9 Ways to Invite the Light-hearted In
Recently, my husband and I went to lunch and we got the giggles about something that was funnier to us than probably anyone nearby. The freer we were to say what we really thought, the more silly we became. We all have memories like this and then we say, “You just had to be there!”
I have to admit it; we are grown-up kids. When we say something slightly inappropriate or tell an awkward story on ourselves, it becomes funny. There are as many different styles of humor as there are people; some are witty,
When I think of soup… I envision my family around our sturdy, oak table, leaning over big bowls of chowder. The light overhead envelops us in a scene we know as family while the windows hold out the blackness of night. My nose inhales the unmistakable aroma of sautéed onion lingering in the air as we tear into crusty loaves of sourdough.
My favorite soups to make are Ham & Split Pea, Turkey Vegetable, and ‘Amazing Soup’ (which is always different because it’s inspired from anything I have leftover in my refrigerator)! What truly warms my heart are the people around me. Our conversation can range from ordinary to funny; yet, there’s something assuring about the security we find in being together.
If you’ve tackled the question of, ‘What’s for dinner?’ you might still have one big dilemma, ‘When’s dinner?’ Family meals are not easy to squeeze into today’s busy family calendar. We have long work hours, long commutes, kids going in multiple extracurricular directions, and if there’s room, we might grab a date night or enjoy a hobby of our own. Assembling everyone together can be like gathering butterflies. Sometimes it just seems easier to give into the chaos and let our families eat when they can.
Why protect the family dinner hour?
When I was little we said grace ‘jingles’ before our meals like, “God is great, God is good let us thank him for our food.” Today, my husband usually says an impromptu grace and, in our family, we like to hold hands.
I love the habit we have and how it draws us together as a family, focusing our hearts on being thankful. Grace reminds us that ‘apart from God, we have no good thing.’
‘Saying grace’ or ‘saying the blessing’ refers to the custom of thanking God for the meal. It’s hard to say where grace began as most religious practices share this common heritage. Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” and it was his common practice to thank God before meals, “before he fed them he broke the bread and gave thanks to God for it (Matthew 14:19).”
Take your family on a dinnertime vacation without leaving your home by serving Italian, Brazilian, or Mexican inspired dishes this month. Make it even more exciting by putting together a themed activity for your kids that goes with each locale.
For an Italian feast, try our Italian Stuffed Shells with a Caprese salad, Polenta or seasonal vegetable as a side and gelato for dessert. While dinner is cooking, you can set the kids up with an Italian children’s game such as “Strega Comanda Colore” or “Lupo Mangia Frutta.” Another way to share Italian culture with your children is by reading a book with them such as “Ciao Bambino!: A Child’s Tour of Italy” by Danna Troncatty Leahy.
Don’t you hate those one-word answers from teens when you’re really trying, and perhaps fumbling to start a conversation? If you ask them, “Did you have a nice day?” and you feel lucky to get one word, “Yes.” or “No.” Well, you’re not alone. It sounds like you have a perfectly normal teenager. But connecting is important and sometimes a little different approach to a conversation starter can open the gates of dinnertime conversation. So here’s a way to lighten up and have fun at the table.
Great family dinners aren’t about how fancy they look. The real power is in how they make your family feel. Loved. Cared for.
- Slow down and stress less with a little planning ahead.
- Take back the dinner hour and eat together as a family.
- Keep making healthy comfort foods. They feel good!
- Live in the moment.
Dream Dinners July menu is themed “Taste of America”! You can throw your own Taste of America dinner party using your choice of a menu item for that states theme dinner or… make 3 dinners for the “Tour”.
Once the family is around the table, some dinner conversation starters can be facts about the states recipe you chose to make that night!
- Buffalo Ranch Chicken – Buffalo New York is right
Family Pizza Fun Night! Deep dish Chicago; thin crust New York; stone baked; meat lovers, vegetarian, cheese only – Pizza tailor made by you, for you. Making Dream Dinners pizza at home may seem daunting, but it’s actually just simple fun the whole family can participate in.
The following are a few tips for making this the most of your Dream Dinners Family Pizza Night:
Step 1. Make sure to thaw the dough in the refrigerator. About an hour before you are ready to make your pizza,
From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN
If your family is like ours, you may work hard to create a family dinner time routine, or other family activity (“forced family fun” as our oldest calls it), and then realize that you are not sure what to talk about. There are many resources in print and on the internet that have conversation starters for families.
Here are few:
- What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
- What cartoon character would you most like to be? Why?
- What is the hardest/best thing about being ___ years old?
- Describe your all-time best day ever.