norman-rockwell-freedom-from-want

Do you remember a time when your whole family came together after church on Sunday afternoon,  and everyone went to Grandma’s house and everyone ate dinner together – aunts, uncles, cousins?  Did that ever happen to you?  I can’t really remember that every happening with me except maybe when I was really little.  Our family all used to attend the same church, but eventually everyone kind of went their own way.  Much of my husband’s family attends the same church and my mother-in-law ALWAYS made us dinner at her house right after church on Sunday when we lived in Missouri.  We would all go to church and then we would immediately go to their house after church where we would have lunch and then relax and read the paper and maybe watch some football.

This was a wonderful tradition that I always enjoyed.  When I talk of Sunday meals I am not just talking about a meal with your immediate family because we did do that.  I am talking about your extended family – cousins getting to know cousins and so on.  I would like to challenge myself and everyone out there to bring back Sunday Dinner (or Supper).   I am challenging myself (it started yesterday) to invite family members (or friends) over every Sunday after church.  Yes, I know this is a VERY busy time of the week for you.  Yes, I do have 3 children under the age of 4 that nap on Sunday afternoons.   Yes, I also like to nap on Sunday afternoons.  Yes, I know it involves cooking a goodly amount of food and yes I know it requires preperation and cleaning on your part.

How can you do this?  By doing things a little bit at a time.

1.  Maintain the cleanliness of your home.  Keep it picked up and do light cleaning throughout the week so that you are not killing yourself on Saturday morning.

2.  Make a list of tried and true (no fail) recipes and put them in a folder marked Sunday Dinner.  Try to keep as many of the ingredients on hand as possible.  For instance, I like to do beef roast in the crock pot, mashed potatoes and green beans and a dessert.  I will also make homemade bread or rolls as well.  This is what I do.  I cook the roast in a croc kpot until it is almost done.  I do this a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight.  I plug it back in Sunday morning and put it on low and let it cook while we are at church.  I make my mashed potatoes the night before and heat them up the next day.  You could also just peel and chop your potatoes and put them in a bowl and COVER them with water so they don’t brown and then do them right before you serve them.  I make my bread dough and refrigerate it and then take it out of the fridge before church and let it rise again while I am at church so I can just bake it when I get home.  I make my dessert the night before.

Another quick meal idea is lasagna.  Put it all together the night before (you can use the no-boil pasta or just regular pasta and you don’t have to cook it because it softens overnight in the fridge).  Bake it Sunday morning while you are getting ready and then reheat right before you serve it.  Grab some salad or green beans and some pre-made garlic bread and a dessert and there is another meal for you.

*The idea is to do as much as you can on Saturday so as to make Sunday run smoothly because if you are stressed you probably won’t be much of a blessing and you probably won’t be good company.

3.  You do not need a big fancy house to make people feel at home.  You may need to bring in a few extra chairs and possibly set up a card table or two, but you don’t have to a flat screen tv.  People will appreciate a good meal and they will love your hospitality.

Ideally you should do as much as you can on Saturday so that you are not “busy” on Sunday and you can reflect on the Word and enjoy your family.

About the challenge, just start small.  Perhaps start doing it once a month.  My parents are divorced so I am planning to have my dad’s family on the first Sunday, my mom’s family on the second, my extended dad’s family on the third and my extended mom’s family on the fourth.

If you don’t live close to family, then invite other families who may not be close to their own relatives.  Invite singles and single moms or dads from church or even friends.  The key is to start a family tradition that strengthens your family.  Challenge yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Be intentional.  Be purposeful.  You don’t have to make homemade bread.  Just serving a nice filling meal and providing a warm and inviting home is enough.

Please, take the Saving Sunday Dinner challenge!  Let me know if you do and maybe we can encourage others to do so also.  Strengthening families is a wonderful thing.  Don’t forget that once you get this tradition going to invite others that need to be around a strong family.  I always love the passage in Luke 14:

12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

This is something that I think of often.  I am striving to do it, but it isn’t always easy.  It is probably easier inviting our relatives than it is inviting people we don’t know as well.

In conclusion, please let me know what Sunday traditions you have with your family and let me know if you take the challenge and how you go about it!

Now onto my meal plan.  I am still using up my freezer meals.

Alfredo Manicotti

Chicken Bombay

Quiche in a bag, salad

Noodle Bake (we didn’t get to it last week)

Cheeseburger Soup and homemade bread

Bon Fire at my dad’s

Sunday dinner – Enchilada Casserole, corn, salad and brownies (making a double batch for the bon fire and Sunday)

To see what others are having this week, please visit Laura at Orgjunkie.com.

*Picture from art.com

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