7 Ways to Slow Down & Love on Your Family {with family night recipes!}

7 Ways to Slow Down

More and more I see how in today’s culture it is easy to get pulled in a gazillion different directions. Many of these directions are in fierce competition with spending time with our husbands and families.

We don’t eat dinner together as families like we once did. Or, if we are gathered around the table, a few unwelcome electronic gadgets are beeping and buzzing for our attention.

Or maybe we are over-committed with activities or even church responsibilities. {Yes, there is such a thing as being at church too much! Don’t mistake a relationship with God with doing things for God.}

Been there. Nearly had a break-down!

This week I double-dog-dare you {and me!} to block out the noise and the activity and just focus on our families, even if it is in a small way. Or a simple way that just says, “I was thinking of you. I love you.’

Try these ideas on for size:

Make ‘em a meal. I know, I know, sounds cliche’. But I mean make them a meal. Not buzz out for pizza or maybe pop in some frozen lasagna from the grocery store. (Although there are certainly times when both of those cooking methods come in super handy!) I mean make a main dish from scratch. Maybe even a side dish or dessert. Something they love.

Be random.  Do something out of the ordinary. Interrupt your Saturday to kidnap the kiddos or grand kiddos and blindfold them. Take them on a mystery trip. Maybe you’ll land at a park. Or a museum. Or a cider mill to pick apples. Once you arrive, make them guess {while still blindfolded} where they are. Then….go make a random memory!

Make it game night. Pretend it is 1981. No cell phones or home computers. No X box. Actually…..wait for it….play a game together as a family. Our favorites are Balderdash, Mind Trap, Apples to Apples, and Monopoly. (Well, everyone else likes Monopoly. I hate it. I prefer Trivial Pursuit because I rock at it. It may or may not have something to do with having once memorized several of the answers in college for a tournament against our brother floor.)

*Meander down memory lane. Gather the gang and pop some popcorn while you also pop in some home movies. Maybe it is your wedding video. Or some old tapes of when the kids were tots. Reminisce and snuggle. Whisper a prayer thanking God for your family.

* Bless another family. Know a struggling family? Someone who has lost a loved one, is facing a divorce or has a member gone in the military? Brainstorm what your family can do to focus on their family. Bring them a treat. Take them out for a movie night. Invite them over and make homemade pizza or caramel apples.

* Tuck a surprise into their day. Maybe it is a note in their duffle bag, wrapped around a granola bar, as they tote it off to spend the night at a friend’s house. Maybe it is a quick text telling them the top five things you appreciate about them. Or write a love message on their bathroom mirror with lipstick.

Pray together. When was the last time you asked every member of your family how you can be praying for them? I mean beyond the usual, “I have a science test next Monday” kind of prayers. Let them share their hearts. Then, pray with them. Don’t stop.

Take time this week not only to focus on your marriage, but on your family as a whole. Slowing down and bringing intentional certainly isn’t easy in today’s busy culture, but it is totally worth it!

BONUS: For fun, here is one of our family’s favorite “just hanging out at home” menus along with the simple recipes:

Stuffed Crust Pizza: Making your own stuffed-crust pizza is a snap. Simply make your favorite homemade crust, doubling the recipe to be sure you have enough. Roll the dough out about three inches larger in diameter than your pizza pan or stone. Lay pieces of mozzarella string cheese around the edges of the pan. Fold the excess dough up and over the cheese and pinch down to seal. Pre-bake crust for 5–7 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove. Add sauce and topping and finish baking, about 5–10 minutes longer. Yum!

Orange-Cream Smoothies. Just like the expensive ones at the mall! Combine 12 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 20 ice cubes, 2 cups milk, and 1 cup sugar in a large blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 6.

Karen Ehman

71-x2NYbuHL._SL1500_Need more encouragement on this topic? Check out Karen’s latest book LET IT GO: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. It will help you to know how to draw the line between manipulating your man and influencing your husband; to discover your roll as a praying parent, not a meddling mother. LET IT GO will equip you to control what you can, trust God with what you can’t and—most importantly—to decide which one is which.

Karen EhmanKaren Ehman of Proverbs 31 Ministries is a national speaker, blogger, and the author of six books including the best-selling book and DVD Bible study LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. She is an online devotion writer for Proverbs 31 who reaches over 700,000 women each month with her engaging, honest style and encouraging biblical insight. She has been a guest on national media outlets such as Focus on the Family, Moody Mid-day Connection, FamilyLife, and The 700 Club. Married to her college sweetheart Todd for over 25 years, together they are raising their three sometimes quarrelsome but mostly charming children ranging in age from teen to young adult. They make their home in the boondocks of central Michigan where she is crazy about antique hunting, herb gardening, and the Detroit Tiger baseball team. Her desire is to help women live their priorities and love their lives. Connect with her for real-life ideas and encouragement at www.karenehman.com.






  • carly

    Great ideas! Our family loves game night also. Anything that brings us together and talking more is worth taking the time and energy. Thank you for this article 🙂

  • Ellen

    About 15 years ago, our niece (then 16) and nephew (then 10) came to live with us after the death of their mother. My brother was a long-distance truck driver, so in an attempt to lessen the upheaval…the kids came to live with us and were able to remain in their same school system. We were childless until then, so it was a big change for all of us.

    One Sunday evening, I said, “Let’s have Family Game Night”! They looked at me as if I had three heads! I told them…”We’re living under the same roof, but we barely talk to each other! It’ll be FUN”! This was before the days of constant smart phone attachment, but they’d have rather been on the computer or in front of a television or video game.Reluctantly, they helped clear the coffee table and we got out the game (Yahtzee maybe?) and played.

    Fast forward to the following Sunday…we hadn’t talked about it again. I was cleaning up dishes or doing something in the kitchen. I walked into the living room and saw them clearing off the coffee table. I asked, “What are you doing?”. They said, “It’s Family Game Night, right?”.

    These seemingly little efforts become woven into the fabric of our children’s memories. They may not even realize it at the time…but later they say, “Remember when we used to always have Family Game Night (went to church, ate dinner at the dinner table, went apple picking, baked cookies at Christmas)?” It may not have been always, it may have been once or twice, but it’s with them. They weave it into their family’s lives when they have children.

    Way more than money…these simple things are our legacy.

  • Jerralea

    Great ideas, Karen! I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on ways to love on our families when the kids are grown, gone and even living out of state?

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    These are such great tips! Thank you. We love family game night. One of our favorites is Milles Borne. I had no idea what it was, but my husband often talked about playing it as a child so one year I bought it for him for Father’s Day. It has become our favorite.

  • Mothering From Scratch

    {Kathy} Oh Karen, you had me at “pretend it’s 1981”! Wouldn’t that be a riot. I’d probably pick 1983 and play Michael Jackson all night. Thanks for the tips. You always know how to put this family-life thing into perspective.