Thirty-One Gives: Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities

Last Friday, I got a chance to learn more about and experience a couple of places that I never would have thought would be so powerful until I walked through the doors.  I’ve heard the cliché that Thirty-One Gifts is “more than a bag” more times than I can count, but being in the actual places that are on the receiving end of our philanthropic efforts made the statement hit home.

Thirty-One Gifts has a charitable program called Thirty-One Gives, which just celebrated its five year anniversary this past February.  Since 2012, over $100 million in product and cash have been donated to support our mission.  Though I’ve always known about our Gives program, I see it in a different light after having visited two of our largest partnership locations in Columbus, OH.  Women like myself, and any person who supports the business through hosting parties and purchasing products, get to be a part of something much larger.

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This past year, Thirty-One partnered with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in a behavioral health research program called Girls Take Flight.  Our mission is to help women become strong and confident, and we believe that starts with their mental and emotional health as young girls.  On average, a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9¹, 50% of all mental illnesses start by age 14², and girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer from eating disorders and depression².  After sitting down with Dr. Nancy Cunningham, psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, I also learned that about 1 in 10 children have a significant enough mental or behavioral disorder that it affects their school and everyday life, and a startling 1 in 5 tweens will experience dating and relational violence, PTSD, or mood disorders.  Also, even though 75% of issues start by age 24, most funding for behavioral health goes to adult programs and research.  Having lost my grandmother to suicide (knowing that she struggled nearly her whole life) and now having a daughter of my own, these statistics are a shot to the heart.  Let that sink in for a moment.  But do you know what Dr. Cunningham stated as one of the best things we can do to help?  Just talk about it!  We need to remove the stigma and get to work helping our girls.  I’m proud to be a part of this lifesaving initiative because the research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will improve treatments across the country.

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During my travels, I also had the opportunity to visit the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.  Since 2013, Thirty-One has donated nearly half a million welcome bags to Houses, and that doesn’t even include the number of bags that consultants have garnered sponsorships for on their own.  The funds designated to this program help keep families with sick children close to each other, which promotes the well being of the child. Our local House in Sioux City has been one of my favorite charities to support since joining Thirty-One two and a half years ago and I’m always amazed at the outpouring of support from my customers, friends, and family members.  When the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio expanded and renovated in 2014, it became the largest in the world with 137 guest rooms!  Being just steps away from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which brings in patients from all over the world, the House is meeting a very large need in providing the comforts of home to families that are far from it.  Thirty-One also proudly sponsors one of the freestanding homes for families with extended stays, as well as the Renew U Spa.  The Spa is staffed by volunteers in the community who provide services to help families relax and feel pampered during their stay.

I’m incredibly honored to be part of a company that prides itself on giving back.  As much information as I’ve given here today, I haven’t even begun to detail several other of the important organizations that we are proud to support.   For more information, visit our Gives page.  And if you’d like to be an even bigger part of the Give, click here to learn more about becoming a consultant with Thirty-One Gifts!

What is your favorite way to give back?

 

  1. SOURCE: NYJ child Safety Center
  2. SOURCE: National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, 2010: National Comorbidity Survey Replication-Adolescent Supplement, 2010; NIMH, Mental Illness Exacts Heavy Toll: Beginning in Youth, 2005

 

 

 

Close to Home

If you’ve been a customer of mine for long, you might remember a product we offered last season that sold like a pumpkin spice latte on the first day of fall!  Usually once or twice per year, a select group of consultants get to offer special products at our parties from a “promising picks” collection.  We test out the market on new and exciting product offerings to see if they can earn their way to a permanent spot in our catalog.  I’ve had the opportunity to participate the last couple of times and it’s always fun to see what people love and what they could do without.  The Close to Home Tray quickly proved itself as it sold out in just three weeks.  Generally, these test products are offered over a four month period of time with the most popular items selling out toward the end of that time frame, if at all.  I was barely able to snag one up for myself before they were gone!  Thirty-One has been working incredibly hard to bring this item back and though it was too late to make it into our spring/summer catalog, it officially became available for online purchase on March 1st!

close-to-home-tray

So, what is it you ask?  The Close to Home Tray is a beautiful mango wood serving tray.  It is food safe so it can be used for small snacks such as cheese, crackers, salami, dried fruits and meats, etc…or bringing breakfast in bed to your sweetheart! It also makes for some stylish home decor when not in use.  We hang ours above the window in our kitchen using the sturdy cast iron handles and pull it down when we need it.  One of my favorite parts about this product is that it is made from real wood so each one is unique and varies in color and grain.

