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Let’s face it, the dinner routine can get boring sometimes. We get bored with making dinner and serving it. Personally, our family gets bored with eating it. And, even the talk around the dinner table can even get boring, dry, and routine at times. Since dinner happens every day, it’s hard to make it anything but routine.
With such a large family, I call myself the “queen of eating in” since eating out is a luxury that we can seldom afford. Like once every couple of years kind of seldom. We do pick up the occasional cheap pizza now and then. But when it comes to eating out in a real restaurant, that is pretty much just an event that occurs on the rare occasions that we take a vacation of any kind.
So for us, dinner happens at home. For this reason, we have to work at making the dinner routine not quite so boring.
Before you go any further, be sure to grab our 5 favorite family meals. They are simple, classic, and made from things you always have on hand. Just tell us where to send your recipes!
Classic Family Meals
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Why does it matter?
Eating dinner as a family is so important. You probably know this already. But, it is the best time for family conversations to happen. It is the best time to hear about what’s going on in the lives of everyone else. Dinnertime is the best time to deal with schedules, issues, and planning the next family night.
So, the dinner routine needs to be exciting enough to make dinnertime something that everyone loves and wants to be a part of.
Here’s how to bust out of the boring dinner routine.
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Dinner routine tip #1: Get creative in what you make for dinner
The Internet is a such a blessing when it comes to finding new recipes. Pinterest is the only vehicle you need to do that, and AllRecipes.com is a site you can go to and plug in the ingredients you have to be matched with the recipes that will incorporate those things.
All of the copycat recipes you can find these days are amazing. I have one for Olive Garden salad dressing, Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup Wendy’s chili, and tomato basil soup that is to die for. Not to mention wet burritos and chicken enchiladas.
With the more laid back days of summer, you have perfect opportunity to do a little research and branch out of our comfort zones. You never know what you might discover to be your new family favorite!
If you have never done much baking, making all of my family’s sweet treats is a major way that I am able to feed my family of 8 for $250 a month. I also have other tips like these in 15 Frugal Tips for Feeding a Large Family and 15 More Tips for Feeding a Large Family.
Dinner routine tip #2: Bring your kids into the kitchen with you
Making dinner together is a great time to have some fun, make some memories, and teach a few basic skills to your kids. Doing this does mean that it will be messy, it will take more time, and it certainly won’t be relaxing. But, the time you spend in the kitchen with your kids will be times they never forget.
Teaching your kids basic skills in meal preparation could prove to pay off in spades down the road when your kids can take on more responsibilities in meal preparation. My older kids can now make meals on their own. I can speak from experience on how wonderful it is!
Dinner routine tip#3: Teach your kids table manners (this is fun!)
Focus on how to set a formal table, use the fine china and cloth napkins, and focus on proper table manners. This book, Manners of the Heart At the Table: An Elementary Etiquette Education Curriculum,is one of my favorite books on manners, and it does an excellent job with table manners. We all want kids who behave when we do go out to eat, so this is a great time to practice these skills. You may also find some helpful tips for eating out with kids in my post called How to Eat Out With Kids With No Stress.
Dinner routine tip #4: Take dinner out of the house even if you’re not eating out
Head to the park, the beach, or even just to your backyard for a fun family dinner. If the weather does not allow, I live in Michigan so this is often me, create a blanket picnic in your own living room. Put a blanket on the floor, make some fun finger foods, and put everything in a picnic basket. Your kids will always remember something like this.
My kids are allowed to eat in the living room for the Super Bowl every year. It is always a special treat.
Dinner routine tip #5: Create a restaurant at home
What could more fun than having a dining experience right in your own dining room? Not much if you were to ask your kids. If your kids are younger, you will be creating a restaurant experience for your kids. Create a menu, give them some choices, allow them to order their food, and put on your best waitress impersonation.
If your kids are older, let them create a restaurant experience for you! Have them create the menu, help them as needed in the kitchen, but then let them serve YOU. The rule in my house is that if they are the restaurant, they also get to do all the CLEAN UP. How’s that for a fun deal?! Most likely your kids will be on board even with the extra work. Of course, you can always tip for good service. If you do, I bet your kids will ask when you can have a restaurant again 😉
My challenge for the month will be to try all five of these things at least once. Will you make the commitment to taking the boring out of the family dinner? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments. Let’s have some fun with this together!