Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

DIY Personalized Stamped Pencils

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

DIY Personalized Stamped Pencils

I hate to say it, but it’s back-to-school time! It’s always bittersweet for me. I enjoy summers with my kids so much and love the lazy days, but I also look forward to fresh starts and routines.  In honor of the season,  I created these cute DIY Personalized Stamped Pencils for the first day of school to remind your kiddos just how much they mean to you.

I always try to do one special thing for my kids on their first day of school to remind them how much they are loved. When my daughter started Kindergarten, I made hair bows that had a heart center, reminding her that my heart was with her on her big first day. For my son, it was always lots of jokes and comics tucked away in his lunchbox to share with his friends.


This craft was inspired by one of my favorite books, “The Help,” if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, you really must. In one particular scene, the sweet character Aibileen gives the little girl she cares for a self-esteem boost each day saying, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” These encouraging words are what help shape this little girl and help her grow and thrive.

I wanted to create personalized pencils for my own little girl for her first day of school that would capture why she is so special to me and capture a little of that self-esteem magic that I found so endearing in the film.

I jotted down a list of words that I think of when I think of my little girl. Kind, smart, funny, sassy, and joyful are just a few examples of what I think makes her so special. I wanted to create a project around these words and thought a pencil could remind her daily of why her mom thinks she is so darn wonderful.

How to Make Stamped Pencils

How to Make DIY Personalized Stamped Pencils from

Supplies Needed

(affiliate links included, if you use them, thank you -they help support the site!)


1. Jot down a list of words about what makes your child so special that you can use to stamp on your pencils.

2. Begin by sorting out your metal stamps into alphabetical order. I wrote a letter on the side of the stamp so it would be easy to find the stamp I needed while creating these. For me, the sorting was the most consuming part, but once you have this done it will make this project a lot faster.

3. Stamp your letter stamp into your black ink pad several times, until the letter is completely covered in the ink.

4. Then align your stamp, checking to make sure it’s about centered on one of the pencils’ flat sides, and also that it’s right-side up. You will want to give the end of your stamp a tap or two with the hammer. Keep in mind that wood is soft so you don’t want to pound it too hard, just hard enough to make that impression. Keep repeating this until you have spelled out your word.

5. Finish by dabbing your paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rubbing swiftly across the top of it to remove any excess ink that may have carried over from the stamping pad.

6. Wrap these in ribbon and give them to your child for their first day of school!

How to Make DIY Personalized Stamped Pencils from

I hope this project inspires you to create a little bouquet of pencils for your child’s first day of school. Older children might enjoy assisting with this project or love stamping their own name. Not only is this a great activity for mastering spelling, but it is also a great way to use their imagination to create words of their own.


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How to Create a Family Cookbook With Your Kids

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

How to create a family cookbook with your kids

Have you ever wanted to tackle making a family cookbook with your kids? I’m so excited to show you how we made a scrapbook of our favorite foods and food traditions together. Making a cookbook with your kids is a fun activity that any family can do together and we are so excited to show you how we created ours.

Making a kids cookbook

If you know us, one thing that our family is big on is traditions created around the dinner table. Whether it is our pizza night on Fridays, our waffle tradition on Sundays, or the way we commemorate every little occasion in life, we somehow find a fun food tradition to surround the event. This creative project is a way to truly document those food traditions by creating a family cookbook with your kids that can be a fun project to create together as well as a legacy of your family traditions to pass down to future generations.


Supplies Needed

*affiliate links used to provide examples

12×12 Scrapbook Album, 10-page (or more)
12×12 sheets of scrapbook paper in neutral tones
Washi tape
Photo stickers or mounts
Markers (in various colors)
Stickers with food & cooking utensils
Colorful labels
Small scrapbooking cards to write your documentation on
Fun zig-zag scissors (optional)
Pictures of your favorite dishes
Recipes (printed out or written on recipe cards)

Making a cookbook with your kids

Instructions for Making A Family Cookbook

1) Begin by cutting out and assembling the items you would like on your page by laying them out and positioning them on each page. I like to cut my recipes out with zig-zag scissors to add a creative detail.

