This post is sponsored by Vanity Fair® Napkins.
Our family has had the pleasure of participating in the #TakeBacktheTable Challenge from Vanity Fair® Napkins (you can see our video here). This movement encourages families to commit to spending at least one more meal each week around the table. The benefits of regular family meals together are well-known and something I am passionate about: children with better school performance, less of a chance of eating disorders/obesity in teens, lower levels of stress, etc. Family meals are a win-win for everyone…but the hectic pace of life can often override our good intentions.
Despite busier schedules than ever, our family has had the pleasure of more dinners together over the last month than we have in a long time. It wasn’t easy to make this a priority, but I found that having a plan made a huge difference. When we started the challenge, I made a 5-week menu plan. I then made a list of all of the ingredients necessary for each week and put them as separate lists on the “Reminders” app on my phone. This made grocery shopping so much easier! I intend for this to be a recurring menu plan that continues every 5 weeks, which will save a ton of time going forward!
By the way, the food itself isn’t really the point…we could have frozen pizza every night and it wouldn’t matter (as long as we had some veggies too, right?). Preparing a nutritious meal every night is a noble idea, but many times I am just happy to get food in their bellies that hasn’t been purchased through a window. And some days, even that will do! :)
Even with a menu and more time around the table, I still felt like something was missing. Most of our meals seemed haphazard and hurried. Dinner would be served at the last possible minute that it could be in order to make it to soccer practice, church, or another activity on time…everyone would grab a plate and we would quickly dish it out. We weren’t setting the table and it seemed as though everyone was in a rush to eat their meal so that they could move on to the next event of the evening.
In an effort to slow our meals down and to make our family meal time more of an experience than a means to an end, I decided we needed to start setting the table and practice proper meal etiquette. I have admired the table setting placemats I have seen that are available to purchase online, but thought it would be fun (and economical) to make our own!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your placemats:
Inexpensive plastic placemats (I bought ours from Target)
Photocopies of your silverware
1. I found that the easiest way to get an outline of the eating utensils (that are the proper size) was to place the silverware on the scanner and make a photocopy. Cut out each utensil and use it as a pattern for all of the placemats.
2. Fold your Vanity Fair® Napkin in half and trace the outline of the napkin on the placemat as well.
The outlines are not perfect, but they will get the job done!
Recruit some helpers to set the table!
The placemats work great for kids of any age!
I know it sounds crazy, but having the table set makes a big difference at our house. The kids feel good about helping and it tends to make the dinner last a big longer. I am excited to see how setting the table continues to revolutionize our family dinner time.
And just in case you are curious…we had freezer-friendly Turkey Curry over coconut rice with sugar snap peas and store-bought naan bread! Yum!
What about you…does your family eat meals together regularly? Do you set the table or is a free-for-all? Do you notice a difference in the quality of time together?
I took the pledge to #takebackthetable to show how important it is to spend more time with family at meal time.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vanity Fair® Napkins. The opinions and text are all mine.