As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{31 Days to Make a House a Home} Day 11 ~ Mealtime Traditions

On Day 7, I chatted about traditions and promised to share some. Then yesterday I stated my case for making family mealtime a priority.  So today, I thought I would combine the two thoughts and share some ideas for mealtime traditions.  

Let the birthday boy or girl (or adult) choose the menu. 

From the time that I baked potatoes for my baby daughter's first birthday (she did not vocalize her choice that year, but I knew what she liked!), to the many times that I have cooked oyster fritters (that I do not eat!) for my hubby, to the times when I have asked my adult children to make a Sunday-near-your-birthday dinner request, to the times when my middle daughter asked to go out to her favorite Mexican restaurant (fun!), I have always aimed to please!  (Of course, when it's my own birthday, Ron usually grants my request to go out to eat, with the budget determining the dining selection.  He aims to please too!)

Have some predictable elements in your holiday menu.

Our holidays are usually celebrated with extended family.  That really makes it great for me, because I do not have to prepare the entire meal; everyone brings something (or many things!) to contribute.  Menus vary some from year to year, but there are also favorite dishes that show up regularly.  There are deviled eggs on Resurrection Sunday, chicken salad at our Christmas buffet, fried chicken on Mother's Day, and Thanksgiving...well, let's just say that there are lots of "regulars" served at that meal.  (My brother-in-law once wondered why we ladies make such a big deal about planning Thanksgiving dinner when we all end up cooking the same things every year.  In our defense, that is simply not true.  Sometimes we don't have sauerkraut.)  

Our Christmas breakfast is the one menu that hasn't changed in years.  Both sets of grandparents join us and we eat an egg-and-potato casserole (recipe shared below), Mom's sausage balls, her orange-cranberry bread, a fruit salad, and crockpot oatmeal.  Every year. 

Let the season determine some mealtime traditions.

At our house, summer is a time for homemade ice cream, hamburgers cooked on the grill, corn-on-the-cob, fresh tomatoes, and this favorite dish made with lots of our garden veggies.  We don't eat outside very much because we one of us do not care for can not stand the heat and humidity.

Autumn is a time for cooking hot dogs on the fire pit, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, sweet potatoes, and chili.  We like to eat on the patio on weekends, and have friends and family over to share. 

Winter is a time for Christmas cookies, soups simmering on the stove, homemade bread, and lots of hot drinks.  We enjoy sipping hot tea while watching movie marathons like Cranford or Bleak House or all of the Jane Austen stories. 

Spring is a time for asparagus and early strawberries and pavlova.  We enjoy beginning the new round of extended family holiday dinners and birthday celebrations, beginning with Bekah's birthday and Resurrection Sunday.  (We have a brief winter lull in holidays and birthdays, as there are none in February or March.  Yet.) 

Mealtime traditions are another way to make your house a home.




1 package (24 oz) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ pound sausage
½ cup chopped onion
6 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Pat hashed browns with paper towels to remove excess moisture.  Press into a greased 9x13 baking dish; brush with melted butter. 
  2. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  3. Cook sausage and onion until sausage is browned and onion is soft.
  4. Sprinkle cheese, sausage, and onion into the crust.
  5. In a bowl, beat the eggs, half-and-half, and salt; pour over sausage.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

NOTE:  I prepare this casserole on Christmas Eve...up through and including step #5.  Then I allow it to cool a bit, cover it with foil and refrigerate overnight.  On Christmas morning,  I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.  It is baking while we are opening gifts and visiting with our parents.  Easy peasy! 


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  2. We even had hotdogs on one birthday! *wink* Fun times!

    At our birthday meals, we go around the table and say one thing we love about the birthday person. Last night on Benjamin's birthday, Owen piped up right away and said, "I love that we play together."

    Then Gavin said, "I can tell you one thing I don't like about Ben."

    "No," we replied. "We are only talking about things we like. What do you like about Benjamin?"

    "Everything except one thing."

  3. Yup, yup, yup. except we do like to eat outside more than inside in the summer, and unless we have a fire in the pit outside we wouldn't eat out there in the fall... brrr.

    Your Christmas breakfast casserole recipe looks better than mine so I think we can modify our Christmas morning tradition!

    Hugs, Debbie


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