2) Once you figure out the placement of your items, mount pictures and recipes with double stick tape or photo stickers on the back and secure them to your page.

3) Have your children answer writing prompts on scrapbook labels or have them draw pictures of their favorite foods. Secure these additions with colorful washi tape. You can also add your own reflections on the pages to finish your pages.

4) Have kids finish the project by adding stickers to the pages or filling in sticker labels. Be creative with sticker placement, placing them even on the pictures and recipes themselves.

5) Finish by sliding the finished sheets into the sleeves of your scrapbook album. Repeat this same five step process with the rest of your sheets.

Kid made cookbook pages

Here is how our family cookbook turned out- we are so proud of how it turned out and it was such a fun activity to do together!

If you are unsure about theme ideas for your pages, here are a few fun recommendations:

  • Family Food Traditions
  • Dad or Mom’s Favorite Dishes
  • Your Child’s Favorite Dish
  • Cool Food We Tried
  • Holiday Food
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Back to School Traditions
  • Food Through the Generations (sharing those recipes from your extended family)
  • Grilling Out
  • Birthday Cakes/Parties


As a mom, this activity truly brought so much joy to me and to my kids. With everything digital, I have grown increasingly bad about printing pictures and handwritten documentation of my memories. This project truly served as a reminder how wonderful it is to see my children’s handwriting and pictures as well as how much it might mean to them to see their mother’s handwriting (as pitiful as it may be!).

I hope you consider this family activity as a way to preserve your family & food traditions for future generations. I promise that it will bring so much joy to your life and will be something that your kids will truly enjoy doing with you!

What are some of your family traditions – do they center around food like ours?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!


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Easy Hostess Gift: How to Make Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016


With summer comes many fun parties and opportunities to share these warm days with friends. This tutorial for a paint-dipped spoon set – and the packaging – makes a colorful and useful hostess gift that you can easily create to show your appreciation for those hosting your family at their next party.

Paint-dipped anything is quite a trend and so are these vibrant shades of neon I used. It was with those color trends in mind that I created this easy paint-dipped spoon set that embraces those fun colors and I also have found a unique way to package it that any hostess would flip for.



(affiliate links*)

Making Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set


1) Mark off the ends of your wooden spoons with tape. I choose to do them at different levels, instead of all matching, to give it more of that “paint-dipped” look I was going for.

2) Pour small dots of paint into a disposable bowl or plate. Using a slightly damp paint brush, brush on a layer of neon paint around the top of your spoon. Remember to go with the grain of your wood when painting these.

3) Prop the painted spoons on a surface where they can dry. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

4) Next, add a layer of the Triple Thick Glaze to the ends of your spoons, to protect the surface as well as to add a layer of gloss. Allow this to dry for one hour or until hardened before moving your spoons.

*Note that directions state that these paint-dipped spoons will not be fully cured for 21 days before you want to wash them.

Wrapping Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

5) While your spoons are drying, you can create the dishtowel bow for your oven mitt. Fold your towel until you get the desired narrowness on it.

6) Fold each side in to create your bow shape and then tie it securely with a strip of grosgrain ribbon. Tie the ribbon into a bow as well.

7) Finish by securing your dishtowel bow to your oven mitt with a paper clip or clothespin. Stuff the end of your mitt with a piece of tissue paper and then rest your spoons inside the mitt. Add a note of thanks and tie or clip it to your gift as well.


How easy was that? What hostess wouldn’t love a gift as cute and as useful as this? I hope this inspires you to share the love with your favorite hostess this summer and keep this cute gift in mind for your next housewarming party or bridal shower too!

What kind of host or hostess gift would you like to make or receive?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!

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DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles + Printable Tag

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles with Printable Tag

One of my favorite things in my arsenal of kitchen tools is my slow cooker, and I’m excited to share with you a new way to use it – to make DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles for gifts! By using small paint cans and wrapping the with our cute printable tag, it’s a sweet way to thank your hostess for her hard work.

Making candles sounds like something an advanced crafter might tackle, but it is one of the easiest projects I have ever done, thanks to my slow cooker. I purchased the supplies in bulk online for this project, but you could also try this on a smaller scale and purchase the supplies for these at your local craft store.

