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Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Children, Education, Family, Homeschool, Kindergarten, Memories, Motherhood, Parenting, Preschool, Stay At Home Mom, This Is Homeschool, Toddlers | 2 comments

This Is Homeschool: 01.16.14

This Is Homeschool: 01.16.14

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We’ve been spending lots of days in our jammies (you’ve got that right – full days in pajamas – simply because we can). Between multiple illnesses among us and the freezing cold temps outside, why bother getting dressed?! Today, being a ‘recovery’ day, we decided to stay in our pj’s & do things like play cards, dye noodle necklaces (post coming soon), read, & do workbooks and a few other projects.

We love playing cards for so many reasons. As homeschoolers, it teaches us various concepts such as numbers, taking turns, strategy, planning ahead…and as a family, it brings us together for some time, usually a long time, and teaches patience as well as how to win and how to lose.

Crazy 8’s (pictured) is a great game for little ones. Also, Go Fish, Old Maid, & Speed are fun, age-appropriate games to play with preschoolers & kindergartners. The kids love playing card games & learn in the process: a win-win! Who knew a little play could lead to such enrichment?!

What are some of your favorite family-friendly card games? Do share, please!

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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 Nov 5, 2013 in Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Carnival Party, Children, Creative, Giveaways, Memories, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Photography, Product Review, Reviews, Stay At Home Mom | 3 comments

Pamela Rayburn Photography – Review and GIVEAWAY!

Pamela Rayburn Photography – Review and GIVEAWAY!

Good photography is hard to find. Great photography is very hard to find, yet we have found a lovely, talented photographer in Pamela Rayburn Photography.

I was first introduced to Pamela’s work through my beautiful (on the inside and out!) niece. Pam photographed my niece to introduce her Beautiful SENIORS packages. Well, she set her standards high and delivered! Every single photo she created is just gorgeous. Beautiful. STUNNING. Every photo induced a jaw-drop in awe.

pamela rayburn amelia 1pamela rayburn amelia 5 pamela rayburn amelia 4 pamela rayburn amelia 3 pamela rayburn amelia 2

We asked Pam to capture the Big Carnival Bash we threw in celebration of our daughter’s fifth birthday. She obliged, and went above and beyond any expectations as well as anything we asked of her. She captured the fun, the beauty, the child within all of us.

pamela rayburn carnival leah pamela rayburn carnival morgan pamela rayburn carnival parker

The editing is pristine. Pamela insures each photo has the perfect finishing touches, and seems to have more fun in the process!

pamela rayburn carnival zoe

The amazing thing about Pam is we hardly knew she was there. She snuck around trees and other barriers to grab the perfect shot time and time again. Even better, she is kind, humble and fun – a requirement in my book! She is so easy to work with and collaborate, and has many more great ideas than I could imagine. Delightful!

pamela rayburn carnival kelsey pamela rayburn carnival marsden pamela rayburn carnival duck pond

There is something so incredibly special about being able to see a moment happen, then capture it into an image forever loved. It takes true talent. To depict relationships, feelings, emotions…well, that’s what differentiates the great from the good.

pamela rayburn carnival charlotte pamela rayburn carnival chloe pamela rayburn carnival friends 2 pamela rayburn carnival friends

Pamela Rayburn is a great photographer. We have fallen in love Pamela Rayburn Photography! Now it’s your turn. Just in time for the holidays, Pamela Rayburn is offering $100 off her normal creation fee or prints!! Locals to Rochester, NY & Finger Lakes region: this is HUGE!

Enter to win HERE!

View slideshows of Pamela Rayburn Photography’s work and visit her Facebook page.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive one (1) credit valued at $100 off a creation fee or prints, to be chosen by winner at time of booking, from Pamela Rayburn Photography (a $100 value). Contest begins November 5, 2013 at 12:00am and ends November 12, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 12, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize can be claimed anytime after giveaway ends and is valid for one (1) year following winner announcement. Entries will be verified.

Full disclosure: Pamela Rayburn Photography provided me with several hours of her time to photograph our party. I was not compensated in any other way to write this post or to feature Pamela Rayburn Photography. 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 5, 2013 in Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Carnival Party, Children, Creative, Giveaways, Memories, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Photography, Product Review, Reviews, Stay At Home Mom | 4 comments

Pamela Rayburn Photography – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Pamela Rayburn Photography – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Good photography is hard to find. Great photography is very hard to find, yet we have found a lovely, talented photographer in Pamela Rayburn Photography.

I was first introduced to Pamela’s work through my beautiful (on the inside and out!) niece. Pam photographed my niece to introduce her Beautiful SENIORS packages. Well, she set her standards high and delivered! Every single photo she created is just gorgeous. Beautiful. STUNNING. Every photo induced a jaw-drop in awe.

pamela rayburn amelia 1pamela rayburn amelia 5 pamela rayburn amelia 4 pamela rayburn amelia 3 pamela rayburn amelia 2

We asked Pam to capture the Big Carnival Bash we threw in celebration of our daughter’s fifth birthday. She obliged, and went above and beyond any expectations as well as anything we asked of her. She captured the fun, the beauty, the child within all of us.

pamela rayburn carnival leah pamela rayburn carnival morgan pamela rayburn carnival parker

The editing is pristine. Pamela insures each photo has the perfect finishing touches, and seems to have more fun in the process!

pamela rayburn carnival zoe

The amazing thing about Pam is we hardly knew she was there. She snuck around trees and other barriers to grab the perfect shot time and time again. Even better, she is kind, humble and fun – a requirement in my book! She is so easy to work with and collaborate, and has many more great ideas than I could imagine. Delightful!

pamela rayburn carnival kelsey pamela rayburn carnival marsden pamela rayburn carnival duck pond

There is something so incredibly special about being able to see a moment happen, then capture it into an image forever loved. It takes true talent. To depict relationships, feelings, emotions…well, that’s what differentiates the great from the good.

pamela rayburn carnival charlotte pamela rayburn carnival chloe pamela rayburn carnival friends 2 pamela rayburn carnival friends

Pamela Rayburn is a great photographer. We have fallen in love Pamela Rayburn Photography! Now it’s your turn. Just in time for the holidays, Pamela Rayburn is offering $100 off her normal creation fee or prints!! Locals to Rochester, NY & Finger Lakes region: this is HUGE!

