The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “family time”

Tip of the Week: Time Saving Tips


This Week’s Featured Recipe

We’ve hit that part of our work week where the fridge is not doing its job. By that I mean that it’s cold, but it is not storing much food. This is usually where takeout meals get inserted as our food plan. I know it is not a good plan, but as I dash home from work today it will be a choice – meet the bus, or stop by the grocery store on the way home and pick up the items that we’ve run out of –  again.

Several months ago, Holli wrote in the intro to the Family Table Cookbook that she relies on a basic list of must-haves that she shops for week after week. That list makes sense to me. As does the list from TLC called “Keep the Basics on Hand.” It is part of the 10 Time Saving Tips list that they put together. I really liked that they said “creative cooking can get to be a real pain if you have to run out and buy bags and bags of groceries every time you want to try a new recipe.” We often want to try new things, and I’ve learned how to substitute fresh and dried herbs, but have no idea what to substitute for honey when the ‘bear’ in the cupboard is empty.

The solution for tonight – I just remembered that there is some frozen spinach and chicken in the freezer. So, if the kids make a salad (they tend to eat it better that way) and I use the recipe I just found for a kid-friendly Chicken Florentine, then we should be able to sit down in a fairly short amount of time. Plus, the kids will love making the filling for this recipe!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Marketing and Operations, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Memorial Day

mem day

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Growing up, I viewed Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer – the pools opened and we were freed from school for what seemed like an endless amount of long, hot summer days.  As a working adult I viewed the Memorial Day weekend as a three day break for a family barbeque, fishing, and a trip to the lake or a local pool.

Last fall my oldest son deployed for Afghanistan and I now see Memorial Day in an entirely new light.  While I may panic when the doorbell rings at an unexpected time, all over America there are families who answered their door to find soldiers on their doorstep who informed them that their loved one would not return from war.  I realized that I have done my children a disservice by not teaching them about the true meaning of Memorial Day; that we live in a free country because, since the 1770s, thousands of men and women have given their lives to protect our country.  Our freedom is owed to those soldiers, and their families.

So this Memorial Day, there will be a barbeque, and a much-awaited visit from my oldest daughter and her husband.  There will also be a time while we eat the first grilled burgers of the season, when I teach my younger children about why we celebrate this weekend and the debt we owe to those who gave their lives for our country.  It’s really about character education and this video from the Travis Manion Foundation does an excellent job of teaching, “If not me, then who?” We will also be putting together a box to send my son, but if you don’t know an active duty service person, consider visiting Honor Our Troops and having your children brighten a soldier’s day by writing a letter or sending a box of goodies to a service member stationed in a combat area.


Holli Seabury, CEO, wife and mom of 7

Tip of the Week: Healthier Kids Meals


This Week’s Featured Recipe

So, do you find yourself eating out a lot? Fries and burgers in the drive-thru? I have to admit that, yes, we’ve recently been guilty. It’s a habit we really need to break, but when you get on the go, it seems,well, easier.  This week, we should be honest and say, “Together, We Eat in the Car.”

It seems that it is a spring trend, as the kids get busier and we try to fit more in the daylight, we snuggle a meal in between our other errands. My goal for this week is to eat in as opposed to drive thru. And, the National Restaurant Association is trying to help us be healthier. They have started two programs that can make our meals out a whole lot better. The first ranks “whole grain items in kid’s meals” and this year, they started ranking restaurants for “healthful kids meals.”

The Kids LiveWell program has over 30,000 participating restaurant locations.  In order to qualify, a children’s meal must meet nutrition standards based on the US Dietary Guidelines.  The meal (entrée, side and beverage) must include two servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or a low-fat dairy; meet limits for sodium, fats and sugar; and weigh in at 600 calories or less. Visit the Healthy Dining Finder site and Eating Away From Home page to find more restaurants with healthier kids’ options and whole grains on the menu.

