Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

The focus of today's WFMW are things that make our holidays easier/ more fun. So here are a few of mine:

Saving the top of the Christmas tree: It's been a couple of years since we got a real tree, but the last two years that we did, I had my husband cut off the top of it before we (sadly) disposed of it. I would leave the top propped up in the corner of the garage where it would, of course, dry out and whatever needles hadn't fallen out all over our living room would fall off. As we approached Easter, I would put that dead, prickly tree, or "branch" in a pot for our Easter tree. ("Branch" is a name for the Messiah in scripture: Is. 4:2, Jer. 23:5, 33:15; Zech. 3:8, 6:12) I also have several beautiful cross ornaments that I use on our Christmas tree that I would set aside to use on the Easter tree. For me, it was a powerful symbol of how Christmas points to Easter- that's why He came. To die. On an old, dead tree. But the beautiful cross ornaments would remind me of the beauty of the cross, for what it means to all who believe on the name of Christ and accept His gift of salvation. And, it's particularly meaningful when that piece of an old, dead, tree was the very tree that had looked so alive, green and lit up in our living room just a few months before. It was simple to do, made Easter all the more meaningful (and we got more "mileage" out of our Christmas tree!)

Dollar Grab-bags: Two years ago my daughter and I discovered those little $1 "grab bags" at Dollar Tree. They are small paper sacks, stapled shut, labeled for boy, girl, male, female, child, adult, with an assortment of... stuff... in them (presumably for that age group.) Well, just for fun, we grabbed one for each member of our family. It was so fun the first year, we did it last year, too. (I think mine last year had a dish scrubber, a little towel and some other odds 'n ends in it.) It's fun for there to be "mystery" bags under the tree that even Mom and Dad have no idea what's in them! And it's usually something you can use!

Our make-ahead breakfast: I know many of you make your Christmas morning breakfast ahead of time, too, so I just thought I'd share what I make. My Grandad used to always make sausage balls for Christmas morning. I made them a Christmas tradition in my home because they taste like the Christmas mornings I remember from my childhood, and because they're super easy. I've always made them ahead and stored them (unbaked) in a container in the fridge, then popped them in the oven when the hubbub dies down in the morning. Here's the recipe I use:
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb. hot bulk sausage
  • Mix together and roll into walnut-sized balls
  • Bake at 375 until brown

I also make some muffins ahead of time, and serve it all with Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee, and cocoa for the kids.

For more Christmas tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


The Wooden Porch said...

You made me get teary eyed when I read about what you do with your trees. I love that idea. My MIL is allergic to real trees so we have to get fake ones. (Actually, we reuse the same fake one every year, of course :-)

I love the dollar grab bag idea. I think this year for Christmas I'm going to do my own bags and fill them with candy and let the kids in the family all pick theirs out. Maybe I can even make a game out of it. (Kids as in nieces/nephews, I have a ton of them)

Thanks for the tip!

lrlwreath said...

Sounds like you and I would get along great. Do you know I have sausage balls listed also ;)))

I love your tree idea, that is very creative!!

Stacey said...

Yep, I got choked up when I read that about your tree. It is SO true. He came, to die. Thank you for sharing such a unique and special tradition!

Heather said...

Great ideas! I never thought of serving the sausage balls for breakfast, but I'll be doing it this year! They're a fave in this house! Thanks for sharing!

Barbara H. said...

Love the tree idea (especially the symbolism) and the dollar gift bag idea!

I haven't made sausage balls in ages, but that would make a great breakfast idea. I'm assuming you brown the sausage before mixing it with the other ingredients? And about how long does it take for them to brown (ballparkish -- 5-10 minutes, 10-20?)

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara H, @ Stray Thoughts

Cyndi said...


You mix the raw sausage with the cheese and Bisquick. (Another reason I love my Kitchenaid mixer- I just dump it all in and turn it on!)

They brown in the oven in (I believe) around 10 minutes. I just keep my eye on them and listen for sizzling... ;)

Apparently a lot of us do the sausage ball breakfast, judging from the comments at Laurel's blog. (I was afraid people would think "Ew. Sausage." when they read mine... LOL :)

Larae said...

WONDERFUL ideas! I love them all. Thanks so much for sharing! =)

PastorMac's Ann said...

Three winners! Great ideas! Thanks