Sunday, December 14, 2014

I'm officially a "Bouq'aneer"


The title of this post might be silly, but the content is serious! Seriously, how have I never heard about The Bouqs before now? Have you? (*This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you visit through my link and make a purchase, I receive a perk.)

It's a fun little shop that is taking a fresh approach to flowers. A flat fee + always free shipping + beautiful blooms that last for over a week = my new favorite way to send flowers! 

I am so happy that I was able to be a part of the community chosen to review this company. I chose to order my bouq for Thanksgiving, which also coincided with my mom's 50th birthday. She is a lover of all things fall, so naturally I had to review The Great Pumpkin bouq.

My bouq arrived wrapped in protective paper, and the flower stems were tightly fastened to the shipping box to ensure a safe delivery. In fact, my box was dented, but my flowers were damage-free! Here's what they looked like when they arrived on day one. I was a bit disappointed that there was not even one bloom, but I didn't plan on giving them to my mom for a couple of more days, so I thought for sure I'd have a bloom in time. They actually didn't start blooming until three or four days later, but they lasted for well over a week, and my mom really liked them!



What I love about The Bouqs is their fun spirit and no B.S. attitude. There are no gimmicks or hidden fees like you see so often with other online flower shops, and the flowers are cut the day you order ensuring the freshest bouquet. The flowers are also grown on the side of a volcano (seriously!) and the extra sun makes for more vibrantly colored blossoms. They offer a variety of bouquet options that would be perfect for any occasion, and they also have a membership plan that will help you plan and send you reminders to send flowers for special events, like birthdays, anniversaries, just because, etc. Find out more about how The Bouqs and the memberships work here.

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Tot School: 6 Fall Activities

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves
It finally feels like Fall in central Texas, so we've been taking Tot School outside. To go along with the cool weather change, I've been teaching Corbin and Lynley about leaves, i.e. what colors they turn, how they fall from the trees, the different shapes they come in, etc. This has been one of my favorite lessons to teach because they have loved it, and caught on really quickly to the concepts.

Here are some toddler-friendly, educational activities for Fall.

Scavenger Hunt: Grab a paper sack for each kid and take off! Corbin and Lynley loved collecting leaves in different sizes, colors and shapes. We also tried to find acorns and sticks. Talk to your children the entire time about what you're doing and what you've found. Ask them questions, like what color is the leaf that you found? Can you show me a big leaf, a small leaf? What type of animal eats acorns? Where do the leaves on the ground come from?

Leaf impressions: Once you've collected your leaves, lay them underneath a sheet of white paper and rub crayons on top to create an impression of the leaves. We chose to use fall colors, and Lynley really enjoyed this activity. The leaves were almost unrecognizable after she finished her masterpiece, but the activity was really more about learning colors of fall anyway.

Matching colors: Another activity for your collection of leaves is to match their colors to corresponding colors of construction paper. We found brown, green, yellow, orange and red leaves. Corbin loved playing with the leaves and stacking them in piles. He also like to rip them up, but boys will be boys.... Once you've matched all of the leaves to the appropriate colors, practice counting with your child. Ask your children if they can tell you which color has the most leaves.

Painting leaves for a banner or wreath: This is an adaptation of the St. Patrick's Day mess-free paint activity that I posted in March. It's simple. Cut leaf shapes out of paper, place dollops of paint on them, put inside a plastic bag and let them squish the paint around, or stomp on the paint, like mine did. You're the only one who gets messy when you take them out to lay them on newspaper for drying. The end result is a beautiful, toddler-created craft that can be turned into a decoration which can be used for years to come! We made a banner with our St. Patty's shamrocks earlier in the year, and this time we added the fall leaves to a wreath. (If you have older toddlers who have painted for real, this little trick might be frustrating! Mine wanted to really paint and get messy. I tricked them though, and just gave them a dry brush to use on top of the baggie!)

