Because my family is the most important thing to me I enjoy spending as much time with them as possible. My immediate family enjoys going to church, doing crafts, playing sports, enjoying the great outdoors and eating lots and lots of food together. My husband and I feel it’s important to eat together and enjoy one another’s company; luckily our immediate family feels the same.

My husband is the cook in the family and my daughter is taking after her daddy. My daughter loves to cook and my husband is patient enough to let her help. I watch my husband and daughter cook and then I do the cleaning, which my daughter loves to help with too. The preparation of the meal is a great time for our family to spend time together, learn new things, and make a mess. After preparation we chow down and continue our conversations. Dinner time is when my daughter tells us all about her day, tells us her silly stories, learns table etiquette and patience. Add the rest of the immediate family and it just magnifies the fun, mess, and conversation.

Growing up my sister and I were forced to eat dinner as a family. I say forced because when we were teenagers it wasn’t always fun. I’m glad our parents understood the importance in making us eat as a family. Dinner time is where we learned table etiquette, discussed our day, made plans for the weekend, and bickered over our difference in opinions. It’s amazing how a simple thing like eating dinner together can make a difference in a families relationship.

It’s been reported that when families eat together it helps families achieve better communication, build stronger relationships, and learn about the importance of nutrition. Children also do better in school and are better adjusted as teens and adults. Eating together not only helps build better communication skills and relationships but according to studies teenagers who eat with their family regularly reduce their chances of using illegal drugs, tobacco or alcohol. It’s amazing that sitting down with those you love for a nice meal could improve their grades, communication skills, and over all life performance. Simple huh.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a book available that could combine heartfelt stories, creative ideas to engage the family during dinner, facts about nutrition and the impact of family dinners, great recipes, and life skills all wrapped into one. Guess what, it’s now available. The cook book, The Family Dinner, is jam packed with all of the above mentioned information and more. It’s definitely not a cook book in the traditional sense, it’s much much more. This book works great for our family for several reasons. Most cook books are useless for me, since I don’t cook but not this one. My husband can use it for recipes while I get to read all of the stories, facts, and creative ideas to enhance our dinnertime experience. I hope others enjoy the book as much as I do.

When is there a better time to make a new family tradition or New Years resolution then now? If you aren’t already eating with your family regularly now is a great time to start.

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Haley is an avid fitness guru, mother, police officer and officer of the court. Haley and her family are working to go green with the help of her sister, Green and Clean Mom.