The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Mother of the Bride {Groom}

It’s been crazy the last few weeks!  After months of preparation, we launched the store (Mystic Moon Emporium) in early January, only to have it crash 3 weeks ago. Neither Ashley nor I could figure out what happened, so we got help to get it up and running again.  We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will come take a look at all the lovely products that have been added. All sales and promotions have been extended indefinitely.  In the meantime, I would like to highlight several bracelets I have that will be available in the store soon………

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I’m very lucky to have such a talented daughter….and one who is open to suggestions.

When Ashley got married, she asked me what kind of corsage I wanted.  Since I was doing the flowers, I didn’t see the point in making myself a corsage. From past experience, I didn’t want anything that I had to pin on my dress because that would be uncomfortable and likely ruin the delicate material, and I didn’t want a wrist corsage as they get in the way and the elastic is generally too tight. Don’t get me wrong, corsages are lovely and a beautiful idea, but not practical…..and they don’t last beyond the day!

So for Ashley’s wedding, I asked her to make me a bracelet that would compliment my dress and be something I could have as a keepsake of her wedding. That’s what she did and the result is something I will forever cherish!  This bracelet was designed specifically for the wedding so I am calling it the “Mother of the Bride” bracelet.

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“Mother of the Bride” (Mystic Moon Emporium)

I absolutely love this bracelet!! Not only is it aesthetically beautiful, it’s perfect as a corsage substitute and actually has an added longevity beyond the wedding itself. The stones in the bracelet were chosen specifically with the wedding in mind and the crystal spacers added an extra touch of elegance for the occasion.

The main attraction in the “Mother of the Bride” bracelet are the black onyx stones.  Black Onyx is said to absorb and deflect negative energy and help prevent the drain of personal energy.  It also can be used to aid in the development of emotional and physical strength and stamina during times of stress. Another property I really like is that it can stimulate the power of wise decision-making. For anyone who has ever been part of pulling off a wedding, you will appreciate these particular properties.

In keeping with the wedding colour theme, Ashley also chose to use amethyst in the bracelet.  Amethyst is not just another pretty stone. I’ve always loved the purple hues in amethyst and was quite happy to learn it is mostly considered a protective stone in that it helps to purify the mind and clear it of negative thoughts including the negativity of stress and anxiety. Again, these healing properties are very helpful in a wedding setting.

The last stone in the middle of the bracelet is  clear quartz. This is another of my favourite stones.  Clear quartz is an amplifying stone, meaning that if you pair it with another stone, it amplifies its properties. That is something I consider an added bonus!

So there you have it…….a perfect mother of the bride or groom gift and guaranteed to be appreciated and treasured for years to come.  I know that mine will always be a special reminder of my daughter’s special day!

If this is something you think would work for you, contact us to let us know.  We are developing a line of bracelets for mother of the bride and groom as well as the wedding party that will be in the store in coming weeks. In the meantime, there are some lovely bracelets in the store just waiting for you!!  You can find them here.

Here are some other posts you might enjoy….

DIY Cupcakes Your Guests Will Love!

Shower Ideas That Will Leave Everyone Smiling!

Wedding Planning 101 – How to Choose the Best Wedding Venue

3 Best Shower Games Your Guests Will Love

Journey to the Center of the Earth: So you want to be a rock hound?







DIY Wedding Cupcakes Your Guests Will Love!

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I’ll never forget when I was planning my own wedding and the main choice for wedding cake was fruit cake.  Yuck! Even the wedding favours were wrapped up pieces of fruit cake. I was never a fan and was very determined to have a cake that people would actually enjoy and not toss into the garbage.  Through sheer stubbornness, I got my way and we had a lovely 3-tiered vanilla wedding cake with a scrumptious butter cream icing.

Fast forward 40 years and anything goes. When the cupcakes surged in popularity, I thought it was brilliant.  Not only is there portion control, but leftovers can be saved a lot easier. It’s also much easier to plan how many to make based on the number of invited guests resulting in less waste. There’s no shortage of places to look for ideas, and the best thing of all is you can have several flavours  versus the one or two with a cake. Cost wise, it also seems to be the better option when checking out cupcake prices versus wedding cake.  The average price for wedding cupcakes is $3 per cupcake while wedding cakes are an average $5 per serving. So, for 60 people we would have been looking at $180 and for a wedding cake $300.

For Ashley’s wedding, we decided to keep costs down and do DIY cupcakes.  Now,  I’m a fair baker, but I wasn’t about to go crazy and experiment with a bunch of recipes and take the chance they wouldn’t turn out so I went with my tried and true recipes—the ones on the back of the good old cake mix!  I learned from a good friend of mine who worked in a bakery, that the secret to great cupcakes is to freeze them.  That way they are easier to frost and end up much moister and fresher tasting.  I’ve been doing them that way ever since.