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves


Letter painting: Speaking of messages, and while you have your paint out... try this idea: using painter's tape (I used Frog tape), lay out the letters to spell THANKS or GIVE THANKS, THANKSGIVING, etc. on sheets of card stock. Have your tot paint strokes or swirls on the paper, then once it is almost dry, carefully peel off the tape to reveal the colorful message. Original idea found via this pin.

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves

Button art tree: Who doesn't have old buttons lying around!?! (If you don't, you can do what we did and use pom poms!) Collect them in all shapes, sizes and colors. Just to be sure to keep a keen eye on those sneaky tots who still like to put everything in their mouths! Draw a tree on a canvas or cut one out of brown card stock and glue to your canvas. Next, help your children glue buttons to the branches to resemble leaves. As you go along, ask your children to name the colors or shapes of the buttons each time they choose another one to glue down. This craft is totally frame-worthy, and makes a great gift! (Full disclosure: I did most the work on ours. C & L couldn't resist taking off the balls we had already glued down, but they did like the way the glue felt and tasted...) Original idea here.

6 Fall Activities for Toddlers #fall #DIY #kidscrafts #totschool #treeart #leaves

Tips for Tot School
The biggest advice that I can give for Tot School is to stick with an underlying theme for every activity. Ours was leaves and the colors of fall. Within the lessons, we also practiced counting and saying the words leaves, leaf, fall and autumn. Spread your activities out over the course of a week, and you may choose to repeat some that your tots really like and ditch one or two that they weren't interested in. Thankfully, mine were interested in all of the leaf crafts!

Tot school doesn't have to be a lot of work! Simple activities like these really work. By the end of the hour on the first day of "leaf school," Lynley could identify the colors brown and green correctly. Later in the evening after we had switched gears, Corbin was still fascinated by the leaves. He was collecting them in his little dump truck and stopped to look at me. He showed me a leaf and said proudly, "Leaves change color!" This made me so proud! I hadn't even been talking about leaves for at least two hours. I said, "That's right! And can you name some of the colors they turn?" Corbin said, "Brown!" <Proof in the pudding. Keep at it moms! They really do hear us!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trucks and Teacups Twins' Birthday Party

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

Horn went beep. Engine purred. Corbin and Lynley are two, haven't you heard?

We absolutely loved everything about our Trucks and Teacups second birthday. The theme was so much fun, especially because the twins were really into it. We read the book Little Blue Truck about a million times leading up to this party, and I know that I drank at least 3 dozen pretend cups of tea! It was so exciting to see that Corbin and Lynley were excited about their special day.

 Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups
Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

We were blessed to be joined by our families, close friends and neighbors for the day. We enjoyed jumping in the bounce house, eating pizza, cake and cookies, and taking pictures in the photo booth. I had completely forgotten to put out the truck and teacup coloring pages, but all of the kids were way more interested in the bounce house and outdoor toys, so it would've been a bust anyway. If that's the only thing I forgot, then I'm doing great!

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

One of the major decorations that we did for this party was photos from our professional photography session. I like to take new family pictures every year around the twins' birthday, so we decided this year to just make it about the theme. We borrowed Grandad's old blue Chevy and set up a tea party in the back. The photos are to die for! We can thank Rhiannon Logsdon Photography for that!

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

The other decor was really simple. I made a couple of burlap banners and bought some balloons. The focal point above our fireplace cost less than $7.00. I bought one package of pink fans and two packages of the small blue fans from Hobby Lobby and hung them with push tacks to create the backdrop. You can find the fans within the supplies on the party aisles.

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

The other backdrop outside, which was behind the food and drink table, was the easiest, cheapest party decoration I've ever done! I found this tutorial on Pinterest, but instead of hanging it straight across, my mom and brother made it look like a castle. All you need is two plastic table cloths (I found mine for $1 a piece at Dollar Tree) and some string. Decide if you want to hang vertically or horizontally, and then make your cuts. My sister did ours for me, and she actually laid the two table cloths on top of each other on the floor, then rolled them up together leaving about two inches at the top. This allowed her to quickly make small cuts along the roll, and when it's unrolled, ta-da! Love that time-saving trick.

