Homemade Christmas

I have always questioned the way many Americans celebrate Christmas but for the most part I’ve went along with the way it has always been. Spending a good share of money, exchanging gift cards, and getting sucked in to the stress of it all. No more…this year we have decided to take a different approach with some of our friends and family. Instead of doing the gift card swap and going backward financially we have agreed to swap pictures and homemade goodies only.
It makes more sense and the presents are much more meaningful. The kids and I have also agreed to pick names and on Christmas eve we will all swap homemade presents. John and I will still buy for the kids but for the most part we buy practical presents.

For the last 4 years the kids and I go on an annual field trip to a local college for a fall photo session. John is usually off duck, bird, or bow hunting. We are husbandless and fatherless from October 1st until the end of November. Sure glad he doesn’t have a muzzle loader! Our meals times often include roasted duck and woodcock….I’ll stick to the Cornish rocks!

As a rule we usually bring a couple of friends and try to get a few good shots of them. This year we broke tradition, there was 11 of us total and Leah was an angel. Every year she has acted up for one reason or another up until this year. Last year she was hungry, the year before she was too hot, and before that I contributed her naughtiness to her age. This year I was armed with a back pack full of clothes, snacks, and drinks. Luke also made a bet with her for $10 that she couldn’t be good. Low and behold she was sweet as pie! Above are a few of the pictures I took. We will make some fun Christmas presents, calendars, etc. with the pictures. When I look back at the previous years I see how much they’ve grown…sad! 🙁

Even though she was grouchy I always got a few snapshots because she is still cute.
This is in 2006, isn’t her hair cute, I love it long but she hates to wear it up and chooses to keep short hair. What’s a mom to do?

So here is a list of some of the things we are making this holiday season to give away.

Goat Milk Fudge – I have made one batch and did not quite get it to temperature but it still was so yummy! The recipe comes from I Love Mini Nubians

Peanut Butter Fudge

4 c. sugar
2 c. goat milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the sugar and goat milk into a large, heavy kettle. Cook over medium high heat until fudge reaches the soft ball stage. Stir often as this fudge has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot. When at the soft ball stage, remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract. Beat by hand until thick and dull looking. Pour into buttered 9″ square pan. Cool and cut.

Bread – I have made a good egg and oatmeal bread but I want to experiment more with multi grain breads.

Goat Milk Soap – I have yet to make, I still need to get a scale. I have watched a few videos on you tube and will be experimenting soon.

Pictures – we frame pictures, make Christmas cards, sideshows, and calendars.

Christmas Ornaments – we will be making angels out of pinecones, acorns, bay leaves, and dried flowers.

Earrings– I make beaded sterling earrings (credits to my friend Mary). They make great presents for earring lovers. I would be willing to do a post on if anyone is interested.
It is easy!

Body/Linen Spray – I made lavender body spray recently. I used a 2 oz spray bottle, distilled water, 1 T. of witch hazel, and several drops of essential oil (whatever scent you prefer)

Bath Salts – 1 C epsom salt(scented or plain), 1 C sea salt, a small amount of dried flowers (I used lavender) and a few drops of essential oil (if the salt is not scented). It looks nice in a canning jar with some raffia tied around the top.

I would love to hear what others are doing for homemade presents!