How to Make Slow Cooker Citronella Candles

Slow Cooker Citronella Candles supplies

Supplies Needed

  • Empty Quart Size Paint Cans (found at my local hardware store)
  • Soy Wax Flakes (you need approximately 1 pound per candle you are making)
  • 6″ Candle wicks
  • Citronella Essential Oil
  • Slow Cooker (or two if you have them!)
  • Food/Postage Scale
  • Bamboo Skewer
  • Pencils
  • Card stock (for printing your tags)
  • Bakers twine, yarn, or raffia to tie your gift tag

Making Slow Cooker Citronella Candles


1. Measure and weigh out 14 ounces of soy wax flakes for each paint can in a glass measuring cup (be sure to tare your scale). It should fill the can almost to the top, and we will be adding more flakes after the first round melts down and creates more space inside the can. Repeat the measuring with all of the other candles you plan to prepare.

2. Add an inch or two of water to your slow cooker to create a water bath for your candles. Nestle the paint cans inside the slow cooker, place a lid on top, and turn it on HIGH for two hours. As the wax melts down, feel free to add more wax in your can to the desired height.

3. Once the two hours has passed, open the lid and add 15-20 drops of Citronella to each candle (approximately 1 ml of oil). Using a bamboo skewer, stir each candle after adding the oil.  Turn your slow cooker off, then add your candle wick in the center of each candle. Take a pencil and wrap the top of the wick to the middle of it and allow it to help stand the candle up in the center.  Leave the candles in the slow cooker until the wax begins to harden. Remove the paint cans to prevent any rusting that could be created inside your water bath, drying your can well with a dish towel.  Allow the candles to fully harden on your countertop.

4. The next day, trim your wicks and attach our printable for an adorable hostess gift for your next summer barbecue.

Slow Cooker Citronella candles printable tag

To complete the candle, grab my FREE “Thanks For Letting Us Bug You Printable” (click link and save to your computer) to tie on each candle as a thank you for a fun-filled evening.

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles

(fun summer dress: Flourish Boutique)

How easy is that? I now have five gifts to share for a summer filled with family, friends, and delicious food. And if candle-making isn’t your thing, check out these neon paint-dipped spoons that also make great gifts!


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DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes For Father’s Day

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Create quick & easy grilling seasoning mixes with these recipes and printable labels for a perfect gift for a grill-loving dad!

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes for Father's Day with printable labels

Father’s Day is just around the corner and our Dads love grilling so I thought making grilling seasoning mixes would be a fun gift for your favorite dads!  I’m sharing two easy DIY grilling spice mixes that you can make and package up with fun printable labels for the perfect gift to share with a special Dad in your life.

DIY grilling seasoning mixes

The beauty in this project is that it is easy to create one or many gifts with just one assembly line of ingredients. To really make your dollars stretch on this project, buy your spices in bulk or purchase the generic brands of spices to keep the gift frugal, but still thoughtful.

The thing that I know I love about my Dad is that he is just the kind of guy that appreciates small and thoughtful gestures. These spice mixes are just the ticket for a gift that your Dad really can use.


If you are pinched for time, but still want the taste of freshly ground pepper in your recipes, utilize your food processor and pulse your peppercorns until they are ground or just run your food processor with them in there for a couple of minutes.  If you don’t have a food processor, a coffee grinder can also work to save you some time.

All-Purpose Spice Mix

All Purpose Spice Mix

The first spice mix we are going to make is an easy all-purpose grill seasoning. This can be rubbed onto any meat before grilling. The red pepper flake and ground pepper add a lot of kick to this spice rub so if you prefer a mix with less spice, feel free to scale back those two spices. Remember to utilize your food processor to help blend your pepper and save you time!

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes For Father's Day
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
An easy all-purpose grill seasoning that can be rubbed onto any meat before grilling.
  • 4 tablespoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Mix all ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.
  2. You can double or triple this recipe for your jar.

 Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning

Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning

The second spice mix will make dad’s burgers extra special. If your Dad really likes to show-off on the grill, this burger seasoning spice mix is just what he needs to take his burgers to another level.

