If you don't have regularly scheduled family nights on your calendar, you should (because I'm bossy and I said so).
It doesn't take a ton of planning and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money!
Research has proven that having regular family meals together makes a huge difference in your children's lives. So, a whole night once or twice a month or every Friday, dedicated to the family can only help.
An excerpt from Time Magazine about family meals:
"Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use. "If it were just about food, we would squirt it into their mouths with a tube," says Robin Fox, an anthropologist who teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, about the mysterious way that family dinner engraves our souls. "A meal is about civilizing children. It's about teaching them to be a member of their culture."
Here's how we spent Friday night in 4 Easy Steps:
1. We picked a theme: Dogs
2. We fixed Hot Dogs with Homemade Chili Dog Sauce and ate them outside.
Don't forget the paper towels!
3. We took our dog to a local dog park (and played on the playground next door a little).
4. We came home to watch Disney's Shaggy Dog.
Planning Time: about 10 minutes
Costs: Zero Dollars (I keep stuff for hot dogs in the freezer for last minute meals).
Homemade Hot Dog Chili Sauce
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
dash of paprika
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Directions: Crumble ground beef into large pan on medium heat. Stir in water, and mash ground beef thoroughly with a potato masher. Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, and chili powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, 30 minutes, until the sauce reaches a medium consistency. Get ready for a delicious mess!
Get your calendars out, okay? Don't make me get bossy.
This post was sponsored by Viva Towels. For fun, fork-free recipes – including videos – and snappy entertaining ideas, get over to the VIVA® Diva Café