Trucks and Teacups birthday for boy/girl twins by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #birthday #twins #truckparty #teaparty #littlebluetruck #teacups

Some other money-saving tips for buying party props... check the thrift stores first! I found all of our decorative teapots at Goodwill. And I even found serving ware there, like the cookie tin and a mini cake plate for a $1.99 that I used to hold candy (pictured below on either side of cake). I also found many of our picture frames there. Surprisingly, I found two in the perfect color of teal to use on our gallery wall. But, you can easily paint and re-purpose these frames, and you'll spend a tiny fraction of the cost you would on a brand new frame.

Other tidbits:
Lynley and Corbin's shirts: handmade with my Cricut Explore
Lynley's headband: Target
Lynley's Tea Party Dress: The Glamour Baby  (I first saw this dress on another darling two-year-old at Words About Waverly.)
My dress: A Stitch Fix! Pixley- Layna Textured Fit and Flare Dress
Little boys and little girls canvas art: Hobby Lobby
Cake and cookies: Well Yeah Cakes

Other tidbits:  Lynley and Corbin's shirts: handmade with my Cricut Explore.  Lynley's headband: Target.  Little boys and little girls canvas art: Hobby Lobby

Other tidbits:  Lynley and Corbin's shirts: handmade with my Cricut Explore.  Lynley's headband: Target.  Little boys and little girls canvas art: Hobby Lobby

Other tidbits:  Lynley and Corbin's shirts: handmade with my Cricut Explore.  Lynley's headband: Target.  Little boys and little girls canvas art: Hobby Lobby

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Corbin and Lynley are TWO!

Spit and Sparkles: Corbin and Lynley turn two! #twins #secondbirthday #two

Last weekend, we celebrated Corbin and Lynley's second birthday. (A post about that coming soon!) It was a wonderful day with our families, friends and neighbors, but it still zipped by just a bit too fast for me.

Something happens at age two. The little babies that needed mama for everything drift a little farther away as independence and personalities really transform. I find myself longing for their sweet embraces and kisses, but lately I receive little shoves and "no, I do it." I'm proud of them, but I also miss the baby in them. At least until they give me one of those belly laughs right on cue when I tell a joke or they help me read one of their favorite books, nailing the right words at the right time. Or when Corbin proudly recites his ABCs and Lynley starts dancing to her favorite song or when they whisper "I love you, Daddy" as Derrick tucks them into bed each night. I feel so much happiness in these moments, and the thoughts of before melt away. I embrace the tomorrows and the new accomplishments. I find myself being in the moment more because I know how precious this age truly is. And that's why this blog has been a bit bare lately. We're still trying to figure out our groove going into this new season of age two. There is so much ahead!

So to help you follow along, here's what is new with Corbin and Lynley and their two-year stats.

Corbin weighs 26.6 lbs and is 34 inches tall. Lynley weighs 23.8 lbs and is 34 inches tall. They're both skinny, but their height is on the right track. Developmentally, they are doing wonderful. Here are some quick snippets and favorites.

Spit and Sparkles: Corbin and Lynley turn two! #twins #secondbirthday #two

Corbin- an intellectual and lover of learning. Corbin talks in sentences very clearly. This boy amazes me with how well he pronounces his words. He mimics a lot and quickly files new words away to memory. His ability to learn new things quickly extends to letters and numbers as well. He knows just about every letter of the alphabet and numbers 0 to 10, although he can't recite the ABCs yet or count to ten, he names them in books, posters, puzzles, etc. He has a strong desire to learn, and I truly hope it stays with him as he gets older. Corbin is super sweet, and my absolute favorite time with him is when he runs toward me so fast and jumps into my arms. I can see pure happiness and innocence in those moments, and I wish I could bottle it up for a rainy day in twenty years when I'm missing him being at home with me every day. He also loves trucks, tractors, trains and all types of vehicles, and he is pretty protective over all of the toys of that nature, even though some were actually bought for Lynley. Though he has no problem stealing her babies! Other things about Corbin.... has all of his teeth and working on his two-year molars; still hates to have his teeth brushed, hair brushed, face wiped or groomed in any way; loves bath time, making art, reading books, watching Calliou, wearing mommy's and daddy's shoes, and being outside.