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes #grillmaster
Although the red might look spicy, it is actually paprika that adds a lot of warmth and flavor to your ground beef and just a hint of kick from the cayenne pepper. You may never want your burgers another way!

Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ½ cup
A spice mix for burgers that adds warmth and flavor to your ground beef with just a hint of kick from cayenne pepper.
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 c.) paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 7½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.

DIY_Grilling_Seasoning_Mixes-11 DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes #grillmaster

We have created these beautiful printable grill seasoning jar labels for your Dad that makes them truly gift-worthy. I hope you love this fun food craft as much as I love sharing it with you!

Grab your FREE printable BBQ labels here (just click that link to open and then download).

What’s in your secret spice mix? Any dry rubs that you love to mix up for grill season?


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How to Make a Succulent Terrarium ($50 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway!)

Monday, April 18th, 2016

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

This post is sponsored by EcoScraps. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help support our site! 

As regular readers know, I have a black thumb. I have never been successful at growing anything and my lawn can prove it. When I discovered succulents though, my world finally got a little greener. Succulents are my kind of plants because they are so low maintenance and they don’t require a lot of water. Today I want to show you how to make a succulent terrarium and how I made it as budget-friendly as possible.

Oh, and did I mention a $50 Walmart Gift Card giveaway?


How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

We are going to be making our succulent terrariums with a new product that is on the shelves at Walmart called EcoScraps. I’m so excited to share about it because the company’s mission is so awesome and really aligns with our family values. EcoScraps recycles food scraps and turns them into organic and sustainable lawn and garden products. They recycle by collecting wasted food from from stores and restaurants and convert it all into natural garden products. 

Between 2011 and 2015, EcoScraps has recycled 75 million lbs of food waste! They are matching that number in 2016 with projected recycling of another 75 million lbs of food waste–this time in just 12 months.

Before they contacted me, you may recall, I was all fired up about food waste after watching the documentary, Just Eat It, on Amazon Prime and chatting about it on my 3 Little Things list. Our family is REALLY trying to do better with our food waste and have been making it a big focus during the week to eat the food we purchase and not throw it away.

You can TRULY make a significant difference in the food waste crisis by simply changing some of your shopping habits. Did you know that bagged salad, for instance, is one of the #1 foods wasted? Doing things like buying bagged salads only on the days you plan to use them is a GREAT way to reduce the food waste in your home. Simple switches will do so much for our world.  You can find out more on the EcoScraps website and find their products on Walmart shelves now!

Now that you know the company’s mission, let’s make a succulent terrarium with their eco friendly potting soil!

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

Supplies Needed

Glass Trifle Container (I found this for $6.97 at Walmart)



Sphagnum Moss

EcoScraps Potting Soil (this was located outside of our local store)

Succulents (I like to choose an odd number for arranging. Mine had 7 of various sizes)

Garden Trowel

Ways To Save on Supplies

  • Fairy gardens are very popular right now. Ask your local nursery if they have smaller bags of pea gravel or moss available for purchase. I was able to get small bags of these items for a lot less.
  • Look to see if there are any succulent arrangements that are already prepared and the pricing and compare it to individual succulents. At my nursery, succulents individually were $4 each,  but for $20, I was able to get double the succulents AND it helped to know which ones worked and looked nice together.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

Easy How-To

Creating a terrarium is a lot like creating a layered cake or trifle so that is why I thought this container was so fitting!  

1. Begin by adding your pebbles to the bottom of your container. This is to create a false drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plants. You will want to add one inch to two inches of stone, depending on the size of your container.

2. Next, we will layer our charcoal. The charcoal can come in granules or shards (the type I am using is shards). We will spread a layer of this over the rock to help reduce bacteria, fungus, and odors in our terrarium.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

3. Next add a layer of moss to create a barrier between the potting soil and charcoal.

4. Prepare your plants for planting by removing them from their pots and loosening up the root ball and exposing the roots. If the roots are particularly long, you can trim them down a bit.

