Around the Table {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Rachel, comment #311, has randomly been selected as the winner of this giveaway.

I get a lot of emails from moms asking what to read around the table.  Our old chalkboard table in our new kitchen:

Here’s a great place to start with all ages:

  1. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (all ages)
  2. Window On The World (missions focus)
  3. My Life, His Mission: A Six Week Challenge to Change the World (what we are reading now)
  4. Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls (ages 9-12) and Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys (ages 9-12)—–winner’s choice

I want to encourage you to bring dinner (and family time) back to the table! Just last night, we had such a special moment reading together. At the end of our not-so-perfect devotion time, my husband prayed out loud, “God, I want to follow you wherever you lead me and I want to commit myself to you again in front of my kids.”

And then each of my kids, from the youngest to the oldest, prayed the same thing. When it was my turn, I was all blurry-eyed and I just wanted to bottle the moment up! Most of our dinners aren’t like this, but we are beginning to see fruit from making this time together a priority [stepping off soapbox now].

Today, I’m giving away this gorgeous Blessings Unlimited Lazy Susan (value $94) to one lucky reader, plus any one book choice from my massive recommended family reading list.

Tell me what you love/hate/struggle/succeed with around the table and you’ll be entered to win! (And if you read someone’s comment and you have a helpful suggestion, please add it!)

Giveaway ends on Thursday.


  1. 1


    Our struggle is maintaining conversation due to the toddler in his high chair next to us. He commands attention and usually gets it. Meaningful conversation seems to go out the window.

    • 1.1

      celina boulanger says

      their attention span is so small…we now have an 11 yr old and a 9 yr old as well as the 2 yr old…so now i bring some blocks for him when he’s done and it allows the rest of us to chat

  2. 2

    Jacquie Olsen says

    Our struggle is also with two 2-year-olds wanting attention and therefore it’s hard to communicate otherwise. I also strongly dislike the television being on, and cell phones, iPads or computers at the dinner table. I desire to make meal times as sacred family time.

  3. 3


    Our struggle is also with the toddler. Keeping her in her chair, keeping her eating her food, keeping her from helping herself to seconds of whatever she wants, keeping her from talking all. of. the. time. – all of those things make is difficult for us to connect effectively with our older kids. We do love the high/’low game, and it leads to many great conversations as well as keeps us connected to our kids, particularly once the school year starts and we aren’t with them for a large part of their day.

  4. 4

    kate nowak says

    We struggle with getting our son (who is autistic) to sit at the table for more than 4 minutes at a time. It’s difficult to have meals together.
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway Kristen!

    Kate N.

  5. 5

    Julie says

    With 3 boys, it seems like at our house, either:

    someone is grumpy

    they get the giggles

    they need this or that

    someone spills

    someone isn’t eating

    Our mealtime (or anytime for that matter) is just usually not a calm & quiet time.

  6. 6

    kristen says

    Just to encourage y’all—-we still have spills and arguments, tears and times we just shut all the books and plans and give up. And we don’t have a toddler around the table any more. Just don’t stop trying! Try the Jesus Story Bible on audio, bring out crayons or play dough. Even if you only get ONE THOUGHT out, it’s worth it. Make it a habit now, when it’s hard. One day it will be a little easier and you will be glad for the good habit.

  7. 7


    Our struggle is the same! A talkative toddler who commands attention and has to be told a billion and four times to please, just EAT so we can all be finished and go and do something else. Sigh. And, of course, a newborn who insists on meal time being the time where she needs to be constantly bounced in her little chair or snuggling close to mom or dad. Not that we mind too much:)

  8. 8


    Our children are not ‘eaters’. Another words they really don’t care if they eat or not. So it a daily struggle to keep them focused on eating their food at dinner time. {or any meal for that matter}. We get totally frustrated with it and it seems to drain all the life out of mealtime. When things are going ‘well’, I do enjoy just chatting with my husband and children as a group about the events of the day. Probably my most favorite part of dinner is listening to our children ask the blessing. They both always want to pray and it is precious :-)
    Would absolutely LOVE the Blessings Unlimited Lazy Susan. Love the name!!!!

  9. 9

    Vickie says

    we struggle with slowing meal time down so we can eat and talk but not at the same time. We need to strive to make it a more meaningful time and use the time together to benefit us all spiritually. Love the lazy susan; thanks!

