The Whole Enchilada

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Howard and Sharon left their home in Havre de Grace at 4:00am, driving nine hours to Charlotte to share Thanksgiving with Molly and Hunter. HMMM good timing mom and dad, just in time for TURKEY dinner with all the good things that go with it. Our hosts were very smart to order a small turkey, for it was absolutely delicious, very tender and moist. Molly made the Furner's favorite sweet potatoes from the Susan Branch cookbook...way to go Molly. Well just look below and you will see just how yummy it all was. It was fun to dine in their formal dining room. A very sturdy table. Remember the Furner round oak table that always wobbled until diners grew seasick!! This table is sturdy! Then there is the dining room. You can actually walk around those seated, to take second or third bumping into one another. Hmm and the room is flooded with sun light! This room is going to host many parties, that is for sure. Dessert was as good as the dinner. Howard went for the pumpkin pie, but the rest of us fought it out over the home made coconut cream and pecan pies! Oh, my goodness were they tasty. Later in the evening neighbors dropped by for dessert. Little Luke is all ready for the big turkey dinner, even has his monkey bib on. Okay, he will just have to wait one more year, he is on the milk-bandwagon for now! But he was a happy looker-on-er! Come along with us to the ballet, the Nutcracker Ballet!
Hunter and Molly live in charming Matthews, NC. This is a community that is truly supported by the residents. There is always something fun going on in Matthews. And tonight was no exception. The community building was hosting the Nutcracker Ballet. You feel the southern charm as soon as you open the doors. This fun mural greets you as you enter. And if you turn around........
Above one's head is this diorama all decorated for Christmas. The auditorium was on the second floor. And that is where we found many happy mommies, daddies, siblings and grammies and grandpops, all eagerily awaiting the Nutcracker! Probably most of the audience had a loved child performing, all but us, of course. But the day will soon come when Kayla might dance in the Nutcracker.
The magic of the Christmas tree and one child.
It is very special to enjoy the Nutcracker with Kayla, because there was a time, long long ago, when Kayla's mommy danced in the Nutcracker in Reno, Nevada. She was one of those adorable little roly-poly children who pop out of Madam Buffoon's billowing skirt. And dipping deeper into memories, all those years when we spent Christmas time in San Francisco and had the joy of seeing the San Francisco ballet perform the Nutcracker. This evening brought back so many memories.
And letting the magic settle on the night, we awoke the next morning to........
Celebrate Molly's birthday!
Happy Birthday Molly.
Mommies who are born at the end of Thanksgiving and the Commencement of Christmas, need to celebrate with balloons and a poinsettia plant. Mommy received both from a happy Kayla.
Sharon cooked a Moroccan dinner for Molly's birthday. She brought to Charlotte her amazing tajine cooking dish, to cook a spicy stew of lamb, dates, almonds, pistachios, and fragrant herbs! Israeli couscous and sweet oranges with onions and olives completed the meal. Dinner was served from the tajine dish and Molly's beautiful blue and white bowl she bought in Israel.
For dessert we had Sarah's sublime coconut flan. I can't make it as well as Sarah, but it is still a pretty yummy dessert.
Some close friends of Molly and Hunter dropped by for birthday cake. Hunter baked from scratch an amazing German Chocolate Cake with homemade coconut icing, yum yum! Being a perfectionist, the cake looked like it had come from a bakery. Their friends were very impressed to learn that he baked it! The cake was blazing from all the candles. Hmmm how old are you Molly?
We drove down to Charlotte to attend the Discovery Museum. It will soon be under long term renovation, so we were excited to go one more time. Being a school day it was brim full of excited students, bus loads full. We were just as excited!
We always go to the puppet theater when visiting the museum. Each visit there is a new show and this one was all about Icky the Alligator who got stranded at Christmas in the forest. All the little forest animals came out to shelter and feed Icky and eventually help him get back to his true home. A very proper Christmas story without using the word Christmas.
Kayla had fun with the clay animal, reptile creatures. She was a super cheerleader at the Rat Basketball game! We all enjoyed the Imax theater presentation on Greece. We all left wanting to visit in person this fascinating sun-drenched country, the seat of Democracy.
After all the fun at the Discovery Museum, we headed off to a popular southern cooking
restaurant. We were there for fried fish, fried potatoes, fried onion rings, fried hush puppies--FRY--the true mark of a southern dish. Hunter and Molly were more than excited to share this southern experience. We were so early we had to wait for them to open the restaurant!! Once seated we gobbled up the offered hush puppies....I wonder who was responsible each day for deep frying thousands of them..
Sharon was the only one to not have the fried flounder, the house speciality. Rather she opted for a Greek white fish with vegetables and grilled salmon. We all enjoyed our meal, the friendly service, the boisterous, home-spun people coming in, the slightly sweet, very crispy hush puppies and the southern ambience. This was a true Southern cooking. We were way too full for dessert. Another time.
We celebrated a Charlotte Christmas with Hunter, Molly, Kayla and Luke. We enjoyed a lovely dinner of roast chicken and yams. The excitement increased when we gathered for a Christmas story and song, culminating with the exchange of presents. It was so fun to watch Kayla open her gifts, then help her baby brother, Luke. This is when Christmas becomes Magical!
Sweet little Luke is our Peace Baby. Grammy painted him a special canvas filled with children
from around the world, all sharing a Magic Carpet. May he be a child who furthers the cause of Peace.
Kayla is a bit like these colorful butterflys dancing in the wind, she is bright, happy, sweet little girl who loves to flutter about. She is our content and happy child.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you take to say hello. Warmly, Sharon