Spend quality time with the ones you love and create happy memories that will last you a lifetime. Learn about why it's important to make family date night part of your routine.
Couples are often reminded they need to continue to date their partners long after they're married and possibly have kids. It's important to continue to connect on a romantic level and do exciting things together, not just crash on the couch at the end of the workday.
The same concept can be applied to families. We all get so swept up in work, school and, in particular, technology, that sometimes families manage to live under the same roof but spend very little quality time together.
That's where family date night comes in. Just like continuing to date your partner, it can be beneficial for your family's relationship as a whole to set aside a dedicated time once per week or biweekly to do something together.
"Spending quality time is an important way to tell our family that we love them, that of all the things we could be doing and all the people we could be doing them with, we are choosing to be with them," says Marion Goertz, a registered marriage and family therapist based in Toronto. She says really listening to your children, talking to them and getting to know them "provides a positive impact on the neuroscience of their brains that video games and online activities can't replicate."
Family date nights are good for your spirit and your brain: "The learning and loving goes both ways! Children generally have new and creative ways to respond to the world around them, whereas adults can easily forget how to play, how to be silly and how to ask questions about the, ‘why or why not' of things," says Goertz.
The best family date nights will accommodate all the ages, stages and mental and physical interests and capabilities of each family member in your home. Don't alienate one family member or choose an activity somebody dreads – the point is to all have fun together.
When you're devising how you'll spend your family date nights, get input from the whole family. Take turns coming up with suggestions, keep tabs on seasonal or special events in your area or try to come up with something completely new everyone would like to try. "Remember that kids are all about sampling," says Goertz. "It's wisest to try before you buy and enjoy the experience of trying out a number of different things."
Put your slow cooker to work and save time with these 20 easy and satisfying recipes.
Serve this saucy pulled pork as sandwiches: piled high on buns, with bowls of garnishes, such as pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly shredded red cabbage (or better yet, red cabbage slaw), and let guests build their own sandwiches.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you're feeding a smaller group. Serve over hot steamed basmati rice.
This roast, inspired by a classic Belgian stew, is juicy and tender over mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make the ultimate hot sandwich. Cook the bacon and onion mixture the night before so it's ready to add to the slow cooker in the morning without a lot of fuss.
This beanless regional specialty is a point of pride in Cincinnati, where fierce loyalty divides the city over which restaurant serves the best version. Cooked low and slow, with the distinguishing flavours of cinnamon and cocoa, the meaty, saucy chili is served over spaghetti.
This mild, sweet curry has all the comforting flavours of a curry without too much spice, making it a great choice for the entire family. Serve over steamed rice or with warmed naan bread.
You won't believe how tasty and easy it is to make this classic dish in your slow cooker. A piping bag - or plastic bag - makes easy work of stuffing the manicotti. Serve with a tossed salad and garlic bread for an easy family-style dinner.
A brisket needs to be cooked slowly, so using a slow cooker makes perfect sense. Ensure tender slices by cutting the brisket thinly across the grain.
Inspired by Portuguese caldo verde, this hearty, richly flavoured soup is a yummy way to use up an entire bunch of kale in one go. It freezes well, so leftovers make quick and easy lunches all week. The soup thickens as it stands; thin with water and adjust the seasonings as desired when you reheat it.
My mother, Shu-Lai Fong, makes famous pressure-cooked black bean spareribs. They're the inspiration for this recipe, which is just as delicious but uses a slow cooker. You'll find bite-size bone-in pork spareribs at most Asian grocery stores, or you can order them at your butcher's counter.
This hearty sauce is best served over a short pasta with lots of nooks and crannies it can tuck into and cling to. This ragu also makes a delicious lasagna filling when layered with sheets of fresh pasta and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Cost: $2.15/cup
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of rich, creamy seafood chowder. Sweet, licorice-like fennel naturally complements the seafood. Serve with oyster crackers or crusty bread and a simple green salad for a complete meal.
Chorizo sausage and flavourful spices make this chili a real treat to come home to. Stirring in chopped herbs at the end adds a welcome touch of freshness.