  10. 10

    Becca says

    We just struggle with sitting at a meal together. Getting everyone’s schedules lined up more than once or twice a week has been hard. Plus, after work, no one usually feels like cooking, and it’s difficult to find easy recipes everyone enjoys…

  11. 11


    One of our struggles with our youngest who is six is the whining about what he doesn’t want to eat for dinner. Kind of wrecks conversation for the rest of us :(

  12. 12

    Vanessa Gooch says

    After reading the other comments I am so glad that I am not alone. Meal times seem to be a constant battle. My 5 year old who is all boy and would talk non-stop (he is a great eater, so I am blessed for that), my 3 year old princess spills EVERYTHING and needs constant reminders that it is time to eat and then my 11 month old is in a screaming phase, throwing food phase, I want my food now phase. Our devotions are done at bed time. So after our whirlwind of a bed time routine, we all sit down and read the Bible, say our prayers and try and memorize scripture. I am struggling with this and would love to move it to dinner time or table time. I feel like we are just rushing through it as we just want to get them in bed. So I really appreciate your list of books and will have to check some out. I haven’t got a clue as to how to do this Christian parenting thing, and love the advice, tips, and heck encouragement that you offer! Thanks!

    • 12.1


      We don’t have everything down perfectly in our house, but we’ve found breakfast to be a better time for devotions, even with our kids in public school. My kids are 4, 6, 6, 8 & 10. Two of your kiddos are at challenging ages for accomplishing anything with at mealtime. Give yourself plenty of grace and don’t set your expectations too high. It will smooth out in a few years.

  13. 13


    My husband works 2nd shift, 6 days a week, so we make sure to have dinner together on Sundays. The struggle then, is getting him to stay at the table, since he’s not used to being there. Our kids thrive on it though, so he really tries! And he asks them LOTS of questions. Beautiful Lazy Susan and amazing books, by the way! Thank you for the chance to win them.

  14. 14

    suzi failing says

    the biggest struggle is having everyone home at the same time to eat together……as with band and sports starting up and different working hours……….

    suzi failing

  15. 15

    Stacy Bennett says

    My biggest struggle with family dinner is being fully present. Usually I get up in the middle of a meal at least once to start cleaning, loading the dishwasher, putting away food, etc. I need to be fully focused on my family and applying all of my time/attention during our dinner/Bible time.

  16. 16

    Amy says

    we struggle with having everyone home at the same time to eat together. If we wait until everyone is home it may be 9:00ish at night. And if we eat early before people leave, it may be 3:00 pm in the afternoon!!

  17. 17


    Every single night, there is a argument about who sits where. It’s crazy. Kids are fighting before there is even food on their plate and by then I just want to go out!

    • 17.1


      Assign seats. We have 5 kids and this is what has worked for us. If they argue, they must leave the table to sit on the couch and aren’t allowed back for 10 minutes. I hope that helps!

  18. 18

    Kristi says

    My husband is not American and grew up in a culture where meal times are only about eating. He wants to eat as quickly as possible and move on to other things. It’s hard to convince him of the value of a shared mealtime. We do have other times later in the evening as a family so maybe I just need to learn to adapt more.

    • 18.1


      My husband IS an American, but not big on socializing. He is a man of action, and once his meal is finished, he is also ready to move on. I think one of his concerns is that lounging around the table sets us up to over-indulge. I, too, am learning to adapt and adjust. Having some purposeful thing to move on to after mealtime is not necessarily a bad thing, so it might pay off to have a plan of action. We can find meaningful times in other places, besides mealtime.

  19. 19


    We struggle with balancing conversation and family time with encouraging good eating manners in our kids. Also, making dinner for picky eaters is always a challenge. Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. 20

    lynn b says

    Our struggle at the table is similar to others…getting the little ones to stay at the table and eat together. The four year old finally sits and remains at table until she finishes and asks to be excused but now the 3 yr old is up and down constantly plus the two month old usually decides to have a good cry during dinner so we end up holding/eating in shifts! So I figure I will continue to reinforce manners and importance of sitting together at mealtimes but just somewhat go with the flow b/c they won’t be this little forever!

  21. 24


    Our struggle is getting our kids to be grateful for thc food they have been given, to try everything and not say “yuk” when we aren’t eating what they might have chosen!

    We do go over a memory verse and practice a prayer in Spanish, but love the idea of making dinner even more of a devotional time.

    Pick me! :)

  22. 25

    Kristi says

    My husband farms and does not get home at the same time each night and depending on the season, sometimes is quite late. Having a consistent dinner time is difficult and we end up eating at different times. When he is here early (winter mostly), I try very hard to make sitting down together a priority.

  23. 26

    Jan says

    We make sure around here that we eat as many meals a day together as possible. We get up so that we all eat breakfast together and start our day that way and then we eat dinner together too. We have our family devotion time in the evening before bed, but I have considered moving it to meal time just so that it doesn’t seem as rushed! We have 4 children, so there is never a dull moment, but we do enjoy reading together and sharing. I hope that this time we spend around the table together is a “tradition” that each of my children will take with them one day to their own families! We laugh, cry, tease and for the most part enjoy each others company. There are also days when I’m ready for the meal to be over :)

    On a side note, we have used the Jesus Storybook Bible and I would highly recommend it. My 9 year old down to be 3 year old LOVED IT!

