I met Sonya last October at our North Carolina cookie class. She is tall and stunning with the sweetest southern drawl you ever heard. Sonya teaches school full time, is married, has 2 boys, and makes amazingly beautiful cookies. We asked her to tell us how she does it all. Here's what she had to say:
Teacher by Day – Cookier by Night and Weekends…and Holidays….and any break from school!
Hi Sweet Cookie Friends and fellow McGoobers!
I was beyond thrilled when I was asked to submit an article for Arty McGoo’s blog! I was asked to describe how I am able to juggle being a teacher and running a successful part time cookie business. I am currently a full time teacher at Palmetto High School in Williamston, SC, serving the special learning needs of students in grades 9-12. These needs include learning and emotional disabilities, ADD, ADHD, autism and anxiety. I am also our school’s ESL teacher, serving the needs of our English language learners. I have been teaching for 18 years, and my passion is helping my students find success in school. I am often referred to as Mama Pack!
Sweet Treats by Sonya was created in March 2015 because of my love of baking and decorating! I have always loved to bake for family and friends. For years, I had always decorated sugar cookies with buttercream icing…until I stumbled across Sweet Sugarbelle’s blog and was introduced to the world of royal icing – game changer! I spent many hours and late nights watching her video tutorials and reading all about the world of cookie decorating. Callye Alvarado is officially my cookie mama – she taught me just about everything I know…and then I found Arty McGoo – through Sweet Sugarbelle’s blog- and here I am…constantly learning and loving every minute of it!
How do I juggle the world of teaching and the world of running a cookie business from my home? I’m not sure – it is a miracle some weeks – and I am beyond blessed with an awesome family to help me. Many afternoons include coming home from school, snacks and homework with my kids, and then I put on my apron and start rolling out cookie dough. The decorating process lasts well into the night, so I have learned how to space out my orders throughout the week and weekend. My oldest son Ethan is 12, and he is a great help with his younger brother Bryce, who is 4. My husband, Andrew, has supported my vision of opening a small business from day one and he encourages me every step of the way. He is also a master at cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry and picking up items at the grocery store. He practically has my recipes memorized and always knows what ingredients I need. He supports my love of cookie toys and is not surprised when he sees purchases for cookie cutters, stencils and airbrush supplies. He is also great at giving advice on cookie designs. I value his input and opinion.
I had to miss a day of school to attend Arty’s Halloween Spooktacular workshop in October 2016, and it was well worth it! Arty, please come back to the East Coast soon – I will be there! Even my students support my love of all things cookie, and were thrilled to hear all about my trip when I returned. In November 2016, we were able to enjoy some much-needed family time with a fabulous trip to Disney World. I continue to have tremendous support from family, friends, co-workers and my fabulous customers!
In February, 2017 Sweet Treats by Sonya was renamed Sweet Sophia’s Custom Sugar Cookies in honor of our daughter, Sophia Grace. Sophia was delivered into the hands of God in June 2011. She was stillborn at birth. I was 37 weeks pregnant. Since her entire nursery was decorated in butterflies, we held a butterfly memorial service in her honor. My new business name and logo are in honor of her, and she is able to be a special part of my cookie business. I am thrilled for what the future has in store for Sweet Sophia’s and I am excited to continue learning all I can….and one day, I will make it to Cookie Con to meet all of you! Thank you to all of the amazing cookie artists out there – you are such an inspiration to me!
Here are a few of my favorite sets! I love pretty fonts, wood planks, airbrushing and hand painting!
Be sure to visit my website www.sweetsophias.net to see all of my work. You can also follow me on Instagram @sweetsophias or find me on Facebook at SweetSophiasCookies. Thank you for the cookie love and for allowing me to share my story!