Eating Meals Together {#FamilyDinnerProject}

by Cate on November 24, 2014

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*her expressions as she listens to her brother tell a story crack me up

Eating meals together is something that is hugely important in my home, and a lot of its importance stems from the fact that that’s the way my sister and I grew up as well.

Our family was never rushing off in ten thousand different directions. Sure, we both played sports, and I was a Girl Scout, and we had other family obligations, but we always connected over the dinner table.

And technology?

Never present.

My Dad would never let us answer the house phone if it rang.

Something I thought was, of course, ridiculous growing up, but something I practice every night with my kids.

Since I became a mom, I immediately understood where he was coming from.

If it’s important, they’ll call back.

No cell phones. No texting. No answering the phone.

Just good old-fashioned coming together at the table.

Talking.

Sharing.

Connecting.

The way it was meant to be.

Sometimes meals are on the fly.

Sometimes they are quicker than I’d like.

And most often times, they are far noisier.

But as crazy as meal times are, there is no negotiation with family meal time.

And as the kids get older, those times that we connect, really connect, are more important than ever.

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While there is rarely a shortage of conversation, if I’m ever looking for topics, I have this small glass jar on our dining room table that is filled with all sorts of questions for us to talk about. We also play “roses and thorns,” where we share the best and worst parts of our day.

The Family Dinner Project was started to encourage families to connect and share over meal time, but also to encourage them to give back and give to others. The site is also a great place to get ideas on exactly how to give back with your kids. This time of year, there is no shortage of ways to give back, but sometimes it can be a little more challenging to find ways to include kids so that they understand the meaning behind the whole thing.

This year, as we did last year, we are baking pies to donate to our church. They will be then distributed amongst parishioners who need a Thanksgiving meal. Last year, we made a few of Grandma Ople’s Apple Pies, and it’s the perfect recipe to get kids to help with. As soon as we get back from Girl Scouts tomorrow, we’re heading into the kitchen to start peeling.

The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to return to a simpler and more meaningful way of being. In this day and age of instant gratifications and more, more, now, this is a movement that speaks right to my heart.

The Family Dinner Project is honoring Giving Tuesday (December 2) and the holiday season in general by inspiring dinner-oriented acts of giving. Between December 2-16, join us to kick off #familydinnerforward, an initiative (and fun contest!) to inspire families to give – within the family to one another and/or to those outside the family. To participate in #familydinnerforward, simply snap:
– a dinner/giving-related photo and
– share it via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag
– #familydinnerforward.

You can share as many photos as you like and all photos tagged on Twitter or Instagram with #familydinnerforward between December 2-16 will be entered to win prizes from Lenox! Two winners will be drawn at random and will receive four 4-piece plate settings of the Lenox Entertain 365 pattern of their choice (estimated value of $344-400 depending on pattern chosen)! US entrants only. Be creative! But here are some examples of dinner-oriented acts of giving you’re welcome to use:
– Cook (or buy) a meal for a neighbor or someone in need
– Invite someone for family dinner
– Collect and donate food items to a food pantry
– Help deliver meals via a community organization
– Cook a meal together at home, where everyone has a job (this is a gift to the person who primarily does the cooking!)
– Give the gift of meaningful conversation
– Talk about giving during family dinner and show us what you decide to give this season

This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

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