From Home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia …
Saturday, Christmas Eve, 2011
Yesterday we went out for a nice long lunch with all the “kids.” Matt and Adam who live here in Roanoke and Chuck and Yanin who are in from New York City. Poor things – Yanin works in retail and didn’t get off of work until 12:30am Friday morning. As soon as she got home from work, they left for Roanoke, and didn’t get in town until 10:00 this morning. I know they must be exhausted. We had fun catching up at our favorite pizza spot. Last night I did some more house cleaning to get ready for Christmas. Since we had a late lunch, Charlie just made some popcorn for supper which we enjoyed while watching a movie in the family room. Then we watched a 3D show about Yellowstone National Park. It was really cool with the 3D glasses. We hope to visit there next year, Lord willing.
Today is Christmas Eve. It seems that we do this every year … we start out thinking we are getting all of our grocery shopping done a few days before Christmas so we don’t have to deal with the crowds at the last minute. But then the last two days before Christmas, we end up making more trips to the store. So in keeping with tradition, Charlie went to the store this morning to pick up a couple last minute items. Too funny.
While he went to the store, I made Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Cake which I plan to serve at a couple different functions on Christmas Day. Then I finished up the rest of my chores inside the house.
Charlie returned from the store and took his turn in the kitchen. He made some of his mother’s homemade fudge. It is Chuck’s all time favorite thing at Christmas time, so he asked about it yesterday. One Christmas Chuck was in Peru going to school, and so Charlie mailed a batch of the fudge to him. When he received it, it was so soft he had to eat it with a spoon. But he still enjoyed it and ate almost the whole batch in one sitting. Not that he felt very good afterwards!
My friend Jane gave me a pretty clear glass star ornament for Christmas. I kept thinking it would make a pretty pendant on a necklace, so I sat down and beaded a chain for it this afternoon.
I baked a dish of Cheese Grits, and Charlie made a triple batch of his Sausage Gravy. Add to that a plate of my Preacher Cookies and two large bags of wrapped gifts. And we were on our way to my sister’s house for Christmas Eve dinner with the family.
That’s right – we decided to have a big breakfast buffet for Christmas Eve supper this year. And boy, was it delicious! Baked ham, sausage, bacon, gravy, biscuits, potato casserole, cheese grits, eggs … and don’t forget lots of yummy sweet desserts. And hot coffee and cider. Chara always has her house decorated so cozy and homey for Christmas.
After the big meal, we all gathered in the family room by the fireplace to exchange gifts. This year we did a couple of fun things. Each person had to open one of their wrapped gifts (gift bags don't count) while wearing a pair of oven mitts. Mom put together another game which we had fun competing on two teams.
After leaving Chara's house, Charlie and I drove through downtown Buchanan to see the Christmas Luminary display. This tiny historic town along the James River had over 800 luminaries lined along the streets. All the homes and businesses on Main Street were also decorated with candles and beautiful decorations. After a devasating flood of 1985, they were unable to drink the water in town for a while. The following Christmas they decided to use the leftover gallon water jugs to light up the town as a symbol of their survival from the damaging flood waters. What a beautiful sight at Christmas time.
On Christmas Day, Charlie and I got up and exchanged a couple of gifts by the fire. We don't usually spend a lot of gifts to each other anymore as we prefer to put our money toward traveling together.
My parents came over for Christmas Day lunch. Charlie cooked a beef tenderloin in the oven, and I made garlic/parsley mashed potatoes and broccoli. Dad brought delicious homemade rolls. I also made a gorgonzola sauce to serve with the beef. It was SO good, and the beef was very tender. Charlie bought a whole tenderloin and cut the rest into steaks which he will vacuum pack and freeze for us to take to Florida. So the next time we have one of these steaks, it will be grilled outside in warm weather. :)
My parents spent the day at our house, and around 5:00 we all went to my Uncle Melvin and Aunt Vickie's house for supper. We had around 35 people there for dinner, and it was a great time with more delicious food brought by everyone there.
On our way home, Charlie and I went to see an amazing display of Christmas lights on a nearby farm. Once we turned off the main highway, we had to drive 2.5 miles to the house. It was really incredible and a nice ending to our Christmas celebrations.
We are so blessed with a wonderful family, and Christmas is really about remembering the birth of our Savior and spending time with those we love. I hope you all were able to do the same.