Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Arizona Science Center's Lost Egypt { review & giveaway }

Disclaimer: I was provided the opportunity to visit the Arizona Science Center and Lost Egypt exhibit through a campaign with Blended Extended. All opinions are my own.

My son loves science (and since I used to be a scientist before I opened a cake business that makes me a very proud mom!) so one of his favorite places to explore is the Arizona Science Center. The Arizona Science Center  is located in downtown Phoenix - very easy to get to and has an attached parking garage. Most of the exhibits are hands on which makes it such a great experience and keeps everyone engaged.

Arizona Science Center Lost Egypt Ancient Secrets Modern Science

My son and I went last week to the Arizona Science Center to see Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science, the special exhibit which is open now through September 1st.  My son was super excited since he learned about Egypt in school last year. Right when you enter there's an Egyptian scene perfect for photos - all the kids all ran right over and jumped on the camel. There were lots of Egyptian artifacts to see and some great hands on exhibits to experience pyramid building. My son's favorite was pulling the stones where it demonstrated how the use of friction made pulling the load easier. He also enjoyed the sand tunnel which demonstrates how the artifacts get buried by the winds.

Arizona Science Center Lost Egypt exhibit

We listened to a great talk about how mummies are preserved. The kids really enjoyed seeing the gross demonstration of how the brain is removed - my son is still talking about it (don't worry they just use a ribbon to represent the brain).

After touring the Lost Egypt exhibit my son wanted to hit up his favorites: bed of nails and everything else in the Get Charged Up exhibit.

Arizona Science Center - Get Charged Up exhibit

New to us this time was the paper airplane launcher in the Flight Zone exhibit and because my son LOVES to make paper airplanes we spent a long time at this exhibit.


And the final stop was the water play area, Water Spheres and Gears, where we hung out until they closed for the day - my son loves water!

Arizona Science Center - Water Spheres and Gears

Arizona Science Center
600 E Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85004
open 10 am - 5 pm daily (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas)
For more information visit or 602.716.2000

And now for the exciting part - we are thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for tickets to the Arizona Science Center so you and your family can experience Lost Egypt.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pogo Passes - win four tickets to Disneyland!

We're big fans of Pogo Passes in our household. We've only taken advantage of about half of the opportunities but its still be a great value! Our family favorite isweekly bowling at Brunswik Zone and my son's favorite is monthly Tempe Paintball (lil'ballerz for the younger guys on Sunday mornings) and they're free with your pass. Right now for every pass purchased, you will be entered to win 4 passes to Disneyland. Don't forget to use code SWEET to get your pass for 60% off.

disclaimer: I am an affiliate for pogo pass. We paid for our passes and love them so much that I signed up to be an affiliate. I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Cookie Doughjo { Giveaway }

Let's make cookies!  #cookiedoughjo

My son and I were recently invited to the Cookie Doughjo, a new business in Peoria that offers baking classes for kids. Being in the sweets business myself, my son has been baking and decorating sweets for years and he loves it. When I asked him if he wanted to try out a class he starting jumping and down with excitement.

Hard at working making his cookies #thecookiedoughjoaz

Every kid had their own bowl and spatula and recipe cards for the kids to follow. The staff brought around ingredients and the kids got to mix everything together. Once everything was mixed, they got to scoop out the cookies and add the m&ms (my son's favorite part!).

My son's favorite part - adding the m&ms @cookie_doughjo #thecookiedoughjoaz

While the cookies baked, the kids got to decorate boxes for their cookies. My son was thrilled that he got to take home a box of cookies he made to share with our family when he got home.

And the best - fresh baked cookies! It smelled soooo good @cookie_doughjo #thecookiedoughjoaz

The Cookie Doughjo offers birthday party packages and cooking classes. 

The Cookie DoughJo
8271 W Lake Pleasant Pkwy, #101
Peoria, AZ 85382
(602) 448-5635

Follow on social media:

Instagram: cookie_doughjo
Pintrest: The Cookie DoughJo
FourSquare: The Cookie DoughJo
Yelp: The Cookie DoughJo, Peoria AZ

