Tuesday, December 28, 2010

back at it

It's about time for a new post around here! It seems I took an unplanned break from blogging.

A quick report on the desserts:
I made the Raspberry Sherry Trifle and the Frozen Grand Marnier Torte from the last post.
Both desserts were delicious, but the trifle was the biggest hit. It was light and more ubiquitously pleasing. The sherry was cooked, so the children enjoyed it as well as the adults. The Torte was delicious but very "orange-y" and the crust would not come out of the bottom, since it was frozen. If you ever make this one, either grease the bottom of the dish VERY well or make a crustless Torte and use all of the "Crust" in between the two layers of custard. Overall, I loved the flavors. But they were very unique and bold and would never do for a picky crowd.

Now for our three-day visit to Alabama.
was most certainly Khan's favorite.

Can you sense the energy? He loves the leash-less freedom the tall pines of Alabama bring him.

It's refreshing for us, too.
Fire pits. Fresh lumber cut from one's own property. And, of course, inflatable Auburn tents.
I got to meet some friends for lunch, too.


Miriam (middle) was in town from the UK where she is working on her PhD in Creative Writing, and Ashleigh is a (newly graduated) lawyer in Atlanta. I'm so impressed with my smart friends! I've known these two since elementary school. And with all they have to offer the world through their vast accomplishments, I talked through the entire lunch. Do you ever leave a visit and think, I just talked the whole time and really had so little to say? That's how I left lunch with these two: wishing I had listened more than spoken.

DAY TWO: Christmas Eve

We spent the day near Birmingham with my dad's family.

The town they recently moved to is an old railroad town with a vintage depot deli. So we explored the town, perused its shops, and had tasty burgers at the depot. Many of the shops were closing for good (or had already). It's the kind of scene that makes me want to try harder to support small businesses, to keep places like this alive. It's just not the same as rushing through Target. It would be a tragedy to lose.

Christmas Eve night was spent in my parents' tiny country church and at their house preparing for Christmas Day... and meeting my brother's interesting (and cute!) girlfriend for the first time through Skype. She teaches English in Tibet and couldn't be home for Christmas.

DAY THREE: Christmas Day

Got up early. Men started frying and smoking turkeys. I showered and had lots of coffee to await the arrival of the Herndon family, which has grown from four to seven in the last two years. They have visited early Christmas morning for as long as I can remember-- and have at times opened our gifts before we've reached them saying, "Hey, look what you got for Christmas!" They bring lots of LIFE to groggy Christmas mornings :)

I usually have no idea what to get my parents. But this Christmas, I couldn't wait for them to open their gift.

The wrapping, they were told, contained a CLUE.

So they discussed and tried to discover the CLUE... any ideas?

To no avail.

So they opened the box, and the spring system I designed to make the silk flowers pop out was a total flop....

so the flowers that didn't gurgle out in slow motion were gathered and moved...

the letter read aloud...

and they are very happy with their 108 perennial bulbs that will be delivered for spring planting! It's a gift that (hopefully) will keep giving. In this shopping process, I learned that Spring bulbs can be pre-ordered at discount. I went through American Meadows.

(By the way, the hat I'm wearing in that photo is a fru-fru chef's hat that Santa brought me.)

After the Herndons' visit and the giving of gifts, we traipsed over to Pittsview, Alabama to my grandmother's 160-year-old home to see my mom's family-- all 30 of them.

It's one of my favorite events of the whole year.
Photo One: The grandchildren's playroom
Photo Two: Mother and Brother taking out the wrappings (and wearing some, too!)
Photo Three: The "cousins" generation-- minus two who had to leave early
Photo Four: Lounging in the parlor towards the end of the day's activities (usually, this time of the day involves skeet shooting in the fields, but it was too misty out for that kind of fun)

On the fourth day, we returned to Greenville, SC where a light dusting of snow awaited us. It rarely snows this far South around Christmas, much less on Christmas night. It was quite magical.



  1. Ok, I'm adopting your entire family. This is wonderful and I love all the thought that went into not only wrapping the gift for your parents, but also the thought of spring, perennials, love etc.

    This choked me up. Good girl.

    Love and happy New Year (I still can't believe it and oh, our marshmallow snowmen were SO UGLY it would ruin your reputation if I posted the pics)

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  2. I would LOVE to have you adopt my entire family! And, yes, that's the gift I told you would make you proud! I'm glad to see it did...

    And I'm sure your snowmen were cute! But I imagine they would be hard for children to make. Maybe it's more of an adult project!

  3. LoVeLy pics, Girl-Child! However...I'm not too sure about you having so very many photos of your mother in her not-so-pretty-but-ever-so-warm pajamas for the whole blogging world to see...Good Heavens!

    Beautifully written synopsis of your Christmas visit home! And Miriam and Ashleigh look wonderful!

    Lug, Mug

  4. Sounds like great fun! Enjoyed the pics. Love the gift of bulbs! Enjoy the snow for as long as lasts :)


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