Inspired Mom Series: Meet Bethany of Sweet Georgia Sweet

I’m thrilled to be featuring Bethany, Owner and Designer of Sweet Georgia Sweet, as an Inspired Mom.  Bethany creates the most gorgeous Wreaths.  How do I know?  I am currently the lucky owner of this Pink Polka Dot beauty, hanging in my office.  But it’s not just wreaths that Bethany designs.  She also creates lovely Topiaries, Banners and Garland.  They are perfect for parties, holidays and everyday decorating.  Not only is she a wonderful business woman, she is also a Mom to a sweet boy, Walker.  If you follow Bethany on Instagram or Facebook, you can see all the adventures of Walker.  I’m telling you, I’ve never met him, but his smile is contagious.

Do you have your cup of coffee, tea, water or mimosa?  Great!  It’s time to learn a little more about Bethany.

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What was your job prior to starting your own business?
I worked in the insurance industry for about 10 years. Immediately prior to coming home to be a full time Mom, I worked with one of the nation’s leading life insurance agents.
Did you always want to start your own business?
Yes, I think I always have known that I would love starting my own company. It just took me awhile to find my way, to find my niche, to find my dream.
What is your typical workday?
As a full time Mom & home educator, there really is no typical day. However, what I strive for is an early morning start with school, & we’ll hit that hard for many hours. Usually, I do much of my studio work in the afternoons. I try to avoid working past 9pm. That time alone with my husband is precious & much needed, so I try to make that time as sacred as possible.
How do you manage social media?
Social media can be quite the beast! I hear lots of complaints about it, but I love it! It’s a great way for me to introduce new product, relate with fans & customers, & tell the story of who we are. I try to post consistently throughout the day & the week. I see a direct correlation between my social media activity & my shop activity.
How many children do you have?
My husband & I have one son. Our son, Walker, was born in Uganda. Our journey to become a family was long & hard, yet one filled with beauty & grace & wholeness.
How do you find joy in the every day routine?
Being at home with my little boy is just the perfect dose of joy! We interact all day long & he is always telling me what a good job I’m doing. {He’s probably the only kid who knows the word topiary} We sing, we dance, we laugh, we play. For me, I find joy in the people in my life & in my spiritual relationship with Jesus. There is a lot of stuff to steal my joy, but finding joy in the little things & being thankful have, for me, become a joy that splashes out & enables me to love this crazy life we’re living.
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Thank you so much to Bethany for giving us a little insight to her daily life as a Mom and Business Owner.  Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions for Bethany or to let her know how she inspires you.
Follow Bethany at the following links: Shop, Facebook, BlogPinterest, Instagram and Twitter

July Goals

As I scrolled through my Facebook Feed this morning, I came across a post that I found inspiring.  Erin, from Blue Eyed Bride, wrote a post about her July Goals. As I read it, I kept thinking how fantastic of an idea this was and I was inspired to begin doing the same.  I am always setting goals for myself and making a ton of “to do” lists but sharing them gives you an accountability I really like.  Plus, I think the most important tasks can get lost in all of my list making.  Because if I’m being honest, I love making lists.  Probably a little too much!

So here are my top 5 Goals for July:

Create the “Get Organized” Printable Collection for Sweet Mady: This has been a collection I have been wanting to design for some time now.  I love to be organized and as I mentioned, I love lists.  Every time I sit down to start this, I get overwhelmed and push it to the side.  This month, I am going to move past that fear.

Read 2 Books: As silly as that sounds to actually have reading as a goal, I feel like if I don’t write it down, I will forget about it.  I love to read.  However, once I get out of the routine of reading at night, it’s hard for me to jump back in.  My first book choice is A Fault in our Stars.  Who has read it?  Did you love it?

Workout 4x’s a week: I am headed in the right direction and am making exercising a priority. Having children, you often put yourself last.  I’ve realized that isnt’ always the best thing for you.  I have a couple races coming up and I want to be a healthy role model for my children.

Get Madelyn signed up for a 5K: She really wants to do this and I keep putting it off. I have found a couple I think she will love and it would be so fun to do together.  I just need to put it on the calendar and get us signed up!

Paint our Bedroom: A couple months ago we redecorated our bedroom. As much as we love what we have done, the paint color does not look great with the new furniture we picked out.  We know we want to paint it, but haven’t sat down to actually pick out a color.  This month, not only are we picking out a color, but we are getting it painted!

