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Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Christmas, Random Acts Of Kindness, Uncategorized | 0 comments

sweet whimsy designs Presents: The Happiness Elf!

sweet whimsy designs Presents: The Happiness Elf!

He’s baaaaaaaack!: Cheery, The Happiness Elf! He is bright, cheerful and full of holiday spirit! In fact, he loves to spread holiday cheer and encourages others to do the same! Cheery is a loyal and kindhearted best friend for all children. There’s no end to what he can do to help others and give the gift that everyone deserves: happiness. (Click here to view in our shop! Limited quantity available!)

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From something simple to more involved, we have plenty of free or inexpensive ways to encourage your child to spread joy with our Happiness Elf!:

Be generous! 

  • Help at your local food pantry.
  • Make “Needs Bags” for your local homeless! (plastic baggies with travel toothbrushes/paste, soap, tissues, or a snack) to give when you meet someone in need.
  • Bring unopened toys to donate to your local children’s hospital.
  • Start a donation page to gather goods/items for a charity foundation of your choice.
  • Bring flowers to your teacher, doctor, bus driver, etc to say “thank you” for being happy!

Be creative! 

  • Write a note of kindness to a friend or family member to tell them why you like them!
  • Make something creative for someone you love! (a drawing, a painting, Christmas tree ornaments/decorations, any type of arts & crafts!)
  • Read your favorite book to a friend and tell them why you love it so much!
  • Bake something yummy for your neighbor.
  • Draw a rainbow as bright & beautiful as you can, and hang it for your whole family to see!

Be kind!

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  • Give hugs to someone suffering, or to just anyone at all!
  • Leave positive post-it notes in public places like your school or library.
  • Help your mom or dad make dinner; if you’re able to use the stove or oven, plan a meal for your family & cook; they will certainly appreciate that!
  • Rake a friend’s leaves or shovel a neighbor’s snow. Every bit helps!
  • Write a letter to your local grocer and let them know you appreciate them.
  • Help a friend with their homework.

Be happy! 

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  • Keep a journal of what makes you happy & write something each day. Share with those you love & encourage them to do the same!
  • Sing carols from door to door and/or at a local nursing home or children’s hospital! (Organize with a larger group for more smiles!)
  • Host a Happy Party! Ask your friends to bring something to share. (Fun winter party ideas: Hot cocoa parties, popcorn & a movie, fort parties, sledding parties, and many more! Get creative, be safe & have fun!)

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Allow Cheery to encourage your child to spread joy & happiness this holiday season & throughout the year! He’s pocket-sized for carrying along on your journeys. He will bring out the best in your child, as long as you remember to let them be the creative force behind the elf – they’ll feel both empowered and kind-hearted for deciding what good things Cheery will do next. Suggest a few ideas from our list to get their thoughts flowing, but they will likely think of some really brilliant ways to shine all on their own. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Isn’t that what life is all about?!

What will The Happiness Elf bring to your family? Please share your photos and ideas with us! Find us on Instagram & tag us with #thehappinesself – we love to share! For even more ideas, follow us on Pinterest – many more fun ways to share are coming soon!!

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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 Dec 14, 2013 in Christmas, Christmas Music, Favorite Things, Holidays, Music, Song Of The Day | 1 comment

12 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 1

12 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 1

I’m a procrastinator at Christmastime. I have never been one of those people who shops for Christmas in July, nor will I ever be out at 3am on Black Friday. One thing I can do to be sure my shopping isn’t complete until December 24th is write! Yeah, that’s it!! Because I love anxiety! {What a glutton…} So I’ve come up with a little idea to share my love of Chrostmas music with all of you.

I’m not really sure when the twelve days of Christmas actually begins, but I’m doing my own little countdown with our favorite Christmas songs in the twelve days leading up to Christmas.

Music is most certainly one of my most favorite things in the world. If there’s one time of year when I listen to the same music over and over again for one month plus, it’s the month of December. I’m a sap for holiday tunes of any kind. Though it has been tough to narrow down my ridiculously long list of favorites, I will begin by listing some favorites this year. Next year, well, that may be a different list. (I’m an indecisive Libra, what can I say?!)

Our first, but not necessarily our favorite (because really, how can anyone choose just one?!) is “Christmas Lights” by Coldplay.

Always a favorite band, Coldplay hits every schmaltzy bone in my body with this creative and clever video, and the music just gets to me. They did it in one shot – quite a feat considering all that goes into this elaborate video. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorites? Share with us & you could win some swd goodies in the new year!!

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Children, Christmas, Crafts, Creative, DIY, Economical Activities, Education, Gift Ideas, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Holiday Gift Ideas, Holidays, Homemade, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Kindergarten, Parenting, Preschool, Stay At Home Mom, This Is Homeschool, Toddlers | 0 comments

This Is Homeschool: Gingerbread Crayons

This Is Homeschool: Gingerbread Crayons

It’s snowy and cold. Winter is here, and so are the holidays…in full force!

As busy as I’ve been, I always try to make time to craft with the kids. For the past several years, we have collected broken crayons from our home, restaurants, etc. We just hold onto them to make our own crayons!

