I am a firm believe of the importance of the family meal. I’ve posted about it before here. I believe that the family needs to sit down around the dinner table most evenings to foster communication and family connection. No drive thru McDonald’s, no meals in front of the TV (except when it’s a treat to do so), no television on during dinner, just a great time of conversation, laughter, and fun around the table each night.
I’m always looking for ways to refresh our family traditions. When Mark and I spent a week at the Blessing Ranch in November, I discovered a fresh idea for the family meal. Each night at the Blessing Ranch we shared a family style meal around the table. At each place setting was your own chilled bottle of water and an empty glass. You kept your own glass filled throughout the meal with your own bottle of water.
It was classy. It was simple. And it was practical.
No need to ask everyone what they wanted to drink. No running to refill drinks during dinner. It made the table setting and mealtime so easy!
Mark and I decided we liked it enough to do it ourselves. I went to a local liquor store and bought a dozen empty, clear wine bottles (they sell them for do-it-yourself wine makers). They cost about $1/bottle. A bag of reusable cork tops were about $1 for a dozen corks.
We keep the filled bottles in the refrigerator so they are chilled and ready for our family meal each night.
Clean up is easy. We simply refill and cork the bottles, then we use an antibacterial kitchen cleaner to wipe off the outside of the bottles. After cleaning, they are placed back in the refrigerator to chill for another meal.
(Picture from our Thanksgiving meal when we used the bottles for the first time!)
Do you have any ideas that make the family meal a special experience for your family?
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What a great idea!! No more leaving the table for drinks. I love it!
We always eat together for supper. No tv or distracting music. We also wait for Daddy to get home before we eat. Sometimes this means my littlest guy (15 months) is really hungry and cranky by the time we eat but he gets over it pretty quickly. 🙂
My guys are all still very small (6 years to 15 months) so I don't have any suggestions for you but for others with infants I highly recommend NOT using a high chair. We've used booster seats (that strap to a chair and come with detachable trays) with each of our kids. Once they are able to sit up in the chair (strapped in of course!) they sit at the table and chase cheerios while we eat. It starts around 6 months. I really believe this is why we always get comments in restaurants about how well behaved my kids are. Sitting at a table with family and talking is normal for us. We'd all miss it if we stopped!