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Real Family Dinner Projects: The Isaac Family

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by Bri DeRosa

soccerWe love to hear from real families about their family dinners and how they’re using The Family Dinner Project to inspire them to reach their mealtime goals. We connected with the Isaac family through our recent trip to West Virginia, and we’re happy to share some dinner wisdom from this busy family of five!

The Family:

Tom and Amy Isaac and kids Will (12), Ben (10) and Drew (7), from Charleston, West Virginia

The Goal:

4-5 family dinners a week.

The Challenges:

Tom and Amy both work full time, often not getting home until 6:30. In addition, like many families, they’re spending lots of time shuttling their three active boys to and from various sports and activities, which can interfere with dinner.

The Strategies:

Amy says she’s trying to reach their family dinner goals “by planning ahead and trying to have things mostly prepared before coming home from work. There are days where one of my kids has a late practice and on those nights, 3 of us might have a dinner together and then the other 2 will eat together later when practice is over.”

Tom and Amy also rely on planning meals ahead of time, and Amy tries to spend a few minutes prepping for weekday meals on the weekend so she has less to manage on busy evenings. She also swears by her crock pot to get dinner on the table. Amy says:

“The best tip I got from The Family Dinner Project is that dinner doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t always have to be a gourmet meal. As long as we are all sitting down together and making a meal together, it counts.”

The Food:

The Isaac family relies on fast weeknight meals like spaghetti with whole grain bread or sauteed shrimp, which take only a few minutes to cook. On the weekends or evenings when they have extra time, the boys enjoy ribs, risotto and corn on the cob. The kids also took a cooking class last year, which taught them to make homemade pizzas — a family favorite!

Try this recipe for homemade pizza from our friends at the Home Baking Association

The Fun:

Amy says the family is starting to try out some of the ideas they’ve learned from The Family Dinner Project to keep dinnertime fun and keep her three boys engaged. They’re looking forward to summertime, when they plan to try some new recipes from our site together as well!

The Conversation:

At the beginning of dinner each night, the Isaacs have a ritual of asking each person to share their favorite moment from the day. While the boys often answer “recess,” Amy and Tom have learned a lot about what happens at school and on the bus by asking for the highlights.

Try using the “Roses and Thorns” technique to get your family talking about the day

The Best Part:

When Amy asked each member of the family to share their favorite thing about family dinners, she was surprised to find that all five of them had the same answer: “The best part of family dinners is getting to catch up and find out about everyone’s day.”

Do you have your own Family Dinner Project to share with us? We’d love to hear from you and consider featuring your family! Contact us.