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Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Baby, Birthdays, Children, Christmas, Creative, Family, Holidays, infant, Jessica LK Photography, Lifestyle, Memories, newborn, Photography, Pregnancy, Product Review, Reviews, Stay At Home Mom | 0 comments

Jessica LK Photography

Jessica LK Photography

Our Christmas card this year still has me in awe. (Forgive the poor quality of this first photo; it is a snapshot of our card taken by myself. The quality of the actual card was lovely.)

xmas card

One brisk day in November, we rounded up the Sweet kids and met with Jessica Kemp, the master behind the lens of Jessica LK Photography.

Jessica had the stellar idea to join us at the Strong National Museum of Play, our local children’s museum, which would have never crossed my mind. It is a perfect location for a photo shoot, especially with children! The carousel, the brick wall, the old fashioned diner…all fun and whimsical backdrops for our holiday photos (or any photos, for that matter).

Thank you to By Cee Cee for outfitting our girls with beautiful dresses.


All images copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Girls dresses: By Cee Cee.

We aren’t very good about taking family photos. We have done it formally only once before, and that was when we only had two children. Jessica made us feel right at home, in the vast museum, which must not be easy to do. However, it came naturally to her. She is clearly meant to be with camera in hand. She whisked the kids in a few settings, added us here and there, and we had a lot of fun in the process. We could see the moments taking place, yet we had no idea her eye would turn them into something magical.



Just look at these captures.



Image: copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Bowtie: Tiny Chaos


The fact that the children didn’t know Jessica upon shooting made for some very intruiging photos. We were melted by the expressions she captured in our childrens’ faces. There aren’t even words to describe these looks, these expressions.

I love the attention Jessica Kemp pays to detail. At one point she moved some poinsettias into the shot, which added a little festive flair. From the actual shoot to the editing afterward, Jessica LK Photography is a true professional. Browse her website and you will see, she clearly loves what she does, and it shines through in every photograph she makes. The photos you will see can draw you in. It’s as if you want to get to know these people pictured, but you’ve never met them in your life.


From newborn sessions to weddings, she can and does do it all. She even has boudoir sessions available – mighty tempting for the upcoming Hallmark holiday. Her sessions are very affordable and her work, simply gorgeous. One photo is more stunning than the next. It will be difficult for you to choose a favorite, as it was for us. Plan on ooh-ing and aah-ing over your photos when your session is complete. We know we sure did!

We are grateful for Jessica’s time with us and hope to have her create beautiful work for us in the future.

Jessica LK Photography is graciously offering The Whimsical Sweet’s readers a custom timeline cover for those sessions booked in January, February, or March. Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day and Easter photo sessions! Thank you, Jessica!


Full disclosure: Jessica LK Photography provided us with a mini photo session and images. Girls dresses provided by By Cee Cee. All opinions are my own. All images are copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013.

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Childbirth, Children, Choices, Education, Family, Fatherhood, Homeschool, infant, Life, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Childbirth, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Potty Training, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom, Terrible Twos, Toddler Challenges, Toddler Naps, Toddlers | 1 comment

Patience Is Key

Patience Is Key


Several times throughout my time as a mother, conversations have come up regarding different parenting styles. Should you co-sleep or cry it out? Should you breast-feed or bottle feed? Should you go natural or have a medicated birth? When it’s time for potty training, do we try boot camp or let them learn on their own? The list goes on…

It has been my experience that I always choose the long road. I’ve had three natural births (including two decently long labors lasting over 24 hours and a shoulder dystocia baby), we co-sleep, I’ve breastfed each of our three babies until they were at least one year old, and we homeschool. We let our kids potty ‘train’ in their own time (which we have really lucked out at so far!) & our discipline methods are few. It seems as though we have created work for ourselves, but I truly believe it will make a difference in the long run.

Everything requires patience. It takes longer to learn how to breastfeed your baby than it does to mix a bottle. It takes more time to sleep with your baby or rock your baby to sleep each night than it does to cry it out. Natural birth takes more work and waiting patiently for that baby to come may take longer than you would like, but it’s worth it! It’s always worth it. Your children are worth it.

Patience doesn’t come easily around our home these days. Juggling all life has to offer while raising children is hard work.

