The kitchen is often called the heart and soul of the home! It’s where meals and memories are made, where family and friends gather, where traditions are born and where stories are told and retold.
The kitchen table, then, occupies a place of HONOR as the HEART of the HOME.
Take my childhood table, for example. I remember the large rectangle wood table that sat 10 people and the scratches in the wood where it became worn from such a big family using it. I remember where my parents would sit, and how it fits just perfectly in our kitchen. I remember countless meals with the family there all together. I remember rushing to eat breakfast at the table while my Mom sat and read scriptures to us before school. I remember learning about manners and proper etiquette to be used at the table. I remember siblings talking, teasing and sharing about their life all while sitting around the table. I remember just a sense of JOY and PEACE, a sense of BELONGING and CLOSENESS that I didn’t recognize in the moment. I don’t remember any of the bickering or frustrations that happened with a house FULL of people, only nostalgia as I ponder those times I spent with the people who mattered MOST in my life! One of the lasting memories that made an impression on me and all of my siblings were waking up on Christmas morning and the table was the most beautiful sight you could imagine. A clean white table cloth covered the worn wood, with candles lit and placed down the center, sugared cereal boxes spread throughout along with candy and nuts to enjoy! It brought a FEELING of JOY and PEACE that is indescribable. We FELT as if we were so SPECIAL!
My childhood kitchen table symbolized COMMUNITY, CONVERSATION, and CONNECTION.
Since I became a mother I have always wanted to carry on this same tradition. I don’t EVER want the mundane hustle and bustle that takes over our life throughout the year to take over these special traditions. I want to keep them ALIVE! Although it just isn’t realistic for a family to sit together every evening for dinner, when you DO come together around the table, it is a PERFECT opportunity to create special memories. From meals and craft projects to carving pumpkins and birthday parties, I always want my own kitchen table to signify community, conversation and connection too!
Creating new and LASTING traditions that reflect your most important values is something to think about. The only way I’ve been able to have these traditions thus far with our hectic schedule, is by planning, especially during the holidays. During the holiday season, the kitchen table is not only the place where we eat our meals, but it also’s the place where we decorate sugar cookies, wrap presents, make ornaments, play games, build gingerbread houses and have silly conversations. Many of these activities just happen on their own, but many are planned.
Being INTENTIONAL is key! Even if life feels like you can’t add one more thing to your plate, just do what comes naturally when you’re together. Start a conversation. But, if you’re ready for maybe something more, or a different tradition to begin in your family, here are some great ideas I’ve found have helped me to make the kitchen table the HEART of our home…
- No Phones or other Devices at the Kitchen Table. This is a time for you to connect with your family, face to face. All things “handheld”, except for silverware, are just distractions from what truly matters most.
- Plan a craft, art project or make baked goodies. Invite neighbors or extended family to participate.
- Create a set of questions or conversation starters to put in the center of the table to spark memorable discussions.
- Share a story about your childhood. Invite others to share.
- Prepare an old family recipe and share stories about the person who first made that dish.
- Take turns saying things you are grateful for.
Whether you’re making a CRAFT or eating delicious FOOD, making your time special around the holidays and creating that tradition all year long will be something you will never regret. Here’s a couple of recipes you can try with your loved ones to create a connection and a feeling of Joy that will always be remembered for years to come.
If you’d like to try a fun and festive DIY craft at your kitchen table to gift to someone special, try this amazing Peppermint Sugar Scrub. Your kids will love making this too!
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup Fractionated Coconut Oil
12 Drops Peppermint oil
Skin-safe food coloring
- Combine sugar and Fractionated Coconut Oil in a bowl.
- Divide mixture equally into two bowls.
- In one bowl, add red skin safe food coloring.
- In your favorite clear, small container, layer red and white scrub to create a “candy cane” effect.
If you’re looking for a YUMMY meal to eat on Christmas day try this amazing Cream Chicken Chowder with Rosemary, a favorite family recipe:
CREAMY CHICKEN CHOWDER WITH ROSEMARY
8-10 chicken tenders
5 ribs and leaves celery chopped
½ onion chopped
5 long (8-9”) carrots peeled, sliced
1 Tbsp. dry parsley
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
2 ½ qt water
½ tsp black pepper
2/3 cup corn starch
1 can kernel corn frozen or peas
2 cups dry campanile noodles (optional)
16 oz heavy whipping cream
¼ cup water (rinse carton)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 drop doTERRA Rosemary Essential Oil
- Sauté celery and onions until tender. Add 2 ½ qt water, carrots, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium, covered, 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- Add chicken tenders, cook 10 minutes.
- Add campanile noodles, cook 9 minutes.
- Drain corn in a bowl and then add corn to soup.
- Combine water from corn and ½ cup more water with cornstarch. Stir until dissolved.
- Pour cornstarch water mixture slowly into bubbling soup, stirring well.
- Cover and heat until uniformly thick.