Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day After Christmas Brunch

As always, Jen created a beautiful breakfast for us all to enjoy the morning after Christmas!

After a delicious brunch, it was time to pass out presents!  We made a rule this year: Everything was to be homemade.  No quick trips to the store to grab something at the last minute.  Homemade gifts made us think, prepare, plan...  and at a time of year when the LAST thing you have is time to think, prepare, and plan, we were all sure we would NEVER do this again.  However, it turns out, this was the sweetest, most thoughtful, most appreciated gifts we have ever given and received.  To know that someone took the time to make a gift especially for you... it just goes to a deeper level.  You get to think about who you're making the gift for, to pray for their family, to imagine their look of surprise when they open this gift that took you a few hours to make.. it means so much.  Needless to say, the rule is sticking.  Homemade gifts are the new Brinker family tradition. This year, though, we all know to get started a little earlier, haa!

Such a cute little Grammie Girl!

First up: Mandy made these absolutely unbelievably cute DINOSAUR TAILS for the boys!!

Here is Heather, modeling the tail!

Our tiny crawling dinosaurs!

Hahaha, sooooo stinking cute!!!

Mandy also sewed the girls these APRONS!!!!!!!!!!  Have you ever even seen anything so cute in your life??!?!?!

Last but not least, Kurt made these candles!!!  Sooooo cute and sooo creative!!!  What wonderful gifts!

Hahaa, Pops found a new use for the dinosaur tail...

We kinda cheated on Mom and Dad's gifts...
They love to play tennis together, so here is a pic of the new gear!!  :))

Apparently, I got too busy to take pictures... but Jen made homemade soaps that she had worked on for a month!  She also made cookie mixes, cracker mixes, canned pepper jelly, and canned apple butter.. with apples from our Grandpa's farm in Illinois!!  Finally, she made an adorable snow globe.. with a gift card inside!!  I can't believe I don't have a picture.. it was ADORABLE!!! So sweet!  So thoughtful!

I made the kids a few things.. homemade Christmas crayons, holiday olive oil soap, and gingerbread playdough!  The funnest thing ever was making the playdough!!  The recipe is on Pinterest and it turned out SO well and smelled sooo good!!  It was a keeper!  Again, I can't believe I forgot to take a picture! :((  For the adults, I made something for every room of the house...  For the laundry room, I made homemade laundry detergent and dryer sheets.  From the kitchen, Wade spent a day making homemade tasso!  YUM!  For the bedroom/bathroom, I made homemade Peppermint Lotion Bars! And lastly, for the outside of the house, I made my first burlap wreaths!!  I loved them and you can see Jen's on her door here as Heather brought in her homemade gifts!

Hez made these adorable Christmas ornaments for the babies!

She also made S'mores Kits for the boys and Cooke Decorating Kits for the girls!

Playing in the confetti:

Heather also made Date Jars for each family with ideas for kid-friendly dates!!  Such a sweet idea!  Mom and Dad have already made s'mores over their open fire at home!  Love love love!

Lastly, each of us girls got this homemade cupcake stand!!!!!!!! Sooo awesome!

And then it was time to revel in the aftermath, ha!

Our Brinker family! 2013

Casey and Landry came over to visit! Here is Brother, pulling Landry around in the yard!

Decorating their Christmas sugar cookies!

The beautiful masterpieces!

Aunt Bec and Uncle Dus made this precious tool bench for Andrew.. and he was in love!!  Absolutely adorable! Who knew there were so many creative, amazing homemakers in the family?!

Beating up Uncle Kurt!!!! Family tradition!

Merry Christmas to my 7 month old!!!

That night, we opened up gifts with our kids.  We went with the cute little saying of 'something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." The point was to limit the number of gifts.  Christmas is always a time of such excess that we wanted the kids to remember that Christmas is about Jesus.  We will always have Christmas because we always have Jesus, regardless of the number of presents.  It was beyond refreshing!  Here is Brother's new book by Francis Chan!  It's wonderful!! 

Mighty Mind tiles to help with homeschooling.. YES! Homeschooling!  That blog post coming soon!

No better title for Wadie..  He is one beautiful real Cajun man!

Biggest present of the year:
NEW BIKES!!!!!!!!

Brother's first big boy bike!

Coming out of our room to see their big surprise!


When it's too cold to ride outside... we ride inside. ;)

The next morning, it was time to play with the gingerbread playdough!

Playdough Christmas trees... and the whole kitchen smelled like Christmas!

What a wonderful, beautiful Christmas..  We spent so much time together, creating precious memories and starting traditions, soaking up every blessed moment. One verse keeps coming to mind over and over again as I look back through these pictures.
 John 10:10 - Jesus came that we "may have life and have it abundantly."
Abundant life!! Only through Jesus do we have an abounding fullness of joy.. total, utter, complete joy!  When I think of this Christmas and the sweet days filled with absolute joy, there is only one person to thank.

Jesus. Precious Jesus.

Happy Birthday to our Saviour who brought the perfect gift of abundant life.

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.