How to not lose gift cards on Christmas morning.


Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post by Kroger/Banner, but opinions expressed are all my own.


When I was little, my mom told a horror story about a Christmas from her own childhood.

She was given some money as a gift and it was thrown out on Christmas morning.

It was on accident as it got mixed up in the wrapping paper tornado that is Christmas morning. It was devastating at the time. Panic ensued.

Since then, my mom painfully makes sure that Christmas money and gift cards are always wrapped in some elaborate way that would prevent a repeat disaster.

I channeled my mother (and that crazy Christmas morning years ago) while coming up with this colorful (and harder-to-throw-out) option for gift card giving–these are all things I found at my local Smith’s Food and Drug. 

And honestly, I know it looks fancy, but I SWEAR …it’s so easy. C’mon, everything is from your local grocery store!

how to wrap a gift card


I took a canning jar and filled it with a colorful candy then placed the gift card inside and screwed the lid on tight.

How to wrap a gift card, mason jar

I blinged out said lid by spray painting it gold, hot glueing some ribbon around the outside and attaching this cute card with baker’s twine.

How to wrap a gift card.
So festive and fun! (So hard to accidentally toss out with the Christmas wrappings.)

Happy giving, friends!




Hope Always & Rise From the Ashes

Sperare semper. It’s Latin for “To hope always.” And it’s our family motto.

During the last 7 years, my husband and I have been through the roller coaster of emotions that is known as infertility and adoption. The highest, most sacred of highs and the lowest of soul crushing lows. Somehow we have managed to hang onto hope. To hope always.

"To hope always." This hangs on the largest wall in my family room. One day I will commission @saltybison to make it glorious for me. I cannot wait to attack her at #snapconf's #qbm. #latin #mantra
For awhile I had “sperare semper” in crooked individual letters on my wall in our family room. Such a great reminder, but such an ugly one.

I recently commissioned Salty Bison, a local artist to handcraft that vintage window frame with reclaimed wood and hand-paint our family motto for me. Ahhhhh. So much better. Hanging by itself it looked rather lonely, so I added those two other pieces.

Here’s the quirky thing about me though: Everything I hang on my walls or have decorate my home has to have sentimental value. I want my walls to speak to me, to remind me of the beauty of life, the adventures we’ve had, the memories we’ve created, the lessons we’ve learned. Everything in my home has a story. And oh how I love stories.

In fact, let me take you on a little tangent-story-time-ride for a moment. Bear with…

Last summer, my husband and I went on a random, spontaneous trip to Panama (of all places!) where we lived with the Kuna indigenous people for a few days on a little island (seriously less than 100 yards long) in the San Blas Islands in the middle of the Caribbean.

Slept in a palm hut with a sand floor last night as the waves lulled us to sleep. Didn't sleep much because I was sure I was going to be attacked by hermit crabs in the night and it was just too dang hot, but it is the most beautiful place I have ever bee
We slept in a grass hut on the beach. We ate whatever our hosts pulled out of the ocean. It was a perfect paradise.

On the door of our hut was a mola (reverse-applique needlework done by hand). Molas are traditionally worn by Kuna women and have their origin in tattoos. So rad. I fell in love with them.

During the rest of our trip, I was on the hunt for the perfect mola to bring home. I found one of a phoenix that stole my heart. The phoenix is a mythical Arabian bird who dies and then rises from its own ashes. Oh the symbolism! It’s perfect for infertility, contested adoption, failed adoption and reversed adoption survivors!

I feel like our family, in it’s lowest of lows, has risen from our own ashes and is happier than ever. Better than ever.

Naturally, I purchased that mola, nailed it on some weathered wood from my best friend’s garden and added it to our family motto artwork.

But something was missing. How do I tie these two symbolic art pieces together? Enter Poppy Seed Projects Chunky Wooden Ampersand. It was perfect. I mean, c’mon. What better to tie together two deep meanings for my family than an ampersand? I love it.

Now my wall reads, “Hope Always & Rise From the Ashes”.

Thank you, Poppyseed Projects!



This post was originally published on July 25th at Poppy Seed Projects. You can check it out here.


Floor to ceiling gratitude tree

Need a fun project to do with your family this month?

How about a floor to ceiling gratitude tree made from wrapping paper, paper grocery bags and scrapbook paper?


I took pieces of kraft wrapping paper and rolled, crumpled and twisted them together with pieces of brown grocery paper bags that I cut apart. This made the trunk and branches. I just attached it to the wall using foam tape for walls.

And then the fun part: I took scrap pieces of scrapbook paper (I have a box full of them #hoarderprobs), cut out leaves and let my kids write things they were grateful for. We got everything from “Jesus” to “Dad’s iPad” to “And Pupes!!!!!” …puppies that is.


I personally wrote down each of my kids’ birthparents …they’ve changed and continue to change my life for the good, all 6 of them. Love them so much.



There is something so powerful about the power of gratitude. It’s kind of addicting! We just keep adding and adding leaves to our tree and hope to have it all full by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

“And Pupes!!!!!”