  24. 27

    Brenda says

    We have two kids 10 and 17, and we have a hard time getting them to not tease each other during dinnertime! Really…you would think by this age that would be over , but not so. I do enjoy hearing about their day when we eat, and my 17 yr old is very busy and doesn’t always make it to our dinner hour, but I make it a point to sit at the table with her when she eats her warmed-up dinner after sports practice.

    • 27.1

      celina boulanger says

      i love it that you sit with her..those moments will be cherished….

      i think teasing gets WORSE as they gett

  25. 28


    I think my biggest struggle is the lack of interest. My oldest three are saved, but I just get this feeling we are rushing through the devotion. I would love to have it last a bit longer. Have some moments to share, moments for asking for help, and helping others. I think we also struggle with the younger two being loud…but if you don’t include them you end up teaching them Bible study, devotions, and prayer are for older kids. The lazy susan is beautiful and the books sound great.

  26. 29

    d says

    I know this may sound awful-but its the truth-our chairs are horribly uncomfortable. I hate sitting at our table. I am looking for comfy and affordable chairs-we’ve tried chair pads and that’s a mess with with four children. We do eat breakfast and dinner every day as a family-its worth sitting on uncomfortable chairs;-)

  27. 31

    Ami says

    Honesty, mealtime isn’t very fun these days with the constant reteaching of table manners to three boys. It would be easier to eat around the tv and ignore their poor manners, but I know better. So we sit as a family every night and reteach. And we finish each meal with a devo read by daddy.

  28. 32

    Rachel says

    Our struggle is just consistency. You never know when my husband will get home from work, so we have no set time for dinner. Flexible is great, but it is hard for me to get disciplined with devotions in the midst of all that flexibility.

  29. 33


    Oh I was just thinking last night that I would like something on the middle of our table to hold stuff!! :) my biggest dinner struggle is getting my kids to want to stay at the table. They want to rush through dinner and get outside to play or something. I want to be more intentional about having good conversations at the table!!

  30. 34


    Our struggle is using the table for eating instead as a dropping point for everything else. It currently holds green tomatoes turning red in the sun, mail, newspaper, snacks, and random oddities that don’t belong. Also, with the brother in law just moving in, we haven’t figured out the rhyme of dinner time yet with all three of us.

  31. 35

    Jammie says

    One of our struggles is picky eaters… hearing the kids whine that they don’t like what I’m making before it even hits the table can get frustrating… especially when it was their favorite food last week.
    And – our tv is in view (darn open concept linving room, dining room, and kitchen) and the kids think if we can see the tv it should be on – I would love to start doing a family devotion at dinner…we often are reminding them of the virtue they are working on in Sunday school anyway.

  32. 36


    After getting a meal actually cooked, clearing the table and then getting us sat down, having a meal without the baby screaming and the kids arguing and getting up constantly would be nice. Then maybe we could have an ACTUAL conversation. I miss that. Maybe a quick devotion at night is what we need to center us.

  33. 37

    Ginger says

    Thanks so much for sharing a little of your family time. I put a good deal of thought into what I was pleased with at our table and in what areas we struggled. Mealtimes here just seem to be a place to eat. Everyone rushes through to get back to whatever they were doing before. My husband is not a believer so devotions at dinner are not possible. But, as I’ve thought, I’d like to make our mealtimes more about one another and less about the meal I’ve prepared. Thanks for the encouragement and challenge.

  34. 38

    Tonya says

    We struggle with the picky eating and getting distracted so that they don’t eat much at all. Dinners are the hardest meal right now.

  35. 39

    Karen says

    We do struggle with the interest levels at times, and at other times we have some good conversations, and the kids are totally comfortable asking questions. Sometimes really tough questions. This “habit” of family dinner time has taken some work and practice, but together we are growing. Please don’t think for one second that we have everything all together. Our home and family life is just as real and in need of Jesus grace and mercy as anyone else. When we have a not so great night around the table, the next night we’re crazy enough to do it again. I just wanted to echo Kristen’s encouragement. Honor Christ and seek first His kingdom together. He is faithful and able to do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine – even around the dinner table! Hang in there!

  36. 40

    Mandy S says

    I would say my biggest struggles (because there are two that instantly popped into my mind) are my four year old’s reluctance to pray for a meal and my husband’s reluctance to put down his phone as well as stay at the table until everyone is finished. She seems embarrassed to pray and I don’t want to force her to pray and have it not be genuine, so I don’t. But I wish she would. He eats very quickly and then usually either wants to go get a shower or, if he’s already showered before dinner, go sit in the recliner. He’s a tractor trailer mechanic so I definitely understand that he’s exhausted when he gets home at night, but I wish he would just sit as a family until everyone finishes eating.