Close to Home

A couple of care cautions to keep in mind: do NOT use it as a cutting board and do NOT submerge it in water.  Simply wipe clean with a damp cloth.

There are currently two personalization options available using a simply etched design process, including a typewriter initial with optional text below or a simple script using one to two lines of text with your choice of icon in the center.  The images below give an example of each, but I think it’s fun to jump on the site and design your own! You can also choose to leave yours blank if you prefer no personalization.

close-to-home-tray-social-graphic-2

close-to-home-tray-social-graphic-1

I am looking forward helping design many of these this season to be given as gifts for weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and more!  Leave me a comment with who you would give this to and what it would say!

 

Colorful Giant Jenga

Another project down!  K.C.’s sister reached out to him and requested that he build her this game for her students.  It’s always more fun to do something like this when you know it’s going to serve such an amazing purpose.  She works at an elementary school in a classroom with students who have a variety of special needs. This Jenga style block game is going to be helping non-verbal students learn their colors and assist in gross motor skills as well as aid students with behavioral disorders to develop social skills.  It will be a fun reward for them to get to play when they have been doing well!  We are definitely going to need to convince him to build a second set for us to play outside with our friends this summer, but for now I think he is worn out from the many hours of sanding he spent getting those babies smooth!

While this project is fairly simple, it does require quite a bit of time (if you don’t want anyone getting slivers during the game)!  Here’s how you can create your own if you’re feeling inspired.

Shopping List:

  • (6) 2 x 4 – 8 ft long
  • Acrylic Paint

Tools:

  • Miter Saw
  • Palm Sander with 120 Grit Paper
  • Vice Grip Locking C-Clamp

Cut List:

  • 54 – 2 x 4 @ 10 1/2″ each

The shopping list for this project is short, but it’s very important to take your time in picking out six QUALITY boards.  Some of the big box stores have a lot of bad apples in their stacks.  Make sure they are straight on all edges.

boards

Using a stop block jig will really speed up the process of cutting the 54 individual pieces. It’s a trick that K.C. picked up during his house framing days and is great to use anytime you need a lot of boards cut to the same measurement.  Basically, you just clamp a board to the saw base and measure out the length that you need to cut.

stop-block-jig-1 stop-block-jig

Once you have all of the blocks cut, grab your headphones and find a nice long book on Audible or tune to your favorite music station.  You’re going to be spending the next several hours sanding!

block-stack

The final step is completely optional, but we chose to paint the edges of the blocks since part of their purpose is to help kids with color recognition.

paint   painted-blocks

What better way to transport and store these than a Deluxe Utility Tote?!  I don’t know the exact weight of all of the blocks, but I think this tote is actually supposed to hold around 60 lbs.  I can’t imagine anyone would want to carry a bag that heavy, though I did make K.C. pick it up for the photo op!  Here are some pictures of the finished game.

dut-with-jenga

 

 

 

 

 

kc      final-stack

 

My Life as a Work-At-Home Mom

Ever wonder what it looks like to be a work-at-home mom?  I’ll give you a glimpse into what it looked like for me on this murky Monday in February.

I was woken up around 7:30 am by my husband (who is a superhero and had already been up with the older two kids since 6 am) just like nearly every other morning.  He gently leaned in, touched my shoulder, and whispered that he was going downstairs to get in the shower and that the one year old’s milk was thawing in the sink.  Yes, we still give him a bottle.  He is the stereotypical “baby” of the family and gets nearly whatever he wants. Well, that is until the supply of breast milk in the deep freeze runs out next week.  I already broke his heart by weaning him from nursing a few weeks ago.  I fell back asleep for a good 15 minutes and then decided I better start my day since there were only about 17,435 things on my to-do list speeding through whatever part of my brain creates those lists.  That and the fact that I could hear my four year old yelling from the bathroom that she needed help. Do they EVER learn to wipe themselves?  After jumping out of bed and rushing to help her so she would stop shouting, I noticed that she was still in her pajamas. A quick reminder that she didn’t have preschool today, of course.  This was the day that I would be BLESSED with having all three children (aged four and under) at home ALL day. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my kids and feel incredibly blessed to have three healthy children. However, I truly believe that it takes a village to raise them and I am incredibly thankful for the amazing teachers that help shape mine.

