Thursday, January 22, 2009

Family Night

Around the holidays, when store woes were in the news, I asked the produce guy at my local grocery store how they were doing. He said business was great because people were cutting back on eating out, and that meant they were buying more groceries. Bad news if you own a restaurant, but great news for grocery stores. And maybe for families, too.

We've been hearing the benefits of family night for some time now. If you're out of the loop, it's the night when families stay home, turn off the TV, cook and eat together, and then spend the evening together. Not only does it help everyone bond and catch up, but it's a great time to introduce kids to some cooking basics. On top of that, it's a lot cheaper than spending the evening eating out and catching a movie, or in a noisy kid emporium where they run wild. Beneficial on every level.

Dinner doesn't have to be fancy. Let the kids take turns choosing their favorites, and help them learn how to make them. Even if they only want pizza, it's easy to make with a store-bought crust. I loved it when my mom went through a fondue phase. I still have fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table with my family on those nights. It's a slower meal and lends itself to talking and laughing. I still make fondue every New Year's Eve, when there's lots of time for a leisurely dinner.

And after dinner, don't head for a video. Get out the board games and interact. Even if you don't have kids, it can be a lot fun to get together with friends and play Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit. Make it pot-luck so no one is stuck with all the work and expense. Games can be pricey, but they're often available for a few dollars at second-hand stores. And they can be used over and over again. Remember what fun it was to play Monopoly when you were a kid? There are so many -opoly games -- Canadaopoly, Gardenopoly, Spaceopoly, Catopoly, even Make-Your-Own-Opoly -- something for everyone.


Rosemary Harris said...

Garden-opoly? Now you've got me curious..what the heck is that?
We don't have any kids in the Harris household, but every once in a while I can rope my husband into a game of Scrabble, my all-time favorite game or chess...but I'm not as good as I used to be at chess...which just means that I used to take longer to lose.

We are cooking more than we used to...I particularly like to make soup and freeze some. It's great the first night, but such a treat when you find a container buried in the freezer and all you have to do is nuke it and enjoy!

Krista said...

Yup, Gardenopoly! It really exists. You can read about it at

I'm like you, I love finding a container of stew in the freezer. I've taken to freezing cake, too, and a lot of them do very well, especially chocolate cakes. Now there's a fun find in the freezer!

template by