devotions, dinner, family, resolutions

New Years Resolution Check-Up: Dinner as a Family

My New Year’s Resolution was to eat dinner together around the dining room table.  
I cook dinner most nights of the week and we do eat together as a family every night.  However, most of the time it’s in the living room, off the tray table, in front of the TV.  But, the important part is that we are still eating together.
Why I want to do it:
Statistics show that eating as a family lowers all kinds of risk factors in kids:  risk of being overweight, risk of eating disorders, risk of drug and alcohol abuse… the list goes on and on.  My primary reason for choosing this resolution is more selfish:  I have my great-grandmother’s antique dining room table and six antique chairs purchased from our church… and I LOVE antiques.  I’d love to put them to use!!!  I also have great memories from growing up and eating at the table every night.  Dinner was served at 5:00 pm.  We always had a meat, potato, and vegetable.  We always sat in the same chairs.  We all helped clear the table.  Mom cooked.  Dad washed the dishes.  One of the kids set the table while the other one got everyone drinks.  The event was filled with tradition for us.  And, I would like for my children to experience something similar.
Eating at the table forces us into a routine:  setting the table, eating, clearing the table.  Without a routine, the work doesn’t get done.  The kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes and the table is cluttered.  

Eating at the table (and preparing to eat at the table) promotes teamwork and responsibility.  You can’t really teach a child to “set the table” when dinner is served buffet-style and eaten from a seat on the couch.  

Eating at the table encourages communication between family members.  It’s far too easy to sit in silence in front of the tv– but our dinner table is always filled with heated discussions.

Spark the conversation:One thing we started doing as part of this resolution is to use the “question jar” idea.  You fill a jar with conversation starting questions and each night you pick one out.  I recently attended the Real World Parents Seminar where I learned about a twist on this idea.  Mark Matlock has categorized 55 of the Proverbs into different themes and has created a card for each Proverb in the Wisdom Deck.  As a family, you can discuss which theme you think the Proverb belongs in and why, if it belongs in more than one, if you agree with what the card says, etc.  So, not only are you sparking conversation at the dinner table, but you’re also exploring scripture!!

Do you do devotions as a family?  When do you do it?  Do you use a devotions book?
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time management

Weekly Goals (March 5 -11)

I have a whole week off work!  I made quite a long to-do list for this week… but so far I am making good progress!

Family Goals:
Go for a walk together
Play a board game together
Attend kid’s group at church
Take my turn in the book we’re reading together

Homemaking Goals:
Hang pictures in the dining room and living room (we recently switched these rooms)
Make at least one freezer meal for after pregnancy
Stick to the menu I planned
Get ready to entertain at the birthday party on Saturday

Work Goals:
Relax and don’t think about it! 🙂

On a side note, since we’ve started using a new budget software, we have done a great job of sticking to our monthly budget!

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Menu for March 5-11

I try my best to plan a menu each week for my family that works well with our many extracurricular activities.  When I work late and know I need to have the family at a cub scout den meeting, I plan a crockpot meal.  When I forget to put the food in the crockpot, then we eat out.  A terrible, terrible habit.  I really do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.  So, when I have a day off, I have a chance to experiment with something more difficult than throwing chicken and bbq sauce in the crockpot. 

This week, we had scouts on Monday, a meeting Tuesday, kid’s group at church on Thursday, and a birthday party Saturday.  Looks like a lot of crockpot dinners.  BUT, I have this week off work!!  My husband, Chris, has already commented that he hopes I find a work-at-home job after our next child is born, because I’ve had the chance to cook every night this week.

Monday:  Chicken Parmesan with thin spaghetti (Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
Tuesday:  Tangy Ranch Chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, green beans with brown sugar sauce.
Wednesday:  General Tso’s Chicken with Knorr’s chicken fried rice.
Thursday:  Pot Roast and noodles with beef broth
Friday:  Pizza/Takeout
Saturday:  Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
Sunday:  Dinner with family. 

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