Posts tagged “family ritual

FAMILY DINNER a heaping helping of tips

Broken Bread

Paul Norwood “Broken Bread”

In my next few blogs, I’ll be addressing some of my readers’ most burning questions. First up, Dorlon and Dharma want to know:

What’s the deal with family dinner, anyway? Is it really as important as everyone insists? And how can we make it easier, healthier and more fun?

There’s a lot of hot debate and anecdote about the legendary “Family Dinner”. Eating meals together has been credited – for good reason – with big and long-term benefits like better communication and eating habits as well as lower risk of eating disorders, obesity, substance abuse, and depression.

But most experts agree: The important thing about it is the time spent together.

Everyone has to eat. So why not do it with as many family members as possible as often as you can?

Don’t feel guilty if you’re catching your meals on the fly (or in the car) right now. Just getting family dinners on your radar is the first step in the right direction. Then start creating the dinner routine that works for your family, almost like a recipe (hmmm…)


Take these main ingredients:

  • Eat together
  • Eat healthy
  • Limit distractions, particularly of the electronic variety.

Mix well. Use often. Add these ingredients as desired, for flavor and fun:

  • Cook together. Check out Cooking with Kids Foundation  for new recipes and ways to get kids to venture beyond the PBJ.
  • Spice up the conversation. Branch out from the standard “How was your day?” with some fresh discussion topics.
  • Create ritual. Laurie David’s The Family Dinner book  and the Family Eats  website are rich with recipes, shopping and prep tips, more sustainable choices, and activities to connect on a deeper level.
  • Immortalize Grannie’s meatball recipe.  The Family Cookbook Project gives you all the tools you need to collect family recipes, design and publish an original family heirloom cookbook.
  • Everyone contributes to the cleanup. Many hands make light work, plus giving kids opportunities to pitch in is actually good for them!


How do you do Dinner?



MOTHER-DAUGHTER BONDING – Start a Sharing Journal

MODAThe mother-daughter bond is unique, complex and ever-changing. For your relationship to truly blossom, it’s important to set aside time to hang out with no interruptions or expectations. Find ways to connect and “go deep” so you always know how, even during tough times. Sometimes the most profound conversations happen organically when you’re doing something else.

A mother-daughter journal is a great way to share experiences, uncover hidden dreams, and swap thoughts. It’s also the perfect forum for tricky conversations – like the birds and the bees or really messy bedrooms – because it allows time to stay cool and respond honestly. Pass your journal back and forth and fill it with the things that make you laugh, that freak you out, and that blow your mind. It’s a memoir of who you are – separately and together – that you’ll keep forever.

Here’s how to get started:


mother-daughter word bubbles journal

mother-daughter word bubbles journal

Get a good book There are many mother-daughter journals published with pre-set prompts and topics at Café Press or on Amazon. If you’re the creative type, buy a nice blank book and create your journal as you go. Add photos, ticket stubs, inspiring quotes or sketches.


Lay a few ground rules and stick by them Have a set time that you’ll write – every Saturday, the first day of the month, whatever works for you. And just like Vegas, what happens on the page stays on the page! No topic should be taboo, but give each other the option to “pass.”.


Slant positive Life isn’t always rosy, and your journal will reflect the speed bumps and shadows as well as the joys and beauty. But glassresist the urge to use it as a place to lecture or complain. Be honest when exploring a tough topic, but always think before putting pen to paper.


Brainstorm topics and questions. Let your themes flow naturally with the events of your lives.

  • Our changing bodies, puberty to menopause
  • Friendships
  • Boys, boys and…oh yeah, more boys
  • Expressing your personal style
  • What you want to be when you grow up, and why
  • Why we always fight about (insert problem here), and how we can negotiate better?
  • If you had 24 hours with no responsibilities and endless funds, what would you do?
  • Inner and outer beauty
  • Top five favorite songs/books/movies

Share your mother-daughter tips! What do you do to have fun together and stay connected?

(this post soon to appear on Edelbio Skin Care)


BEYOND THE BALL new year family rituals

Once upon a time, before the adjective “cosmopolitan” became an 80 proof noun, New Year’s Eve was a time for reflection as well as celebration.

The first day of January has been observed for millenia as a time of new beginnings, of fresh starts. The month gets its name from Janus – the Roman god of endings and beginnings, the two-faced guy who could simultaneously look back to the old year and forward into the new.

New Year traditions always involved celebrating – even the ancients knew that partying could illuminate the darkest and longest of days. But our modern New Year’s Eve has evolved into an occasion to over-imbibe and overlook the conscious, contemplative transition it once was.

Because many NYE celebrations are cocktail affairs (and because, really, how many little ones can hack staying up until midnight?) the kids often get left out of the festivities.

Counting down to the ball drop and having a toast can be wonderful ways of marking the passage of time. But the new year could be even richer with rituals for the whole family, no matter what age or spiritual persuasion.

Ritual is pretty powerful stuff. It can deepen relationships and heighten our feelings of security and calm. It can help us integrate the past with the future. And it can elevate the everyday into something extraordinary.

Try one of these family rituals to ring in 2013.

Create a Vision

People have been using vision boards for eons to get creative juices flowing, clarify intentions and wake up sleepy dreams. Post your finished board in a prominent spot as a colorful, constant reminder of what really matters to you.

Vision boards are easy and fun for anyone old enough to safely wield a pair of scissors. Cut up old magazines, catalogs or any printed materials you have on hand. Use a glue stick to collage images onto construction paper or poster board, then decorate with paint, glitter, fabric, shells, beads and other found objects.

Older and tech-savvy kids can also compile a virtual vision board online. Google to find your favorite format, or check out Digital Vision Board.

Say Farewell

The end of the year is a natural time to let go of habits and emotions that no longer serve their purpose. Make the break more tangible with a farewell ritual.

Build a small fire or put a few candles in a bowl. Have each family member think of one thing they’re ready to let go of, and write it down on a slip of paper. Take turns tossing each slip into the fire, watching them burn to ash. Bid adieu to the past.

This ritual might sound a little woo-woo, but kids really dig it– you’ll be surprised how much thought goes into that little piece of paper. And how special the privilege of being close to fire when they’re always told to steer clear.

Bonus: the fire is perfect for toasting marshmallows for ritual S’mores.


Walk Down Photo Lane

Capture annual shifts in personality, family dynamics and fashion trends (gotta love those leisure suits) by making an album or video slideshow with favorite photos from the past year.

Sit down together and peruse your photos, reminiscing about the juicier moments. Taking time to recreate scenes will etch them into memories and reinforce kids’ sense of self and the larger family unit. The final touch can be a family photo taken every New Year’s Day, in the same positions and location.



Build Karma

Everyone has something they can share with others. Hold a powwow to figure out what that “something” is for your family, what cause you are most passionate about. It might be local shelter kids, endangered Siberian tigers or dwindling coral reefs.

If you join a charity or service organization, do a bit of homework to find one that is doing the most good with its resources. Or just reach out to someone in your community who needs a hand. Then donate time, money or expertise when and where you can spare.


Back to Basics

Or, just go with the traditional time-tested New Year’s Resolutions. We modern humans are notorious for dropping our resolutions quicker than you can say “molten lava cake”.

So keep your list simple and manageable, with a positive spin:

  • 1 thing you want to improve
  • 1 thing you’re ready to cut back on
  • 1 thing you want to try for the first time…like, perhaps, a new family ritual?

What are your family’s New Year traditions?