The rest of the day involved trails of cheerios from the kitchen to the living room, fighting over who got to pick what show to watch (because I am THAT parent who lets her kids watch TV all the time), and the incessant asking of whether or not it was lunch time when it was only 9 am.  Snotty noses were wiped on my limbs as each child took their turn climbing up next to me on the couch while I attempted to complete tasks on my laptop, and we were all still in our pajamas at 2 pm.  Once nap time rolled around I was finally able to do in 30 minutes what had taken me hours to try to complete while the kids were awake. Coaches of mine would tell you that I need to work on my calendar blocking and not try to work with so many distractions.  They would be right.  The point is that my day doesn’t look that much different than that of any parent at home with their child all day.  I just choose to fill it in a bit more with things that I’m passionate about, give me energy, and help provide financially for our family.

I am continuing to learn how to manage being a work-at-home mom, but one thing I know for sure is that I am a better mom, wife, and friend because of it.  I have some of the best sisters in Christ a girl could ask for who live all over the United States, got to take my husband on a free five year anniversary trip last fall, and get tons of time out with the girls. I can say with complete assurance that I know I am exactly where God wants me in this moment.  Nearly five years ago when our first child came into this world I had no idea the level of emotion that I would experience.  My desire to stay at home with my baby was overwhelming and completely more than I could possibly handle.  I’m not a believer that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”  He absolutely gives us more than we can handle so that we learn to lean on Him.  And when He provides, we give Him all the glory because He is deserving.  The ways that He has provided for us over these last five years has been immeasurably more than I could have imagined.  Not only financially, but in every way. He has given me a purpose beyond being a wife and mother.  My passions are developing and my gifts are being cultivated daily.  Who knew I could be a confident leader?

Are there days I feel like my kids would be better off at a child care center than having me yelling at them to stop pushing each other all day?  Of course!  Do I sometimes want to throw in the towel and get a job outside of the home?  Absolutely!  But I can’t, because I know that isn’t God’s path for me right now.  Maybe later.  I’ve recently learned to stop asking God to reveal my future and just have faith and trust in Him for the present.  So that’s where I am.  Completely at peace right here, having a dance party with my kids in the middle of the living room to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake from the Trolls movie.

 

JK by Thirty-One Collection

I have to admit, before Thirty-One added a jewelry collection to their line of products, I wasn’t a big fan of wearing anything other than my wedding ring.  The things I bought were always cheaply made, turned my skin funny colors, and the materials discolored quickly. In fact, the holes in my ears were starting to close so when I did decide to put on a pair of earrings, it wasn’t easy or comfortable to get them in place.  I was pretty skeptical about how well Jewel Kade would go over with my customers.  Let’s be honest, if I didn’t like it, I probably wouldn’t be showing it to them.  March will be the two year anniversary since JK by Thirty-One made it’s debut and I have been pleasantly surprised with each new catalog!  I have photographed some of my favorites for this spring that are currently available and you can check out our entire collection here.

The Jubilee Earrings are my favorite in our entire spring collection.  They are definitely my go-to piece because I can dress them up with a fancy outfit or go casual.

jubilee-earrings

Jubilee Earrings 

I have had my eye on this next duo since they made their appearance at our consultant spring product premiere back in December!  The Inspiration Necklace and Inspiration Earrings were at the top of my list to get with my spring launch party this month and I was super excited to rip open the package when the UPS man delivered my box of goodies!

inspiration-necklace

Inspiration Necklace 

 

inspiration-earrings

Inspiration Earrings 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchors, arrows, and crosses are among my favorite things and our new Leather Icon Bracelet features all three!  I don’t have the arrow bracelet (yet), but I absolutely love how the cross makes up the top of the anchor.  If you don’t know, Thirty-One is a Christian company and the name comes from Proverbs 31.  I love how the cross represents Jesus’ sacrifice for me and that I am anchored in my faith in Him.  Check out the arrow version of bracelet if you are looking to be reminded that God leads you on your path.

leather-icon-anchor

Leather Icon Bracelet 

The Dream Catcher Necklace and Wax Seal Charms aren’t new this season, but they deserve to be featured.  I got mine right after our youngest was born, one letter for each of my children’s first names (and the arrow because as I already mentioned, I love arrows!) as well as a purple stone since purple is my favorite color.

dream-catcher-with-charms

Dream Catcher Necklace, Wax Seal Charms, Keep Sake Charm-Arrow *Note: stone charms no longer available.

