Thursday, July 25, 2013

Making Mealtime Memories: Themed Tuesdays

In addition to devotions, we've been making our mealtimes a little more memorable around here. A few weeks ago, we decided to implement a themed dinner once a week. Tuesdays seemed the best fit for us.

The Lord has been working on my homemaker heart to make our family table more inviting, more engaging, and ultimately more pleasing to my family and the Lord. It's my heart's desire to make our dinner table one of the central gathering places in our home ~ a place where we can eat, share, laugh, pray, & discuss all that our Heavenly Father would have us to. The Lord put some very timely blessings in my path at our local library. I stumbled across some books and DVDs that revolutionized my mealtime plans. I want to highlight here one resource I found particularly inspiring. It's entitled, The Family Meal Table, with Nancy Campbell. Nancy Campbell is the director of Above Rubies Ministry. This particular production was such an encouraging program!

In The Family Meal Table, Nancy gave so many wonderful practical ideas to incorporate hospitality & creativity into mealtimes. She mentioned that mealtime at her house was something the whole family looked forward to. Her own children gave testimonies of how they never wanted to miss it. One thing she mentioned really struck a chord with me ~ having "themed" mealtimes. Yes!!! I love it! The Lord planted the idea in mind to try this out once a week to begin. I felt like that was a feasible and attainable place to begin. So far, we've had three themed Tuesday dinners, and I can't tell you what a blessing and joy they have been! ♥ Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Mrs. Campbell, for the help and inspiration!

Here's a glimpse of what we've done thus far...

Week 1 Theme: "Cowboy Dinner"

BBQ Chicken Sandwices 
Countryboy Roasted Taters
Garden Greenbeans
Katie's Homemade Apple Pie

DETAILS: We were all invited to come for a country dinner and to come in our 'finest country attire'. All the children were excited to dress up, and my husband did not disappoint! He made it so fun for the family. I believe this is one dinner the children will probably never forget in their lifetime. We started out very simple, but we were all blessed by the evening's events!

Week 2 Theme: "Mystery of History Dinner"

Roasted Chicken
Seasoned Potatoes
Homemade Wheat Bread

DETAILS: We were all invited to come dressed as a person from history! However, we were NOT to disclose our identity. We were asked to study that person's life in preparation and bring 5-10 important facts to give out as clues. During dinner, we were to discuss and share information and try to guess who each other was. 

I can tell you this dinner was SO fun!!! My parents joined us as they came to town to visit us for the week, and it was such a treat to have them here and to participate. We all had fun asking each other questions to make some informed guesses. We all dressed up to represent the individuals we were claiming to be, and I think my whole family would agree that we learned some interesting facts we never knew before.

Here is who was in attendance at this meal: 
Benjamin Franklin, Anne Frank, James Benson Irwin, Betsy Ross, Daniel Boone, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and a 9/11 Firefighter Hero

I'm thinking it would be fun to have a repeat of this dinner in time to come!

Week 3 Theme: "Green Gathering"

Green Enchiladas
Green Grapes & Limes
Green Veggie Assortment
Green Jello

DETAILS: We were all invited to come dressed in green to the table. (Mrs. Campbell suggested having a "green" night on her DVD, so I thought up a few ideas and ran with it!) We encouraged everyone to try every green on the table. We also instructed all to bring two tips to the table in which we could "go green" (be better stewards of the resources God has given us). We also challenged each person to bring at least one Scripture with the word "green" in it. 

Well, this proved to be one successful way to get our children to at least try some vegetables they might otherwise turn away! We all had a fun discussion of ways to save energy, time, or money in our home, and I loved some of the ideas that were brought forth. I particularly liked the idea about catching rainwater for our garden! I'm not sure solar-panel shingles will happen anytime soon, but I appreciated the ingenuity brought forth nonetheless. :) 

I gathered some facts about the color green ahead of time to present during dinner, such as: statistics about U.S. cities with "Green" in the name, green foods, green animals, facts about green-eyed people, and just general facts about green. We played a game with this and I would ask questions to see if they could guess the answers. For instance, do you know how many times "green" is mentioned in the Bible (KJV)? 44. My husband came prepared with his own list of green trivia, and it was quite educational! For bonus fun in preparation for this meal, the children and I played "I SPY GREEN" in the store, as we walked around and pointed out all things green as we gathered a few items for this meal. 

Our 6 year old daughter knew just what Scripture to bring to the table. Her Sunday School memory verse cards made it easy for her. :)

I'm already planning next Tuesday's themed dinner, and the children are asking when they can plan the theme for the week.  Lord willing, we've begun a new tradition that will bless all in attendance around our table and will carry on in the generations to come. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Any of you care to share any creative ideas for future themed dinners? I would love to hear your input!

"Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord."     ~Psalm 128:1-4


Wendi said...

How fun, Katie! I use to do a letter themed lunch when Megan was younger. The kids still ask for the "p" lunch... pizza, peas and pears!

Such sweet memories you are making!

thehomespunheart said...

I have that book and read it a few years ago - perhaps I need to pull it out again! You are making so much fun, beauty, memories together! :)

Theresa said...

I love this idea! What wonderful memories you are making for your family, Katie.

Chelle said...

Love it. I will have to try this.

Tracey said...

I just love this, Katie!! You are truly making special memories for your family (and educating them at the same time:)

Thanks for mentioning another resource that I'll be looking into! Please keep us updated on your different themes as you have the time.

Have a great weekend!

*carrie* said...

That's so great, Katie! Love all your creative ideas.

We had a speaker come to MOPS a year or two ago and she shared dozens of theme dinner ideas she's done with her family. I may have an extra handout--I'll send it to you if I find it.

Lawrence of Katy said...

Wish my kids were younger, this looks like a lot of fun.