Remember when Friday nights felt different? They were a weekly escape from work, errands, busy schedules and making dinner. They felt exciting and open to new opportunities to try a new restaurant, get together with friends, or take the kids to the new spot in town.
These days, most weekend nights mean pizza or takeout, a movie, or a game. We’re not saying that’s bad (some of us are loving this break from the busy life we’re used to), but we could all use a little break from the monotony of weekends brought on by stay-at-home orders.
And, with winter setting in and COVID-19 restrictions in place once again, it’s time to get creative! With the help of our fans, we gathered super simple ways to turn the usual weekend pizza night into special moments you’ll want to carry over into 2021.
Play pretend restaurant
This happened by accident in our house and ended up being a ton of fun. While waiting for our grownup takeout to arrive, we made our kids’ favorite meal, buttered noodles. We seated and served them. We spoke in funny and fancy voices, let them order a special drink, and let them eat using fun plates and glasses. We enjoyed it as much as they did!
Nacho night on the table
Lay some butcher or parchment paper on your kitchen table. Start by layering chips and all your favorite nacho toppings. No plates allowed. Just fingers and fun! Roll it all up for the easiest cleanup ever.
Kids make dinner
One little u fan, @lin_swen_ mixes it up by letting her kids pick the dinner menu. “They think of ideas and draw pics of each item on their menu.” Such a creative way to get the kids involved!
Dinner with the lights off
@Lexingtonbrewer’s favorite kid nights involve, “Eating in the pitch black and having them guess the food they are eating!” Hmm..sounds like a fun and top secret way to get kids to try new foods, too!
Just because you’re not going to a family’s house this Thanksgiving or Christmas, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. We say, make the day memorable by putting on your finest attire! Everyone takes turns walking down the steps and having their name announced. Then enjoy a fancy dinner by candlelight and make sure to take lots of photos.
Dinners from around the world
Another little u fan, @danaea, gets worldly at her house. She chooses dinners from around the world by finding new dishes to create. What a great way to try new recipes and learn about new cultures at the same time.
Switch up utensils
A friend told me she adds some variety to her meals by using new utensils. If you’re used to a fork and spoon, try chop sticks, and vice versa!
Breakfast for dinner with a twist
At the @adventuresofthehaleys household, they take breakfast for dinner one step further. Rules are, “Put pjs on BEFORE dinner and eat in parents’ bed, watching a movie!” This mom may win the most-laid-back-mom award!
Let the kids judge
@pamh23 loves some competition during meal making. “Pretend it’s a cooking show and kids are the judges.” We say, losers clean the kitchen.
We asked our fans what else they do to break the monotony of days in quarantine.
We are loving these ideas, too! Hey 2020 — we’re bringing back the weekend.
• Snack dinner! Turkey pinwheels, carrots, peanuts, strawberries, cookies, chicken wings… - strawsee
• Ice cream sundae night - danaea
• Kids set up a movie theater with stuffed animals, you have to buy tickets, popcorn! - danaea
• Movie night with blanket ‘nests’ on the floor! - mrserinstuart
• Decorate big cardboard boxes to make cars and pretend we are at a drive in movie. - bethybella
• Saturday morning we pick someone for breakfast in bed. Everyone makes them a surprise meal. - melissaricker
• Painting parties! We’re turning them into cards to send to people to cheer them up.
• Let the kids plan and prepare the whole dinner and decide where in the house to eat it! - thehomesteadmama
• We choose a language & practice saying “please” and “thank you” during dinner. - mkaygetsfit
• Every once in a while, ice cream for dinner. 😋🍦 - lizziekatebowman
• We would have one person pretend to be the waiter and seat everyone, take orders, etc. - hannahgardner0
• We remove furniture in low traffic rooms (e.g. mud room) to create novel spaces for toys. - alyssa.d.wood
• We make a game night out of a TV show guessing answers. Especially for the masked singer. - jlovea03
• We talk I the highest pitch we can throughout dinner, it’s extra fun when my husband is home to join!
• Toddler charcuterie board and movie nights with all the dinosaurs invited! - muddinmytoes
• Letting our toddler be the chef! Helping make the meal is so satisfying for him! - alamcasey
• Dinner & a movie under a homemade blanket fort with only Christmas lights on. ❤️ - taybevfast
• We have been letting our older kids get our baby kids ready for bed (bath, jammies, book). - sofiaplusfour
• Spa day - I am the customer. She paints my nails, relaxing music, soda, etc. We act like strangers. - ali_h_whitney
• Go to the horse barn and dine among the horses. Horses munching, crickets chirping. - samturskey
• My three boys love playing murder mystery. Haha 😂 the 8 yr old writes down our roles. - mackenzieeganstyle
• We throw glow sticks in the tub and little one takes a bath with the lights off. He loves it! - seuess_25
• Afternoon “tea time” with scones. The kids help to bake & read a new book out loud. ❤️ - michelle.truly
• Fast food in mom and dad’s bed - leighmoylan