Archives for July 2012

STORE UP Fun Family Memories

If you missed our last post, “Got a few extra faces around the meal table?,” scroll down to read that first!

We are talking about ways to make the most of time at the table as a family. Statistics tell us how important that time is, yet, as a parent, it is such a challenge to make mealtime meaningful! From the example of Christ, we can see that gathering together for fellowship and to break bread is a high priority! Sharing a meal with His disciples was the last thing He did before beginning the journey toward the cross and the first thing He did when they had been reunited after His resurrection. Then, of course, there was the feeding of the 5,000…

I get the importance of that time together, but since I don’t have the ability to miraculously multiple fishes and loaves…I’m tired by the time we finally sit down to eat! It’s good to have a few “tricks” up my sleeve that keep everybody occupied, in a good mood, and keep them eating whether I’m serving up broccoli casserole or hot dogs and macaroni and cheese! Here are a few of our favorite mealtime activities:

Olympic Biting

We came up with this game a couple years ago after seeing my son’s excitement for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It’s particularly great for motivating those picky and/or slow eaters. One person begins as “judge” and watches as each person around the table has a turn taking a bite. The judge can either declare a category ahead of time (like “biggest bite”, “neatest bite”, “happiest bite”, “shortest sip”, etc.) or the judge can keep the category a secret and the competitors take their bites without knowing how they will be judged. Then the judge determines who took the best bite, announces the category (if not previously stated), and declares the winner. The winner is the next judge.

I Spy

You are probably familiar with this one. One person looks silently around the room and picks an object that is in plain sight of everyone. Then the clue-giver says, “I spy with my little eye something that is…” and gives a clue such as “red” or “round” or “on the table”. Each person gets one chance to guess the object. If no correct guess is made, a second clue is given and then another round of guessing. The winner gets to be the next clue-giver.

Magic Hands

This one came from Beginner Dinner Games, which I will reference at the end of this post. Similar to “I Spy”, one person is the clue giver and selects an object in his or her head. The difference is, this object does not have to be visible and can be ANYTHING – even something that couldn’t normally be held in our hands. The clue giver begins by saying, “I have something in my magic hands that…” and gives the first clue, such as “begins with a W” or “lives in the ocean” or “rhymes with pail”. Each player gets a chance to guess the object before a new clue is given. This one is also a great car game! (Scripture connection: Read Isaiah 40:12, 25-26 – “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?… ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Talk about how big and powerful God is. We would have to have magic hands to hold a whale, or a rainbow, or whatever, but God holds the whole world in His hands!)

Table Charades

This is just a simple twist on the standard charades game. We let each person come up with their own action to act out. However, it has to be something that can be demonstrated while seated at the table. It’s amazing what the kids will come up with. Some of my favorites have been milking a cow, putting on pajamas and getting ready for bed, and screaming – with no sounds, of course!

Truth or Lie?

Give each person at the table a chance to tell one thing that “happened” to him or her today and then guess – is it the truth, or is it a lie? (Scripture connection: Read 1 John 2:21 – “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.” And John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Discuss how wonderful it is to know that God NEVER lies and that we can always trust His Word and trust His promises.)

For a whole host of other great ideas, you can purchase Beginner Dinner Games, or the version for the older kids, Family Time Fun Dinner Games and Activities. Both are by Family Time Fun and available through Amazon. The company actually has a bunch of different mealtime games to choose from and some great information and statistics about family time at the table on their website here. We may have to try a new one soon!

So there are a few ideas to get you started. I’d love the conversation to continue – because my bag o’ tricks is certainly not full! Share your ways to store up fun family memories at the table by leaving a comment below. If we get at least 10 responders we will award a $10 gift certificate to the Throne of Grace Shop for the best new idea!

Got a couple extra faces around the meal table?

Summer vacation has officially kicked off at the Garibaldi house! For me, the summer months mean MORE! More time in the morning, more time at the pool, lots more laundry (funny how that works…as the temperature goes up and our clothes get “smaller”, somehow the laundry hamper fills up so much faster!), more entertaining, more refereeing among the kiddos, more playdates, more ice cream treats, more movie nights, and more faces around the meal table.

One of the things I dread about sending my oldest back to school each year is having him away from home for lunch each day. Admittedly, packing lunches is not my favorite thing to do, but mostly I just miss the sweet time around the table together. And next year BOTH my kids will be gone for lunch every day, so I’ll be one sad mama come September. So why is it that when I finally have everyone home around the table for nearly every meal of the week, that time suddenly feels like such a chore?

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner…mealtime can be exhausting for a mom! And it’s no wonder! It’s one of those endless tasks like laundry and cleaning toilets that can never get crossed off a to-do list. Just as soon as one meal is completed, there is another one looming around the corner! More planning, more preparing, more serving, more cleaning…by the time we all sit down to the table, my heart and mind would often prefer to just check out. Can you relate?

I remember the days when breakfast was all to myself. Just me and my Bible, a magazine, or a stack of papers to grade. Even those papers seem more appealing now when the alternative of engaging a 4 year-old and 6-year-old in conversation requires some thought, intentionality, and quite possibly a degree in conflict resolution!

However, over the years the Lord has spoken to my heart about the need to guard this precious time with little ones at the table. The days are long but the years are so short!

 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.“
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV)


We need to be purposeful as a family to use mealtime to STORE UP fun family memories, to SHARE God’s Word, and to SHAPE the hearts we have been entrusted with. The Garibaldis have come up with a number of ways to cover each of these bases and I think this week is the perfect time to give myself a little pep talk and refresher course! Maybe your mealtime could use a little makeover as well? Over the next few days I’ll share some of our best ideas in each of these three areas and we’d love to hear yours. There may even be a little prize involved!


Here goes…

Valentine’s Day of this year I received a most un-traditional gift from my husband – A WEBSITE! Well, technically, it is a blog, but for 5 months I refused to call it that because “blog” involves the commitment to actually write and post regularly. I’ve never wanted a blog. Even though I’ve enjoyed writing my whole life, was a journalism major in college, and now run a business that sells my written work, a blog is scary!

It requires me to put myself out there.

It assumes that there are people who care to read what I write.

It involves COMMITMENT.

And I feel E M P T Y. I’ve got no words! Or so it seems…which I am realizing is exactly the way God wants it.

 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

 If I was full of words to share then the posts that follow would be full of Molly’s words instead of God’s words. Just as Throne of Grace belongs to the Lord and not me, so does this blog.

So I am encouraged by 2 thoughts:

1. I’m not alone in this! Thankfully I’ve got my team joining me in this endeavor. Both Deb and Tami (and hopefully Kevin, on occasion as well!) will be regularly contributing posts. We will share both the burden and the blessings of seeing where God takes this.

2. Since I can blame my husband for initiating this, I take comfort in the fact that this is the Lord’s leading and not my own. That makes me all the more excited for what God has in store!

What lies ahead? We want this to be a place where you come for fun, fellowship, encouragement, prayer, and hopefully to learn a thing or two. We plan to offer craft tutorials, devotions, recipes, tips on marriage, parenting, and share lessons we are learning along the way as women who are striving to put Jesus first in our work, ministry, and in life! We certainly hope our readers will jump into the conversation and have a lot to teach us too!

You can subscribe using the button on the right so please visit regularly – and bring your friends! There is plenty of room to gather here around the throne of grace.