I'm weird, and want them to be a surprise,
but here is one we are not using.
Definitely an absolute favorite right now! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Merry & Bright Collection | #03

I am both happy and a little sad to bring you
the final three additions to the 

This is the first holiday season my shop has been open
and I've had a blast creating thirteen festive little 
photo cards from scratch.

Many hours and late nights, 
but I absolutely love what I do, 
and can't wait to continue growing my business.

So here they are, 
let me know what you think! 

And I've also added a couple decorative prints
which can be printed and shipped or sent as a digital file!

So there you have it! 
The final additions!

I'm sure I'll add a few random listings here and there,
but now before the holiday craziness REALLY kicks in,
I can take a deep breath.

And, an added bonus,
I just marked down all holiday cards to $14.00!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

23 Months

How on earth.

I can not believe as I sit here and type this, 
that there is just one more month (ONE) until you turn two years old.

Two- as in you won't be one anymore. I can't even believe it.

How did that happen and how did time go by so fast?!

I could sit here and list everything that I love about you at this age
and how sad I am that you are getting bigger by the day-
but at the same time, 
more and more proud of you with each passing minuet. 

But instead, 
I just want to tell you how much I love you. 

Like, I know that is an obvious statement,
but at the end of each and every day,
after things settle down from all the craziness that
simple but powerful thought circles my mind.

So after the calm, relaxing, snuggle filled mornings, 
and the crazy, hectic, sometimes tantrum throwing afternoons
at night, 
when those little eyes finally close,
and I get one last cuddle for the day in,
that is all I can think about.

I don't know how it is possible to love someone 
so much that you literally can't explain it, 
and that sometimes your heart LITERALLY feels
like it is going to explode
but I just want you to know it is the most amazing feeling in the world.

Hands down, nothing is better.

So here is to one more month hanging out with my 
one year old...
my best friend, and the most amazing little boy in the world.

You make me the happiest mommy,
and I love you more than all the hot wheels in the world! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Zoo Trip With Gram!

This past Tuesday, 
my mom was off work, and "I'm off work every day"
as some may say!:)
So we packed up the little man and took him to the zoo!

Now, I don't go nearly enough but I  absolutely love the zoo.

My favorite animals are the tigers, Jackson loves the giraffes, 
and we share a love for the monkeys. 

I could have stayed all day, but Jackson's nap schedule 
decided otherwise for us.

But we spent all late morning / early afternoon at the
Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona
and it was the best time.

When Grandma is around- Mommy takes a backseat,
but for the most part I don't mind at all, 
I fully enjoy sitting back and taking it all in!

I just brought my standard lens,
so don't have any amazing animal pictures to show you.

But more than that, I enjoy capturing this little love.
Capturing this moment of his life right now. 
Expression. Size. Personality.

So here are just a few pictures from our zoo trip!