Are Family Meals A Thing Of The Past?

As a child, I was raised to always be home at dinner time and we always enjoyed dinner at the dining room table together as a family.Well, there is no doubt times have changed. Family dinner is, for the most part, a thing of the past, from what I can tell in reading some of my favorite blogs. I have to admit, this does sadden me. I can remember when our son was young this was when he would tell us about school, what this/that friend said/did, how a test went is this/that class, and we also discussed our weekend plans during this time. Granted, now that he is older and works numerous jobs, our family dinners are far and few between but when they do happen we still find so much to discuss and catch up on that I savor this time.

As an active family we spend many waking hours outside enjoying life. For us family dinner time today can be almost anywhere. When we have the opportunity to actually be together we often will choose to do something outside and fun rather than sit at home, prepare a big meal, and sit down together. That is not to say we don’t pack up some food and take it with us to share in, what some may call, the oddest places to share a meal together. The point is, that a family meal can be shared anywhere you wish it to be shared. With just a little planning and some creativity it can be whatever you wish it to be.

Here are a few of the strangest places we have shared a family meal together.

the beach on a picnic blanket

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over looking Lake Superior

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top of Peter’s Dome

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tailgate of our truck

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top of Devil’s Lake Bluff

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campsite deep in the woods

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Rib Mountain picnic table

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our front porch

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tailgate of a friends truck

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atop a kayak

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our kitchen table(yes we do own one)

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Christmas Day lunch from the back of our SUV

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sitting around a campfire

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picnic table over looking the Bay of Green Bay

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As you can see, we can share a family meal almost anywhere and have it be special. During the spring, summer, and fall months, our dining room table is very rarely used, but that is not to say we still don’t spend a lot of time together having family meals.

Do you think family meals are a thing of the past?

Do you have meal time as a family? If so, how often?

Why do you think family meals are a thing of the past?

 

 

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My Countdown To Spring Begins…

Every year about this time I start counting down the days till Spring.

Easter is usually the goal for me. It is my favorite holiday! It has nothing to do with a family gathering, the food, the pastel colors in every store you shop or Easter egg hunts. It is simply because this is normally the first real outing we take as a family into the outdoors and share Easter our way. After being cooped up in the house for months with freezing temperatures outside and snow everywhere, I look forward to Easter more than anyone I know.

So what do I do until Easter….I wait patiently (well, sometimes not so patiently, but I try). After the Christmas and New Year holidays is when winter really sets in for me. Although, as a family, we have so much to look forward to come spring that I do really try and prepare. Spring is when the ice turns into water again, which means our rivers start running, trails start thawing out and my kayak and stand up paddle board hanging on the garage wall looks more and more appealing every day:) We have in the past been known to paddle next to ice chunks in the river. Although, I will admit, I am not a big fan of this. You want to know what cold is, try paddling in March.

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In preparation for all this, I really concentrate on my workouts. You cannot sit around all winter and expect to just jump back into whitewater kayaking,standup paddling or hiking long distances without some pain. Which is why I work hard all winter to stay conditioned to do what I wait to do all winter long. I find it so rewarding to hike up a cliff without even a thought of, “can I make it?” Or paddle our first river of the year and wonder, “will my arms hurt when we get to the take out point?” Typically, I worry more about whether or not I will do something stupid and flip over into the ice cold river…but we don’t need to discuss that.

Another way we prepare is by attending our favorite expo that is held every year in Madison, WI. Canoecopia  2014 is at the beginning of March. It is the one place where we can go as a family and actually fit in with the crowd and have a conversation with people that do what we do. Since we have started kayaking, we have seen more and more people with the colorful floating vessels atop there vehicles on the highway. Sadly, they are used mainly on lakes a time or two and then left to collect dust hanging in the rafters. And even sadder, very few are whitewater kayaks, which is what we enjoy. Who knows, maybe it’s just Wisconsin, but the lack of inactive people always seems to amaze me.

As far as our Easter outing goes, we typically will plan a hike, praying that most of the snow and ice have melted away. Believe it or not, a few years ago Easter was when I consumed my first freeze dried meal. We hiked up a cliff up north and prepared our Easter meal from atop looking over the horizon. One year we packed a picnic lunch, loaded our packs and headed to one of my favorite lookouts, Devil’s Lake.

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Another year we hiked Rib Mountain in Wausau.

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Another year we had the best Easter on the books so far. We snowshoed into a yurt on lake Superior for the Easter weekend. Now this was an adventure. We even had company join us one of the mornings. A whole pack of wolves were a little too near by for my liking.

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This year we have not decided quite yet where will celebrate, all I know is as long as it’s outside it will be a fabulous holiday.

I would like to just point out, we do invite our family to our Easter celebration every year but so far not a single one has decided to spend Easter with us. They just don’t know what they are missing….

So for the time being, I will continue to mark off every day until Spring arrives. No one will be waiting more for the days of ice cream cones,

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picnics

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or some fun filled days of paddling more than I will.

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Until then let the sun shine and the days get longer…