spring centerpiece

I made this centerpiece for the first Easter I spent in my apartment, years and years ago. It was a fun little project I did with my mom. I thought I’d make it again this year.

Want another fun little live flower project? {click here}

. . . . . . . . . . .

Items Needed: box, flowers in containers, moss, hot glue gun, scissors. Ribbon & faux eggs, if desired.

Time Needed: 20 minutes

spring centerpiece

Here in Denver no one buys outdoor flowers until Mothers Day weekend, because we have crazy unpredictable snows! The Guy at Home Depot even reminded me of this fact, bless him.

Assuring him I was doing an indoor project, he smiled and let me go on my merry little way.

spring centerpiece

Once you’ve purchased your flowers, find a box {or really, the other way around would be better so you know how many to buy…}. This one carried some of our groceries from Costco. The only real specification is that it’s low-ish and around the same height as your flower containers.

Because you’re not planting the flowers in the box, they remain in their containers so you can plant them outside when your ready {or when your weather is}.

spring centerpiece

You can use whatever moss you like, my favorite is the kind that comes in sheets from Hobby Lobby {they’re in the floral section, near the grapevine wreaths}.

spring centerpiece

Measure the height of your box, add an inch, and cut!

spring centerpiece

Hot glueing the moss sheet is crazy easy, making sure the extra inch is at the top so you can fold it over and hide the rim of your box.

spring centerpiece

When you get to the corners, cut in diagonal just long enough to reach the box.

spring centerpiece

Fold over the moss and glue with your hot glue gun.

spring centerpiece

Continue glueing the top, cut each corner diagonally, folding it in.

spring centerpiece

Once the box is completed, place the flower containers inside, as closely together as possible. You want them to fit extremely tightly and have next to no gaps.

spring centerpiece

Grabbing my favorite striped ribbon, I stretched it around the box, securing it with a pin. Then sprinkled a few faux robin eggs throughout.

spring centerpiece

And voila! A gorgeous live centerpiece, just waiting to be planted once the weather is warmer!

spring centerpiece

Absolute perfection for Easter, Mothers Day, or any reason your table needs a little Spring!

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I wasn’t planning on doing a blogpost on my time at Hope Spoken a few weekends ago. Yet, here I am sitting in the sun-filled windowseat in our family room, peering out at a gorgeous Denver day doing exactly that.

Hope Spoken.

Yes it was.

Hope Spoken

This incredible weekend away, at a conference where I knew next to no one became one I will remember forever…because it reminded me how important it is to share our own stories.

I used to hate telling my testimony. I thought it was boring and incredibly lack-luster.

Hope Spoken

Yet, I now feel I have an interesting story to tell…because of all Christ has done in and through me and through our family. But I didn’t always feel like this.

Hope Spoken

I’d become a Christian at age 5 and have basically stayed strong in my faith my entire growing up. I’m not perfect, I’ve definitely made my mistakes, but all-in-all, I thought my story to be immensely boring.

Hope Spoken

This weekend away, I had the privilege of hearing so many stories…some incredibly difficult to listen to as my heart took on some of their pain as they spoke.

They were all offered redemption and grace and refinement…and have grown tremendously as they have grasped Him tightly.

One new friend mentioned how she wished she had a better story to tell. A story that showed how she had come back from rock bottom, one showing the goodness of God.

Hope Spoken

I understood where she was coming from, but I wanted to shake her and say, “That IS the goodness of God! He is SO good to have brought you through life WITHOUT such pain!” I refrained from said shaking and instead reminded her that He isn’t finished with her yet.

And realized I was speaking to myself as much as to her.

I thought about it all afternoon and while in our small group, the topic came up again. This time after a few hours mulling it over in my head, I had more to comment:

If you feel your story is boring, reach out to Him. Ask what you can learn from it. Or perhaps ask Him to prepare you for something bigger. Tell Him you want it. You crave it. Like Jabez, ask Him to expand your borders.

It was such great conversation as I realized so many of us who have walked the Christian life for a long time, feel this. Like we don’t have enough to share. Does that mean we don’t think He’s DONE enough?!

Please tell me no.

Oh goodness, how He’s done so much.

Hope Spoken

Whether you have a dramatic story or not…

Remember, your story IS important. It is YOUR story. And it’s not finished yet.

There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others.
Let people get inspired by how you deal with our imperfections.

Hope Spoken

So take delight in the messes. The imperfections. Let Him teach and refine you.