July Cooking Class Schedule
Start Your Day With Biscotti and Coffee
A treat so nice, you have to bake it twice. Learn to bake delicious biscotti and enjoy the fruits of your labor with cup of coffee or milk. This class is limited to 9 participants. (Advanced)
Cookie Decorating 
We teach your kids to make frosting from scratch and then let their creativity run wild decorating delicious sugar cookies. This class is limited to 15 participants. (Beginner)
The Perfect Summer Time Cookie 
Learn to bake delicious lemon zest cookies from scratch (zesting our own lemons and all). They are the perfect summer time cookie! This class is limited to 10 participants. (Intermediate)
Giant Fortune Cookies
Learn to make giant fortune cookies. While these cookies are in the oven, your children will also create their own special fortunes to go inside the cookies. This class is limited to 12 participants (Beginner)
All Natural Chocolate Chip
Do you love chocolate chip cookies but want to learn to make a better, healthier version? We will teach you to make these all natural cookies during this class. This class is limited to 15 participants. (Beginner)
Whoopie Pies, is it a Cookie, Cake or Pie?
Learn to bake delicious Whoopie Pies. This delicious treat embodies all of the best parts of our favorite desserts! This class is limited to 10 participants. (Intermediate)

And now the exciting part! You can enter to win 2 cookie classes at the Cookie Doughjo and an apron ($75 value). The giveaway ends 7/18.

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Disclosure: My son and I were offered to try out a class for free. All opinions are my own.
Monday, June 2, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things {Summer Edition}


Temperature is over 100 degrees, school is out and summer is here! Sharing a few of our favorite things that will help to make this summer awesome.

Mom's favorites:
  • Backpack Beach Chairs - There's no beach here in Arizona but we like to escape for a quick road trips to San Diego. These backpack style beach chairs are awesome because keeps your hands free to carry all the other beach gear. My son is 8 and he can even carry his on his back freeing up his hand to carry his sand toys and boogie board.
  • Sanuk Flip Flops - I've written about these before but I just love them. And with summer here, I live in these. And I've battled foot problems for years (planter fasciitis) and can't wear many flip flops but these are great.
  • Kiss My Face Spray Sunscreen - A paraben free sunscreen that is easy to apply. So many are so thick and the spray bottle means my son can easily apply sunscreen himself.
  • HGTV Magazine - summer is when I catch up on my magazine reading while sitting at the pool or at the beach. I've been a magazine junkie for years - cooking, fashion and home decor, I love them all! My current favorite is HGTV magazine which is always filled with inspiring photos that make me want to redecorate my entire house right now.
  • Burt's Bees Lip Balm - this stuff is the best! Living in the desert my lips get very dried out. Love that its made from beeswax and not all the nasty stuff found in some popular brands. And it works! I have tubes evrywhere - my purse, my night stand, my car. 
  • Ello Glass Water Bottle - Its HOT which means you must drink a lot of water. One of my favorite water bottles is the Ello glass water bottle. Love thats is glass and not plastic so its doesn't give the water strange tastes or smells (yuck) but the rubber coating protects it (and it really does as I've dropped my many times). Love the flip cap too.
  •  Zoku Quick Pop Maker - my son and I love to make popsicles and since I got a Zoku its even more fun. In just minutes the popsicle is ready instead of waiting overnight. Often I'll just freeze some lemonade or orange juice for a quick refreshing treat.
  • Waring Pro Snow Cone Maker - I bought this on whim last year and we use it more than I ever thought we would. We frequently host end of season baseball parties at our house and the kids (and parents, too) love the snow cones. This machine is heavy duty enough that I can make them for for large parties pretty quickly. It plugs in so no hank cranking needed (like a lot of the home machines). I stock up on snow cone cups, straws and syrup from Smart and Final.

My son's favorites:

  • Wiffle Balls - Baseball is a big deal in our family and the family spends many summer evenings playing wiffle ball in the back yard. We were going through balls so fast as they were cracking in half until I purchased authentic Wiffle Balls from Amazon - so much better in quality.
  • Kaos Water Balloon Pumping Station - Another great way to cool off is with water balloons. One season when our baseball team went undefeated the coaches agreed to being hit with water balloons - with hundreds of balloons to fill I ordered this pump and worked great. A little tricky to figure out how to tie with the little gadget but once we figured it out it was awesome.
  • Sparklers - these bring back lots of great childhood memories and my son loves them too. Here in Arizona tents start popping up around 4th of July making it easy to buy sparklers and fireworks. The neighborhood kids love to hang out on summer evenings making designs with the sparklers.
  • Melissa & Doug License Plate Game - We go on a lot more adventures in the summer that mean a lot more time in the car. My son loves to watch for license plates from different states and this game from Melissa and Doug is awesome for tracking the plates.
  • Mad Libs - I introduced my son to Mad Libs this summer and he loves them. Its also great grammer, spelling and reading practice.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sweet Shoppe Mom will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us to continue doing what we love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Has Arrived!

