Saturday, January 28, 2012

Care Bear Birthday Cake and Rainbow Cupcakes (Little Sweets turns 3!)

Our "baby" girl turned 3 recently, and I have to share a few photos from her special day! Her favorite books right now are the Care Bears books (the old school ones that were mine when I was little) so she wanted me to make her a Care Bear cake. Here it is!

It was interesting trying to transform the Wilton Care Bear cake pan (which was one of the new Care Bears) to Wish Bear from the old books. Little Sweets' favorite color is blue so I wanted to make a blue Care Bear... the other options were Grumpy Bear and Bedtime Bear, hence our choice to make Wish Bear!

And on to the cupcakes, which made because there were a lot of people coming to the party and we needed more cake. Here's a close-up shot of them, inspired by a Pinterest find!

The candy rainbows are Airheads Xtremes (rainbow berry sour candy). I found them in the Dollar Spot at Target--one package was enough for 24 cupcakes (cut them in half). If you're going to make these, wait until you're just about to serve them before adding the rainbows. I used homemade buttercream frosting and it worked well because the frosting hardened a bit and could hold them up better.

For the favors, I made some rainbow candy lollipops. I bought the candy mold from a local craft store and painted in the rainbows with those candy melts you get from craft stores.

Happy Birthday to our Little Sweets!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

my Christmas present to myself (and my family and God)

I'm giving myself a blogging vacation for Christmas! I need to re-focus on what Christmas is all about and enjoy time with my family away from the computer.

I feel like God has really been working on my perspective lately in my alone time, in my conversations with my Sweets, and through a book called Crazy Love that our Sunday school class is reading right now. I want to share a little bit about that with you and how it affects this blog.

I used to try to make time to read the Bible and/or pray in the mornings, and now I find myself waking up and getting on the computer right away. I want to see what's happening in Blogland, check my Google Analytics stats and RSS subscription numbers, browse Pinterest, read through emails, etc. My priorities have obviously shifted and I don't think it's for the better.

When I stop to think about all the ways I could be spending my time, I want my choices to please God. I know that it is entirely possibly to blog for the glory of God, and I hope that some of the things I've done on this blog (like this or this) have made God happy.

I also want my choices to honor my family. We have made sacrifices for me to be a stay-at-home-mom. I want to prove that decision right and I humbly confess to you that I may do all the SAHM things (cook, craft, love), but I'm not good at just being with Little Sweets. As she gets older, I want her to remember that her mommy spent quality time with her and didn't "just a minute" her all the time.

I am also refocusing some of my time to be more intentional about teaching Little Sweets. I'm pre-preschool-homeschooling. Is that a thing? =) I've collected tons of ideas on my Preschool at Home board and I'm starting slowly. It's so exciting to see the tangible rewards of what I invest in her.

So I'm taking a step back from blogging.

I'm not going to delete or disown my blog... I'll probably be back to post things here and there. I'm definitely keeping up with my Etsy business for the reasons I mentioned here. But you won't be hearing from me as often on my blog.

If you want to find projects that have been popular on my blog thus far, please check out My Gallery!

Thank you to all my awesome readers and followers who have encouraged me, taught me and given me more confidence in my life!

Are you giving yourself anything for Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Shopping at SweeterThanSweets

Anyone considering purchasing Christmas gifts from my Etsy shop, SweeterThanSweets?

This Thursday, December 15th will be the last day to order to guarantee Christmas delivery (for U.S. customers). My shop will be closing starting on December 18th so I can spend more time with my family this Christmas.

What to buy, you wonder?
Shoe Clips for Women and Girls at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Shoe Clips for Women and Girls

Boutique Burp Cloths for Baby Boys and Girls at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Boutique Burp Cloths for Baby Boys and Baby Girls

Mini Felt Fascinators for Girls and Women at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Mini Felt Fascinators for Women and Girls

Hooded Towel Sets for Babies, Toddlers and Kids at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Hooded Towel Sets for Babies, Toddlers & Kids
Hair Pins for Women

Headbands for Girls and Women at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Headbands for Women and Girls

Appliqued Clothing for Girls and Boys at SweeterThanSweets on Etsy
Appliqued Clothing for Girls and Boys

Also in my shop: Hair Clips/Bows and Gift Sets. Want a coupon code? There's always one available to my Facebook Fans, just look for "Coupon Code"in the left margin.

Thanks for considering shopping at SweeterThanSweets this Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Loan and re-loan money to entrepreneurs around the world with

Have you ever heard of

I learned about Kiva a few years ago, when one of my sisters (who runs this Etsy shop) suggested that all our siblings donate money to the charity Kiva instead of giving each other Christmas gifts. What a way to celebrate what Christmas is truly about!