Remember that the most important part of the meal is the time you spend together, around the table (not in the car, or in front of the tv!) And, if you see my family out and about, please be sure to say hi!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Marketing and Operations, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Cinco De Mayo


This Week’s Featured Recipe

So once again I am wasting time on Pinterest, when I come across this delicious looking recipe for Oven Fajitas. I love fajitas, but frying them on the stovetop is just too messy.  Then it occurs to me, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, and the perfect reason to try my new Oven Fajita recipe!  I’ll serve them with whole wheat tortillas, Greek yogurt (a healthier choice than sour cream), lettuce, cheese, and lots of cilantro (my favorite).  I’ll probably make some brown rice with corn, black beans, and cumin mixed in as a side dish. See this week’s featured recipe to make your own Oven Fajitas.

If you are very crafty, Hannah, our Marketing Assistant, suggests getting the kids involved by making your own mini maracas. She thinks her 4-year-old would love this craft and it will help him to understand the holiday. But if you can’t handle the sound of mini maracas going non-stop in your house, you can make your own piñatas instead.

Did you know Cinco de Mayo is a much bigger holiday in America than it is in Mexico?  On May 5th, get the conversation started with your family by sharing these five fun facts about Cinco De Mayo at your family table.


Holli Seabury, CEO, wife and mom of 7

Tip of the Week: Spring Cleaning


This Week’s Featured Recipe

As spring has finally arrived there are many tasks that need to be accomplished. I know in my house, spring time is the time to clean the house and get organized. This is also a time of the year we are the busiest. So, we are always looking for ideas to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently. The key to doing this is having the whole family chip in and help.

Need some creative ideas for spring cleaning with your family? This article gives several ideas on how to get the family involved and make spring cleaning fun. I personally liked the idea of letting your kids use squirt guns, instead of spray bottles, to help clean windows and mirrors.  I know my son will love this idea as well. Making the cleaning process fun is the best way to get the whole family involved. See our featured recipe for a homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe.

Need some time saver ideas? This article gives several ideas on how to organize your house and your day-to-day routine. Simple little tricks such as starting a day by day shelf system or starting a recipe exchange can make your life a little less stressful. The day by day shelf system helps you organize all you need for each day of the week. And the recipe chain letter allows you to interact with family and friends to get new recipes for quick family meals. Then at the end of the day you can sit down in your clean, organized house and enjoy a delicious  family meal together!

Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Earth Day


This Week’s Featured Recipe

It seems like, in a flash this past weekend, the world became green! After so many weeks of dull gray skies and brown, dead grass everything is suddenly a bright, shiny green. And, our family went crazy – especially the kids. To be honest, my husband isn’t much of an outdoor guy – we’ve always joked he’s more likely to garden online than to mow the grass or garden. I think this is just fine, as I don’t like to grocery shop, or cook, really.  Years ago, we traded these tasks. Somehow though, our kids LOVE to be outside, which I think is great – for their health, and for building independence, and to appreciate the space we’ve been blessed with. So, this past weekend, the kids started their own garden – complete with flowers borrowed from the neighbor and worms they dug themselves. (Their grandpa is so proud!)

As they began their project, I worked a bit at the leaves left from last year and to unearth the daffodils poking through their winter coverings of last year’s mulch and died-down plants. I’m not a big gardener, in fact, I call myself a black thumb, but I do try. We don’t have anything in our gardens that wouldn’t be considered hardy! As we messed around with a list of what needs done as April rolls through, the calendar reminded me that next week, on Monday, April 22, is Earth Day. When I brought this up at dinner, the kids wanted to find some way to celebrate this year.

After digging around for local events, we found that our family and yours can help show your support for the environment at the Eagle Marsh, just off the trailhead in Fort Wayne. To celebrate, they are holding an event that includes free workshops and demonstrations. This is a great event to teach your family about the different ways to protect our environment or “going green,” including recycling, cleaning up trash in the neighborhood, or working to promote clean and clear water. My kids cannot wait!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Marketing and Operations, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Chaos in the Car

Distracted Driving postcard final

This Week’s Featured Recipe

One of the many things I have had to learn to do as a mom is to deal with chaos in the car with my kids. Car time is also one of my favorite times with my kids because I get to hear so much from my 4 year old about what is going on in his life. Whether it is real or imaginary, I love to hear stories from him. He currently has an ongoing story about an imaginary class he attends. I am amazed at the detail he goes into with his stories and things he encounters in everyday life. This is also a time where my 6 month old will finally doze off for a short nap. Car time with the kids can be a great addition to the day.

