Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

Our Homemade Christmas was a complete and utter success!

Christmas Eve was spent cleaning up the house a bit, grocery shopping a bit, and finishing up last minute projects (Mike). We had our traditional finger foods for dinner, and the girls absolutely adored getting to eat with toothpicks! We had a hard time convincing them that each morsel of food did not need its very own stick, so we went through half a box of the things. However, since no one poked an eye out or punctured anything important, we'll call that a success.

After dinner we pulled out some fabric scraps and the girls dressed up to tell the story in Luke Chapter 2. Of course, the star of the show was Baby Jesus, aka Dixon, who commanded everyone's attention when he refused to lay quietly in the manger (car seat). He had Mary (Brooke), Joseph (Maggie), a Wise Man (Katie) and a Shepherd (Bridget) abandoning their posts in order to offer their own kind of comfort to the crying babe. It was loud and chaotic, but in hindsight, very sweet and lovely.

We ended the night singing carols in the glow of the Christmas tree lights, and sent the kiddos off to experience visions of sugar plums. Mike and I were up until midnight, taking care of all of Santa's work, finishing up last minute projects (Mike), wrapping the remaining gifts, and getting cinnamon rolls ready to pop into the oven come morning. Of course, that came awfully quickly when Dixon decided to start his day at 4:30. The first of the little ones crept upstairs around 5, so we began the festivities!
The girls, ready to open up the boots and tights Santa left them. (Not homemade, but necessary nonetheless.)

Dixon, scrutinizing the wrapping paper before attempting to eat it.

Our little candy cane thief.

One of the advantages of not spending Christmas with extended family (though we love them dearly and have a blast when we do) is that we get to take our time opening our gifts. We let the girls hand out the gifts they made, then watch as their presents were opened. What a great way to teach them how wonderful it is to give--I think they had just as much fun watching as they did opening! So much so, that they all decided they wanted to make their gifts from now on. Guess I'll be spending the next 12 months coming up with new ideas!
Here are the ones from this year:

Apparently Mike overheard me telling my parents that I wanted to get all my recipes organized into the computer and compiled into one Master Book, because I was shocked to open a binder full of my recipes alphabetized! The girls helped him punch holes in the paper and decorate it by gluing on different images and icons. The hours he spent on this project are immeasurable and I really couldn't have asked for a nicer gift for Christmas!

After racking our brains, trying to come up with something we could make for Dad, we discovered that men are very hard to make things for! Maybe I'll consult with a few more men next year about what they'd like because this was the best we could come up with:Since Mike had been rummaging through my lotions and complaining that all mine were too "girly" for him, I found a kit at a craft store, and we proceeded to concoct our own body wash and lotion that smelled a bit more "manly." This was a really fun project! The girls got to choose their scent and color, then add some extras, like Vitamin E, aloe, and shea butter. Their favorite part was no doubt naming their very own product, and putting the labels on the bottles. They were even a hit with Mike!

As you'll remember from a previous post, Maggie's gifts were skirts I helped her make, and they turned out beautifully! Little did Maggie know that her mother would spend Christmas Eve Eve making her one as well!

Not only did Brooke make those cute bracelets I posted earlier, but she also made some of these adorable earrings. They turned out very nicely and I may even take a turn at borrowing them. Of course, she squealed with delight when she realized I made her these little blue ones with a matching bracelet to go with the skirt Mag made her.

Katie's hair accessories also went over really well with everyone. We especially liked this headband she made for Brooke. And yes, I made some for Katie as well!

The girls all thought it was a great idea to make ties for Dixon this year. Because it's only two tiny little straight passes on the sewing machine, I let them do it and they thought that was the best! Our little man is even more handsome now!

Grandma Barbara even got in on the homemade action and made these sweet little necklaces for the girls out of scrabble tiles w/ the first letter of their name. They have been wearing these nonstop!
And the highlight of the homemade parade was no doubt the My Little Pony Stable, Mike made for the girls out of scrap lumber. I Mod Podged some leftover material from the girls' skirts onto the insides and now they have a new-found desire to play with their ponies! He's planning to make little gates for the outsides. We'll see when that will actually happen. Until then, it's a favorite of us all!

And of course, all the while presents were being torn into, our cinnamon rolls were filling the air with their alluring scent while they baked in the oven, begging us to devour them. No Christmas would be complete without this traditional breakfast.
Jealous, huh?

That concludes Christmas for another year.
Can't wait to see what kinds of things our imaginations come up with for 2010!
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas

By now, most of you have received a Christmas card from us, and those of you who have not, I probably don't have an address for you..hint, hint. Some of you may be visiting this blog for the first time, so to you I say, WELCOME! Here you'll find updates on the Stringhams, some of our favorite recipes, all sorts of fun projects, an occasional rant or two...or three, spiritual musings, and pictures galore, documenting the life of our little (in size, not number) family.