Take purpose in the people He places into your life.

Hope Spoken

And smile at the fact that He’s not done.

God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out.
The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.’
{Rick Warren}

Hope Spoken

He began a work, He will complete…we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
{Jenny Simmons, from the song “Don’t Lose Heart“}

Hope Spoken

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easter egg ideas

Though it’s fun to simply go the store bought box route to dye eggs with the kids…{I’m gonna be honest} I’m kinda bored of it after years of doing the same thing.

Don’t you think I they’d love to try their hand in a little more creativity?

I know mine will freak out at these fun eggs…let these inspire you for prettier Easter baskets this year!

grey:blue swoosh 2

easter eggs 10

{gold leaf easter eggs by sugar & charm}

easter eggs 9

{source unknown, but looks like plastic eggs with gold sparkles. yes please!}

easter eggs 8

{painterly pastel eggs by paper & stitch}

easter eggs 7

{water color eggs by spoon fork bacon}

easter eggs

{doilies as stencils by counting graces}

easter eggs 5

{paper napkin eggs by las recetas de la felicidad}

easter eggs 4

{diy golden eggs by stylizimo}

easter eggs 3

{white paint pen eggs by joy ever after}

easter egg ideas

{neon dip-dyed eggs by oh joy}

easter eggs 1

{silhouette easter eggs by dear lillie}

easter eggs ombre

{ombre eggs by Country Living}

easter eggs

{make your own perfect hue with mccormick}

grey:blue swoosh 1


I have to include one more because I can’t get over how cute they are…

easter egg ideas

{silhouette eggs by le papier studio}

Ok yes, so that makes 13 ideas, and I already had a silhouette idea on my list. But I just couldn’t handle how darling they look! Especially the one with the little girls.

Which is your favorite? Goodness, I’m going to need to buy a bunch more eggs…

take joy-signature-new-pink

I had different plans for my life than being a mom {remember this post?}.

I majored in Art History in college and completely fell in love with traveling when I took a year off to go to Capernwray, a Bible School in England and traveled all over Europe with a handful of girlfriends.

All that travel and seeing things firsthand sealed the deal…I’d get my Doctorate and become a Curator of some amazing museum in Europe. Preferably Italy. Done.

Well, as you probably know {and sorry if I’m bursting your bubble here} but life doesn’t always turn out like you plan, or like it does in the movies.

Sometimes it ends up ten times better.

Ephesians 3:20-21

After graduation, I spent hours each day alone with God. Living in Seattle and working at a restaurant on the waterfront, I spent a lot of time walking the beach praying or would even take a ferry just to sit on the deck and read, coffee in hand.

The streets of Queen Anne became a place of peace and rest, as I parked my car blocks away from my favorite spots to sit and read my Bible, so I could wander through the beautiful old streets and enjoy God’s goodness and the beauty of all He’s created.

As I walked, I prayed, dreamed, and wondered what my future would hold.

Overlooking the Space Needle at Kerry Park or basking in the coziness of Parson’s Garden became a place where God spoke to me, impressed things upon my heart {see this post about my quiet time}.

seattle ferry

I always knew I wanted a life out of the ordinary. But I was searching for what that really meant.

I knew what I was passionate about and what my heart’s desires were. But was that truly God’s best for my life?

Could I actually embrace the idea that God’s plans for my life were so awe-inspiring and greater than I ever could imagine that I should fully and honestly give it all to Him?

Oh Lord, how I want to make an impact in the world for You that outlives myself, I prayed.

1 Samuel 12:16

A few weeks after that prayer arose upon my heart, one of my ferry trips across the water led me to Poulsbo to visit one of my best friends. I don’t remember how the conversation with her older sister began, but the fact that I had no desire to have children emerged. With eyes wide as saucers, she simply stated, “Wow. Your Christmases are going to be so boring.”

That silly little comment changed my life. It had me reeling for weeks as I realized the desires for my life were completely selfish.

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How was I praying to make an impact on the world, yet not searching for what God’s actual desire for me was?

Sure I could do great things for the Kingdom in the life I had planned out. Mighty things. And I may have. But it wasn’t about that.

There was nothing wrong in what I was dreaming to do…the problem laid in the fact I had made my own decision for Him, without much thought of actually consulting Him about it.

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Casablanca passed through my mind’s eye as I recalled the movie’s famous quote, “We’ll always have Paris.” I’ll always have a passion for art history and traveling the world. But I didn’t yet know it would be Africa I would be constantly traveling to, rather than my favorite European countries.

