I believe that sitting down to dinner with your family is incredibly important and that pleasant time spent together will positively effect your family dynamic. Our family sits down to eat together at least 5 nights a week while we chat about our day and connect with one another. The conversation flows freely as the kiddos discuss school and sports and my husband and I talk about work and our weekend plans. For families who need a little help initiating conversation, I shared a list of dinner conversation starters awhile ago that you might find useful.
Cooking a healthy meal every night is a great way for your family to sit down and connect, but it can take its toll on a busy mom. To combat Tired-Mom-Syndrome we implemented Eat Out Fridays several months ago. Lately, however, Eat Out Friday has been more trouble than it’s worth. Our toddler is impatient while waiting for his meal and so are his two older brothers when they’re hungry and tired after a long day. The crowded restaurants are so loud that it makes it nearly impossible to have a conversation with each other, and we end up racing through our meal. We usually end up leaving the restaurant feeling frustrated and unfulfilled – what a waste of money!
Recently we ditched the idea of Eat Out Fridays and started a new tradition – Family Picnic Fridays – that might be my favorite one yet! On Fridays I stop by our neighborhood Fresh & Easy market for some of their delicious pre-cooked packaged meals and sides. I know that the words pre-cooked and packaged don’t exactly sound fresh and healthy, but I assure you that it’s not at all like you’re thinking! Fresh & Easy sells pre-cooked foods that contain no artificial colors or flavors, added trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup. Many of their meals are also organic, and the best part is that they taste fantastic! Honestly, we are a family of picky eaters, and we have yet to try something from Fresh & Easy that we didn’t like. It’s pretty incredible!
They carry all kinds of take out food (sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads, Asian and Mexican foods and more) along with the traditional brands that you’d find in large supermarkets, so there’s always something for everyone’s taste.
Each Friday I pick up the components for a quick dinner that I can put together in a half hour or less, and then we spend the evening eating dinner outdoors together. We are fortunate to have a large picnic table right in our own backyard, so we find ourselves eating there quite often. The air is fresh, the company is great, and there’s no overwhelming restaurant noise ad activity to get the kids riled up. Best of all, we all get to choose our own individual favorite foods, and it doesn’t take any more effort to prepare than driving to the restaurant would have (not to mention that it’s a whole lot cheaper!)!
An easy peasy picnic spread that took me about 20 minutes to put together, and everyone gets what they want!
Sawyer and Simon munched on these beef sliders that they said were “totally awesome.”
Sutton doesn’t like burgers, so I picked him up an egg salad sandwich on wheat bread – his favorite! That cute little honeycomb plate is also from Fresh & Easy (and it only cost $1.50!).
I took these four ingredients (along with a sprinkle of cheese and some crushed blue corn chips) and turned them into these to-die-for BBQ chicken wraps. This was the most time consuming part of picnic prep, and it took me a whopping 10 minutes.
I can’t even stress how seriously awesome these are. YUM!
We all had a fantastic evening hanging out together in the backyard, and it was so nice to enjoy each other’s company and relax at the end of a busy week.
Naturally, you can’t have a picnic without an awesome dessert, and these double chocolate cupcakes and lemon loaf cake never disappoint!
To save $5 off of your next $20 Fresh & Easy purchase, CLICK HERE, and have fun planning a family picnic of your own!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.