I found a fairly inexpensive gingerbread crayon mold at Hobby Lobby last week (it was 50% off) for a total of about $4.

The kids love to peel stuff (it’s a gene, I swear), so we got to work stripping the crayons. This takes a while, but with a little Christmas music & storytelling, we passed the time fairly easily.

Speaking of time, we’ve been learning about the passage of time – how long is a minute, an hour, a day. We guessed how long it would take to melt the crayons in the toaster oven. We didn’t get too scientific, rather we kept it simple. Each child guessed & Marsden came the closest! Then we did the same for guessing how long it would take for the crayons to cool. Tavia was closest this time.

A fun and pretty time consuming activity – with lots of play time in between!

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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.
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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?!
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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!
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ENTER TO WIN A GINGHAM BOW TIE!!

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

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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 11, 2013 in Arts, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Children, Christmas, Creative, Etsy, Favorite Things, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Holidays, Jewelry, Lovely Lyla Jean, Product Review, Reviews, Shopping, Support Handmade, Toddlers, Work From Home, Working Mom | 0 comments

Lovely Lyla Jean – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Lovely Lyla Jean – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

All right, lovely people, it’s getting a little crazy around here. It’s about to get a heck of a lot crazier with a giveaway from one of my favorite children’s accessories shop.

Let me introduce you to Lovely Lyla Jean!

A wee side-note – I would not have met Melissa Griffo, owner of Lovely Lyla Jean, if it wasn’t for the Rochester Brainery. Melissa & I tabled next to each other at a Brainery Bazaar show this past summer. *Rochester, NY Locals: If you haven’t made it to a Brainery Bazaar, you are seriously missing out! LOADS of unique, handmade goods from an eclectic mix of artisans. Second Saturday of each month, and TWO SHOWS in December!)

Lovely Lyla Jean creates the most fun and whimsical accessories for girls & boys! The Chunky Bubblegum Beaded Necklaces are what stand out, but there are oh-so-many more sparkly pretties to select!

Lovely Lyla Jean holiday purple necklace

Melissa is a super-fun Mom to two littles who began creating her beautiful jewelry for her toddler daughter. What little girl doesn’t LOVE jewelry, right? (What little boy, for that matter?!) Where she finds the time, I’m not sure, though I have a pretty good idea it’s in between her full-time job, making dinner, and catering to her small children. You know, there’s just so much time left in a day to whip up lovely necklaces, earrings, and other accessories. Yes, I think that’s spot on. 😉

Lovely Lyla Jean earrings

Lovely Lyla Jean’s pieces are fun to play dress-up with, yet sophisticated enough to wear for a photo shoot or a family outing. Melissa is great about creating customized jeweled pieces to coordinate with that favorite outfit, especially with upcoming holiday attire. If you don’t see something that matches in her shop, she will be more than willing to whip up something wondrous for your little charmer to don in those Christmas card photos (sneaking up on us quickly!).

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Lovely Lyla Jean Hair Ties

It’s no surprise that the creations that come from Lovely Lyla Jean’s shop are so much fun – Melissa is a ball of energy with lots of laughter and a positive outlook on life. She is excellent fun to be around, and that certainly shines through in her art.

Lovely Lyla Jean Thanksgiving

When I saw Lovely Lyla Jean’s display at the Bazaar, I knew our kids had to have a handful of somethings from her shop. We ended up with a few zipper pulls and hair clips. Our son wears his zipper pull on everything, his belt loop, backpack, he even clips it on his shirt and pants. The hair clips are so adorable on the girls, and they always get compliments when they wear them. It’s hard not to purchase everything Melissa makes, it’s all just so darling! I sincerely hope she has plans to expand to making jewels for Mom…I think I need a chunky bubblegum bead necklace stat!

Lovely Lyla Jean Sweets

Photo by The Whimsical Sweet

Get your cutie gussied & get ready to accessorize, because Lovely Lyla Jean is giving away a super adorable Purple & Cream Faux Pearl Holiday Toddler Necklace and Bracelet Set (valued at $32.50)

– Lovely gift for your favorite Daughter, Granddaughter, Goddaughter or Niece
– Necklace measures 19 inches long with 2 inch extender chain for adjustable sizing
– Bracelet is made of strong highly stretchable cord to stretch and fit little wrists
– Perfect addition to any holiday outfit
– Beautiful photography prop for your holiday photo shoot
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ENTER TO WIN HERE!

In the meantime, visit her shop or read her blog, and for goodness sakes, start making a list of every little girl you know and gift her lots of lovelies from Lovely Lyla Jean this holiday season!! Start SHOPPING!

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive a Purple & Cream Faux Pearl Holiday Toddler Necklace and Bracelet Set (a $32.50 value). Contest begins November 11, 2013 at 12:00am and ends November 18, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Monday, November 18, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize must be claimed within one week of winner announcement. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states within two weeks of winner announcement and claim. Entries will be verified.

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

All photos copyright Lovely Lyla Jean, unless otherwise noted.
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