Hopefully our children will, in turn, learn that patience. Patience is a very important quality to hold throughout life. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have much. However, what I do have is most often spent on our children, and I have to remind myself of this on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I realize this post will fire up some defensive parents, but relax. I’m not judging those who don’t do what I do. We are all unique and to each his own. The only difference between you & I is a little patience.

I would like to show my experiences, that what you think may be harder at first glance may actually be easier in the long run.

You see, natural birth often leads to healthy babies, which often lead to healthy bonding, which also often means successful breastfeeding which often leads to a sleepy baby. Don’t you think this is a good start to life, if you can help it? Wouldn’t you imagine children are much more likely to have happy childhoods if this is the way they begin? It seems like so much less frustration and annoyance if the anxiety is lessened by living this way.

It doesn’t stop there (And here is where I need to be reminded most these days). Remaining patient while raising our children hopefully teaches them to be kind and gentle, patient and understanding.

Once again, obviously we will all live how we need to live. And we all will love the way we need to love. A little patience certainly has never hurt anyone. In fact, patience is key.

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Posted by on Nov 30, 2013 in Baby, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, bowtie, Carnival Party, Children, Christmas, Creative, Etsy, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, headband, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Holidays, Party, Photography, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, Support Handmade, Tiny Chaos, Toddlers, Working Mom | 1 comment

Tiny Chaos – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Tiny Chaos – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

I’ve fallen in love. I simply adore bow ties, especially on little boys. Our own little man also simply adores wearing bow ties. He thinks they’re handsome, and so do we.
Bowtie by Tiny Chaos, Photo copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos, Photo copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

The best place, the only place to find super adorable toddler bow ties is Tiny Chaos.
tiny chaos silk plaid
Natalie Carter is the creative mind behind some really handsome handmade bow ties and hair bows at Tiny Chaos. I found her on Instagram, though she also has a Facebook page and shop on Etsy. Tiny Chaos is so good about posting photos of her latest bow creations, and even better – she has flash sales often!
tiny chaos holiday headband
I love that Tiny Chaos puts together color combinations, textures, and patterns that are unexpected, yet they are always beautiful and unique. Her holiday collection is spot on with both classic styles & modern looks. Every little guy needs a Tiny Chaos bow tie in his stocking this year…but why wait?! Take advantage of her Black Friday weekend sale – many of the shop’s listings are marked down plus free shipping on all domestic orders over $10.00 until 12/25 with the code ’10FREESHIP’!! How much do you love these bows?!
tiny chaos polka dot
tiny chaos pink headband
tiny chaos glitter headband
Natalie is so easy and fun to work with. Shipping is very fast & those darling little bow ties and headbands come packaged very nicely. It makes a good gift or a perfect accessory for your holiday photo shoot! (And keep in mind she can make matching Father/Son bow ties, even sister headbands to match!) Tiny Chaos was gracious enough to supply our mini man with a special celebratory bow tie for The Big Carnival Bash!
Bowtie by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

We have decided to be sure to have a Tiny Chaos bow tie for every occasion now through college graduation! How can you resist?!
Tiny Chaos is giving away a handsome bow tie to one lucky winner!
tiny chaos giveaway 2


You could and you should win this handsome fall gingham bow tie! Simply just click the link above & be on your merry way.

tiny chaos giveaway 1
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One will receive one (1) Fall Gingham Bow tie by Tiny Chaos (a $14 value). Contest begins November 30, 2013 at 12:00am and ends December 7, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Saturday, December 7, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. States within one to two weeks of winner announcement. Entries will be verified.
Thank you to Pamela Rayburn Photography & Jessica LK Photography for providing their beautiful photographs. Rochester, NY & Finger Lakes-area friends, keep them in mind when looking for superb photography!
Full disclosure: Tiny Chaos provided me with a bow tie to review to be able to write this post. I have not been compensated in any other way to feature Tiny Chaos in this post. It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :).
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Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Arts, Baby, Children, Crafts, Creative, Decor, Etsy, Giveaways, Handmade Halloween, Handmade Holiday, Home Decor, infant, Lovey Letters By Leah, newborn, Nursery Decor, Product Review, Reviews, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, Support Handmade, Wall Letters, Work From Home, Working Mom | 3 comments

Lovey Letters By Leah – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Lovey Letters By Leah – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

It’s that time again…time for a wonderful handmade giveaway! Woohoo!