Through Kiva, you can loan as little as $25 to an entrepreneur in one of 60 countries. The entrepreneur will pay you back over time, which means that you can re-loan that $25 again and again. Your gifts are literally multiplied! How cool is that?

When I opened my Etsy shop, I decided that I wanted 10% of the profits to go to a charity. I chose Kiva as the charity because fundamentally, Etsy sellers and Kiva entrepreneurs are all doing the same thing: using our God-given gifts to help financially support our families and to enrich the lives of others. It's a perfect match!

We have donated $143 since opening my Etsy shop. (I say "we" because my past customers are partnering with me in these donations...whether they know it or not!) As loans are repaid, I re-loan the money, which means that we have been able to loan $200 total so far. There is $129 still being repaid and that will be re-loaned as well, which will bring the grand total of money loaned to $329 for an investment of $143.

You can choose who you lend to based on country, gender and type of business. I've chosen to loan to entrepreneurs in Cambodia, Iraq, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon and Pakistan. They are operating businesses in the health, clothing, retail and arts sectors.

So to all of my past customers, thank you for partnering with me to help support  entrepreneurs around the world!

To see other Etsy sellers who also support Kiva, click here for Team Kiva.

If you're interested in learning more about Kiva or want to donate now, click here for Kiva's website.

(This is not a sponsored post--I just love what Kiva does and wanted to share it with you!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins (from scratch) - Recipe

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Who needs a family's-in-town breakfast recipe? Blueberry Muffins from scratch are the perfect treat during the holidays... filling, crowd-pleasing and (mostly) healthy. Time to use up your stash of late-summer blueberries in the freezer!

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins (from scratch) by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

When my mom and her sisters were young, they would go to a department store in Boston, Massachusetts called Jordan Marsh where they sold Blueberry Muffins. Somehow, someone got the recipe and the rest is history.

If you've never had blueberry muffins made from scratch, just you wait. These are so yummy and you definitely won't miss that sugary crumb topping that I usually love so much on (store-bought) blueberry muffins.

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 cups blueberries
nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin pan or line with paper baking cups.

In a small bowl, stir flour and baking powder together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Fold in blueberries (if frozen, toss with 2-3 tsp. flour from the measured amount to keep them from sinking and leaking) and nuts.

Pour or scoop dough into muffin pan (dough will be thick). Bake for 30 minutes until gorgeous and golden.

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins (from scratch) by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Craving more yummy creations? Check out my other recipes here!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar to teach the True Story of Christmas - start today!

It's December 1st... time to start your Advent Calendar to teach kids the True Story of Christmas!

It won't take too long to gather the supplies if you already have an Advent Calendar, so go check it out and get started a few days late if you have to!

I bought my advent calendar with boxes from Hobby Lobby for less than $10 and decorated it using Skip To My Lou's free printable numbers (with help from Photoshop).

Do you want to make your own Advent Calendar? Check out Tip Junkie's DIY Advent Calendar Roundup or search OnePrettyThing for tons of great ideas! Here's one way to make it from Adventures of a DIY Mom!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our cruise to the Bahamas: Celebrating 10 years of marriage!

We just got home from our first cruise! We celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary, which fell on Thanksgiving this year.

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

We enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine on our anniversary which we had bought on our 5-year anniversary in Napa Valley, California and saved for this special occasion! (In case you're wondering, it was V. Sattui Cabernet Sauvignon from 2004.)

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Little Sweets enjoyed her special window seat in our cabin. I freaked out right after I took this picture--I saw dolphins playing in the water while we were still in the port in Charleston, South Carolina! One of her favorite parts of each day was coming back to our cabin after dinner to discover what animal the housekeepers had made from towels. The monkey hanging from the ceiling was definitely a favorite!

Okay, now on to the photos you all want to see: the Bahamas! Our first port was Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. We went snorkeling and I didn't bring my camera so I don't have any photos from that day.

In our second and last port, Nassau, we got an awesome tour of the island. We had lunch at Compass Point and it was definitely the most colorful place I've ever seen!

 Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

The water there was so beautiful. I could've eaten every meal of the cruise with this view.

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

I couldn't resist walking around the property and taking photos.

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Our last day of the cruise ended with a beautiful display of God's creativity...

...a rainbow on one side of the ship:

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

 ...and a sunset on the other side:

Cruise to the Bahamas by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

God is good and He has blessed us so much in the past 10 years of marriage. It was so fun to be able to celebrate this milestone with our little family!