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Newsletter: January 2015

On the menu for 2015? Connection.


Happy New Year!

Despite the colder temperatures, we love January. This month is the perfect time to slow down after all of the holiday hoopla and focus on what’s truly important.

And at The Family Dinner Project, we believe few things are more important than helping you connect with your family over food, fun and conversation about things that matter. So we resolve to do more of that this year—starting now!

Recognizing that no two families are exactly alike, we’re kicking off 2015 with a few ideas designed to help you connect with your family in the ways that are most appealing, doable and meaningful to you. Try one or try ‘em all! It’s up to you. Happy choosing.

In December we kicked off a new campaign to encourage dinner-oriented acts of giving in recognition of #GivingTuesday. This month, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, we’re continuing our #familydinnerforward efforts by partnering with Points of Light in bringing awareness to their “America’s Sunday Supper” program. The program encourages people to host meals in their homes to discuss topics related to Dr. King’s goals of unity and peace, and to turn those discussions into actions that make a difference. Talk about conversations that matter! Interested? Read more.

The idea here is to continue doing fun, vacation-y type things as a family even though break is over. Your plans don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. You can play board games, go on a hike, or stay in your PJ’s on Sundays and read or do puzzles together. If you enjoy cooking as a family, try making a meal that livens up all taste buds for the New Year: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Or try a recipe from a country that you know little about. If you usually cook Italian, go on Epicurious and check out South African or Portuguese recipes and imagine you’re on vacation as you eat.

Dinnertime is a great opportunity to keep the giving habit you may have started during our #GivingTuesday campaign going all year long. Start by dedicating one dinner per month, or one per week, or even just a few minutes of any mealtime each day to talk to one another about how you’d like to give back. Here, team member Bri DeRosa offers conversation starters and tangible ideas (such as adding giving to your chore charts or creating a ‘Hoping to Help’ Board) that can help you make giving an every day habit in your family.

Is one of your resolutions to have more or better dinners with your family? Then check out our free, online resource, Food, Fun and Conversations: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners. We created this program after years of talking and working with families about the most common challenges they face around family dinner. Chock full of helpful information, you can do the program straight through, or pick and choose to meet your own needs and goals. You can even peruse the program without signing up, so what are you waiting for?

OK, sure we’re a bit biased. Anne Fishel, Ph.D., is one of The Family Dinner Project’s founding members. But trust us, she has tons of wise advice to share in her highly touted new book Home for Dinner. With chapters such as “Play with your Food” and “Table Talk that Goes Beyond ‘How was Your Day,’” she covers just about any dinner dilemma you can dream up in her down-to-earth approachable style. Read an interview with the author about her book here.



January is a great month for comfort food and you can’t beat this Cheddar Apple French Toast Bake for a delicious breakfast or dinner!



Get wacky with this Mad Libs resolutions game. You can use our examples or invite each family member to make up their own.



This month’s conversation starters are all about reflecting on the past year, and pondering the next.

Age 2-7

What was your favorite moment or memory from last year? Why?

What was your least favorite moment? Why?

Do you have any resolutions or goals for this year? Name three.

Age 8-13

What was your favorite book or movie from last year? What did you like about it?

Do you think you’ve changed since this time last year? How?

How have other things changed? Your neighborhood? School? Community?

Age 14-100

Steven Spielberg is quoted as saying, “All of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.” Do you agree?

What was the best year of your life so far? Explain why.

Explore more conversation starters!