5.  Add a layer of dirt to your terrarium. Gently place your plants inside and then top them off with a bit more dirt, using your hands to gather the dirt firmly into place around each of the plants. Be mindful where you are planting them, mixing up your plants of varying heights and foliage, to fill your jar.

Siri Reminder To Water Plants

5. Finish by watering your terrarium lightly, being mindful not to overwater it because succulents do not like to be soggy. Caring for your terrarium is easy, especially if you are a terrible gardener like me. I’m so terrible, I put Siri in charge.  Feel the soil weekly to see if it is dry and add water if it is.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

Here is another view of what our terrarium should look like from the side. Make sure to place it in a spot that gets a little sun on their beautiful leaves, but not scorching hot spot in your home.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from


How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from

These are beautiful to keep or to give to someone special in your life. Thank you, EcoScraps, for letting me share about your amazing mission to reduce food waste in a really wonderful way. I hope you guys can try their products!

To help you get started on your own gardening, we are giving away a $50 Walmart gift card to one lucky reader! Enter to win below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was sponsored by EcoScraps. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help support our site! 

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How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

As Mother’s Day approaches, I thought it would be fun to revisit one of my favorite crafts that I did with my daughter (a fellow expert pom-pom maker!). What a great way to use up scraps of yarn! xo


What could be a better gift for Mother’s Day than a bouquet of pom pom posies that you can enjoy all year long? You won’t believe how easy it is to make pom pom flowers for a special mom in your life. Walmart challenged us to come up with a fun Mother’s Day project that anyone can do for someone special in their life and we are so excited to show you how easy (and thrifty!) this little project is!

Supplies Needed:

Scrap yarn in any color (we used scrap yarn from my overflowing yarn bin)
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker
Wilton Cookie Sticks (over in the cake decorating supplies aisle)

How to Use the Clover Pom-Pom MakerHow to Use the Clover Pom-Pom MakerHow to Use the Clover Pom-Pom MakerHow to Use the Clover Pom-Pom Maker

How to Use the Clover Pom-Pom Maker



1. Make an assortment of Pom-Poms using your desired method of pom-pom creating. Follow my picture tutorial above if you would like to use the Clover Pom-Pom Maker that I discovered.

Why I Am Using The Clover Pom-Pom Makers: I have tried every thrifty known method for making pom-poms from cardboard, to forks, to compact discs. To make this bouquet of posies, I decided to see if I could find a gadget to help me and I cannot rave about this Clover Pom-Pom Maker enough. It is the perfect tool to add to your arsenal if you are making pom poms and it is simple enough that my 7 year-old could use it.

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

2. Open a package of cookie sticks and remove one from the package. Begin wrapping yarn around the cookie stick, covering all of the white parts. I start the yarn weaving the tail in at the top so that I don’t have to glue it at the top. It’s okay if there is a bit of white showing at the top because your pom-pom will cover it!

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

3. Once you are almost to the bottom of the stem, add a dab of hot glue and continue wrapping until you get to the bottom. Snip the end of the yarn that has been secured with the glue.

4. Add a dab of hot glue at the top of your stem and then secure a colored pom pom to the top. Hold in place for thirty seconds.

5. Gently bend your stem (gently or it will break) to create a more natural looking flower. Set aside and repeat this process with the rest of the flowers.

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower BouquetThat’s it!


Easy yarn pom-pom posies that are sure to brighten any mom’s day! If you want to really make this cute gift stand out even more, here are a couple of more sweet ideas to really set the mood for a special mom in your life.

Pom-Pom Cupcake Topper

I went ahead and bought the Small Clover Pom-Pom Maker to show you how cute this one is for decorating a cupcake for a special mom in your life. We just hot glued this little cutie on the top of a toothpick and it only took a couple of minutes to add a little pom-pom magic to a store-bought cupcake!

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower BouquetWho could resist a gift as sweet as this?  Not only is it the perfect Mother’s Day gift, but it would make a sweet gift to celebrate any occasion. Pair these pom-pom posies with a gift certificate to pick up craft supplies for the crafty mom in your life.

I also joined Vine this weekend which is a fun app for making a quick 8 second video. Here is my 8 second video of my pom-pom making. I would like to disclose that I am in my favorite polka-dotted pajama pants here for this super professional tutorial!