Lovey Letters By Leah is owned by Lovely Leah herself, Leah Carroll. I met Leah (way) long ago, through a mutual friend when we were (much) younger. We always seemed to have a lot in common, our ginger locks being most important :).

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Leah is the new-ish Mom to two beautiful toddlers – twins, in fact – who surely keep her days as a stay-at-home Mom quite busy. She must have them on perfect nap schedules because somehow she finds the time to create some really whimsical, fun wall letters! It all began in her quest to find the right décor for her boy/girl twins’ nursery. Leah had so much fun during the creation process that she decided she wanted more. She said when friends and family would visit, they would inquire about the letters and she began creating her unique, custom wall letters for more & more people, in turn, decided to bring them to the handmade marketplace and share them with the world.

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Lovey Letters By Leah‘s shop is full of personalized art that would add that special touch to any nursery, child’s room, home office, or even a man cave! Lovey Letters has even created letters for pets, how fun?! Most of her clientele are parents decorating their children’s nurseries, but let’s face it, she’s capable of just about anything!

Letters For Your Pet, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013, Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013, Lovey Letters By Leah

Burlap Letters, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Burlap Letters, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

I asked Lovey Letters to create some wall art for sweet whimsy designs’ art shows and she came up with something that depicts swd so well! All I had to tell her was a little of what I wanted, something fun & whimsical, colorful, so this is what she came up with:

sweet whimsy designs, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

sweet whimsy designs, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

I think they’re perfect, don’t you?!

Leah at Lovey Letters By Leah was not only easy to work with, but she produces these pieces of art quite quickly, and always with a smile (even through email!). It’s simple to see this handmade business soaring to new heights because Leah is right, this is what has been missing from the nursery décor world all this time.

What’s In It For You?

Lovey Letters By Leah is giving away TWO wonderful prizes: 11 x 14 Initial Wall Letters, one per winner!! (a $23 value per letter)

These letters are fully customizable & can be done with Leah’s painless process:

The order process:
1) You choose the size of letters you would like. Either initials or the spelling of a full name.
2) Tell Lovey Letters By Leah your colors, font type, and theme or any decals you’d like to add.
3) Lovey Letters By Leah will then provide a story board of the design ideas for your approval.
4) Once approved, Lovey Letters will start hand crafting your letters. Each frame is individually cut along with the letters just for you. LLbL will then add the paper designs of your choosing. Each frame is trimmed with ribbon of your choice. She can add a bow for hanging or a saw tooth hanger, whichever you prefer.
5) Once completed, LLbL will send you final photos for your approval before shipped.
6) Each letter is individually wrapped in cellophane with ribbon. They will arrive ready to be gifted or a special gift just for you!
Doesn’t that sound like FUN?! We think so!
Tell us what you want to do with your letter, should you win! Where will you hang it? What colors will you work with? What designs do you love and can’t live without?
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Two (2) winners will receive one (1) 11 x 14 Initial Wall Letter by Lovey Letters By Leah (a $23 value). Contest begins November 25, 2013 at 12:00am and ends December 2, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Monday, December 2, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states after verification and creation process is complete. Entries will be verified.
.Full disclosure: Lovey Letters For Leah provided me with a set of wall letters to review to be able to write this post. I have not been compensated in any other way to feature Lovey Letters For Leah in this post. It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :).
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Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Arts, Baby, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Children, Creative, Etsy, Holiday Gift Ideas, painting, peg dolls, sweet whimsy designs, Toddlers, Work From Home, Working Mom | 2 comments

sweet whimsy designs’ Update!

sweet whimsy designs’ Update!

August is nearing a close and I have a great, big announcement…

…but that will have to wait ;).

First, I must give a big virtual hug to all of you amazing sweet whimsy designs’ supporters for allowing the shop to have it’s BEST MONTH EVER! August brought some wonderfully creative custom requests: superhero wedding cake toppers, custom castle blocks and colored knights, pirates and a spiffy new pirate ship, even a first birthday diapered baby cake topper! I would love for you to follow my Facebook page for all the latest posts including the “Paint Of The Day” photo which features a daily project for you to see. There’s lots more in store!

As always, thank you for allowing me to bring your ideas to fruition. It has been such a fun summer creating!


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