However, there are days when car rides don’t go so well. If my 4 year old senses that my full attention is not on him he will go into repeat mode until I answer him. Then my 6 month old will start crying and I have to scramble to find his pacifier. And I need to do all of this while keeping one hand on the steering wheel and eyes on the road. In these moments, I know I am not giving proper attention to the task at hand, driving! I know this is probably something that every mother deals with on a day to day basis. Whether it is calming your screaming kids, handing them snacks, or answering their every question, driving with kids in the car can be very distracting.

Finding yourself distracted while driving? Attend our McMillen Center Health Lecture Series on April 18th!

Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Easter in Afghanistan


Easter will be a bit different for us this year.  We will still have our traditional jelly bean hunt, with the little kids (ages 5 and 7) searching the house for the jelly beans that are hidden all over.  It’s always fun to come upon an especially well-hidden jelly bean a few months after Easter!  This year,  I am busy packing a large box of Easter candy to be shipped to Afghanistan for my oldest son to share with his combat unit.  I am hoping a box of brightly colored candy, in a basket with plastic green grass, will bring a smile to the face of soldiers who are missing their families and the holiday celebrations happening at home.   Since my son can sometimes call home on Sunday, I am also hoping Easter morning brings a phone call from Afghanistan.  This year, I am very aware of the thousands of soldiers who are missing their children’s Easter egg hunts, missing their families, and missing their homes.


Holli Seabury, CEO, wife and mom of 7

Tip of the Week: Easter Egg Hunt


For as long as I can remember, we have gone to my aunt’s house for Easter. We almost always have ham and roast beef. There are a whole bunch of people in our families with birthdays around Easter, so we always have birthday cake to celebrate. There are usually about 30 of us, so it’s a full house. After dinner, we’ve always done a very competitive Easter Egg hunt. The adults and kids that have graduated from high school stuff plastic eggs with candy, dollar bills, and change. We usually stuff around 300 eggs. The kids in high school and younger look for the eggs hidden around the house.

One year, my older cousins decided to stuff the plastic eggs with left-over food. We were all in high school and my brother and cousin stuffed some of the eggs with leftover roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Luckily, only a couple of kids actually found them. They had hidden them up high, where only the tall, high school kids could reach them. Boy, were our parents were mad! But, every year, we joke about that prank!

Camy Rodenbeck 2012

Camy Rodenbeck, Health Educator

Tip of the Week: Easter Memories


This Week’s Featured Recipe

With every holiday in my home growing up, I have very fond memories. My parents are very traditional (my friends go even further and say old-school) but they have created lasting memories that my brother and I will forever cherish. At Easter, there were festivities all day long, but the day always ended with a beautiful meal that my parents prepared together. We all gathered in the formal dining room with all my mother’s best china, silver, and linens. Dinner included roasted lamb, baked potatoes, green beans or broccoli, cottage cheese and dinner rolls.

Another tradition that I loved when I was growing up was decorating eggs. We would spend hours making different colored eggs, personalizing them for each person, adding the wraps, and then of course finding them. Most egg hunts in Fort Wayne were too cold and muddy to be outside, but my parents would hide eggs throughout the entire house. My parents would give us one clue that would start us on a scavenger hunt. The clues would send us all over the house, garage and even inside my dad’s car! Growing up, I always had the same multi-color wicker basket, with green grass, that would be filled with candy, fruit and small toys, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a big bow at the top. My husband and I hope we too will be able in instill a sense of tradition and lasting holiday memories with our children.


Bethany Clapper, Director of Development, wife and mom

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