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet

Happy Pom-Pom Making, friends!

How to Make a Pom-Pom Flower Bouquet


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Dora Band-Aids for a Hurting World

Monday, December 21st, 2015


When my daughter was small, I remember that each and every hurt required some type of medical treatment. We had a constant rotation of ice packs and tiny bandages, often for nonexistent wounds. It was as though the act of putting that Dora Band-Aid on her superficially scraped up knee was enough to close the floodgates of tears and make the world right again. She needed me to see her hurt, to echo how awful it was to be hurt, and then to show my efforts to repair it.

Last week I discovered that a family I had been working with, through a volunteer opportunity I am involved with, had fallen on some particularly hard times and had been living without things that I would consider basic human needs.  The gas in the home had been shut off, the stove was not in working order, medical needs couldn’t be addressed through their insurance, and there was not even a washer to care for their family’s clothing.

When you have a platform like this to work from, you can often make swift work and can create fast resolutions to problems, simply because of the large circle that comes with this type of job. In a matter of 24 hours, I found I could meet all of these basic needs for this family between our family’s resources and many, many generous givers that I reached out to who helped me close the gap through material and financial donations. If there is one thing I feel proud of, it is is the company I keep.

As I shared those gifts with this family this weekend  I had a flashback of being that mom sharing a Dora Band-Aid again- I was so unequipped. This wound was so beyond the reach of the tiny offering that I had.  I could see so very clearly that there were many other needs that were there and I knew that the gift I offered, while appreciated, was just a small bandage on a problem bigger than I could fill. 

I left my humble bandage for this wound, I echoed the hurt, and I hugged those people and gave what I could.

Those bandages though, those are mine to give out and sometimes I have a whole box at my disposal and sometimes I just have a couple to share that I can sprinkle around. This box is mine to do with what I choose, and yet,  I was surprised at some of the commentary that came from what others said about those bandages.

“Did they deserve them?”

“Were they working?”

“Why had they fallen on hard times in the first place?”

“So many people working the system….”

You have probably heard a few of these before, am I right?

Here’s the thing.

My family?

We worked the system. 

My husband lost his job for a year and we became part of the system that people refer to with that shake of their head.  We found ourselves unable to make ends meet, unable to find employment, and the seeker of any government gift that we could qualify for. My husband and I went without health insurance (a gamble that kept me up every night), we placed our son on a healthcare plan funded by the state, and we eagerly waited for those unemployment checks so we could do things like get groceries and pay our mortgage.

What helped us get through those times were those tiny bandages that so many giving and kind people shared with us. They knew they couldn’t heal the gaping wound we had…it would have been impossible!  Yet, they were happy to share the smaller bandages that made each of those dreary days in my life better.

They brought us meals, they watched our baby, they gave us gift cards to have nights out, they even bought a pizza for the volunteers who later had to move us out of our very own home that we could no longer afford.

I could not even have purchased that pizza for them as a thank you.

Our debt situation?

Well, we needed a full-body cast at that point, not a tiny bandage.

But those bandages made such a difference and I still reflect on the generosity of the people that got us through such a depressing time in my life. 

And now, I’m the lucky one who has a box of tiny bandages to help those in need.

The bandages are often the smallest gifts, but not only are they my gifts to give, but it is their gift to do what they need to do with it. I don’t worry about if that bandage is going to someone working hard enough or if they are deserving of my tiny bandages.

I know God will figure all of that out.

He has a way of sorting things out for me. 

I only hope that other people are sprinkling them in some of the same spots that I am so we can close the gap on those hurts in the world together. When cobbled together, incredible things happen like the small Christmas miracle I got to witness this weekend as we met these basic needs for a family I love.

As we close out another year here at MomAdvice, I hope you will find a way to share your gifts with others, whether they are big or small. Just as I did with my daughter,  I am acknowledging these hurts in the world today, I echo your hurts because I think about them too and pray for resolutions, and I share a tiny bandage with those of you who are hurting.

