I recently posted about dressing ourselves, but you know, we should also be dressing our dinner table. Simply put, we should make the dinner table attractive. I post lots of ideas for recipes here on RefreshHer, but it’s only a means to get you to gather around your table. That’s where the connections happen. That’s where communication, love, relationships and nurturing thrive. There’s just so much to say about the gathering around the table. Since it’s so important, we should put some thought into making it welcoming. It isn’t stuffy or pretentious, but simple and inviting. How can we do that?
When Kroger recently put shrimp on sale, I know we were soon in store for a fast, scrumptious seafood dinner! I went searching for a great recipe to make this meal really special. When I saw the word, honey in the ingredients for this dish, my heart jumped. I absolutely love this special condiment! Lime is also called for in this dish, and its tartness added the perfect balance to the sweet honey. This sauce over the shrimp is perfect. Oh yum, we were not disappointed! Continue reading “Honey-Lime Shrimp”
I believe so much in Family Dinner that I think I could almost make myself preach a sermon about it (except I don’t believe women preachers are biblical)! So instead, let me write yet another post about its importance.
One reason I started adding recipes to my blog was so that I might encourage women that they could prepare a little ahead of time and have a nice Sunday dinner for their family. What’s the big deal any way? Why does it matter if we sit down and eat at the table versus everyone grabbing their supper and heading to the television or couch?
- Family dinner creates unity in the family. Everyone seated together unites your heart as you share the meal, the table and the experience.
- Family dinner makes memories. There are multiple kinds of memories – food, stories told, laughter shared, even delicious aromas.
- Family dinner enhances good manners. When you’re seated together at the table, loving instruction and example can be shared about the proper use of utensils and of etiquette.
- Family dinner gives time to work together as a family. Setting the table properly, learning to prep food, clearing the dishes, loading the dishwasher, washing and drying dishes all need to be done by all the family. Start with small tasks and lead up to greater ones as the children mature.
- Family dinner creates time to connect with one another. You can learn a lot about the day’s happenings when seated at the table.
- Family dinner is a great time to introduce new foods to your children. Ask that everyone take one spoon and give it an honest try.
- Family dinner is a great time to pray and share burdens. Pray for the meal before you eat, but then if someone shares a burden or hardship from the day, stop and pray.
- Family dinner creates a family bond. “Be home in time for dinner” creates in the heart of each child a place where they belong.
- Family dinner is a great time for children to bring home guests. Allow your child to invite a friend from time to time. All the reasons above will remind you why that’s a good idea!
A little structure is needed. I would suggest:
- Everyone gathers when called.
- No one leaves the table unless asked to be excused. Being excused is at the end of the meal, not to randomly get down and go play, then come back and eat a bite, then go play…
- Pass the food, teaching to take some and leave enough for everyone to be served.
- Try to keep things relaxed. Teaching manners shouldn’t be scolding constantly, but a gentle reminder. Lift your napkin to your lips and say your child’s name to remind them to put their napkin in their lap.
Mom, it’s really up to you to create the atmosphere. Try:
- Using cloth napkins (they’re economical and pretty, and far more sturdy than a paper one!)
- Add a centerpiece. Flowers from your yard, a bowl of fruit or a candle will do nicely!
- Turn on soft music to quiet the atmosphere. If you can’t hear the music in the background, someone’s being too loud at the table. =)
- Use your “good dishes” sometimes. Don’t save them just for company! Your family are the most important ones that will gather at your table!
- Plan your menu so you can prepare ahead of time. Everyone likes to know what they’re going to have for supper!
So, there’s my sermon!
What do you love about Family Dinner? What makes it difficult to make this happen at your house?
With love from my country kitchen,
Every parent has days in which they want to turn in their Parent Button. Were you there yesterday? Are you there today? Trust me, a whole room full of women just nodded their heads with you. Parenting isn’t easy, but it is a blessed opportunity to teach. Really, I think teaching is the primary responsibility of every mom and dad. You find yourself as the mom doing hundreds of other things like playing, reading, fixing meals, breaking up sibling quarrels, bandaging hurts, shopping, preparing them for school, picking up after everyone, rocking to sleep, giving baths, and on and on, but we must realize that with each one of those responsibilities, teaching is at the very core of every one of them.
When you’re fixing a meal, you can bring your children in and let them assist you. Yes, it will take you twice as long and make three times the mess, but it’s a great teaching time! The little ones can help set the table, wash fruits and vegetables or help roll out dough. Older ones can learn to use a vegetable peeler, can mix ingredients and do some simple baking. Pre-teens can learn to take on a whole meal themselves. Each one can also learn to help in the clean up, progressing as they age. By the time a child leaves home they should be able to put a meal together by themselves from beginning to end because of what you have taught them in the kitchen. I’m not just suggesting that they take your place in the kitchen – have them in there with you. What sweet times you can have as you work together – talking to them and listening to them while you work. What better way to apply Deuteronomy 6:8 than while working in the kitchen?
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
I heard a radio broadcast recently where a woman said that when she got married at 19, she had no idea of what a wife was supposed to do. She and her husband got married, had a brief honeymoon, then he had to get back to work. He left her at home to head to his job. She sat on the floor of their apartment, surrounded by boxes of their new wedding items, and played Solitaire all day until her husband got home. He walked in, looked at all the boxes, still packed, and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “I don’t know” she answered. “What’s for dinner?” He didn’t think she was funny, and she didn’t like that he came home with expectations! She said she had no clue what to do, now that she was married. Evidently she had always been used to her mom taking care of everything and she’d never learned how to be a homemaker. Mealtime is a huge teaching opportunity for us, moms!
What can you do today to begin the training in just this one area in your children’s lives? Don’t let them grow up being lazy and dependent on others. Teach them today that work to be done – even in the kitchen – is good work, profitable work and must be shared by everyone. This isn’t just for girls…guys will benefit from learning these tools too! Your child’s spouse will thank you some day!
Here are some suggestions for things to teach in the kitchen:
- Set the table – Make a paper place mat and draw where the plate, glass and silverware to. The little ones can use the drawings as a guide while they learn.
- Make a salad
- Empty the silverware from the dishwasher – Start little ones emptying the silverware
- Help gather ingredients from the pantry or refrigerator
- Clear and clean the table
- Assist with menu planning
- Make toast or waffles in the toaster
- Make lunch
Do you have other suggestions? Tomorrow we’ll talk about another area of training – training in discipline.