Let’s talk charm bracelets.  The first one pictured is our new Beaded Charm Bracelet with one of our new Keepsake Charms.  The Starfish was actually a gift I received from Thirty-One back in September when my husband and I were on our all expenses paid Leadership Incentive Trip to the Hard Rock Hotel and Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!  Little did I know at the time that it would be added to our spring 2017 collection.  You won’t find it in pink as it was a special gift, but the stone blue featured here is just as fun!

beaded-charm-bracelet-with-starfish

Beaded Charm Bracelet, Keepsake Charm-Starfish

And finally, our classic Cherish Bracelet featuring Keepsake Charms and a Birthstone Dot Charm.  My favorite part about our jewelry is that it can tell a story.  Whether you are giving it as a gift for Mother’s Day, a birthday, new baby, graduation, or whatever the occasion, make it your own.  What story will you tell?

cherish-bracelet-with-charms

Cherish Bracelet, Birthstone Dot Charm, Keepsake Charms-Family Roots, Believe Cross, Bicycle

Project RBC (Really Big Clock!)

Hi everyone!  K.C. has been hard at work this past week to bring you our latest project, affectionately known as the “really big clock.”  The inspiration for this project came quite easily.  We had a totally empty wall above our staircase and no clock in the living room. Pinterest + Search Bar + Big DIY Clock = A Million Ideas.  We got an idea of what we wanted ours to look like from several other project blogs and just went for it.  I love a good dark wood stain and white accent!  Ready to see how we (ok, really it was just K.C.) did it?

Here we go!

Shopping List:

  • (4) 1 x 6 Tongue & Groove Carsiding – 8 ft long
  • (1) 1 x 6 – 32″ (we used scrap)
  • (1) 1 x 2 – 32″ (we used scrap)
  • (6) 1 1/4″ Screws
  • Minwax Wood Stain
  • Polyurethane Clear Coat
  • High Torque Movement Clock Motor
  • 12″ High Torque Clock Hands
  • House Numbers 1-12
  • Krylon Spray Paint
  • Titebond Wood Glue

Tools:

  • Pipe Clamps
  • Palm Sander with 120 Grit Paper
  • Porter Cable Cordless Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Router
  • Hammer

Cut List:

  • 4 – 1 x 6 Carsiding cut in half
  • 1 – 1 x 6 ripped in half at a 45° angle

 

The cut list to begin the project is pretty simple.  You start by cutting all four of the carsiding pieces in half to make eight 4 ft sections.  Then you’ll want to glue all eight boards together at the joints using three 5 ft pipe clamps to hold it tight overnight while it dries.

 

After the glue is set, you can trace out the shape for your clock.  Since we wanted our clock to be 3 ft in diameter, we did this by finding the center, placing a screw, and hooking a 1 1/2 ft piece of wire to the screw with a pencil attached to the end.  Once you trace it out with the pencil, you can define your line a bit more with a sharpie before you begin cutting. Now go ahead and drill a pilot hole near the outside of the line to start the blade and use the jigsaw to cut out the circle.

 

Next, you’ll want to sand the clock.  It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth because it’s going to be hanging on your wall and you likely won’t be handling it often, but it’s nice to smooth the edges a bit.  After it’s sanded, you’re ready for stain!  You could also choose to paint it, depending on the look you are going for. We used Minwax Wood Finish in a Dark Walnut color and gave it a clear coat of Polyurethane the next day.

 

Once the sealant is dry, you’re ready to attach the clock motor. The thickness of wood that we used for the clock required that a hole be cut on the backside of the clock, otherwise the shaft that the hands attach to would not stick through far enough.  Flip the clock over and use your router to cut out a hole just large enough for the motor to sit in and mount it with the materials provided.

 

Now, we need some numbers on this clock!  There are a lot of clocks that were done with only the 3, 6, 9, and 12, but we choose to use all 12 numbers.  We bought “house numbers” from Lowe’s and spray painted them white, but you could paint them a fun color or leave them original.  Ours were black to begin with and they also sell them with a nickel finish. After the paint has dried, go ahead and arrange the numbers.  Drilling pilot holes in the wood will help prevent splitting before you mount them.

 

Lastly, create a mount system by taking a 32″ 1 x 6 board (we used some scrap that we had laying around) and ripping it in half at a 45° angle.  This length allowed us to reach three studs.  We recommend hitting at least two studs to make sure it’s secure.  Mount one half to the wall and the other to the back of the clock.  We also used a scrap 32″ piece of 1 x 2 on the bottom half of the clock so it would hang evenly on the wall.