I am also hoping you are one of the lucky ones holding a box and you won’t forget to share a few Dora Band-Aids of your own, even if the wounds seem too big for such small offerings.

They all matter.

And so do you.


3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Tracking Pixel

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

I’ve really enjoyed sharing some new holiday gift-giving strategies and traditions that are important to our family with you. Today I wanted to talk about a gift that I really struggle with… the gift card.

While practical in so many ways, I have found it difficult to make gift cards feel personal. I want people to always know that when I give them a gift card, it isn’t because I don’t care about them to shop, but only that I want them to treat themselves to something they really love.

I can tell you that I don’t know a single girlfriend, sister, or mother that would object to a shoe gift card. I may not know their shoe sizes to always shop for them personally, but I know that if I give them a gift card for shoes that they would be more than thrilled to peruse the shoe aisles for the perfect gift. Bonus points if that gift card accompanied a gift card to their favorite coffee shop so they could sip while browsing.

Today I wanted to share with you 3 ways I have created to make a gift card to Shoe Carnival more personal and make it truly stand out!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

(Shoes: Nicole Carleigh in Black)

Create a Snow Globe Jar

If you put anything in a jar, I think it instantly amplifies its level of awesomeness on any gift. Jars are very inexpensive gifts to give and this little snowy-filled scene only took a couple of minutes to pull together and requires zero craft skills.

Simply add a little faux snow on the bottom with whatever you might have in your craft supplies or purchase those delicious rolls of snow they have out with all of the snow villages this time of year. Place a little snow on the bottom, add an inexpensive ornament, and finish with a bottle brush tree. TADA!

With just a few moments you have created something really cute for their mantle out of items that they can use for their own holiday decorating or food storage. Best of all, tucked underneath that blanket of white is a gift card to do a little shoe shopping!


3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)


Knit a Gift Card-igan

As you know, I am a knitter, so I always find fun ways to use my hobby for the holidays. This year, I stumbled upon this amazing little pattern for a Gift Card-igan and knitted this out of a little scrap yarn I had left over from another project. It is a perfectly gratifying project since it is so small in size and the pattern is easy enough to execute while watching holiday movies on the couch.

Whatever your craft skill set is, consider using it to create a unique gift card holder of your own. Sewing, embroidery, decoupage, crochet… there are so many fun ways to incorporate your own crafting skills to make a gift card holder that is unique and special. It adds that personal touch to any gift you give and showcases your talents in such a fun way!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)


(Shoes: Crocs Cap Toe Rhinestone)

Add Our Free Holiday Sparkle

I’m all about the holiday sparkle from attire to the gifts I give. These Crocs Cap Toe Rhinestone shoes add that holiday touch I love with their shiny cap toes and rhinestone embellishment. Did I mention how comfy these are? They are the perfect shoe for any gathering because you can be on your feet for days without any discomfort! I found the same holds true for the Nicole Carleigh Boots I got, thanks to their low and wider heel.

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

Of course, sparkle can also be added to your gift and I wanted to share this fun printable that our designer, MJ from pars caeli, created just for you to add that personal touch to your gift card this year!

(scroll to the bottom for this freebie!)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)


Shoe Carnival happens to be running a Give 1, Gift 1 Gift Card promotion this week which is perfect timing with our gathering of packaging ideas. If you purchase a $50 gift card, you can receive a $10 bonus reward card that can be redeemed from 12/26-1/16, in-store only.

Be sure to cash in on this incredible promo and I hope you can use a few of our ideas for your gift-giving needs this year!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)


FREE Colorful Cute Shoes Fund Envelope

FREE B&W Cute Shoe Funds Envelope


Today I am giving away two $50 gift cards to two winners to add a little holiday sparkle from Shoe Carnival for those upcoming holiday festivities!  Follow the instructions below in our Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Good luck and happiest of holidays!


*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blind Date Book Club Exchange

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Blind Date Book Exchange from

As a minimalist, I really love to give and get gifts that I really would love and use which can be difficult when it comes to holiday exchanges. We all, I am sure, have went home with a White Elephant gift we really did not love or spent good money on exchanges where we have felt a little disappointed in what we received in exchange. It’s tricky to not look like a Scrooge when you want to opt out to save money.

