This is a sponsored post through Adproval. All opinions are my own.
I first met Dan’s parents on Thanksgiving.
Yes, Thanksgiving. That big family holiday when you spend time with your loved ones? My boyfriend of about five weeks decided that was a great opportunity for me to meet his parents.
And his brothers. And his sister-in-law. And (luckily for me) just one aunt and uncle. (Dan has about a million aunts and uncles).
So, you know, no pressure or anything.
Obviously everything turned out fine. Dan’s family realized I was perfect for him when I explained that my small portions were to keep my foods from touching each other. Dan found a woman who’s almost as picky of an eater as he is!
Since then I’ve shared countless meals with Dan’s family. Possibly even a billion dinners! One of many qualities I love about Dan’s family is how much they value family meals. This is true with both sides of his extended family.
I was reminded of this value during our recent visit to Ohio. Dan and I shared very few meals alone. We spent most of our meals engaging in quality time with friends and family.
For Dan’s birthday dinner, we grilled out steak and Ohio corn at Pat and Emily’s house. Little Nathan insisted on eating with us. He’s already figured out the importance of family dinners! Emily and Pat quite deftly managed to give Nathan his bottle and burp him while still eating their own dinners. They’ve totally mastered the baby hand-off. After dinner, the whole family played a few rounds of Uno, a Fleck family favorite. (Flongtini family favorite?)
While in Ohio, we also attended the Brown family reunion (Mary Kay’s family). So much eating. So much talking. So many games of euchre.
Then Dan and I invited ourselves over to breakfast at his godfather’s house the next day. I’d spent years hearing about Uncle Jim’s famous waffles. I was so happy to finally try them! Dan and I enjoyed sitting down to breakfast with his aunt and uncle, and two of his three cousins. We loved catching up with them and telling them about Atlanta.
Dan and I also spent quality time with the Fleck side of the family over lunch. Paul, his siblings, and their spouses try to get together once a month or so for a family meal. Afterward we all went to Aunt Ruth’s house to play cards.
After such a wonderful vacation filled with family meals, I wanted to focus on quality time with my husband. My in-laws reminded me of the importance of fully engaging in a meal together. Due to work schedules, usually family meals are dinner, but I think Dan and I could be more intentional about our weekend meals too.
Last week, I shared my goals for October. For my marriage, I want Dan and me to eat at least five meals together each week WITHOUT the TV. During our recent weekend in Savannah, I loved just talking to Dan during our meals, with no TV. I want us to do that at home, too. The poem in the video below sums up my feelings about quality time.
To help me with this goal, I’ve downloaded the DinnerCall app! I screwed up recording our first meal, so it definitely thinks Dan and I had a meal of about two minutes. But I’ve used it for other meals since then, and it works great. Kind of like how my Wii Fit tracks how frequently I work out, and for how long I exercise, the DinnerCall app tracks both how often I share a family meal and the duration of those meals.
I’ve also joined the Billion Family Dinners Challenge! With the DinnerCall app, I’ve joined a movement to bring back family meals. DinnerCall hopes that together, we can track a billion dinners.
I’ve already added several family meals to my account. Like I mentioned before, Dan and I splurged on a few fancy meals in Savannah. His parents also visited us this weekend, giving me plenty of time to learn from the experts of quality time!
Research indicates that sharing meals with other people results in positive health benefits. This is especially true for children. While Dan and I don’t have any kids yet, I want us to establish healthy habits now. I want us to focus on quality time now, while it’s still easy to do. Pat and Emily have already shown us that even with a new baby, you can still make time for family dinners. Dan and I just need to be more intentional about our time together.
I’m ready to take the Billion Dinners Challenge. Are you?
For the next 2 weeks, I challenge you to share 10 meals with your family. Family can include friends or even beloved colleagues. Meals can be anything: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or (my favorite) brunch. The only requirement is for 2 or more people to join together for a meal, and for all people to be genuinely present during the meal.
Get to know your family again. Engage in real conversations. Take the time to reconnect. Join me for the 10 in 2 #BillionDinners Challenge.
It’s easy! just download the DinnerCall app (for iPhones and Androids), track and share 10 meals through the app these next 2 weeks, and when you share to social media, tag @belle_brita and @DinnerCall if you want me to know you’re taking the 10 in 2 #BillionDinners Challenge! Let me know how it feels to eat together again!
Forgotten how to talk to your family? Don’t know where to start with your billion dinners? Try these tips!
- Use the conversation prompt from the DinnerCall app. For example, one prompt asked Dan and me to share our three most treasured possessions. I mixed things up a bit and had each of us guess the other’s three most treasured possessions.
- Have everyone share their Highs & Lows of the day. When I was a live-in au pair in New York/Toronto, my kids and I did this each night at dinner. The only rule was to have more highs than lows. Otherwise you could share as many as you wanted! It was a great way to get the kids to open up to me when I first started working with them.
- Share a themed meal! Cook all Italian food, or Mexican food, or French food. Look up a few fun bits of trivia from that culture.
- Play a simple game during dinner like I Spy or 20 Questions.
If a simple thing like sharing a meal with your family can change the world… why not try it?
You can learn more about the Billion Dinners challenge on their website or on your preferred social media site.
Join me today for the Billion Dinners challenge!
What’s your favorite part about family meals? I want to hear your thoughts!