When you are a parent, the term "TGIF" takes on a whole new meaning. In your pre-kid days, Friday nights were likely spent out on the town with friends. After all, back then you could sleep in on Saturday mornings.
Once kids enter the picture, Friday nights are less about late-night parties and more about end-of-the-week exhaustion. By the time Friday evening rolls around, most families are ready for a break from the busy weekday routine.
Jen Dixon, a Chicago mom of two, instituted "family nights" on Friday evenings and it has become a treasured weekly ritual.
"When we announced that we were going to be devoting Friday nights to family time, my girls were thrilled," Dixon says.
Family Friday Nights aren't just a good idea for kids-all members of the family will have fun.
"This time allows me to be 100 percent present for my girls," Dixon says. "I love the funny stories they tell about their week and I've also re-learned how to play many of the childhood games I loved. I look forward to it as much as they do."
Sometimes take-out pizza and any old movie will do when it comes to Family Friday Nights. However, if you are in the mood to create a themed night of food and activities, click through the recipe and activity suggestions below to inspire your planning.
Chicago winter weather is definitely not bathing suit-appropriate, but you can use Family Friday Night as an excuse to pretend that you are beach-bound. Spread out a beach blanket on the family room floor and let the fun begin. You could even throw on your bathing suits and blow up some beach balls for added authenticity.
What to eat: Put a little sea in your food,
plus some healthy vitamins and minerals.
What to do: Get a lively game of Go Fish going or escape with a water-themed show such as Bubble Guppies, "Finding Nemo," "The Little Mermaid," "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" or "Shark Tale" (depending on age-appropriateness).