Last month though, I got a little inspiration for an idea to host a book exchange for my fellow bookworms. I visited Asheville for a conference and saw my first Blind Date Book display in person at the book shop. After snapping a photo for Instagram, I started thinking what a fun idea it would be to have a Blind Book Book Exchange for the holidays with my book club. What would an evening look like where we all brought blind dates to share?

Last night we had our exchange and it was, honestly, one of the best exchanges I have been a part of.  Perhaps, a bit nerdy, I loved going home with a great book AND a whole slew of ideas for books I’d love to check out at the library. 

Blind Date Book Exchange from

What Are Blind Date Books?

If you haven’t seen a display before, they are books that are wrapped in paper and then they have words written on them that describe what the book is about. Displays can be found at many bookstores and I have even heard that libraries do this too.  You can illustrate the paper or just write words about what makes the book special. I love this Pinterest board that shows so many ideas for a fun blind date book display. As you can see, there are many interpretations.

As someone who truly judges books by their covers, this gives you a chance to think differently, perhaps, about a book you might not have picked up before. Since it is a blind date, you are taking a bit of a risk that the money you invest may or may not pay off so you want to choose wisely.

I purchased a book at the bookstore and it sounded just like something I would love.

Guess what? It was something I already loved very much. I loved it so much that it made our top ten books of 2015.

I was happy to pass it on to someone else and, honestly, if I loved it enough to put it on my top ten, I would have been happy to own it too.

Blind Date Book Exchange from

How Do You Do a Blind Date Book Exchange?

Of course, since I have never heard that anyone has done this before, I made up my very own rules. That means, if these rules don’t work for you, feel free to make your own! It’s your blind date, friends!

Tell Everyone to Bring a Book Wrapped In Paper- I encouraged everyone to bring a book that was special to them or that they would want to read themselves. You could pass down a book that you already owned and loved or purchase a book for the exchange. Have everyone wrap their books and then write their own descriptions about them. I have found that reviews on the backs of books offer a plethora of beautiful words to use.

Draw Numbers- Write down numbers equal to the amount of people participating and have everyone draw a number.

Select Your Books- Give people time to browse the descriptions before the exchange and then start going in order of the numbers drawn. Beginning with the person who has drawn #1,  have them select their book, read the description on the outside, and then open it.

Steal Away- Just like those White Elephant exchanges, the next person in line can steal the opened book, if they are wanting to read it, or they can draw from the book pile. We allowed two steals per book to keep it fun while still moving along.

Go Home With a New Book, But Keep The Exchange Going Strong- What a treat to go home with a new read! The best part is, if your book club meets regularly, you can bring the book back to the next book club meeting and share it again with your book club members. It creates a little lending library for your group with just a small investment.  I can’t take credit for that idea though, it was thought up by my fellow book club member, Kate! Smart girl!

What Book Did I Give?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

GAVE: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

DESCRIPTION: Worldview Changer, America’s Mandela, A Voice to the Voiceless, Thrilling, Heroic Endeavors, Compelling, Hope for Humanity, Inspiration for Change

Nonfiction can be intimidating to fiction lovers so I wanted to share this one because it read like a legal thriller and completely changed my view on people in the prison system. I couldn’t put it down and I wanted someone to read it so I could talk about the injustice of so many.

What Did I Go Home With?

Looking for Alaska by John Green

GOT: Looking for Alaska by John Green

I am really excited to dig into this- have you read it? I’ve heard such good things. I think this is the only John Green book I haven’t read yet!

Blind Date Book Exchange

This was the best exchange I’ve ever been part of  and it’s not because I invented it.

Or maybe it is.

Who is to say?

Regardless, I hope it inspires you for a fun night with your own book clubs. We look forward to making this one an annual tradition and it made for a really fun evening talking about all of our favorite books. I look forward to cozying up with my book over the winter break and I don’t even have to return it back to the library- winning!

Want to be part of a book club? Join me over here for our first online book club happening in January. We are reading this one as our first selection and I am so excited!

Have you ever taken a blind date with a book? Tell me about it!

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love, I promise!

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