 

That’s the last step!  Set the time, hang your clock, and enjoy!  Here are some pictures of our final product.

 

DIY Side Table

We are excited to share with everyone our first official blog post and project!  Well, not the first DIY we’ve ever done, just the first one to be documented on the internet for all the world to (hopefully) enjoy!  The inspiration for this project came from an heirloom dresser that is in our daughter’s room.  It was the white dresser that my mom had when she was a kid, bright blue dresser that I grew up with, and now the light pink dresser that our girl will keep until she can pass it down.  K.C. had finished it for her a few months ago and then she decided she need an end table to match where she could put her water cup at night…and a clock, because she’s learning to tell time and has insisted that we get her one!

Since we weren’t necessarily planning for this project to be posted to the blog when it first began, we didn’t get as many photos throughout the process.  Hopefully future projects will have more pictures to help you see each step.

Ok, let’s get started!

Here’s what we used:

  • (1) 1 x 2 – 8 ft long
  • (1) 1 x 3 – 8 ft long
  • (2) 2 x 2 – 8 ft long
  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Kreg Jig Jr Pocket Hole Kit
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • Porter Cable Cordless Drill
  • Titebond Wood Glue
  • Quick Grip Clamps
  • Hammer
  • Finishing Nails
  • Palm Sander with 120 Grit Paper
  • Primer and Paint

Cut List:

  • 4 – 2 x 2 @ 26″ each (legs)
  • 4 – 1 x 3 @ 7 1/2″ each (aprons)
  • 5 – 1 x 3 @ 12 1/2 each (top)
  • 6 – 1 x 2 @ 9 3/8 w/ 1 ripped down to 1/2″ thick (top of bottom shelf)
  • 2 – 1 x 2 @ 7 1/2″ (shelf support)
  • 2 – 1 x 2 @ 8″ (shelf support)

 

side-table-project-2

Note: There is extra lumber shown in the photo.  Actual amount needed for the project is shown in the list above.

 

After everything is cut, sand all of the wood with the palm sander before beginning assembly.  Once everything is good and smooth, pocket holes can be drilled.  If you’re wondering how to do that step, follow the directions included in the Kreg Jig kit.  Next, assembly of all of the pieces begins.  We recommend gluing together all of the joints as you go, connecting the first two legs and apron to start. The quick grip clamp isn’t 100% necessary, but is very helpful for holding the pieces together while you place the pocket hole screws.  After the apron and legs are assembled, the bottom shelf support can be added.  Then you repeat the same process for all four sides.

pocket-holes

This shows how the pocket holes should look from the underside when completely finished.

Now that the main frame is done, set it aside and move onto the top of the table and bottom shelf.  For the top, take the five cut pieces of 1 x 3 and drill the pocket holes.  Then arrange them into a square, glue them together, and clamp (if you have them.) After that you can go ahead and place the screws in the pocket holes.   The top will need to sit overnight to allow the glue to completely set.  For the bottom shelf, we did not use pocket holes due to the lack of thickness necessary.  If you ended up using a thicker board, you could add them for strength.  This is a part where you really probably should have clamps, especially if your boards aren’t thick enough to add pocket holes.  But basically you are going to repeat the same process for the bottom shelf as the top piece.

After the top and bottom shelf have completely set, you’ll want to sand them again to even up the joints.  At this point you can decide whether or not you want the top of your side table to have any sort of design.  Since we were trying to match the design of the existing dresser, we just free handed it and cut it out with the jigsaw.  It’s not perfect, but it looks pretty close to what we were going for.

Almost ready to attach! Go ahead and drill two more vertical pocket holes on each apron.  Be careful when placing the screws so you don’t drill through the top of your table if you are using an impact drill.  The bottom shelf is a little more simple.  You can attach it with some finishing nails, no pocket holes necessary.  Now you’re ready to finish how you please!  We decided to paint ours since it was made to match the dresser, which we had previously refurbished.  You could also choose to stain it instead of paint.  We used a basic white primer, pink interior paint, white self-leveling cabinet paint for the top (though you can just use regular paint), and finished with a metallic gold around the edge of the top piece.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product along with the heirloom dresser.

dresser-1

This is the dresser we had previously restored and was the model in which the side table plans were based.