2009 Recap
  • We're still working for the mortuary, and Mike is still running Handy Mike's. I'm still running carpool and taking care of things on the home-front. Sometimes successfully.
  • We spent a lot of time preparing and working in our 900 sq. ft. garden. We are becoming better gardeners because of it!
  • In June we welcomed Dixon into our family and have been loving almost every minute of his precious little life. The minutes we don't love so much are the ones that come at 2 and 3 in the morning.
  • Summer was full of reunions, swimming and ice cream...of course.
  • In August, our Maggie turned 8 and was baptized on the same day Dixon was blessed.
  • The end of summer brought back to school (enter choir of angels here), and canning madness. You're jealous of our peaches, I know.
  • We spent our Thanksgiving at Mike's parents' house, while they were away at his brother's, giving them a bathroom makeover to surprise them for Christmas. It worked!
  • In December, we sold our Expedition. *Sigh* With much food storage packed away, we've begun to get our financial ducks in a row as well, which included downgrading vehicles. So far, we've seen the hand of the Lord many times in the process of preparing, and it's been truly a miracle. We can't wait to see what else He has in store for us!
We are so grateful that each of you is a part of our life. We have been blessed beyond measure in family and friends, and want to wish you all the sincerest of Merry Christmases! May God bless your lives as abundantly as He has ours, and may we remember the gift He and His Son gave to us all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Projects #4--Brooke's Bracelets

Not to be left out, Brooke finally got her night holed up with Mom in the bedroom, making jewelry for her sisters.
She loved sorting through the beads and figuring out patterns. I thought she did a beautiful job.
Here's a sample of her creations. We still need to make earrings and necklaces, so hopefully this vertigo I've had creep up on me again will go away so I can help. Isn't it always something? Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice....

I can't think of a better way to commemorate my 100th post!

I'll be donating a Little Man Tie to this touching cause, so I hope you head on over to the Bloom Site starting tomorrow. Here's a little more info:

Looking for a way to provide service this holiday season? Here is a great opportunity. Starting Thursday, December 10th, there will be a charity auction at BLOOM ( to benefit Claire and Benson Skinner.
As explained by their parents, "Benson and Claire were born with a rare genetic disease in which their liver produces too much oxalate--called primary hyperoxaluria. Claire's condition has progressed much faster than Benson's. She has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old and is on dialysis 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is now on the waiting list to receive a combined kidney / liver transplant. It is expected Benson will eventually need similar transplants."
You can read more about the Skinners' experience HERE. (
All proceeds from the auction at BLOOM will go directly to Claire's COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) account to help pay for her transplant. Please head over to BLOOM Thursday-Saturday for the auction!

I hope you will check out the auction, help little Benson & Claire, and get some great stuff (Christmas presents???) all at the same time! Happy Bidding!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Projects #3--Maggie's Skirts

This was a really big project. While I was busy making ties for Dixon, Maggie thought it would be fun to learn how to sew, so she decided she wanted to make skirts for her sisters for Christmas. I reluctantly agreed, thinking we'd just do a simple elastic banded, knee-length skirt, but after seeing this skirt on one of her friends at church, she insisted that was the project for her!

So, we borrowed the skirt to figure out how it was made, and went to the fabric store for Mags to pick out the material. (Which she did a wonderful job doing!) We sent the girls & Dad off to the Palmer's for the football game (Thanks, Tasha! Sorry about that little accident...) and Maggie went to work ironing all the fabric pieces.
She kinda got the hang of the sewing machine, but couldn't run the foot pedal and guide the material with her hands at the same time, so since she preferred the foot pedal (If that's a sign of things to come, I can't wait till she's 16...Yikes!) I let her stick with that, while I ran the material through.

And here's the final product. I think we may have a little seamstress on our hands if her mother can be patient enough to let her do another project. Time will tell.

Christmas Projects #2--Katie's Hair Clips

For those of you who know Katie, you'll know it's all about hair for her, so it's no surprise that she chose to make hair clips for everyone this year. (Everyone except Dad & Dixon. Though they would look lovely on them, we're still deciding what to do there.)

So here's the stash she began with. A sea of ribbons, bows, flowers and sparkles!
A little girl in heaven, really.

Once again, I helped with the hot glue and with tying bows, but for the most part, it was all her imagination!

We did a lot of red, white and blues so the girls could stick with their dress code at school, but she was really quite thrilled with her creations. Especially when I told her I was pretty sure her sisters would share them with her.

Christmas Projects #1--Bridget's Letters

Let the handmade festivities commence! First up: Bridget. When I asked her what she wanted to do for her Christmas presents, she immediately said she wanted to paint. Of course. At first, she wanted to paint hot chocolate mugs for everyone. I guided her toward something a little less...breakable. We picked out big wooden letters for everyone and proceeded to paint and embellish with flowers, ribbons and sparkles.

I helped her with the hot glue and tying the ribbons, but other than that it was ALL her and her glorious imagination. Unfortunately, we wrapped them before I remembered to get pictures of the finished product. Guess we'll post more after they're opened!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hanging in There

Sorry about the lack of postings lately. That roller coaster called life has been sending a few loop-de-loops this way, leaving me feeling a bit like this:

But like this unique Christmas decoration, we're still hanging in there, and I'll try to get the photos of our various projects uploaded & posted soon.