Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Guest Writer: Amy Hamblin

We love this time of year!  Family time for us is the best thing ever and this time of year is just jam packed with family time.  It has been fun for us over the last 12 Christmas’ to find our own traditions or take from our different family traditions and blend them into one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

Many years - not all years - I do the Twelve days of Christmas for my family. Sometimes I have a theme, sometimes it's completely random. Last year I actually took the song and rewrote it to suite my needs and it turned out awesome. It of course is personal to my family and our circumstances, but you can use it as a guideline for writing your own 12 Days of Christmas poem.

Just have fun with it. I start 13 days before Christmas so that the last gift received is on Christmas Eve. I think I have as much fun leaving the gifts as everyone does getting them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pictures With Santa

As you know from my post "10 Tips For Surviving Black Friday" Jess and I are Black Friday Shoppers. We started the tradition about 6 years ago, and both of us are very protective of our day: it's always just the two of us and we like it that way. We have certain places, and certain things we do every year, and one of them is to get our picture taken with Santa!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Man Cave: Why You Might Be the Turkey on Thanksgiving

I know that insulting Family Strong readers is not the best way to build loyalty. For some reason I don't care today. I'm going to exorcise my Thanksgiving demons. I'm going to pull no punches and say the things that are really on my mind; tell it like I see it.

And if you don't like can get stuffed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pilgrim Hats

Guest Writer: Amy Hamblin

We do not find as many easy to do projects for Thanksgiving as we find for both Halloween and Christmas but there are a few.  Finding them or thinking them up is the hard part.  I never hesitate to improvise on someone elses idea.  When I can use what I have and get pretty much the same result I think it is a project well done.

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Tips For Surviving Black Friday

Jess and I are Black Friday Shoppers, and have had this tradition together for about 6 years now. It's really quite amazing how similar my rules for Black Friday parallel those for "Rules of Zombieland". If you have never seen this movie, it's a must in your preparation for Black Friday. Look at it as a training video.... It's quite uncanny how the shoppers you will run into on this morning mirror zombies: you have sleep deprived, caffeine pumped maniacs that will do anything to get what's on their list.

So, here we go - 10 Tips to survive the Black Friday Apocalypse.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

I love pumpkin! Pumpkin bread, muffins, pie, cake, smoothies - you name it, I love it. This time of year is always a special treat because I really break out the pumpkin and go to town.

This muffin recipe is pretty much a staple right now. I think I have made it three times so far, so I thought I would share.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Man Cave: Ten Tips to a Manlier Thanksgiving

For many Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday...the middle child in the Holiday family. Not for me. I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. You get all the perks of Christmas and none of the hassle or pressure. There is very little home decorating, and maximum opportunity for manly pursuits.

Here is how you do it:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cake

 Guest Writer: Amy Hamblin

This is one of my family’s very favorite desserts!!  Whenever we are asked to bring a dessert to any function, this is what we bring.  It is easy, it isn’t to bad for you but most importantly it tastes fantastic!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Sandwiches

Turkey sandwiches... and I meant that quite literally. Another amazing idea floating around out there! People's creativity never cease to amaze me. What a simple way to make lunch fun while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I LOVED this idea..... I wonder if I could get Jess to eat her veggies if I made her this when she comes  home for the holidays?....... Better not get my hopes up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Andy Rooney on Women Over Forty

This is slightly uncharacteristic of me on Family Strong, but a friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night and it made me chuckle and feel good about myself. So, for all of you over forty women out there - this one's for you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oreo Turkeys

I was talking with my girlfriend the other day and she mentioned a care package that she is sending her son. One of the things she was putting in there were the supplies to make Oreo turkeys..... Oreo turkeys? Never heard of them, but it sounds amazing! After our conversation I immediately got online to look these little gems up. I found a few sites that had them, but these were my favorite - SO CUTE!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Man Cave: His and Hers Diary Entries

It's no and women see things differently. I ran across a perfect example this week that I thought I would share. I have no idea where it comes from or who to credit. I only know it's funny.

I showed it to Kathy, and we both agree: it's funny because it's true.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

7-Up Cake

Guest Writer: Amy Hamblin

It is the time of year when we are all looking for good deserts to go with those special holiday dinners.  We cook huge turkeys or hams, mix up bowls full of mashed potatoes and green bean casseroles, spend hours baking delicious rolls but when it all comes down to it we are all most excited for that yummy dessert.  Okay, maybe not everyone but I am at least.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Parenting Is A Serious Commitment

My mind has been on little Sky Metalwala the last couple of days. This adorable little two year old went missing a couple of days ago when is mother... get this... left him in the car for an hour while she took her four year old daughter to "get gas"!! There are so many things wrong with this scenario I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paper Bag Turkey

I was jumping around some of my favorite sites this weekend and found this little craft on I thought it was so cute that I would share it. Sometimes I really wish I had the little ones still to do fun crafts with...... I guess I should just hang in there. In a handful of years I can start doing them again when I have some grandkids to do them with ;o) Make one of these for me!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Man Cave: Fun Fridays

Now that my kids are grown and out doing their own things most of the time, I miss the days when we used to hang out. So many fun little moments happen when you spend unstructured play time with people. Since that time doesn't happen so much with them any more I've taken to sending out "Fun Friday" emails to everyone in my family.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You Guys Are Really In Love, Aren't You?

I love my husband fiercely. We just love being together, and when we are we are usually absorbed in each other completely: even after almost 23 years of marriage. Apparently we love each other so much that perfect strangers can tell. 

I have been dying to share this experience since it happened, but was so focused on Halloween it didn't seem to fit. However, now that Halloween is over and it is that time of year we contemplate all we are thankful for, now is the perfect time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Start A Thankful Banner

We have so much to be thankful for in our lives that most of the time we take it all for granted. It really is an eye opener to be able to visualize all of the things you have around you that make your life so great. We did this one year as a family and it was an amazing experience to see all the blessing we have: we started a "Thankful Banner" and it was crazy how quickly it filled up.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Holidays

One of the reasons I love Halloween so much is it is the marker for the official start of the holidays. We are in full swing now, and I just love this time of year. Thanksgiving is so great: a day dedicated to food and family and a whole month to remind us of all we have to be thankful for. Here are some fun holidays to keep you busy between now and then.