School's out and temperatures are hitting 100+ degrees which means summer is officially here in Arizona. Last year we created our first summer bucket list inspired by The Happy Family Movement and my son requested it again. So here it is:

2014 Summer Bucket List

We are huge fans of the Phoenix Pogo Pass and use it quite often. We'll be using it for a baseball game (Arizona Diamondbacks), Paintball with friends (Tempe Paintball), visit a museum (Arizona Natural History Museum), Bowling (Brunswick Zone), water park (Golfland Sunsplash) and Rock Climbing (Phoenix Rock Gym). Use code SWEET to get yours for only $39.88.

disclaimer - I am an affiliate for Pogo Pass. I was such a fan of the pass that I signed up as an affiliate. I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Love-Hate Relationship With Pinterest

In the past two years I've found myself spending more and more time on Pinterest and I don't think I'm the only one. I found it quite funny when I hosted our baseball team party earlier this year and one of the kids (7 year old boy) asked my if I got my party decorating ideas from Pinterest - guess his mom is addicted to Pinterest too.

But as it gains popularity, I would have to say I'm developing a strong love-hate relationship with Pinterest.

what I love

  • I read a LOT of blogs. And Pinterest makes it so easy to save things that interest me for when I might need them later
  • Great for party or project planning. When I have a project I'm working on its so easy to search for ideas and keep them all in one place
  • As a business owner and blogger, has been a great way to share my products and blog posts. This has been great for increasing business and traffic to my blog. Love the power of social media.
what I hate
  • I have no control over how my business photos are pinned and labeled. A lot of people use Pinterest to collect ideas with tutorials for projects they want to do. But I've had a lot of people pin my cake photos and label them DIY. Then I've had other people email and even call me to complain that there is no tutorial attached to the photo. These are my business photos for my cake business. These are cakes that I create for my customers. People have gotten very rude (yes I've even had people yell at me on the phone) because I won't share this information - this my business and I just don't have the time to spend helping someone create the design themselves (for free) when I have spent years taking classes and teaching myself how to create my designs.
  • Spammers. Hate them. And technically I'm not sure if spammer is the right term here but you know what I mean. There are many websites out there trying to get traffic probably to get ad revenue. They steal photos from popular blog posts, place them on their website and pin them to pinterest. These then get repinned and they get the traffic to their site and not the blogger who spent the time creating the blog post and taking the photo. This makes me so mad. So please, when you repin something check the source and make sure the photo goes along with a blog post.
  • Bad links - I've also seen a lot of people pin to a blog and not to the specific post. Once the blog post becomes older, it can be hard to find the post if you want the details. When I repin, I often like to read the post that goes along with it and get frustrated when I can't find it. So another please, when you pin something from a blog, pin from the blog post and not the blog.

Are you addicted to Pinterest like I am? What do you love? What do you hate
Sunday, May 4, 2014

Staples - one of my frequent shopping trips {small business owner}

As a small business owner I find myself making monthly. or sometimes weekly, trips to an office supply store. While another large office supply chain is located closer to my shop, I most times make the trip just a bit farther for my favorite, Staples. Its one of my happy places to shop - what is it about buying colorful pens that can just brighten your day??

my Staples 

What do I buy? its more like what don't I buy... Most visits my basket will include
  • printer supplies - paper and cartridge ink
  • paperwork organization - expandable file folders, page protectors (I'm obsessed with using these)
  • pens - Sharpies are my favorites
  • mailing envelopes
  • printable labels 
  • label maker refills - I quite frequently profess my love for my label maker and I don't think any surface in my business or house is safe from not getting labeled.
  • I LOVE the Martha Stewart line of office supplies. All of it. The colors. The design.
My specialty for my business, Simply Sweets Cake Studio, is custom cakes, cupcakes and chocolates. Because my orders are custom, every order is different. So I don't stock huge quantities of supplies and instead need to buy as needed for a specific order - my resources are local stores such as Staples that have a great variety of customizable and DIY products. I create a lot of party favors and use card stock or printable stickers for the personalized labels.

Custom tags and stickers


Here's my basket from a recent trip - expandable folders, printable round labels, a few Martha Stewart spiral notebooks, label maker tape and some fun pens.

Love these Poppin pens! The Poppin line of office supplies is so fun - modern and such bright colors including Simply Sweets colors lime green and orange! Had to buy some pens.

LOVE this Poppin brand of office supplies @staples - lime green and orange are @simplysweetscakestudio colors! Had to get some pens. #lovefunofficesupplies #staples #smallbusinessowner #limegreen #orange

Besides a small business owner, I'm also a mom to an 8 year old boy who loves to create. He would love these bright fabric sharpies!

My son would have fun with these #sharpielove #staples #officesupplies

Disclosure - this is a sponsored posted. I was compensated for my review but all opinions are my own.