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It’s All About The Family Dinner Time

Tags: , Family Dinner Strategies, Planning Time For Dinner, Table Talk

It’s All About The Family Dinner Time

Posted on 23 February 2013 by noelskitchen

family dinner

How does your family define a successful dinner? I’m sure some families would comment any one of these three things:

  1. Every member of the family is accounted for and seated at the dinner table.
  2. There is a wholesome comforting meal on the table for my family.
  3. Everyone is eating the same wholesome comforting meal.

A successful family dinner to me,  and as discussed further in my book A Busy Mom’s Guide to Family Meal Planning, I would answer yes be any one of those three listed above but also one where we were able to truly re-connect as a family. You must remember, family meal times are more than just food. They are also about relationships and feelings; a time to communicate.  No technology, no electronics just the family. I want to hear about what kind of day my kids had in school, are they making new friends, are they not making friends, what are their projects, goals or inspirations, laugh and discuss. We work so hard for our families, what not take the time to enjoy it!

What would your family say?


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Family Table Talk: The Hour That Matters The Most

Tags: Conversation Starters, Dinner Table

Family Table Talk: The Hour That Matters The Most

Posted on 11 May 2012 by noelskitchen

Happy Friday! This week just zipped on by! Seems like the busier we are, the faster time goes, one of the reasons why I like to have our weekly family schedule posted on the fridge along with my weekly meal plan ready. Especially with a busy weekend coming up like this one:

Tomorrow is a full day of archery and shooting for the boys, so us girls are heading to Home Depot to use our coupon for BOGO (Buy One Get One) Free Rose bushes. We’ll each pick out a rose bush and plant it somewhere in the front yard in honor of Mother’s Day. Then we’ll plant some more veggies in the garden. I’ve signed up for a few canning classes over the next two months so I’m prepared for those veggies later on. Mother’s Day we’ll be celebrating our first trip to the Berry Festival in Roseville, CA just an hour away. It should be a lot of fun!

Because our family schedules and lives can be hectic, with the next few weekly meal plans, (most likely week after next due to shipping), I’ll be sharing a very special book I just purchased with you, The Hour That Mater The Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal. One of my goals here when I created and started Noel’s Kitchen Tips, was to provide you with tips on meal planning that provide quick and easy weeknight recipes for your family that still allow you to stay within a reasonable grocery budget.

It has always been important for our family to cook and share a family meal together at dinner time. Like many of you, we are busy with work and every day happenings in life, especially now that the kids are older and participating in lots of activities. As kids get older, they tend to want to go out with their friends to the movies or simply just hang out, sharing meal times can be a challenge.

The book is written by Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna with Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. They share how to overcome the time starved, working mom dilemma, secrets of a healthy home, ways to engage your family in meaningful conversation, how to start a fix and freeze club, the heart of great table talk and much more!

Their insights and tips on bringing the family back to the table are common sense ideas that any family can use. From conversation starters to easy make ahead recipes. ( I’m looking forward to reading about  it all.)

For more information, you can also visit their website, The Hour That Matters Most.

Make Time. Make Dinner. Make Memories.



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Family Table Talk: Call A Family Time Out!

Tags: Conversation Starters, Dinner Table

Family Table Talk: Call A Family Time Out!

Posted on 20 April 2012 by noelskitchen

How often does your family sit down for dinner? When you sit down together at the table, is the TV on? Is your daughter texting under the table back and forth on facebook? Is your son wolfing down his food so she can get back to his video games on Xbox or Wii? Are you answering calls from your boss or working on office paperwork at the table? Are you thinking you’re schedules are too busy to sit down and have a family meal?

It’s time to call, “ FAMILY TIME OUT”!

It is so important to spend that quality time with your family at the dinner table. Studies show that the family dinner hour is an important part of healthy living. When families dine together, they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits — and fewer fried foods, soda, and foods with trans fat according to research. It’s important to start your children on a lifetime of good eating habits. Studies also show that children who eat dinner with their families are more likely to do well in school and less likely to try dangerous behaviors like smoking, alcohol, and drugs.  A side benefit is that your children learn better manners, social skills and become adept at adult conversation.

Our kids love to talk, about their day in school, what’s going on with their friends or just simply asking questions about a variety of topics so conversation is never a problem at our dinner table. They even like to help in the kitchen, which is a good thing. Kids in the kitchen helping is a great learning tool and experience for them.

However, I know that there are those families who struggle with how to get their kids talking. Even to the dinner table.  There are many helpful Family Table Talk ideas like these listed below that are very helpful. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • If you could be a cartoon character for one week, who would you be?
  • What is the scariest dream you’ve ever had?
  • If you could decorate your room any way you wanted it, what would it look like?
  • What is the most interesting/exciting thing that has ever happened to you?

This is time for listening to each other, sharing the day’s stories, and nurturing the family connection. It will make a huge difference!

What great Dinner Conversations have you had this week?


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Tags: Conversation Starters, Dinner Table

Family Table Talk: Childhood Memories

Posted on 13 April 2012 by noelskitchen

I’ve truly always been passionate about family and friends connecting during meal time, and I hope the family table talk ideas and  questions I share will encourage many wonderful times of laughter and engagement with your family. For me, it brings great joy to be able to share our family table talk with you and I would love if you share these your family’s ideas with me.

Topic For Tonight’s Family Meal: What is your earliest childhood memory?


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Tags: Conversations Starters, Dinner Table

Family Table Talk: FREE Personalized Placemat!

Posted on 07 April 2012 by noelskitchen

(Photo Credit)

I spent a little bit of time researching online for some  fun and new creative family table talk ideas and thought the idea of personalized placemats was absolutely one of the best ideas for families.

KiKiCreates has some great placemat creations and I absolutely LOVE this one! –

The Story of My Day.  This will give your child the opportunity to write or draw his/her activities from the day. When mom or dad asks during dinner what they did during the day..there will be no more “I don’t know” or “nothing” answers!

Now you could print them out and have them laminated (or laminate them yourself) which I’m thinking of doing or you could have them made through InkGarden. I’ve read others are impressed with the quality of their work and nd right now you can get a FREE Placemat with coupon code: PLACEFREE(once per Ink Garden account/person)  This offer is valid through 4/30, just pay $3.99 shipping. That’s a pretty good deal!

I really like this idea, especially for younger children. Conversations at dinner time are important to a family. Dinner time seems to be the only time when people can slow down and enjoy the company of their family. This time is crucial and it is important to make the best of it with your children. Conversation starters can be a real help especially when you have other things on your mind.

Head on over to Ink Garden, choose one of their designs or upload photos and create your own!

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