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Shaking Up Dinner

Former blogger Crafty Mom is obsessed with Dinner: A Love Story (DALS) . I frequently made fun of her for often she brings up the blog  in conversation. It’s like she has a high school crush on their family. Time after time she insisted that I check out the blog. “You’ll love it!”, she promised. Well, finally I did check it out and now I understand why she talks about it so much.

Growing up, dinner was the center of our family life. We ate together as a family most every night. We talked about our highs and lows and if you did well on a test or had a big day in some other childhood pursuit you got to eat off of the highly-coveted “It’s Your Special Day” plate (which my college friends equated to the Geller Cup). It never seemed like a big deal at the time but looking back on it now I see how important those dinners were to the bond I have with my family. I’ve also come to realize that family dinner doesn’t just happen, especially when you’ve got two parents who both work full-time. You have to make it happen. DALS does an amazing job of bringing inspiration and realism to the pursuit of serving delicious and healthy meals on a nightly basis. Their family seems both totally relatable and totally aspirational at the same time.

Reading the blog has inspired our family to commit to doing a few things consistently:

Eat dinner as a family as often as humanly possible. We’re lucky that Liam is still young and we both have fairly regular work schedules so this is possible most nights. I know it’s only going to get harder as the years go by so it is really important to us to make it a priority now, develop our system, build up a thick library of tried and true weeknight dinners so that when things get crazier, we already feel like we’ve got a handle on it.

Make a menu for the week and stick to it. I can’t stand doing the “what do you want to have for dinner tonight?” dance anymore. Each weekend we divvy up our nights and on night we’re responsible for cooking, get to pick the menu. On nights we’re not, we get some one-on-one time with Liam.

Use a grocery delivery service to make sure we have all of our ingredients (and save the weekly, long trip to the grocery store). When Organized Mom posted about using this and how it helped her streamline her grocery list I knew we needed to try it. Before Liam, I stopped for supplies at the grocery store almost nightly which is no longer feasible both logistically and financially. Using PeaPod has definitely helped reign in my tendency to impulse buy and truly stick to the menu for the week.

Try new things. We always (or almost always) managed to get dinner on the table but had fallen into a funk of about 10-15 recipes that we liked and worked for weeknights. I’m committed to being more adventurous. Lately, we’ve been trying new recipes and the DALS Seven Meals Challenge gave us new ideas and inspiration for ways to shake it up.

Any other DALS -devotees out there? How do you make family dinners happen in your house?



  1. The woman formerly known as Crafty Mom January 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Ha ha! I’m obsessed. You must try the Bolognese recipe they recommend and their fish tacos. They have never steered me wrong with food or books! And I can’t say enough how writing out a weekly menu has changed our lives.

  2. Laura Decker February 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    We totally try to have dinner together every night. With 2 young girls, I feel it’s important for them to have dinner with both parents every day. My husband gets home around 7:30 pm every day, so it’s a rush to get the kids to bed quickly after dinner. I get a lot of grief about having them eat too late, and then going to bed right after eating. I know that’s not the best, but I feel it’s more important for them to have time with their father. It’s also a huge struggle to get my older daughter to try anything beyond mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and pasta. I wish she’d be more open to other foods. Any advice?

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