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Lilia Grundy realizes you don’t have to make all things from scratch, especially your faith life!

I’m a huge theme nerd: I give everything a theme. In fact, I can’t start any project without assigning it a subject and theme. Later in life, I jumped on the vision board bandwagon and started collecting pictures online and simply saving them onto a Word document for safekeeping;I could go back to these images later for inspiration.

So it’s no surprise to my family, that every holiday has to have its corresponding décor—Christmas colors for December, New Year’s Eve glitter for January and yes, pink and red hearts for February—I am particularly fond of Valentine’s Day.

The Evolution of the SweeTarts® Heart Cake

And so, as the worldly “month of love” approaches, I am excited about a simple Valentine’s Day tradition I started with my girls several years ago—our “SweeTart cake.” You see, we use SweeTarts® Hearts to decorate the top of our heart-shaped, strawberry, pink-frosted cake. Yes, lots of sugar, lots of sweet. I am no baker: I admire my fellow Catholic Moms who are masters in the kitchen. That’s not me. I don’t have much time to spend cooking, and frankly, not a strong desire.


conversation hearts


But I do love to be creative, and did I mention I’m a theme nerd? I wanted to be able to offer my twins a pretty Valentine’s Day marked by some sort of baked tradition—and the SweeTarts cake was born. I just blend the box cake mix, pop the heart mold into the oven, and after baking, we wait to cool and frost. I love watching my girls decorate the cake with pink icing and many SweeTarts hearts. Even though I didn’t make it from scratch – it feels like I did. And the best part are the smiles I get in return.

Semi-Homemade Faith

It used to bother me when I would scan through Facebook and Instagram – see beautifully homemade desserts and dinners prepared by other moms. Ugh – if I only had more time…If I only focused more on cooking, I could whip something up as grandiose as these images posted on social media – yeah right, would never happen. I don’t know when this attitude stopped. But thanks be to God it did.

As a full-time, working mom, I don’t spend much time on baking. But a vision of chef Sandra Lee came to mind one day – known for her ‘Semi-Homemade” cooking concept, she combines pre-packaged products and fresh items. It struck me that I didn’t have to always be original, and I certainly didn’t need to start from scratch. In fact, I use this concept regularly at work. I love learning about how companies innovate – feeding off each other to launch the new “it” product. (See “These companies became ridiculously successful copying others”). I often replicate ideas in my own marketing plans and it got me thinking: I could use this notion in my faith life as well.


2 women drinking coffee and talking


Connecting with other Catholic women has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I had prayed for many years to meet Catholic friends and that did not come to fruition on my time—God’s time of course. And now, I’m using this semi-homemade theme for my faith life and running with it!

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I often replicate ideas in my own marketing plans and it got me thinking: I could use this notion in my faith life as well. #catholicmom


heart shaped cake decorated with heart shaped candy


Repurposing Faith Focus

Finding forums like CatholicMom.com has been fulfilling and fun! I love learning from other moms, adopting their tips and tricks into my own faith life, and making them my own. This has also made me realize how focused I was on non-religious traditions. What a moment of humility to recognize that I had fallen into the pit of secular adoration!

Accepting this enlightenment as a gift of grace, I now eagerly search for how other Catholic moms are integrating feast days, devotions, and the saints, into the calendar. Keeping Christ at the center of my family’s life is my new focus. And I plan to “repurpose” these ideas into my own new family traditions … but we’ll still be keeping the SweeTart cake!

Some of my favorite “semi-homemade” traditions (so far!):

Do you have some favorite semi-homemade faith traditions? Please share so I can add to my list!


SweeTarts® Hearts Cake Recipe

  • 1 heart-shaped cake mold
  • 1 Box of any *cake mix, strawberry flavored – add fresh strawberries if desired
  • 1 (12 oz) container whipped strawberry frosting (Use as much as Mom allows!)
  • 1 bag of SweeTarts® Hearts candy to top the cake

*I follow a Whole-foods, plant-based diet so I simply replace the egg with “egg replacer” and use applesauce in lieu of oil or any butter

Copyright 2022 Lilia Grundy
Images: Canva Pro