Food is such a good way to connect with others that it's worth finding -- or making -- the time to get together with other busy families over some good eats. Here are 8 easy ways you can make that happen!
Let's give a warm Dizzy Busy and Hungry welcome to Sandi Haustein from The Welcoming Table! She has some fabulous ideas for how you can connect with other families by sharing delicious food and having a great time.
Welcome, Sandi, and thank you so much for sharing these amazing and creative suggestions! 🙂
How many times have you said, "We should get together sometime!" with the best intentions, but then "sometime" never comes?
Between schoolwork and soccer and dance and work, it can be hard to find time for your own family to sit down and eat together, much less trying to get two families together for a meal.
But food is such a good way to connect with others that it's worth finding -- or making -- the time to get together with other families over some good eats. All it takes is a little intentional planning or outside-the-box thinking to make it happen.
Here are 8 ways that busy families can connect over food
Pick one to try this month!
1. Invite People Over for Dinner
I'm not talking beautiful tablescapes or gourmet meals -- ain't nobody got time for that! Just invite another family to join you for what you would regularly eat. Make an extra large batch of Sloppy Joe's or grill some hamburgers and hotdogs for an easy meal. I guarantee they will be honored that you invited them into your home even if it's just for a casual meal.
2. Take Turns Cooking and Cleaning
If doing all the work of hosting feels like too much, do what my friend, Lisa, did when her kids were young. When she and another friend wanted to eat together regularly, they made a deal: one would clean her house and host while the other brought a meal. The next time it was the other way around. It's an awesome idea, right? Try it with one of your good friends.
3. Meet up for Kids Eat Free night
If no one wants to cook, meet up at a restaurant where kids eat free. My family's done this many times with other families at our favorite local pizza place. The moms get a break from cooking, the dads get a break for their pocketbook, and the kids have a blast meeting up with their friends at a kid-friendly restaurant.
4. Designate a park night
One summer, my friend, Karie, announced on Facebook that every Thursday night they were going to be at a particular park with a picnic dinner for their family and anyone who wanted to join, could. They had a great turnout. Some friends came every week and others just came one time, but it was an easy way to create some community for their family over the summer.
5. Plan a Game Night
Some of my most favorite get-togethers involve board games and fun appetizers. There's nothing like laughing with friends, and games are a great way to make memories together. If you don't want to cook, make a giant charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, spreads, and crackers. Everyone gets to make their own plate, and it's super easy to put together for the host.
6. Host an Invite Yourself for Dinner party
Similar to the park night, for an Invite Yourself for Dinner party, you pick a night of the week that's convenient for you and then you open it up to anyone else whose schedule works. You can make the same dish every time to keep things simple or change things up week to week. All you have to do is post the event on social media, set your limit of people, and wait to see who commits to coming.
7. Share a Dessert Together
Once, when we wanted to meet some new neighbors but didn't have a lot of time or energy to make a huge meal, we invited them over for ice cream cones. It took hardly any work on our part, but it gave us an excuse to get together and visit. Maybe you want to keep things easy, like we did, or maybe you want to make that killer dessert recipe you've been wanting to try. Just getting together for dessert takes the pressure off the host a little.
8. Throw a potluck
Everyone loves a good potluck. And what's not to love? You get to cook one dish but try several others. You can designate a theme for your potluck (like International Foods or Salads) or the you can plan out a general menu. If you go the menu route, the host supplies the main dish and everyone else brings sides or desserts to round out the menu.
Advice for busy families
Getting together with other families can be hard when you're busy with school, work, and extra-curricular activities. But if you make it a priority, I promise that the time and work it takes to make it happen will be well worth it.
I can't wait to hear about how your family connects with others. Do any of these ideas sound like fun to you? Which ones do you want to try? Tell me in the comments!
Sandi Haustein is a mom of four and blogs at The Welcoming Table. Want more ideas for connecting with people over simple meals? Join the Invite Them Over Challenge happening May 20-24th!
Looking for recipes perfect for busy families?
- Easy Curry Pasta and Vegetables
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
- Baked Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
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