What a Christmas!*

*To explain the significance of the title
...as said by the incomparable Sydney Greenstreet, playing Mr. Yardley,  at the end of one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas in Connecticut...the 1945 original, starring Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane.  Don't even speak to me about the remake; it doesn't exist in my universe.  BTW, I really want to be Elizabeth Lane when I grow up.

I do hope you've had a wonderful, marvelous, heart-warming, and soul-restoring Christmas, too.  One that just took your breath away.

Coconut Cake with Ambrosia Filling
I finished up my baking with a three-layer coconut cake (photo, right), made with 7-minute icing and ambrosia (pineapple, orange, and coconut cooked in a sugar-syrup) filling.  My step-great-grandmother, Ner (who was married to Nananny/Ed Lee Stewart and whose "real" name was Nelle Rhea Stewart) used to make fabulous coconut cakes and ambrosia at Christmas, and I inherited this labor of love.  I just can't grate the coconut by hand like she did, so I've modernized the recipe by using the Cuisinart to do that part of the chore.  Thank goodness for progress!

Missy M, who had to drive her Honda-sleigh down the toll-road and over the mountains, arrived on Christmas Eve.  As the temperatures dropped after dark, I heated up some apple cider, and we sipped the comforting beverage from the Christmas china cups (you remember, I wrote about that Christmas china last year)...knowing that our child was home safe, our family complete.

Christmas Tree on Christmas Morn
...and Gus with his toy
Christmas Day 2010 began with the smell of Creme Brulee-laced coffee and cinnamon rolls, hot out of the oven.  We traditionally "open" our stockings first, then have coffee/hot chocolate, juice, orange slices, and rolls before distributing and opening our gifts from under the tree.  That's a "before" shot of the tree (left), along with Gus and his toy that Santa brought Ella Rae:  you see, in Gus' universe, all toys are his toys.  You'll notice a multitude of sacks on the hearth:  those are the stocking-sacks, since the stuff is just too heavy to put in the stockings and still have them hanging from the mantle.  Santa was very generous indeed, and we were all in a festive mood when I went in the kitchen to preheat the oven for the sausage casserole for brunch.

Ella Rae on the deck with the first flakes of
Christmas Day snow
As I paused at the back door to open it for Ella Rae to go outside (right), I shouted "it's snowing!"  A real, live White Christmas was coming to life, right before our eyes.  When Brother J called from Nashville, he said they already had 2 inches on the ground...and more falling at the moment.  Brother T, who lives in Northern KY, said they were still snowed in from the last snowfall, and that it required a 4-wheel drive vehicle for them to drive down their mountain.  For the first time in years, we were all going to enjoy (more or less...:) a Winter Wonderland, regardless of what state we were living in.

Well, by the next morning, we were living in "a state of emergency," as Gov. Perdue declared the Old North State.  We never lost our power (thank goodness) like many did, but it didn't stop snowing at two inches for us.  Or, at three or four inches either.  By the time we called it a night, we knew we were headed for a pretty deep "dusting" of the frozen stuff, as you can see in that photo I took, looking out the bay window in the back, over the deck steps (where Ella Rae had been sitting in the earlier photo) toward the swing (below, top).

Then, check out the same location-shot I took the next morning (above, bottom).  We had over five inches on the ground in HPNC then, with more falling.  By Sunday night, the final official total was given as "between 7 and 10 inches."  Yowza!  A white Christmas, for the first time in over 40 years.

Rudolph Cake, made for the Reindeer Games
The Christmas Day Snow topped off a wonderful holiday season for us.  We had had such a good time a weekend earlier when we journeyed to L'ville for the Lunn Family Christmas get-together, hosted by Missy M.  She had sent out invitations for all to join her for "Reindeer Games," and we had a blast playing Scrabble, doing a Christmas movie quiz (for "fabulous prizes") and Christmas-themed scratch-offs with Brother J and SIL J, who drove up from Nashville.  M made two big pots of chili (one hot, one mild...:), which we enjoyed before a roaring fire...courtesy of the Yule Log channel on DirectTV!  (Brother J said he'd lived to see it all...:)  I made a Rudolph cake for dessert (left), and we baked reindeer slice-and-bake cookies, too.  For favors, M created tins of "extra reindeer noses," which turned out to be little red-hot candies.  So clever!

Lunn Family Christmas at M's in L'ville
Unfortunately, Nana/Momma/Edith couldn't make the long trip, and then Brother T and SIL LaD couldn't join us as the cold and snow aggravated her breathing issues...and we missed them all terribly.  Still, it was so good to be with J and J and have such a great time.  As Mr. T said, "we need to get a photo of this (right)!"

I have a few photos of Finished Objects (FO's) that were given as gifts.  Plus, the snow has provided us with hundreds of opportunities for photos.  And, one of Mr. T's presents was a Bird Camera, which is now set up outside, clamped to one of the feeder-poles...and set to automatically snap shots when it detects motion (and warmth).  We should have mountains of photos generated by that! 

I do believe I'll save those until the next post...or two.  I wouldn't want to bury you in pixels.  Tee hee.

So, until then, a Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night!


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