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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.

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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.

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Just look at these captures.

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

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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.

Captivating.

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!

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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

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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 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 Jul 23, 2013 in Baby, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Children, Creative, Economical Activities, Etsy, Gift Ideas, Handmade, Holiday Gift Ideas, Home Decor, Homemade, infant, newborn, painting, Party, peg dolls, Preschool, Save money, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, sweet whimsy designs, Toddlers, Work From Home, Working Mom | 2 comments

sweet whimsy designs Feature On PS I Adore You TODAY!

sweet whimsy designs Feature On PS I Adore You TODAY!

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My shop, sweet whimsy designs, is having a sweet little feature on the pop-up shop PS I Adore You today! It will run for the next five days, so be sure to collect your set of Personalized Peg Dolls!

I’d like to thank Chelse at EIEIO Photography for her beautiful work capturing the fun and whimsy of these peg dolls. You can look forward to more swd photography from EIEIO to come!

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Children, Choices, Cooking, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Healthy Lifestyle, Homeschool, infant, Kids Activities, Library, Life, Marriage, Moderation, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Stay At Home Mom | 2 comments

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

Be realistic. Generally I never make an appointment before 10am. It takes at least one half-hour per child to prepare to leave the house, just to exit the front door. Why make yourself crazy?!

Go easy on yourself. I breast feed on demand until my kids are at least 12 months old. Trust me, it’s easier!

•Like I said, Go easy on yourself. I co-sleep. We’re all much happier and there’s much less wailing, crying and whining, and much more sleep for everyone.

(As I type these facts, I realize this is a great reminder to myself that it is all worth it! The love in our family is apparent and whole.)

Let them do it. We teach our children (usually with their lead) to brush their own teeth, wash their bodies, clean themselves, get themselves dressed, clear their plates from the table after meals, etc. I’m not ashamed to say we potty train at an early age, with baby-led signs, simply to make it easier. Our kids have usually been ready by eighteen months, and we’re just fine with that! They love to get themselves dressed and brush their own hair after baths. Obviously it builds self-confidence and boosts their big little egos. It’s a win-win!

Eat well. We eat whole, raw foods often; I cut up fruit and vegetables to have ready to eat in the fridge. I make crock-pot meals and sauces and many times I don’t cook! (Thank you to our local grocery store, Wegmans, for your super easy $6 Meals which provide my family with a nutritious meal when I am too busy to cook.) When we DO cook, we pretty much make meals in an assembly line, healthy pyramid-style, directly to the kids place at the table. Time-saving and nutritious!

(Speaking of time-saving, invest in an inexpensive, clean-able, wipe-able tablecloth. HomeGoods has pretty, inexpensive padded plastic tablecloths that are appealing enough to use while your kids are young.)

•We read a lot and watch tv only sometimes. Our 4 1/2 year-old now loves to read to her siblings, which is truly the most precious thing ever!

Live comfortably. The house is most certainly always messy. We’ve agreed that our priority is the children, so any disarray that gets in the way is just secondary to them. (And they’re ALWAYS the ones creating the mess so we know they’re enjoying themselves thoroughly!) As they say, a messy home is the sign of happy children.

Relax. I take baths to relax, about once a week, in the evenings when the kids go to bed (or sometimes before, thanks to my dedicated husband!). Everyone has their thing, mine is often baths. Sometimes I paint, sometimes I read, but the most efficient way for me to relax is a hot, steamy bubble bath.

Date other people. We take our kids on one-on-one “dates”, even if it’s just to the grocery store, the library, or to fill up the tank with gas. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a little something from time to time to let them know they’re important and loved.

Get creative. Literally. We pile up the scissors, glue sticks, crayons & paper and ask them to make a castle or a butterfly, a rocket ship, whatever! They’ll come up with something even if you can’t, don’t be afraid to get artsy. Check Pinterest for ideas if both you and your children are at a loss. {Doubtful.}

Call in the troops. We enlist help. We have family that is close & we call in them when we need their assistance. We don’t take advantage (we rarely go on “date nights” and even more rarely go out with friends together – and we’re ok with that.) so we only utilize their loving babysitting when needed for work-related things, appointments, outings like that.

