Thanksgiving Traditions

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It’s never too late to try something new. This year, Dream Dinners wants to help you start a tradition and create more memories with your family.

From football to crafts, here are a few wonderful and creative ways you can spend your holiday.

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5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Family

Valentines-day-dinner

Holidays | February 12, 2015 | By

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romantic gestures for your significant other. It’s also the perfect time to show your family how much you care. Take advantage of the holiday weekend and try one of these special ideas that are sure to make their day and may even become a new Valentine’s tradition!

  1. Spend the afternoon crafting homemade Valentines with your kids. They’ll be so excited to share their creations with their friends, siblings and even grandparents! These ideas from Pinterest are simple and sweet, but you could also go all out with lots of glitter, heart shapes and lace doilies.
  2. Sneak fun Valentine-themed treats and a little love note into their lunch at school this week.
  3. From heart-shaped bacon to pink cinnamon rolls, a special Valentine’s breakfast is something the whole family will enjoy.
  4. Place a card at each family members’ spot at the dinner table and have each person write a special message in each card throughout the day. Then, when you sit down for dinner, you’ll each have a special note with messages of love from the whole family.
  5. Eating dinner by candlelight is an easy way to make family dinner extra special for Valentine’s Day. Pull out the pink and red decor, leave a box of chocolate on each person’s plate, light the candles and serve a delicious meal like Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara. This is a tradition you’ll come back to year after year!

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Create Your Own Hot Cocoa Bar

Christmas, Holidays | December 21, 2014 | By

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Inject a little extra holiday fun into your day by creating a simple DIY hot chocolate bar. This is perfect for kids (or adults) at a holiday party or even just to make your kids’ days a little sweeter while they’re home from school. We set up ours in the TV room so we could enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while watching our favorite Christmas movie.

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Try these ‘Winter Game’ Contests and Join the Fun!

Parenting & Kids | February 15, 2014 | By

snow-day-tubingBeat the cold winter blues and throw a party for kids or adults. No Slope Style course or Half Pipe? No problem, use what you have and join the competitive spirit.

Start by grouping couples or families into teams each representing a different country and let the competition begin!  (You can have them draw the country from several you pre-select). Designate a judge to vote for game winners and to keep the games moving. Make a music play list to add to the competitive mood. Have fun!

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Creating Nostalgia is Easier than you Think

creating nostalgic memoriesI like the word nostalgia and the images it evokes.  I think of my grandma’s house, her pink sinks and mint cupboards, the two pre-set tables – one for adults and one for kids, the colored plastic divided plates we always got to use, and the aroma of delicious food bubbling in the oven.  These are my memories of Sunday dinners.

Nostalgia is a wistful desire to return in our minds to a former time in our lives, our homeland, and our relationships.  It’s a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.  (Dictionary.com)

None of our lives are perfect, and maybe that’s what makes nostalgia endearing, because we remember with fondness something that was special in our past, the ‘cream that rose to the top’ of mundane or difficult times.

What is the essence and causes of nostalgia?  Think of the input you receive from your five senses and the emotion this stirs.  Consider your own heartwarming memory. What
do you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste?  How do you feel?  Our senses are strong evokers of nostalgia because these “stimuli first pass through the amygdala, the emotional seat of the brain. Music, video games, and weather can also be strong triggers of nostalgia.” (wikipedia.org)

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Holiday Family Night Ideas

Christmas, Holidays | December 20, 2013 | By

oasted_pecan_chickenThere’s no doubt that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. But even with all the shopping and prep work that needs to be done, the parties and get-togethers you plan to attend, it’s important to spend some time relaxing with your family.

Try making our Toasted Pecan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes for savory comfort food the whole family will love. Then whip up some hot chocolate and pick out a favorite holiday movie for a relaxing family movie night. Need movie ideas?

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Creating Family Traditions, It’s not as Hard as you Think

family traditionsAs a new mom, I remember feeling a little pressure if asked about my budding family’s traditions. We were young, growing, and didn’t have any yet. I wanted to create traditions but somehow got overwhelmed by visions of polished scenes from magazines.

Today, I’ve learned you don’t always have to set out to choose a tradition, it can choose you.  My husband started adding a splash of 7-Up to my granddaughter’s orange juice for a sparkling treat.  This has become an important favorite to her.  Every time she spends the night, she remembers and asks for grandpa’s sparkling orange juice with breakfast.  A tradition has been born!

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Creating Holiday Traditions with Your Family

The holiday season is filled with family traditions. From decorating a tree together to making a favorite recipe, these traditions are often the things that create the most treasured memories. Carrying on traditions from generation to generation is something special that helps to strengthen a family’s identity. If you have young children, here are some ideas for holiday activities your family could cherish for years to come.

  • Between the stress of holiday to-do lists and the anticipation of the day itself, it can be hard to remember to be thankful throughout the holiday season. Create an Advent Calendar that helps your family remain thankful this month by hanging 25 clear plastic fill-able ornaments from a ribbon. Each day, have a member of your family fill an ornament with a note about something they’re thankful for.
  • Help your kids give back this holiday season by introducing “Santa’s Toy Swap.” Have your kids pick out old toys to leave under the tree for Santa to take back to the North Pole to repair for other children.

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Family Conversation Starters For Around the Dinner Table (and Elsewhere)

Family Dinner | September 18, 2011 | By

From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN

Family setting the tableIf 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.

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Family fun carving pumpkins

If you’re looking for a great pumpkin to carve this Halloween season, the best place to look is your local pumpkin patch. The best varieties for carving are Connecticut Field, Howden and Baby Bear pumpkins.

Be sure the pumpkin you choose is symmetrical enough to rest squarely on a flat surface. Pass over any with bruises, cracks or broken stems, because they tend to deteriorate quickly and try not to carve your pumpkins earlier than a day or two before Halloween.

Here are a few tips:

  • Flatten a spot in the base of the pumpkin for the candle but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.
  • Make sure the flame is not too close to the top of the pumpkin.
  • To prolong the life of the jack-o’-lantern, seal in moisture by coating all cut surfaces with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil, or cover it with a damp towel when not on display.
  • Consider giving smaller children stickers, tempera paint, or markers to decorate their own pumpkins.

For  a full list of great carving tips check out:

Perfect Pumpkins on FamilyFun.com