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It feels good to write these goals down and give myself a focus.  Next month I will let you know how I did on these goals and what my goals for August will be.  Again, thanks so much to Erin for inspiring me to do this.  If you have not visited her blog, Blue Eyed Bride, please stop by and do so!

What are your goals for July?

 

The Boys Birthday and Letting it Go

A little over a week ago we celebrated Tyler and Carson’s 7th Birthday.  I have always been one for having a party theme.  I love everything about it!  Coming up with the idea, the decorations, activities, etc.  However this year I decided to let it all go.  Having twins makes coming up with a theme a little more challenging.  They are the best of friends, but very different in what they like.  So instead of trying to merge two themes together, I just let it go and let them have whatever they like.

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We are fortunate that their birthday is in June and that we have a pool.  This makes party planning simple.  A pool party it is! So we invited a handful of their best buds over for an evening of swimming and water games. But then the weather threatened to not cooperate and I had to come up with a backup plan.  So what else do 6 and 7 year olds boys love?  Legos!  Off to Target we went to pick up the Lego Movie.  The morning of the party, Madelyn helped get things ready by filling cups up with Legos for the boys to build with.  They loved this!  Seriously the easiest activity ever.

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After a little lego building and hot dogs we headed out to the pool.  We were lucky that the rain held off and the boys had a wonderful time together.

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After swimming, the boys came in and we enjoyed cake and opening gifts.  Let me just tell you that the cakes is where I really had to “let it go”.  I knew they would not be excited about any sort of pool party themed cake and we always bake their cakes here at home.  So about a week before the party, I took Tyler and Carson to the store and let them pick out whatever they wanted for their cake toppers.  I could have told you exactly what they would pick.  Tyler loves animals and wants to be a vet, so he picked a little safari animals collection.  Carson loves all things army, so he picked army themed candles.  The cakes aren’t beautiful and I will never be opening a cake business, but the boys loved them!

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I had a few more lego activities ready for after cake, but all of the boys wanted to watch the Lego Movie together.  Again, I just let it go and rolled with it.  We popped a bunch of popcorn and they all snuggled up together in the theater room to watch it. When the movie was over, it was 9:00 and parents started picking up.

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This party is nothing I would have planned and I think it turned out way better.  The boys hung out with their best buds for 4 hours and had a blast the whole time.  I wasn’t thinking about which activity was coming next and running around crazy like I have done many times before.  I was able to sit back and truly enjoy it.  I will say that it helps having a group of kids who are fantastic.  This party was truly what Tyler and Carson wanted and they loved every minute of it.  Am I abandoning themes for future birthday parties? No.  Madelyn is all about a theme, so I don’t think we will be abandoning it just yet.  But I definitely have realized sometimes it truly is better to just “let it go”.

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Inspired Mom: Outtake

I’m back to answer another question from our Inspired Mom Series.  The last Inspired Mom Outtake was all about how I started Sweet Mady.   Today I thought I would answer a question about my family.  Ready? Here we go!

How do you make quality time for each child? Having three kids in school and lots of activities can make quality time tricky.  Add in that 2 of my children, are twins, complicates it a little more.  Sure I get quality time with them together, but my goal is one on one time.  For me, it’s all about taking a look at their specific interests and going from there.

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Madelyn is 10 and is a competitive dancer.  We spend hours each week driving back and forth to dance and although that is not face to face interaction, it is a great time to just talk.  That’s the time I usually hear how things are going in school and find out what’s going on in that tween head of hers.  She also has a love for reading and we try as much as possible to cuddle up on the couch and read side by side.  I have found that she really enjoys doing this and I try to make an effort as much as possible.  Real life:  Sometimes it’s hard.  It’s been a long day.  Kids are cranky.  I may be cranky and I really just want to tuck everyone into bed and say goodnight.  Sometimes I do this, but if I just step back and take 10-15 minutes to read with her, it settles me down and she always has a huge smile on her face.  Do I do this every night?  No.  But I try.

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Tyler is my Lego playing, dog loving, science experiment, tool building kid.  Truly it’s not hard to find something to do with him.  He just loves to play.  Because he is a twin, it’s more about finding time to be with just him.  Because Carson isn’t as into Legos as Tyler, I can often get one on one time by building with him.  This child also loves to snuggle, so I climb into bed with him for just a few minutes at night to chat about whatever is on this 6 year olds mind.  Real Life: Bedtime can be hard.  Having twins is like a constant playdate.  Bedtime included.  Sometimes I only snuggle for a minute or two and sometimes snuggling to a 6 year old can also mean wrestling.  I try to pick the nights he’s super tired to lay in bed with him.

