Tag Archives: Family

From the Experts 2 - Protecting Your Family through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross and Once Upon a Time Creation

From the Experts: Protecting Your Family Through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross

We are so excited to bring you this new blog series…From the Experts!  This second post is about something we don’t like to think about, but is so important: Protecting Your Family Through Wills and Trusts. 

Here at Once Upon a Time Creation, our mission has always been to support your love of family as you treasure special moments, both big and small. I love to hear the stories behind your cherished keepsakes and understand, through all of you, that each stage of life presents us with new challenges. As life twists and turns, there is always a new experience that keeps us on our toes, reminding us that the more we know, the more there is to learn.  I truly believe that “it takes a village” and that we are all in this together. 

To support you in those big events and small moments, we are partnering with experts in their field to bring you advice on topics relevant to today’s family. We have a fantastic line-up in store for you!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us,


From the Experts 2 - Protecting Your Family through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross

No one likes to think about dying—especially once you have kids.  It’s hard enough to find a babysitter that you trust, much less think about your kids navigating the world without you.  When you aren’t prepared, though, not having a Will and Trust created for your children can be the kind of thing that keeps you up at night.  Taking care of your estate planning gives you the reassurance that your children will be protected if something happens to you.

First, you want to make sure that you have guardians designated.  A Will can do that for you; without one, the courts will make the decision for you, and it is possible it would not be the person or people you would have picked.  Sometimes clients tell me that they aren’t ready to complete their Wills because they can’t decide who to name as guardian.  But a guardian designation is not final.  If you change your mind about the guardians named in your Will in the future, you may change the designations through codicils to your Wills or by executing new Wills.  It’s better to have something in place than nothing at all!

Wills and trusts can also protect any money you leave your children.  In Pennsylvania, when someone leaves over $25,000 to a child, the courts must get involved to appoint someone to manage the money for the child.  The court then supervises that person and his or her management of the money.  This requires hiring a lawyer, and spending money on legal fees and court costs.  It is much simpler and less expensive to create a trust in your Will that will name a trustee that YOU choose to manage your money if something happens to both parents.  Also, money left directly to children without a trust will be paid to them when they turn 18.  Even the most responsible and mature 18 year old would likely be overwhelmed by being responsible for your life savings.  A trust can be written to last until your children are older, while still giving your trustee the power to manage the money and spend it on your children’s education and living expenses.

Estate planning is an investment in your family’s future.  It ensures that, even if the unthinkable occurs, you are leaving your family with a well-ordered estate plan that saves them time and money and ensures that they are protected.  The right estate planning attorney can make the process easy and straightforward, and taking care of these important documents now will leave you with one less thing keeping you awake at night!

Alison Gross is a lawyer and mom of three that helps you protect your families through Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney.  Please contact Alison at alison@altmangross.com or 215-435-8524 to discuss how she can help you with your Estate Planning and guardianship designations.  Learn more at: www.altmangross.com.


Custom Keepsake Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

The Beauty of Ornaments

There are no rules when it comes to tree trimming in our house. We do not have the decorator-variety tree where all the ornaments are coordinated and the latest garland trend is draped perfectly over the evergreen branches.

Heart Apron Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance Ornaments created from a beloved apron.

Our tree is adorned with little feathered handprints, laminated snowflakes proudly framing a preschool picture, quilted treasures from my aunt, wooden creations from my grandfather, different Nativity scenes, the varied collection we have amassed from places we have been, the few glass balls we have left from our first tree (when we ran to CVS for decorations realizing we had none), JoePa figurines, and so much more.

Heart Remembrance Jean Ornament by Once Upon a TIme Creation

In loving memory of a hard working dad created from his paint-covered overalls.

The collection I am most proud of will not be hung on our tree forever. Every year we give each child an ornament that represents an activity, a favorite occasion, or something they love from that year. When we pull out all their ornaments, we see all the things they have done, learned about, and obsessed over.

Irish Heart Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

These are not fancy ornaments. Some have been purchased at the mall kiosk, some have been ordered online, some have been locally purchased, and some have been handcrafted. Everything is represented, from karate to video games to movies as well as princesses, dance, and instruments.  Seeing them together creates a little “this is your life” snapshot that will go with each of my kids when they have their own tree someday.

Penn State Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

Outgrown pjs turned into fun ornaments.

And then there is the collection that is not hung on the tree, but will go with them also. This group is displayed in our studio all year. These are the ornaments designed from clothes that they wore when they were little. For some of you, you may be experiencing this now and for some, you may remember, that there always seemed to be a favorite piece of clothing from each year. It may have been the camo pants with the big pockets for collecting rocks or the Spongebob pjs, or maybe the Cinderella dress or the comfy romper. Now that they are both teenagers, each ornament brings me back to when they were little, and how parenting then was easier and harder at the same time.

Angel Wedding Dress Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

A beautiful wedding dress becomes angel remembrance ornaments.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a big deal in my family. My grandmother hosted her annual tree trimming party to bring family and friends together to eat, drink, and adorn her enormous tree. She believed in the miracle of family and Christmas so this was her time to shine. After she passed away, we created angel ornaments for everyone in the family out of her red and white pjs. My hope is that when that ornament is hung on each tree we can all feel her smiling down on us.

Angel Remembrance Keepsake Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

To me, ornaments are not just decoration. They are a family history to be enjoyed, displayed, and shared every year in that magical Christmas time we all love.

Vintage Linen Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

Heirloom vintage linens can now be enjoyed on the tree.

Do you have an ornament or Christmas tree tradition? I would love to hear about it.


If you would like us to help you create ornaments from special clothing you have saved, please visit our website (https://www.onceuponatimecreation.com) or contact me (610-202-7850 or jen@onceuponatimecreation.com).

Heart Shirt Remembrance Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance ornaments for the family from favorite shirts.

Once Upon a Time Creation St. Paddy's Day


Not sure about you, but celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has changed for us over the years from crazy all-day bar tours to enjoying “one” Guinness, a dinner of ham and cabbage, and listening to some good music.   This year, we were lucky to celebrate with family and friends.

On Saturday, my daughter had her first concert with her band and many of our family and friends came to support their efforts.  Afterward, they came back to our house for a little St. Paddy’s Day food and fun.


The whole day reminded me of what an amazing group of family and friends we are blessed with.   Most drove close to an hour to come see the concert, brought snacks to share afterward, and of course, provided lots of laughs!

St. Patrick's School

It takes a special group of people to support each other in times of hurt and disappointment, celebrate and take pride in each other’s victories, and call us out on the things we will probably regret:)

All relationships need time together, just for fun.  As our lives get busier, this is sometimes hard to remember.  This weekend was my reminder to nurture and treasure the people around us, make an effort to see people we miss, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Once Upon a Time Creation St. Paddy's Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!