2009-12-31 / Columns


by Leona Loller coppertopfarm1@yahoo.com

I received so many wonderful e-mails from readers wishing me a Merry Christmas that I want to thank everyone who took the time to send greetings. I hope you all had the best Christmas ever, and I pray you will have a wonderful new year! I hope we all will be able to keep the joy and peace of Christmas in our hearts throughout the coming year.

I had one of the best Christmases I’ve had in years! I traveled up to Amy and Dave’s home near Cicero to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with their family. The children begged to open their sleepwear on Christmas Eve.

Cooper loved his blanket with sleeves embellished with my custom made Camaro on the front. Emma adored her footed pajamas, and Cade was thrilled with the Optimus Prime jammies I bought for him. (I didn’t have time to finish his footed pajamas, so I made a last minute trip to the store.) They had to wait until morning to open the rest of their presents, but all were a big success.

At noon on Christmas Day, I drove the short distance to David and Lois’ house to have dinner with them and Evan and Quentin. The tarantula and black gorilla were a big hit and worth all the effort I put into them. My son suggested that I make some and sell them on the Internet; however, I informed him that they were a labor of love, and there was no way I would do it for money!

The highlight of the afternoon came when Lori’s (Lois’ sister) boyfriend asked her to marry him. She was so surprised she asked him if he was joking before she realized that he was serious. It was sweet and romantic and added to the warm glow that surrounded the holiday.

Now, several days after Christmas, I am still basking in that happy feeling even though Christmas isn’t over yet, for me. I still have pajamas to finish for Zander, Alizabeth, and Trent Angus and, I promised Cade I would make his footed jammies after the holiday. I won’t see Adam and Amanda and their two for a couple of weeks, but Zander, his sister, mom, and dad are expected on New Year’s Eve. So, I have to get busy, again. Kim is hosting a family dinner on January 2nd for those who will be able to make it.

I can’t believe it is nearly 2010! It seems like only yesterday that we were approaching a new millennium and worrying about what it would mean for our technologically dependent society. Just goes to show you how useless worry really is. That’s another resolution for this year: Don’t worry - just pray.

I try to count my blessings every year about this time. I have to admit that I have very little to worry about, right now. The farm in Spencer isn’t selling as quickly as I’d hoped (although, I really didn’t expect it to sell fast), but that’s okay. I wasn’t ready to part with it, anyway; maybe we will just rent it for a while. Other than that, I have everything I need right here at Bob and Kim’s farm. I especially like the outdoor wood furnace. This big farmhouse would be very expensive to heat without it, and I like being warm.

Of course, my family is a blessing. I’m planning a trip to Florida to visit Jody and her family in February or March. That and deciding what to plant in the garden next spring provide all the anticipation I need for the coming year. I am determined to grow some Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes this year. The seeds are sold by Johnny’s Seed Co. and are supposed to be extra sweet. I’ve said I would get some for the last two years, but have procrastinated until it was too late to order them each year. This is the year! I’m ordering some next week.

Kim plans to serve baked ham for our family dinner. I looked through my many cookbooks for a good baked ham recipe, but I couldn’t find any that I liked better than our family recipe. I began preparing ham this way when the children were small. It’s festive and tastes good, with a Hawaiian flavor.

Loller Christmas Ham

1 large, sugar-cured, semi-boneless ham (8-10 pounds)
2 cans sliced pineapple with juice
Maraschino cherries
1/2 c, brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large roasting pan. Place ham (after removing skin and fat) in the center of the pan. Make cuts about a quarter inch deep in a diamond pattern across the top of the ham. Drain and reserve juice from pineapple. Dissolve brown sugar in pineapple juice and pour slowly over ham. Arrange pineapple slices on top of ham. Drain the cherries so they won’t bleed onto the pineapple slices. Secure a cherry in the center of each pineapple with a toothpick. Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil and seal tightly. Bake two and a half to three hours; open and baste every half hour or so, then reseal. Bake uncovered the last half hour. Remove from heat and let ham sit in juices while you bring everything else to the table. Everything tastes better when served with love.

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