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Carson is my laid back guy.  His ideal day would be spent infront of the tv, while playing Wii in one hand and his itouch in the other.  This kid loves his electronics.  Thankfully he also loves to read, loves music and board games.  Because Tyler isn’t really into board games, I try to use that time to have one on one with Carson.  I can always get one on one time with him by snuggling up to a show or book as well.  Plus he loves to bake, so we make lots of muffins in our house! Of the 3 kids, he is definitely the easiest to get time in with. Real Life:  Can we talk about just how mind numming some of the board games are?  I’m always ready to play Trouble, Sorry, etc. but he always wants to play Matching, Super Why, Go Deigo…Oh wait!  He likes the learning games.  Okay, I’ll take it.  And yes Carson, we can play “just one more time”.

Real Life:  Do I get one on one time with each child every single day?  No.  Do I go to bed feeling guilty about that?  Absolutely.  But then I try better the next day.  Because that’s what it’s all about right? We’re not perfect parents.  Just doing the best we can each and every day.

How do you spend quality time with each of your children?

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Inspired Mom Series: Meet Nicole of Salsa Sweets

I am thrilled to have Nicole as my next feature on the Inspired Mom Series.  Nicole is a Mom, has a full time job and runs her baking company, Salsa Sweets.  I’m exhausted just typing all of that!  I met Nicole through Facebook and have loved following her on social media and seeing all of the wonderful cookie creations she comes up with.  She truly is fabulous!  Read on to learn more about Nicole.  I love what she has to say about measuring her own success and how she finds joy in the everyday.

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 What was your job prior to starting your own business? This is a funny question for me because what I was “before” is actually what I am still currently doing. I am a metal health and substance abuse therapist and currently work in a counseling practice near my home. I don’t have any plans to quit my career and so I hope that I can continue to balance both of my dream jobs for a very long time to come.
What is your goal for your business this year?  To keep it going! I strive to continue to create custom not only cookies but memories for my customers. I want my reputation to continue to grow as someone that personally cares about making your event special and doing what I can so that someone feels loved, honored, and treasured.
Did you always want to start your own business? This is a tricky question! In my counseling career, I always wanted to be in private practice so that I could have flexibility and balance. I have had several throughout my career and have loved every second of it. As far as cookies go, it just organically evolved into something incredible. I certainly didn’t have any specific vision or plan, it just…for a lack of better word..became.
How did your business idea come about and how did you get started? I have always been the baker in the family but sugar cookies started just a few years ago. I made some for friends and it didn’t take long for word to spread. I went to a cookie conference and I just knew at that time that this was going to become something for me. It was creative and fun but it also did something that I genuinely love doing. It helped people. I know I do it with my daily job but this was something in its own special way. From that point on, I never looked back.
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What is your typical work day?  Busy, busy, busy! I get up around 6:30am and check emails, Facebook, and IG and respond if I can. I start processing my stencil orders (did I mention that I also make stencils in addition to cookies) and than get my daughter ready for school. It’s off to drive her to school and I head to my office. I work there in the morning and than I go get my daughter. After that, it’s fun times with friends, packing up cookies, running errands, and than dinner and bedtime routine. After she is in bed, I start cookies for the night until about midnight. If I am lucky, I can get them baked in the late afternoon but sometimes I am starting from scratch at 7pm. Once midnight hits, I am off to sleep. I am not one of those decorators that can pull an all-nighter. It’s a long day but I like it and I appreciate it. I love that I get to have 2 amazing careers and can do them while I am still (fairly!) young.
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How do you measure success for your business?  I honestly try not to measure it. I can certainly look at my calendar on a monthly basis and know that I am booked to the gills but I tend to focus on having control of my schedule. Early in my career, one always cares about making money and moving up the ladder. Now, I care more about flexibility in my schedule and making time for my family and for me. I know I have come a long way as I am able to say no sometimes and not feel guilt when I do. This has taken me a long time to learn but I feel like my business is run more smoothly as a result. I never want to get to a point where I resent my work and so my success is measured in how much control I allow myself to have over my day.
How do you find joy in the everyday routine?  I laugh. A lot! I can laugh at my own mistakes, sing silly songs, and make jokes and honestly, it really gives me perspective. Hearing my daughter belly laugh reminds me daily that what I am doing is worth it. I really want her to grow up knowing that Moms can be successful in so many ways and still do a wonderful job raising their children. She tells everyone that I make cookies and help people and tells me that  “I am the best Mom she ever had.” I am fortunate that I don’t have to look too hard to find joy, it truly does surround me. For that, I will always be grateful and humble.
Thank you so much to Nicole for being an Inspired Mom.  I definitely love how she says, “Moms can be successful in so many ways and still do a wonderful job raising their children”.  I think we all need to hear that as often as possible!
Visit Nicole on Facebook and on Instagram at SalsaSweets

