Gifts Galore

As promised, today is all about gifts that we gave others this year for Christmas.We try to keep our budget at $50 per person, though I'm always tempted to spend a lot more! Let's start with my very favorite - the gift we gave Ryan's sister and her husband. While playing around on Etsy several months ago - planning my Christmas gifts, I'm sure - I saw these wonderful framed pieces of art. You could have a word written where each letter is created by something found in the environment. For example, a "S" might be a picture of a curvy road. After doing a lot of research to find the best deal, I found the Letter Your Legacy website. Here is a picture of the final product. Their last name is Phillips - isn't it perfect?

Our total came to $112, but just as I was checking out, someone from the company sent me an instant message and offered me 10% off the cost for the picture & frame. This brought us to $103 - what an amazing deal!! So many other places charged between $150-$250. I even looked into just buying the prints and buying my own frame separate at a place like Michaels, but the cost was outrageous. As long as you place your order by noon on Friday, Letter Your Legacy will ship you your items the following Monday. This customized gift came in one week from the time I ordered it. We were very happy and look forward to working with this company again in the future!

Oftentimes when I'm planning our gifts for Christmas and birthdays, I like to buy things for people that they wouldn't buy themselves. For my brother and his wife, Kristen, we decided to buy them tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Fort Wayne Embassy. Check out a trailor for it HERE. Doesn't it look like so much fun?!  We loved The Lion King so much, and I'm hoping Dan and Kristen feel the same way about Beauty and the Beast!


Speaking of musicals, have I ever mentioned my complete love for them?? It all started when I was in grad school and saw Thoroughly Modern Millie with some girlfriends. That was just the beginning! Since that time, Ryan and I have been to Chicago to see Wicked (Ah-mazing!). I saw Rent with my friend, Abigail, and my sister-in-law, Kelli. Abigail and I also saw Hairspray together, and it was SO much fun! Last year my mom and I saw Mamma Mia, which was phenomenal! As I previously mentioned, Ryan and I saw The Lion King with Abigail and her husband, Devin, last year. I really think it was my favorite because the visuals were amazing, and the actors' voices were unbelievably strong. For my birthday this year, my dad and Danette gave me money so that I could go see another musical! After hearing a lot of great reviews about Jersey Boys, I finally bought tickets a couple weeks ago. Doesn't it look great?? I cannot wait! We got balcony seats in the second row at the Murat, so the seats should be awesome!

Back to what we got other people...

My mom is a really special person, and just before the holidays, she and I were going through some pretty difficult things together. I wanted to pick out the perfect gift for her but was having a really hard time thinking of the perfect idea. Last year I got her a ticket to go see The Sound of Music at Beef & Boards so that we could have a fun girls' night together. Finally, the idea hit me! We would get her a beautiful diamond necklace for Christmas, and when I saw this beauty, I knew it was the right one.

Even the name for this necklace seemed perfect - Love's Embrace - because we really had to take care of each other over the holidays. Love you, Mom!

Next came my dad and Danette. They always present me with a challenge when trying to pick out just the "right" gift. What do you get people who seemingly have everything? :) I know a lot of people feel that way when shopping for their parents, and they are not alone. All of the sudden, it hit me. They love pictures - pictures of family, pictures of their dogs, pictures of friends, and of course, pictures of Noah. An old friend from high school named Desiree lives close to my parents, and she is getting her photography business off the ground. She offered us a great package deal, including the session fee and a CD of 20-30 images. My dad is really big on having images on CDs so he can make whatever prints he likes. Plus, Danette likes to make slideshows with her digital images, so it works out perfectly! I think they were really happy with their gift. This Spring they would like to get all of us together, including their two sweet puppies, and take some fun pictures with Desiree.

Ryan and I both were very blessed last year when two of our very best friends asked us to be god parents for their children.
My God Daughter, Kendall - she's a miracle baby!

Ryan's God Son, Chase - Happy birthday!!

Ryan and I really wanted to choose something special for Kendall and Chase's first Chrsitmas. We wanted to have a focus on God, as well as Jesus'; however, at less than one year old, we also wanted to find something that would be practical for their developmental stage. After much thought and may discussions, we decided that buying them each a tunnel would be the perfect gift. In their Christmas cards, we wrote Kendall and Chase a letter talking about how Jesus is a lot like a tunnel. God is at one end of the tunnel, and we are at the other. Jesus is the person who connects us to God, and He wraps around us with His love just like that tunnel wraps all the way around us. Because Kendall has two sisters - they are triplets - I also wrote about how she can share the tunnel with her sisters just like she can share Jesus' love with them, too. We had so much fun choosing these gifts, and we are excited about all of the special occasions we will share with them in the future.

I think that wraps up some of my most favorite gifts that we gave this year! I hope it helps give you ideas for your own gifts.

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