Category Archives: Table Talk

The Family Cook-In Part 5: How To Carry On A Meaningful Conversation

Families use good listening skills and add to the conversation

Families use good listening skills and add to the conversation

by donR    March 6th 2016

The Family Dinner Project website has “tons of conversation starters” appropriate for any age level and on a variety of topics. These prompts can be written on cards and shared during the family dinner. This is just one of their many strategies  for promoting thoughtful conversation and this is the easy part. Yes, I repeat: “Starting a conversation is easy” …compared to “Carrying On A Meaningful Conversation.” Read more about how to keep a conversation going. Continue reading

The Family Cook-In Part 4: Having Fun With Games & Challenges

Kids young and old love mentally challenging games.

Kids young and old love mentally challenging games.

Playing games is one way to have fun. Creative elementary school teachers use them to fill in time or give kids a break from the regular routine. They are equally useful on long trips in the car and at the family dinner table while food finishes cooking. Visit The Family Dinner Project website and download game ideas categorized  by age levels.

Another way to have fun is to challenge your family with riddles, mental tasks and  interesting puzzles. Here are three types of challenges I used while teaching at all levels:

Riddles:  Browse the internet to find interesting scenarios like the

Man In Apartment 5C”

“On rainy days a man grabs his umbrella and hat, leaves his fifth-floor apartment at 7:30 AM, rides the elevator to the first floor lobby and walks to work. He returns at 5:00 PM, rides the elevator to the fifth floor and retires to his room.

However, on sunny days he grabs his sunglasses, leaves his fifth-floor apartment at 7:30 AM, rides the elevator to the first floor lobby and walks to work. He returns at 5:00 PM, rides the elevator to the third floor, takes the stairs to the fifth floor and retires to his room.

Challenge: What does the man look like?.

Procedure: One family member can keep asking questions until getting a “no” answer. Then it’s the next member’s turn and so on until they solve the challenge. (The answer is somewhere on page.)

Riddles: ” How far can a puppy walk into the woods?” or

“What do they call a home for several puppies?”

Puzzles: 

  1. Find an interesting photo and  cut it into six pieces with the most interesting part completely on one of the 6 pieces.
  2. Number each 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 and save 6 for the interesting piece.
  3. Place each piece in separate numbered envelopes.
  4. Procedure. Place part #1 on table and ask your family: “What is the whole picture about?”
  5. Put #2 with #1. Now what’s the big idea?
  6. Place #3 on the table and so on.

d and d gameHere is the whole picture and you “Now know the rest of the story.”

answers: Man: He’s very short. (needs the umbrella to reach the 5th floor button)

Puppies:  A)   an apupment or pup tent

B: half way  when the middle is reached the puppy is walking “out” of the woods,

Note: It’s often  more fun to encourage any answer for a week or two to prolong the discussion and find better answers.

 

 

Our Family Cook-in Series Kicks-Off

by donR  February 10, 2016

Our first Family Meal sequence will begin on February 12th 2016. Stay tuned for more workshops and presentations.

Our first Family Cook-In Series will begin on February 12th 2016. Stay tuned for more workshops and presentations.

The Family Meals Project team of volunteers will gather at United church of Ferndale to introduce the idea of having food fun and conversation during meals . The Loving Tree Preschool Children and their parents  will be treated to a sit-down meal, play games and engage in meaningful conversation.

The idea of having food fun and conversation during sit-down dinners is not a new idea. Most children of the post-depression era ate with family around the dinner table; at least everyone I ran around with.. However the Whatcom County health Department reported a decline in the number of children sitting around the table for dinner in a 2008 study. (But I’d guess that the decline started when tv dinners, drive-in restaurants and cell phones were popularized.) Continue reading

Healthier Pizza For Kids

Personal pizzas using tortilla shells are simple and easy on the budget.

Personal pizzas using tortilla shells are simple and easy on the budget.

Okay. Most kids love pizza but should it be served regularly as a meal? We have shared ways to reduce the calories by creating whole wheat crusts with veggie toppings and limiting the cheese. Eliminating some of the cheese certainly cuts back on the saturated fat but we have found that kids like pizza because of the cheese. They also love Mac & Cheese, toasted cheese sandwiches, and string cheese. The real issue then is will they like pizza made with reduced saturated fat and less sugar? We think they will and here’s how. Continue reading

Dinner Table Talk: Which Is Healther, This or That?

Or This?

Or This?

Which is healhier, This?

Which is healthier, This?

 

 

Eating Well magazine posted a challenge to its readers,”Which  is healthier, popcorn  or pretzels?”  and several more “This or That questions.” These questions would certainly start some interesting conversations round the family dinner table. Continue reading

Five Dinner Table Questions: Share With Family

 

The right questions at the dinner table can inspire conversation and build positive relationships between family members.

The right questions at the dinner table can inspire conversation and build positive relationships between family members.

Anil Gupta suggests five questions be posed at the dinner table. These conversation starters are non-threatening and everyone can contribute to the conversation. Anil’s workshops focus on building relationships which is important as the family sits around the dinner table. Continue reading

Host A Simple Community Dinner: Food, Fun, and conversation

Our cook-ins, like the Community Kitchens in Seattle, provide a place for people to gather, assemble meals to take home, enjoy a dinner they helped cook and build friendships..

Teens can get together for an evening of fun, food and conversation.

Teens can get together for an evening of fun, food and conversation at a “Community Dinner.” Photo: iclipart

For those of you who want a simple evening with two or three other families, draw upon ideas developed by The Family Dinner Project. Their idea is to get people together for an evening of food, fun and conversation. Read more to find out how you can plan this simple event and download their organizers’ toolkit. Continue reading

The Sit-Down Meal: Conversation Starters III

Need a  source for witty, probing, interesting, challenging, , funny, intuitive,  and totally age-appropriate conversation starters?   No, you don’t need to find a toastmaster  book at Barnes & Nobel.  All you need to do is click on this link to The Family Dinners Project and you will find  enough material to keep your family engaged in meaningful conversation for years to come. Continue reading

Sit-Down Meals: Conversation Starters II

Pleasant conversation at meal time is important.

Pleasant conversation at meal time is important.

Conversation Starters II

Sit-down meals with nurturing conversation help children learn and practice positive life skills. The Promoting Family Meals Project out of Purdue University has conducted studies that support this conclusion. Continue reading