 

Happy June

It’s June and I can’t believe it.  Didn’t we just put the Christmas decorations away?  June for our family is such a busy month.  It’s full of countdowns, celebrations and swim days.  There is a lot of hustle, a little juggle and stress always finds a way to sneak in.  Even now as I’m typing, I’m a little stressed out about how I’m going to make all the sports activities this evening work.  But, as always, I will find a way.

June began with the boys last soccer game and the beginning of swim team for all 3 kids. Swim Team is a new adventure for us.  One that I am very excited about, but (here it is again), a little stressed.  I’m not sure how we are going to juggle dance and swim for Madelyn, but we will find a way.  I always say our schedule is like a puzzle.  Always trying to figure out exactly how the pieces fit.

We also began June with a few countdowns.  My family loves a good countdown!  So as of this morning we have 10 days left of school.  That’s just 10 more days I have 2 Kindergarteners and a 4th grader. Our elementary school hosts a carnival on their last day, so the kids are anxiously awaiting that!  The other countdown is the boys 7th birthday! Again, can I just say, how are they going to be 7?  Time, please slow down.  This momma is having issues with how quickly these kids are growing.  Just 20 days until their birthday and 19 until their party.  Oh that reminds me, I really need to get on that!

So right along with the countdowns, are the celebrations we have in June.  The last day of school, Tyler and Carson’s birthday, Father’s Day and this year we have an extra special one.  My first nephews high school graduation.  Insert a few little tears here and again, time please slow down!  Then, we’ll wrap up June with the boys birthday party and Madelyn’s dance nationals in CT.

June for Sweet Mady means the launch of a few new products perfect for Back to School.  It also brings back those two words I don’t love: juggle and stress.  The last half of the month the kids will be out of school, which means I will be juggling work time and family time more than ever.  At this time each year, I stress about how I will manage this and before I know it, summer is winding down and I am looking back and realizing I did it.  So although it is a little stressful figuring out a new routine, I will do it.

As you can see, June is a busy month for us and it can get a little hectic and stressful.  However, in between these moments of rushing the kids to their activities and getting to all of our celebrations on time, I fully plan to savor the little moments.  Here’s a short list of what I’m looking forward to in June:

Morning coffee on the deck . Firepit Nights . Seeing my nephew graduate . The joy on the boys faces when they wake up on their birthday . Movie Nights . Sibling summer sleepovers . The joy on Madelyn’s face as she dances at Nationals . Lazy swim days . Open windows and cool breezes while is still feels like spring

How will you savor the little moments this month and push that stress away?

Let’s get Reading!

When school is out and the pool is open, getting kids to read can be difficult.  The teacher in me is always looking for ways to keep the kids motivated. I designed these Reading Kits to help moms at home with the task of daily reading. Hopefully these kits will make your kids accountable for their reading, plus get them excited for reading rewards to work towards.  I know my kids will be choosing rewards such as a trip to Sweet Frog, staying up late, swimming in the pool later at night, making homemade ice cream, S’mores Night, etc.  Really in the summer, you can turn anything into a reward!

These Kits are also perfect for parents and teachers to use all school year long!  It’s always more fun to have a little theme involved, so I chose to begin with the Bookworm Kit.  I received so many compliments on the Bookworm Stationery Design that truly it was a no brainer.

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In keeping with the idea of reading over the summer, I designed the Watermelon and Nautical Sets.

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Each Kit includes a set of 4 bookmarks, 2 Reading Reward Certificates and a Reading Log.  Since this is a printable set, you can print as many copies of each as you need.  Again, this is what makes these kids even more perfect for teachers!

 

 

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To download your Reading Kits, simply click on the links below.  You will need 8.5×11 cardstock to print each piece of the reading kit. Enjoy!

Bookworm Reading Kit: Reading Log, Certificates, Bookmarks

Watermelon Reading Kit: Reading LogCertificates, Bookmarks

Nautical Reading Kit: Reading Log, Certificates, Bookmarks