Above all, enjoy the ride. Love your children, kiss and hug them often. There is always one piece of advice every new Mom hears repeatedly: It flies by. And it really does. In the blink of an eye, you will be choosing a first birthday outfit, picking which soccer camp they’ll attend, playing ‘Tooth Fairy’, teaching multiplication, then *gasp* applying to colleges.

Just. Stay. Little.*

What are some tips you would like to share? What gets you through the day with your family?

*I met this beautiful woman who creates beautiful pieces for little girls. Debbie from Sweet Lemonade has a cute little necklace with this phrase, “Just stay little”, and it says it all. We are collaborating on a few sweet surprises to come! Stay tuned.

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Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Arts, Baby, Birthday Invitations, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Children, Crafts, Crafty Schmitt, Crafty Schmitt, Creative, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, Holidays, Homemade, infant, newborn, Party, Product Review, Reviews, Stay At Home Mom, Summer, sweet whimsy designs, Toddlers, Work From Home | 1 comment

Happy Birthday Banner – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Happy Birthday Banner – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Welcome to Week TWO of our month of giveaways! I hope you’re enjoying perusing the shops of these crafty Mamas.

Speaking of crafty:

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Here is one super busy Mom who loves to create! I met Abbie Schmitt, owner and creator of Crafty Schmitt, about a year ago through a local Moms group. She has a cutie-patootie daughter (whom she clearly adores) and a supportive husband, along with the ability to design makes for a super business!

Construction Birthday Onesie

Construction Birthday Onesie

Construction Highchair Birthday Banner

Construction Highchair Birthday Banner

Crafty Schmitt Tutu

Crafty Schmitt Tutu

Crafty Schmitt can help with all your birthday party needs! Abbie designs everything from onesies and tutus to banners for walls and high chairs. If you have a theme in mind, Crafty Schmitt can provide for you. The possibilities are endless!

Dinosaur Onesie

Dinosaur Onesie

Welcome Santa Banner

Welcome Santa Banner

Welcome Baby Banner

Welcome Baby Banner

Finding Nemo Birthday Onesie

Finding Nemo Birthday Onesie

I’m excited to have a Crafty Schmitt laminated pennant banner as part of sweet whimsy designs’ shows (photos to come). Thanks for that, Abbie! Crafty Schmitt is fast and efficient, making your special celebration a sure hit.

Birthday Ensemble

Birthday Ensemble

Crafty Schmitt is giving one fortunate fan a Happy Birthday banner! (A $16 value!)

Happy Birthday Banner by Crafty Schmitt

Happy Birthday Banner by Crafty Schmitt

Every celebration needs a title, don’t you think?! Choose from endless designs or ask the Crafty Schmitt to come up with something for you! Perfect for your summer shindig, a Happy Birthday banner will for certain add something special to your little one’s birthday party.

crafty schmitt happy birthday banner 4crafty schmitt happy birthday banner 2crafty schmitt happy birthday banner 3

Enter to win a Happy Birthday Banner here.

Thanks, Crafty Schmitt, for bringing a little creativity and fun to little ones’ lives each day!

Good luck, everyone!

(Shameless plug: I should add that sweet whimsy designs’ lead artist, i.e. myself, created Crafty Schmitt’s logo design you see at top of this post.)

Full disclosure: I have not been compensated in any way to write this post or feature Crafty Schmitt in this post. It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :).

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One lucky winner will receive one (1) “Happy Birthday Banner” from Crafty Schmitt. Contest begins June 10, 2013 at 12:00am and ends June 17, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Monday, June 17, 2013. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states within one week of winner announcement. Entries will be verified.

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