Slow-cooked then quickly finished on the grill, sweet and sticky glazed ribs are guaranteed to impress your guests. Pork side ribs are also called St. Louis–style ribs, but back ribs are equally delicious.
Finally a flavourful risotto that doesn't need any stirring! Dried mushrooms work perfectly to create an earthy aroma, we've used dried porcinis here as they're readily available, but any dried mushroom will do. Hearty pot barley makes adds a healthful twist and doesn't become overly mushy - even after 8 hours.
Sweet honey and tender shallots mellow the typically strong flavour of lamb shoulder. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed greens for a complete meal.
We've swapped beef broth for chicken broth and onions for tender leeks but kept all the flavour in this lighter version of classic French onion soup. When you get home, just toast the baguette, broil the cheese and enjoy!
This veggie-loaded chili is so hearty that even meat lovers will ask for seconds. To freeze it, cook as directed, but don't add the mushrooms. Cook them separately and add to the chili after reheating it. Serve with crusty bread to soak up every bit of sauce.
Inspired by the traditional Mexican tacos served with spicy thin pork slices and pineapple, this slow cooker version features pork shoulder broken into tender bite size chunks. If you don't want to serve these as tacos, try serving the pork on top of steamed white rice instead.
This all-in-one meal is a roast version of classic beef and barley soup. The barley thickens the cooking liquid to make a delicious gravy.
Using stewing beef instead of ground meat adds delicious bulk to this otherwise classic chili. Serve as is or use it as a topping for baked potatoes.
Illustrations by Brendan Fisher | Wood and paint, homedepot.ca | Bedside tables, mattress, duvet, duvet cover and grey cushions, ikea.ca | Canadian Living bed skirt, bedbathandbeyond.ca | Art, jensennagle.com | Flowers, fiorioakville.com Image by: Angus Fergusson
Want to transform the look of your bedroom? Inspired by board-and-batten siding, this headboard looks like a million bucks—on a way smaller budget. It's super simple to build and you can easily customize the size to fit your bed.
- Tape measure
- Table saw or handsaw
- 1/2-inch sheet of MDF
- 1- by 5-inch MDF board
- 1- by 3-inch MDF board
- Several 1- by 4-inch MDF boards
- Wood glue
- Clamps for drying (optional)
- Nail gun and nails
- Caulking gun and caulk
- Paint tray
- Paint roller and paintbrush
- Paint (We used Behr Ultra Pure White 1850)
- Screwdriver and screws
- Wood filler
Measure the width of your bed. Using the saw, cut the sheet (A) so it's 4 inches wider than the bed— this was 57 inches for us—and 66 inches long. (We had ours cut to size at The Home Depot.) Cut the 1- by 5-inch board (B) the same width as the sheet. Cut the 1- by 3-inch board (C) 4 inches longer than the width of the sheet, which was 61 inches for us.
Place the boards horizontally on top of the sheet so they're flush.
Measure from the bottom of the 1- by 5-inch board (B) to the bottom of the sheet. Cut four 1- by 4-inch boards (D) to the same length. Place them vertically equidistant on the sheet.
Create a grid by cutting remaining 1- by 4-inch boards (E) to fit horizontally between the vertical boards.
Glue each board in place on the sheet; let dry. Using the nail gun, secure each board in place. Caulk any edges (if you see gaps); let dry.
Paint the headboard. To make it easier to paint the sides, elevate the sheet on scrap pieces of wood.
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be purely about romance; rather, it can be a great opportunity to teach your children to celebrate love in all its shapes and sizes. And what better way to show love than to cook a nourishing meal together? Here's a Valentine's menu that's sure to please the whole family.
Make this cocktail kid-friendly by replacing orange-flavoured liqueur with orange juice and sparkling wine with fizzy soda water or gingerale.
Cheesy, creamy broccoli soup is a family-friendly dish that's a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. The crispy Cheddar croutons add a satisfying crunch. For a lighter finish, replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt.
Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs are a bargain at the grocery store, plus they're so much juicier than boneless thighs or breasts. The kids will love it!