Heather lives outside the Twin Cities with her husband and two-year-old boy. She recently won our contest about eating together on busy days, and graciously agreed to chat with us about meal planning, crafts and go-to summer dishes!
How did you first hear about The Family Dinner Project?
Better Homes & Gardens! I was drawn to the article because I’ve always believed in sitting down for dinner. That’s how I grew up, and I wanted to continue the tradition.
So, how do you plan for dinner?
Life is busy with a two-year-old, so recently I’ve been using a meal planning service. Each week, they send me ideas, and I choose our meals for the week. I also use cookbooks, and try to think about how busy we’ll be on certain days. If I know it’s going to be a busy night, I use a slow cooker to make the meal in advance.
I also write everything down on a picture frame board [shown above], so my family knows what we’re having each night.
That’s awesome! Where’d you get the idea?[Laughs] From Pinterest, of course. It’s great because you can write on the picture frame glass, and erase it at the end of the week. And it wasn’t too hard to make!
How about food shopping? Any strategies?
Monday is my shopping day. I try to only do one trip to the grocery store per week, which saves time.
Any favorite summer meals?
Oh, we definitely grill a lot, and eat lots of cool summer salads. Pasta salad is great because you can make it ahead of time and let it chill.
How about conversation? What do you talk about at the table?
Well, dinner is usually the first time my husband and I see each other all day, so we catch up. We’ll also talk about our plans for tomorrow.
Did you have a lot of dinner conversations growing up?
We did! The kids would talk about what’s been going on in school, and what their weekend plans were. Dad would have some interesting story to share. The discussion was always fun and easy.
Even now, when we adults all get together, the kids run off to play, and we sit around and talk. It’s a chance for us to regroup and relax.
Many thanks to Heather for speaking with us! To make your own meal planning board, check out the instructions here.