My prayer returned. Father, use me. Help me make an impact for the world that outlives myself.

Do you have a similar prayer? Does your heart cry out for more??

embrace silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… 
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
{Mother Teresa}

. . . . . . . . . . .

Does the idea of spending a time of silence with God completely terrify you? Or perhaps it simply has no pull, perhaps the concept just doesn’t appeal to you.

Think about this though…you have nothing to lose. Yet everything to gain.

. . . . . . . . . . .

“We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
{Diedrich Bonhoeffer}

want to delve further

{click here to download all three pages}

delve deeper - page 1

Remember, great things have never come from comfort zones. Don’t stay in yours.

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easy ikea hack

I know you have them. Those amazingly inexpensive white frames from Ikea.

They’re tacked up all over our homes. They’re fantastic and simple and perfect for fun prints and kids art.

But I wanted to make them a little extra special for my new office. So I added a little gold.

ikea hack

Measuring in 2 inches, I made a mark with my pencil and wrapped painters tape over everything I didn’t want gold.

ikea hack

Make SURE you press those edges down firmly. Use your fingernail if you need to.

Then I simply did 2-3 light coats of the spray paint {my favorite is this one}.

ikea hack

{{ TIP }}

Make SURE you remove the tape while the paint is still wet. This will allow the tape to come cleanly off the frame…and not remove any of the gold.

Also, when tearing the tape off, make sure the tape stays straight. Do it carefully!

ikea hack

Isn’t sweet Abreham a fantastic artist? He drew this self portrait a few weeks ago. I just love it.

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Ok…want to see some more easy and inexpensive ways to add gold into your home?

What about some more sneak-peeks of our office redo?!

gold spray paint

I’ve been a little obsessed with my can of gold spray paint lately. Isn’t it funny how our tastes change?

I admit it. I’m LOVING gold in my interior. There. I said it.


I forgot to take a photo before I did my first coat of the top, but you get the idea of what this tape dispenser used to look like.

The kind every office building has in their copy room. One that every office supply store probably carries. Functional, yet super boooooring.


And this cute frame from Ikea needed a little something special.



What a little paint will do! Don’t they look fantastic?!

I especially love that the frame cost $3.99 and the tape dispenser was in a box in the basement {which equals free in my book}…suddenly they look like I dropped a bit more cash on them.


Not sure if I’ll keep the washi tape on it or not. It’s been over a week and have already gone through a bunch because the kids have been asking {every five minutes} if they can use it for their art projects.

I’m a sucker for cute washi tape art projects…so of course I say yes {though I see my supply dwindling quickly}!


Back when Ben and I lived in San Antonio, he build houses on the side “for fun” and I got to stage the homes once they were ready to go on the market.

This thing {I say thing because I have no clue what it actually is for} was used in the powder bath and was stocked with towels, bath salts, and such.


But it is SO not my taste…yet.




Ok seriously. Isn’t it pure perfection? I have no idea why I kept it for so long, lugging it through cross-country moves and all, when I didn’t even like it. But I’m thrilled that we did!

pink arrow

I’ll show more photos in our Office Redo Unveiling {coming soon, I promise}, but couldn’t resist giving this little taste. 

What do you think? Are you going to start spray painting things gold, too?

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{{ linking up to these fun parties }}

the gunny sack | design dining + diapers |

tulips and the penny trick

Today was one of my wake at 4am to work on my book days. Off I went to Starbucks for a fully-loaded latte and warm chocolate croissant. I love watching the sun rise through their windows, seeing the snowy mountains in the distance as I type.

It was such a gorgeous morning, I decided to treat myself to a couple bunches of fresh tulips on my way home and help get the kids out the door for school.

tulips penny trick

Oh how beautiful they are on our kitchen table…spring is here! And I love it.

What I don’t love though, is when tulips do this. They love the sun as much as I do and turn themselves toward the light {I could totally come up with a metaphor here}.

But instead, I’ll just give you my little trick to keep them standing tall and upright.

Ready? Here it is…


A penny. Yep. I’m not sure how it works, obviously something about the copper. I’ve never googled around to figure out exactly how.

All I can tell you is it works.

tulip penny trick 1

A couple hours later, they looked like this…

tulips penny trick 2

Now, if I could only get them to grow in my own garden. Wish I didn’t have such a black thumb.

Happy Spring!

