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A Christmas to remember

December 12, 2007

Welcome! I was totally late in signing up for this blog Advent tour, but I am glad that Kailana was gracious enough to squeeze me in.

Christmas is my most favorite holiday. I think it stems from wonderful memories of my childhood – warm fires, yummy food and a beautiful tree with lots of gifts from Santa. My mom always knew how to celebrate the holiday right and made it fun for all of us. Now, with two kids of my own, it was time to start our own traditions.

Other than the typical decorating around the house (which you can see pictures of over at my craft blog) we have been heading into Manhattan over the past few years to kick off the holiday season. Just this past Saturday we took a whole entourage with us – six adults and five kids all ate a yummy lunch in Chinatown and then headed uptown to Rockefeller Center to see the tree (Note to self – next year go on a week day to avoid the massive crowds)!  Afterwards we headed down to Macy’s Herald Square to enjoy the awesome window displays.

christmas decorating 058Another one of my favorite holiday pastimes is reading to my children. I recently reorganized my bookshelf (got the idea from Soulemama) and separated all my children’s holiday books from the rest of our stash. I now have stacked our books neatly in a basket that sits right by our tree – that way we can grab and read a holiday story and not have to rummage around the bookshelf for that “one” book. Our new favorite is Snowmen at Christmas, a beautifully illustrated story about how snowmen enjoy the Christmas season when no one is looking. There are also hidden pictures within each drawing, so it kept my five year old busy for a while. As for me, I’ve been delving into Holidays on Ice by David Sederis for a few chuckles.

Another tradition since my oldest Leah was born is to have a picture of our whole family on our Christmas card. During this past Thanksgiving (which also was unseasonably warm), we stepped outside and my father snapped this picture for us:

I am really pleased with the way it turned out this year and have just finished stuffing all the envelopes and have sent them on their merry way!

Last but not least, there is plenty baking going on in our home. Next week we will be making some biscotti from this Food Network recipe to give to Leah’s teachers as holiday gifts. This weekend I will be busy making this yummy dessert that is the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee (or hot cocoa for that matter). I have made this Sour Cream Coffee Cake over and over the past eight or so years. Make sure you grease the pan real well with melted butter and flour. If not, your cake may come out in two pieces. It tastes best if made one day before serving and is delicious served for dessert or even for a brunch. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan with melted butter and flour. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in salt, baking powder and cake flour. Spoon half of the batter into a greased bundt pan. Using the back of a spoon, make a slight indentation in the batter and add the following filling:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Spoon remaining batter over the cinnamon-nut filling. Bake for approximately one hour. Remove from pan after 15 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. Serves 10 to 12 people. 

There is plenty more to see! Check out these sites for over the next few days of the advent tour, including one more stop today:

13 December – Jill (The Well-Read Child)
14 December – Robin (A Fondness for Reading)
15 December – Alyssa (By The Book)
16 December – Rachel (A Fair Substitute for Heaven)
17 December – Literary Feline (Musings of a Bookish Kitty)/ Stephanie (Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic)
18 December – Dev (Good Reads)
19 December – Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December – Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December – Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December – Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December – Booklogged (A Reader’s Journal)
24 December – Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)


23 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2007 6:49 am

    That sour cream coffee cake sounds delicious! And the idea of going to New York to kick off your holiday celebrations sounds fantastic!

    Thanks for participating in our blog tour!

  2. December 13, 2007 9:02 am

    Mmmm, coffee cake.

    I would love to see NY at Christmastime. You’re so lucky.

    Gorgeous family too.

  3. December 13, 2007 11:03 am

    Oh man, put the coffee on – I’ll be over in a few hours. That cake sounds perfect with a good cup of warm goodness.

    Great family picture.

    Love the idea of putting Holiday books by the tree. I’m going to do that today.

    BTW, I’m 1/2 way through The Other Boleyn Girl – thanks for the recommendation, it’s a great book. Just picked up Atonement today at the library (along with A Thousand Splendid Suns).

  4. December 13, 2007 12:34 pm

    Great holiday photo.

    You gave me this coffee cake recipe years ago and I think it is just yummy! Luckily I didn’t come out in two pieces since I am definitely an overgreaser? I wonder if overgreaser will ever become a word?

    It is so weird looking at the beautiful tree in NY when my kid just spent the day yesterday playing under the sprinkler. How funny is that?

  5. December 13, 2007 12:35 pm

    PS biscotti sounds awesome. I usually buy the teachers bookmarks. They probably think Oh here comes the lady that gives us bookmarks every year, same old same old.

  6. December 13, 2007 3:40 pm

    Oh, your Christmas photo is beautiful, thanks for sharing.

    I make pecan pralines for the teachers, they are tricky, but if you can nail them….yummy!

    The basket of books near the tree. Best new holiday idea yet this season, and I’m gonna go pick up that snowman book, it looks fab.

  7. December 13, 2007 3:57 pm

    Oh, yum! Another recipe. And I haven’t heard of the snowman book. I’m going to have to go check it out! Thanks!!

  8. December 13, 2007 4:45 pm

    The cake recipe looks good 🙂

  9. December 13, 2007 5:17 pm

    The coffee cake sounds yummy!

    I have never been to NY, but it’s one of those places that strikes me as being very Christmas-y. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many Christmas movies that are set there. You’re lucky to be able to visit it!

  10. December 13, 2007 5:30 pm

    Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story and the delicious recipe – you guys across the pond seem to do lots of baking ! Good on you. I wonder if your delightful children join in as well!
    Wishing you and your family a very happy christmas,

  11. December 13, 2007 7:05 pm

    What a beautiful family picture. And that tree in NY; I can see making that a tradition.
    And I love the idea of the Christmas book basket. I am going to find one right now.
    Merry Christmas

  12. literaryfeline permalink
    December 14, 2007 12:58 am

    Thank you for sharing your holiday memories with us! I have enjoyed this blog tour quite a bit.

  13. December 14, 2007 11:29 am

    That cake looks delicious and you guys look so cute! What a great picture.

  14. December 15, 2007 2:34 am

    What a beautiful family photo! Very nice.

  15. December 17, 2007 1:17 pm

    What a beautiful photo. Happy holidays!

  16. December 18, 2007 2:48 am

    The sour cream coffee cake sounds delicious! You’ve actually brought back some memories because my mom used to make a similar one. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing some of your Christmas!

  17. December 18, 2007 1:02 pm

    Hi Steph, Your family photo is gorgeous! The baby looks so calm and wise.

    We have Snowmen at Night (same author) and love that one! I will have to pick up Snowmen at Christmas. Love the basket idea.

    Lucky, lucky you that you can go to NY at Christmastime. That would surely put a person in the mood for the holidays. I’m still waiting for the mood to strike me!

  18. December 18, 2007 11:26 pm

    Yum, coffee cake. And cute kids too. 🙂

  19. December 19, 2007 6:54 pm

    I’m particularly fond of your family photo – it’s just lovely and the kids are growing so fast! Will have to jot down that recipe, too, thanks!

  20. December 20, 2007 3:39 pm

    What a sweet post! Merry Christmas!

  21. December 21, 2007 4:03 pm

    I think it would be so fun to go to Rockefeller Center to see the tree! And I agree, better to go at a time when you can avoid the crowds!

    I love the family photo! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  22. December 26, 2007 7:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, your family is just adorable! You all look really cozy together. 🙂

    I love the books under the tree idea; I used to just put all the holiday books and movies away with the stockings and tree stuff, to rediscover them again each year, but I never thought to arrange them under the tree for easy access.


  1. Sour Cream Coffee Cake « Stephanie’s Written Word

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