So what kind of flavours did we make?  The choices we went with were carrot, chocolate, lemon and vanilla. For the first three, I pretty much followed the instructions on the back of the box.  Easy peezy!  For the vanilla, I went with a variation recipe that yielded more cupcakes as well as intensified the flavour. They turned out delicious! Here is the recipe:

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix (Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups water
2 tbsp. oil (vegetable or canola)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs (separated)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (approx. 36)
  2. Beat egg whites until fluffy.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except egg whites) and beat until well blended (about 2 minutes)
  5. Fold in egg whites until blended into the mixture.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill prepared cupcake tins to about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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I originally found this recipe from Recipe Girl, but gave it a few tweeks of my own and ended up with perfect white vanilla cupcakes that tasted amazing. Recipe Girl says this recipe is also great for cakes, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’m also thinking that these tweeks will work with other cake mix flavours, but that is for another day!!

For icing I went with “easy” as well.  My children really like the sweet icing (I call it sicky sweet), but some family members like it less sweet. So how do you satisfy everyone’s taste? Well, since I was under a time constraint, I didn’t want to worry about making a DIY buttercream from scratch so I cheated and went to an old standby that I knew would work.  I bought some Betty Crocker frosting, whipped it up in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and added about 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar to get the right consistency for piping. It worked out quite well.   My daughter-in-law, Julie, who helped me to decorate the cupcakes, preferred piping with this one. To enhance the flavour,  I added some almond extract for one batch and some lemon juice and lemon extract for another.  The taste was obviously very sweet, but no one guessed it was icing from a can.


The other recipe I used was one from a friend who used to be a professional baker. I really don’t like excessively sweet icing myself, and having tasted her cupcakes, prefer this icing. It doesn’t use butter or shortening or added sugar of any kind so is a better alternative for those watching their sugar and fat intake.  Since we wanted variety, I made a batch of this recipe and divided it in half so I could colour it into a pretty purple. It piped really well, giving off a pretty lacey look rather than the smoother look of the sweet icing. All in all, once the cupcakes were piped and decorated with sparkles and silver balls, both Julie and I were very happy with the results. The recipe is as follows:

Whipped Frosting (dairy free, no added sugar)

1 box Nutriwhip                                         2 envelopes Whip It (Dr. Oetker)

  1. Empty the box of Nutriwhip into your electric mixer bowl and start blending slowly.
  2. Work up to top speed and whip until bubbles form.  Stop mixer.
  3. Carefully sprinkle both envelopes of Whip It over the cream and mix together until powder incorporated into the cream (to avoid lumps).
  4. Whip at high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Do not over whip–it will go very stiff and will be hard to spread.
  6. Add food colouring and flavouring extracts if desired.
  7. Leftovers can be frozen for another time – to reuse, just rewhip!


So as I conclude this rather long post, I have to say that one of the best compliments you can get is when you are asked for the name of the vendor where you got the cupcakes, or when told that your efforts look as professional as any that could have been purchased.

I was happy to do this for my daughter and actually enjoyed the challenge of such an undertaking. It worked out well and in the end, leftovers were not a problem.

Take care and happy baking!


Carol’s Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A few months ago, I did a post on edible wedding favours. They seem to be very popular at weddings these days, especially if they are homemade or DIY projects.  My daughter Renée asked me to make a family favourite for her wedding favour which ended up being a big hit. treat copy

I’ve been making these cookies since the kids were in pre-school and they are always well received whenever I make them.  What’s unique about them is that they are made with oil instead of butter or margarine and are wonderfully soft and chewy. The recipe is also versatile enough that if you want them to be harder, you just keep them in the oven for a few more minutes. They really do well for bake sales, bazaars, potlucks, etc.

Since we have lactose intolerant family members, this is a great recipe for them.

Anyways, I promised to post the recipe, so here it is:

Carol’s Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup oil (I use canola or Crisco vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat the above with an electric mixer until smooth. (Love my Kitchen Aid for this!!)

In a separate bowl, combine:

  • 2 1/2 level cups flour (not cake/pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Add to oil mixture and blend together. Add 2/3 cup chocolate chips and mix until combined and able to form cookies. Drop by spoonful or small ice cream scoop onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325º F for 15-20 minutes (they should just be starting to get colour on top) so you may have to adjust the baking time depending on how your oven bakes.  If you want them crispier, keep them in the oven for a couple minutes longer.

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Shower Ideas That Will Leave Everyone Smiling!

Showers, be they bridal or baby, are oftentimes predictable: you play games, open presents, eat and then go home. I’ve already written a post on this with regards to shower games that were well received at my daughter’s shower, but today I’d like to talk about the prizes that that go with the games.

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Fun games that engage everyone, particularly when there are some guests who don’t know each other  set a good tone for the rest of the afternoon! What was really a hit were the game prizes and party favours. To change things up a bit, everything was DIY and somewhat decadent!

The prizes are as follows:

  1. Salt Scrub
  2. Foot Soak
  3. Bath Salts
  4. Chocolates
  5. Shower melts
  6. Bath bombs
  7. healing salves
  8. face scrub

They were so much fun to make and added a different flavour to the afternoon. Everyone left happy!

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I love making DIY spa products and sharing with family and friends.  The feedback has been great so far, so in coming posts I will be sharing the recipes and let you judge for yourselves, starting with the Lavender Bath Salts, and the Foot Soaks pictured above. See you soon!