Enter to win HERE!

View slideshows of Pamela Rayburn Photography’s work and visit her Facebook page.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive one (1) credit valued at $100 off a creation fee or prints, to be chosen by winner at time of booking, from Pamela Rayburn Photography (a $100 value). Contest begins November 5, 2013 at 12:00am and ends November 12, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 12, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize can be claimed anytime after giveaway ends and is valid for one (1) year following winner announcement. Entries will be verified.

Full disclosure: Pamela Rayburn Photography provided me with several hours of her time to photograph our party. I was not compensated in any other way to write this post or to feature Pamela Rayburn Photography. 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 Oct 30, 2013 in Arts, Autumn, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Busy B Boutique, Carnival Party, Children, Crafts, Crafts, Creative, DD Lish, DecoArt, DIY, Economical Activities, Family, Featured, Friends, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Homemade, Memories, painting, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Party, Photography, Precious Peanut Shop, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Second Seed In Stitches, Shopping, Support Handmade, Tiny Chaos, Work From Home, Working Mom | 1 comment

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Our daughter recently turned the big FIVE years old. Since we haven’t really given her a big party (most birthdays have been celebrated with family), we decided to throw her a big carnival bash to celebrate her wonderful self. A carnival seemed fun, easy, and affordable. In reality, it was! My husband & I made most of the games with what we had around the house as well as some inexpensive shenanigans I found at craft stores and local shops. DecoArt sponsored some of the artwork which I used to create one of the games as well as the face paint pens (um, hello?! These were right up my alley!). It helped to have a handy hubby who cut wood & nailed things together for me ;). More on this coming soon…

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In my quest to support handmade shops, I decided to incorporate different things into the party from both local and distant artisans. This is my new mission on this blog: To support handmade artisans.

Enter beautiful, amazing, wonderful people.

First, I found a phenomenal local photographer who was not only willing to come capture the party in all it’s glory, but she did so in such a swift and lovely fashion that we will likely have her photograph our family for years to come. Pamela Rayburn Photography is owned and operated by Pamela Rayburn herself. She is so kind and such fun to work with! But more on her later *hint, hint*. Just look at these gorgeous captures! (Locals, you should do yourselves a favor & look into booking her for your holiday photos!)

There were so many people involved in pulling this off properly (which happened just by the skin of our teeth!). My husband, as supportive as he is, allows me to get a little lot carried away. The kids were cooperative and had a ball dressing for the part on the day of the party and even lended a hand with decorations and games. My sister, Deidre of DD Lish yumminess, baked one heck of a cake that tasted even better than it looked, if that’s possible. My mom “voluntarily” was coaxed into cooking fresh, homemade tacos for everyone to enjoy (we did our best to serve healthy foods). My dad & best friend were roped into coloring in the signage I created that morning. My brother-in-law donated some grass seed bags from his company Crosman Seed Corp.

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Then there were the shop owners, artisans who donated their craft to put the icing on the cake!

Did you get a peek at the perfect dress & headband our little t was wearing? That was designed by me, and created in collaboration with Precious Peanut Shop. Julie was incredible to work with. But again, more on that later.

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In case you haven’t picked up on my *hints*, these beautiful shops and artisans will be featured throughout the next several months as part of our Fall Frenzy: Festive Fall Features. Stay tuned!

Then there’s the bowtie on our son & hairbow on our youngest daughter. Would you get a load of this?! Tiny Chaos made this set of bows to add to the festivities. She is amazing.

Bow by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bow by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

We whipped up a photo booth with help from Busy B Boutique‘s Bethany Crocker and Nancy Topolski from Second Seed in Stitches. Bethany made some really fun photo props while Nancy crafted the “happy birthday” banner. Fantastic work-woman-ship from both ladies!! I can say it’s been so fun working with Bethany as we’re good friends as well as craft lovers. She even painted a few faces at the party. Talented Mama :)!

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

I think those that attended would all agree that C&C Bouncers stole the show with their hoppity-hooping bounce house! Shari & Ted, owners of C&C, are working on opening a great place for fun in the Finger Lakes area so locals, get ready!

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

It was just SO MUCH FUN and rose beyond expectations of our little ones. They had smiles all day long, as did their friends and family. It is always so wonderful and almost dream-like to have so many loved ones all in one place celebrating alongside us! I think we’re locked into throwing a party like this for each of our children’s fifth birthdays, and we’re totally fine with that. We’ll have to do a little more ourselves next time, but live and learn, right?!

I’m looking forward to showcasing these wonderful shops and artisans, as I’m sure you will, too. Just wait to see what’s in store for you!!

From deep inside our hearts, THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of this awesome celebration. We all appreciate it so!!

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Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 in Featured, Life, Memories, Motivational Posts, Philosophy, Summer, Thought of The Day, Weather | 0 comments

Enjoy The Now

Enjoy The Now

Did you ever look at a sweater in the middle of summer and wonder how winter seems so distant, so far away?

Or when you imagine flip flops and tank tops in the dead of winter, and you just cannot feel the warmth of the sun, regardless as to how hard you try?

Soak up the sun; feel the rays strike your skin and fulfill you.

This is simply a friendly reminder that summer is now. Enjoy the now.

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