{update} if you follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen this…but the next morning, my tulips were even taller and straighter! This penny trick is amazing!


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Thanks so much for all the encouragement I’ve received after mentioning that I’m writing a book! It’s scary putting myself out there, but I’m enjoying feeling stretched.

Who knows if this will end up making it past the editing process… but want a little taste of one of the chapters?


Have you ever done something out of fear or perhaps because your soul was aching so much that you weren’t entirely thinking about the repercussions?

Sometimes we don’t get to sit on the sidelines and learn from afar…but rather, learn the hard way.

And oh how it hurts.

We’re experiencing the aftermath of such a situation right now. When you bring a child into your family who has never experienced true, unconditional love, the no strings attached kind of love… they often don’t know what to do with it.

It scares them, as it has some of our children.

One moment there is love, joy, and happiness in their faces and in their spirits. Then at the flip of some unknown switch, they’re doing everything they can to push you away, rejecting you to your very core.

It’s as if they have searched out the worst possible thing they could think of to push you and see how you respond.

Like they’re declaring, “You SAY you love me. But I don’t trust that. If I push you away and are horrible to you, will you STILL love me? How soon ’till I realize that once again, I’m rejected and made a fool for opening my heart to someone?”

How often do we do that with God? Things are going well, we’re happy. Then when we least expect it, fear floods in.

While doing my devotions the other morning, I came across this verse:

Isaiah 54:17

Ben and I have been accused by a hurt and angry child. Our child.

But it is the Lord that will prevail. It’s as if the Evil One sees our son’s heart beginning to heal.

His heart, for perhaps the first time in his life, is beginning to pump not only life giving blood, but soul lifting love.

And Satan doesn’t want that. He knows the Lord has big plans for our family and wants us to feel defeated.

We’re in a war. Sometimes we forget that a battle wages around us, since few of us have eyes opened to it.

Just as the Lord opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings: 6:17 however, He has also generously allowed my eyes to see both the glory and darkness a handful of times through the years.

The darkness that surrounds us is very real and can feel very scary, until remembering that overwhelming victory is ours because we are children of the Most High God.

We belong to Jesus and His light chases away the darkness. {see Revelation 12:11}

Nothing worth having ever comes easy or without opposition. Storms come, lions roar, and our fears rise up.

God allows opposition and training because He knows exactly what our character needs so we’ll be able to stand strong in our next place of promise {1}.

Satan may not know the future, but he can certainly see when the Lord is about to do something magnificent.

God opened Elisha’s servant’s eyes to show him the hills covered with horses and chariots of fire. And I believe when the enemy sees the cavalry mounting on our behalf, he steps up his threats and taunts because he knows that we can’t see the forces that stand behind us. He knows that we’re probably not aware of how close we are to victory. {2}

So do not despair. There is nothing we can do to diminish the love God has for us.

Let me say it again…

romans 8:35

Just like our adoptive children are trying to understand the depth of our love, so many of us {who have been adopted into the family of God}, struggle to comprehend the depth of our Father’s love.

Just when we begin to feel safe and begin to open our hearts to His love, we fearfully shove it away again because we don’t trust it.

proverbs 3:5-6

So be encouraged today…for His love never ends. xo

take joy-signature-new-pink

So… a few months ago my instagram friend Jen Allyson {from theprojectgirl.com} posted a photo of her new business cards from Cotton Paperie.

They’re kind of amazing.

I can’t get over the gold foil name, and I thought I needed them.

BUT after sharing with them my vision and receiving a quote, I ’bout fainted as I saw it would be over $1 per card. Um….no.

business cards 7

So I searched and searched online for somewhere that would make my gold foil dreams come to life. While on a budget.

And then I had an idea…

washi tape

I remembered a post by Destiny over at A Place for Us and I totally copied {kind of}.

business cards 8

I’d found the perfect gold sparkle tape in the {get this} dollar section at Target and I knew it’d be my budget-conscious solution and still be gorgeous.

I still loved the idea of doing a card that was a little different…more memorable perhaps…and loved the design of one I had found on Tiny Prints. Perfect!

business cards 1


business cards 2


business cards 3


business cards 11

One evening while Ben was out with some buddies, I cozied in by myself with a movie and glass of wine…and started playing around, seeing what worked well.

business cards 9

I ended up making two different styles {so far} and cut the washi tape in half because I wanted a thinner border at the bottom.

business cards 10

Since the cards flapped open, I decided to add a contrasting tape to keep it closed {and add just a little more detail}.

business cards 12

I love how they turned out! Now they’re in my bag, just itching to be handed out.

