Stone Soup is a comic strip created by Jan Eliot. It began in 1990 as a weekly strip called Sister City, and went syndicated in 1995 as Stone Soup. The strip centers on two sisters who live next to each other, as well as their families. These families consist of:
Val Stone, widowed mother with two daughters:
Holly, her 13 year old daughter
Alix, her 10 year old daughter
Evie, her mother and Holly and Alix's grandmother
Biscuit, a hyperactive dog
Joan Stone, Val's sister:
Wally Weinstein, Joan's neighbor, whom she married in 2001
Andy Gilburt, Wally's nephew, who lives with him
Max Krabowsky, Joan's 2 year old son from her first marriage
Luci, Joan and Wally's first kid
Other recurring characters include:
Phil Jackson, a motorcycle cop whom Val has dated on and off
Dickerson, Val's brown-nosing coworker
Rena, another office buddy of Val's
Leon, Joan's first husband who occasionally shows up just to mooch off Joan
Susan, neighborhood vet/basketball coach whom Wally used to date
Appeal To Worse Problems: Most of the Habit for Humanity strips seem to have a message that since Holly is more worried about immediate concerns than things she can't actually do anything about what with being thirteen and all, she's a horrible person. It probably isn't the author's intent but it kind of looks that way to the untrained eye.
From Bad to Worse: In one 2002 story arc, Val locks her keys in the house. When scouting the house for an open window, she rips her pants on the rose bush and steps in dog doo. They manage to get Alix through the bathroom window, only for her to fall in the toilet. And then as soon as they get the keys, the car's out of gas.
Title Drop: After a storyline in which Val temporarily loses her job, Joan, Evie and even Holly all pitch in some money to help her through. Val then comments on how every little bit helped, and jokes about having stone soup for dinner (a reference to a French tale in which villagers contribute to a pot of "stone soup" to make it better).
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alix and Holly, respectively. Alix has a fondness for playing in the mud, among other things.