As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

gather. {around the table}

Don't forget to put your name in the hat to receive a little happy package in your mailbox!

Today I have a very special guest posting in this space: my oldest daughter Kristin!

If you've been hanging out here long, you know that I am a firm believer in family mealtime. So I was delighted to read Kristin's blog post last week detailing her own family's mealtime habits. As a mom and a grandmother, it warms my heart to know that they are building relationships, making lasting memories, and sharing the Words of life at dinnertime. 

* * *


I don't know about your house, but the hour before Dinner Culture dinner at our house is usually crazy.  Everyone is hungry. We're tired, too.  Sometimes we're returning home from errands plus trying to fit in showers, walking the dog, putting away groceries, and getting food into the oven.  It's a noisy, cranky, hectic time of day.

That's why we've made it a habit to create a level of peace and enjoyment when we sit down for evening mealtime. As parents, Brian and I have a mutual goal to create traditions and memories for our kids that they will remember into adulthood so we are intentional about this habit.

{We savor this 45 minutes or so of our day because as soon as we get up from the table, the volume goes back up and the craziness continues.  Is it just my kids are do yours develop an amazing amount of energy in the hours leading up to bedtime?!}

My kids' newest favorite thing to do at dinner is to rate the meal.  It's most fun when we are trying a new recipe, but sometimes they like to rate old standards, too.  It starts with one person saying, "Okay. Taste your fill-in-the-blank and see what you think."  Then everyone gives a thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways sign.  Often we'll explain why we thought that way.  Was the sauce too spicy?  Was it better than expected?  Did it contain an ingredient we didn't like?  No one is allowed to be rude, but everyone is allowed to be honest.  Everyone still has to eat the night's portion, but this fun game helps me know whether to make a dish again.  Gavin likes to step it up a notch.  He likes us to rate meals on a scale of 1 to 10. 

Often we discuss our day or upcoming events at the dinner table, but sometimes someone suggests a more directed topic. The kids love to ask questions and have us go around the table giving answers.  What is your favorite holiday? What is your favorite dessert? What do you want for your birthday? 

When we are done eating, we linger at the table.  One of the kids passes a small chocolate to each person.  (We keep a candy jar in our pantry filled with our special after-dinner chocolates.)  Then Brian reads a story or two  from Egermeier's Bible Story Bookand asks a few questions about the passage.  On nights when he's not home, I'll sometimes read a chapter of Missionary Stories With the Millers.

Our after dinner table activities are not always serious.  The kids often request a Mad Libsor a chapter of Encyclopedia Brown.  

And now that I've shared the ways we reconnect as a family around the dinner table, I'll share a little secret.  One of my kids' favorite dinner time traditions does not take place at the table.  It doesn't even involve much togetherness!  About once every week or two, I'll cook an easy (or un-messy) dinner and they eat at the coffee table in the living room while they watch a movie.  They love it and look forward to this special treat!

Do you eat meals together as a family or do you find other ways to spend time together?

Kristin is a blogger at Bits and Pieces From My Life.  She writes about life with 5 kids, homeschooling, books, more books, food, and running. Her newest eBook Books for Christmas: What to Buy the Young People in Your Life will be available for free download on November 3.  You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

This is day 23 in the series gather.  Click ~here~ to see more.


  1. Your traditions are wonderful. I can appreciate how intentional you are being with making memories for your family. I especially like how you extend your time after dinner. That had never occurred to me when my husband and I were raising our sons. Something that I always did was set the table for dinner each night. I enjoyed doing it and it set the mood that this was a special time. Most nights it was simple but there was always some sort of centerpiece and it was fun (for me) to use different dishes, napkins, etc. We had family dinner together, at the table, no TV on, most nights, but every Friday night we ordered pizza and the kids could watch a movie or TV while eating. Fun for them and I kind of had the night off! If we were having a dessert any evening, we would postpone it until after dinner, baths, etc. and have it a little later in the evening. It just made for another small together time.

  2. I read this on Kristin's blog last week too!

    I'm always so pleased when I see our kids, and our friends kids, walking with the Lord and raising their children to know Him and building those important family relationships.

    Kristin has great ideas, and simple, fun ways to implement them.


  3. Very cool! We just rated a meal your grandson's way this week. Scalloped potatoes got 7.5 from me and a 9 from John. Ha! It would be much more fun with kids.

  4. Your daughter is doing a wonderful job and I know you are very proud of her and the way she is raising her family. But I also know she learned from another great mother!
    I've had to put some of my blog commenting on the back burner since we've been so busy. Hope to get caught up on reading soon!

  5. It always warms my heart to see my son's family carry on a tradition that we had in our home when they were growing up. Makes you realize that it was worth the time and effort it took to establish those traditions. I really like the way your daughter incorporates an activity after dinner at the table with the family. Sounds like she is doing a wonderful job.

  6. Family mealtimes are so important. I smiled at your daughter saying that once every week or two the family eats while watching a movie. We used to do that when we lived in Ecuador. Our kids grew up calling any meal on a tray a TV dinner - they had no idea that you could buy them as such.

  7. No wonder you're proud. These are such sweet ideas :)


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