Spit and Sparkles: Corbin and Lynley turn two! #twins #secondbirthday #two

Lynley- such an active little diva! Her personality is really starting to shine through. She is the silliest, most joyful person. She is more of the physically active child. While Corbin is happy practicing letters or building with blocks, she would much rather be dancing, running or jumping. We're lucky she loves books so much, otherwise I don't think we'd be able to get her to focus on anything ever! She needs very stimulating activities in order for her to fully engage and comprehend lessons, otherwise, I think she gets bored. She is very vocal, although it's harder to make out what she says at times than it is when Corbin speaks. She does, however, say more complete sentences than Corbin, but he says more total words. Lynley is super social, and she loves to give hugs and kisses. She is very sweet and empathetic toward someone who is hurt or upset. While she is sweet, she is also very strong-willed. She wants to conquer the world at age two! If she can do it herself, she does it, or she figures it out quickly. Other things about Lynley... still loves her bear; likes to play mommy; loves to jump on trampoline; can't get enough of the "Happy" song (by Pharell); loves bath time, brushing teeth, washing hands, helping wipe up after meals, reading, watching Calliou, playing dress up, purses and shoes, and being outside.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Potty Training Update + Nuby Potty Seat Review

Exactly two months ago, I posted a photo to Instagram of Lynley proudly wearing her new undies. Back then, we were pretty much completely doing number one on the potty and wearing undies at home with maybe one accident a day. Number two was still a work in progress, as well as wearing undies in public. I would say she was about 90% trained. That was then.....

Potty training twins is no simple feat! But Nuby helps make it easier. #pottytraining #toddlers #twins

Since starting preschool, she has regressed a lot with peeing on the potty. Mainly because at school they just don't take her often enough. It really makes me mad actually, but I have to remember that they are dealing with a dozen other kids at the same time. I'm learning to be patient. However, while pee has regressed some, poo is making it into the potty way more consistently (at least at home) and that is a huge deal! The poop struggle was exhausting, but more on that later. 

Corbin has also completely lost his way with the potty. In fact, he cries now when we take him, and they don't even bother trying at school. I have slowly been working on this over the past couple of weeks, and I have successfully gotten him to pee in the potty at least once or twice per day now. He will take much longer to train than I expected, so I'm putting most of my effort toward Lynley because she just needs to make it over this hump of being able to verbalize when she has to go in order for her to be 100% ready for undies. 

And here's one thing that is helping: the Nuby Potty Seat. This seat is sized just right for your little one. The stand-alone potty features a non-skid base, comfortable seat, and removable basin that is easy to empty and easy to clean.

Potty training twins is easier with a comfy potty seat like these from #Nuby! #pottytraining #toddlers #twins

We already had a couple of potty chairs from another company, which the twins really like, but this seat is a bit smaller and easier to move around the house or take with us. For the most part, Lynley uses a potty seat attachment to the big potty, but since we are still working on being able to stop what we're doing and make it to the potty on time, I like to keep a potty seat within eye sight and reach to use when needed. I take our Nuby seat outside with us, and Lynley has been pretty good about telling me "pee, pee" and running over to it to sit down. This is wonderful progress! The seat is small enough that she can do this all by herself without falling over, and the bowl insert is deep enough that it can hold a lot of pee! I just dump it, rinse and wipe it with a disinfecting wipe, and it's good to go for the next round. 

You can buy the Nuby Potty Seat at buybabydirect.com or amazon.com.

Connect with Nuby via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

To read our past potty teaching posts visit here and here.

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

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