What do you think?!

diy ideas

While I was searching around on Pinterest, I also found these fun business card ideas!

business cards 1

{via design sponge}

business cards 2

{dye dipped cards via oh happy day}

business cards 3 business cards 4

{via duitang}

business cards 5

{via cruzine}

business cards 6

{via shiny happy sprinkles}


which one is your favorite??

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spring giveaway

Aren’t you ready for some color? Who’s ready for spring?!

Hooray, it’s almost here! Lets celebrate with a giveaway!

spring giveaway 10

I so love this print from Jones Design Company {sorry, no longer available online}.

spring giveaway 2

Set of 24 multi-colored {and oh so cheerful} paper straws.

spring giveaway 2

Set of six cloth napkins in the perfect minty green & the cutest little golden bunny egg you’ve ever seen.

spring giveaway 4

I love baking yummy little breakfast treats in these cups. Not only do they not lose their color like cupcake liners, but you don’t even need a cupcake pan!

And is there anything more fun than light pink sugar?

spring giveaway 5

Do you remember my post on Books I’ve Read Lately {and LOVED}? One Thousand Gifts is one of my favorites and is at the top of that list. It is life-changing and a MUST read.

If you’re like me, not only will you need a pen to underline every.single.page, but a notebook to keep your own list as your heart awakens to the thought of eucharisteo - the Greek word for Thanksgiving.

spring giveaway 7

Who else is obsessed with Stella & Dot? Light weight earrings, a trio of mixed metal enamel bracelets, and a delicate light blue necklace.

spring giveaway 8

Even more gorgeous in person! I know, I know…you totally want them.

spring giveaway 9

Are you on the gold bandwagon? I cannot get enough!

spring giveaway 11

Whether you’re hanging this bunting on a wreath, bookshelf, or somewhere else that needs a little glimmering gold, it’s going to look so cheery pinned with glittered silver clothespins.

Are you going nuts? I know, it’s all so fabulous.

first do this

To enter, you must first like our Hugs & Punches Facebook page, then share on your Facebook page {please leave me a comment telling me you did so}.

. already liked our FB page? please share on your page, then skip below .


want more entries 

. For an additional entry, see our right hand blog margin and subscribe to Hugs & Punches via email {be sure to look for the confirmation email after subscribing. please click on the link sent}, leaving a separate comment telling me you did so.

. For an additional entry, like this specific Hugs & Punches post on Facebook, leaving a separate comment to telling me you did so.

. For an additional entry, pin this giveaway on Pinterest, leaving a separate comment telling me you did so.

.giveaway ends

. . . . . . . . . . .

the winner

. . . . . . . . . . .

Winner will be chosen using random.org. Good luck!

spring giveaway

take joy-signature-new-pink

office redo inspiration board 2

If you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen that I’ve been working on our home office. It’s a hard room to tackle because it’s our mudroom, office, craft room, and much to my annoyance…our catch-all {here are some photos from a past post}.

I’ve been stalking Homegoods, garage sales, Goodwill, and countless blogs since September, trying to figure out what I want it to look like…all while being extremely budget conscious.

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The photos above shows the look I’m going for, lots of white and grey with details of both silver and bronzy gold. The light blue walls will keep it fresh, and a few light pink accessories that I can switch out with the seasons will bring in a little femininity {which I’ve tried to keep away from the rest of the house}.

I’d love for it to not only be my office, where I can work on my book and blog, but also a place where the older kids can close the door and do homework or read {away from the crazy little kids who don’t understand the concept of quiet!}.

Laith painting

We started emptying out the room this past weekend while Ben was out of town…and surprised him by painting it {I obviously had some little helpers}. I can’t wait to show you how it looks once it’s done. I still have a ways to go, but it’s really coming together!

{{ sources from inspiration board }}

. these are inspiration, these are not necessarily the pieces I’m using in my office .

1. One Kings Lane   2. Serena & Lilly

3. Kate Spade   4. Gracious Home

5. Crate & Barrel   6. Houzz

7. Amazon   8. Amanda Catherine Designs

9. Bed Bath & Beyond   10. Apple

11. Euro Style Lighting   12. Ikea

13. Layla Grace   14. H&M Home

15. H&M Home

Here’s the link to my Polyvore collection, which shows other similar items in case you’re needing to redo your office and are loving the look!

take joy-signature-new-pink

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