  37. 41


    Our struggle is our schedules. With 3 teenagers and a 10 year old, we are a busy bunch. The school year brings about more of a schedule, so I am hoping it is better in the next week or so.

    Having a menu plan helps me, and realizing we can still have family dinner even if one or two are missing. I realize it isn’t the same, but some meaningful time is always had.

  38. 42

    Suzanne says

    We struggle with the hurried pace of life. Getting through dinner instead of enjoying it just to move on to the next thing. (i.e. bath times, bed times and finally…quiet time) I so want our family to come together and be fed not just daily bread, but living bread! Thank you for this post and the ideas.

  39. 43

    Jane says

    I can get everyone to the table, it’s what to put ON the table. My biggest struggle is cooking something everyone will be happy with and not being too tired to do it! Some days after work I just want to go out! My kids prefer me to cook and eveeryone eat at the table together! So I definately need to work on my part!!!

    Love the lazy suzan!

  40. 44

    Sheila says

    My kids are 6, 3 & 1 so meaningful conversation is limited :) but I want to instill a sense of fellowship now around our table so it will be second nature as they get older. I’d love to incorporate some devotion time so finding a good book or the right way to do that would be great. I love the lazy susan idea too! We always had one at our table growing up!

  41. 47


    I love that we as a family make it a priority to sit down on most nights and eat dinner together. I do struggle with keeping the conversation flowing. As soon as someone is done eating they are off and gone. I do enjoy this time together as a family even if it’s only for a brief time period each day. I’m going to look into getting a family study or something we can read together as a family so maybe we can slow down and focus on HIM! And I need to make sure the tv is off before we sit down!

  42. 48

    Tina says

    First, wow, that lazy susan is beautiful!

    Our struggle is, well how do I say this, my husband is very sensitive to eating noise, and my children have orthodontics so at times it is hard for them to be (again how to say this) discreet while eating. So my husband always puts the tv on for background noise/to drown out the other noises. So any conversation feels somewhat like we’re interrupting.

  43. 49

    Sylvia says

    We eat dinner together every night, but never get to the devotional part! :( I fuss about table manners, kids act up, I hop up to clean a mess…it’s exhausting, but I know I need to focus on what’s really important. I love the idea of just bringing out the crayons and playdoh. We just need to make it routine and plow through with good attitudes!

  44. 50


    Our oldest daughter is 22 months old. We have just started family devotion time after dinner with her and it is such a sweet, sweet time. We read her little Bible story, she recites her Bible verse that she is memorizing, and then we ask the first three questions of the children’s catechism. She is slowly learning the answers and to see her brain work as she memorizes encourages us to keep up with this important time every evening.

  45. 51

    Olivia says

    My husband and I have been married for 12 years and are currently struggling with infertility. However, we have always made it a priority to sit at the table together at dinner and discuss the days events. And most recently, I’m loving using Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and we are writing down something we are thankful for each day.

  46. 52

    Linda Stewart says

    I struggle with keeping everyone seated at the table through dinner. For many years, while we were living in a very small apartment, our dining room was actually used as a bedroom so we didn’t even own a table. When we moved into a bigger place and I was finally able to afford a table the damage had been done. Peyton was small and he had never actually sat at a table to eat. He’d sit wherever we ate whether that be standing in the kitchen or sitting in the living room. When Brady came along he picked up on Peyton’s lack of wanting to sit through a meal and of course Chance did the same thing. It’s getting better but sometimes the battle doesn’t seem worth it.

  47. 54


    We have five kids, ages 4, 6, 6, 8 & 10. We have family breakfast before school every morning. This is when we do our family devotional time. My husband and I get up before the kids (6ish) and prepare breakfast. Then we have them come straight from bed to the table in their pajamas. They are quiet at this time from having just woken up, and they usually have hearts ready to listen. After everyone is served, we pray, and my husband reads a story from “My Awesome God Bible Storybook” by Rob and Camille Lassetter. The stories are brief and the kids all enjoy them. It’s our second time through the book, and it is amazing to see how much they retained. Daddy adds extra details about the story to make it richer, too. At the end of each story there is a “Discover God” section with a statement about God’s character and a question to get the kids thinking and talking. It takes us about 10 minutes from start to finish. They eat and listen, and then we share insights. We close by praying for our day.

    During breakfast, we don’t focus on manners. I leave that for dinnertime. For those out there who experience trouble with wound-up kids at the dinner table, you may want to try doing your devotions at breakfast, if your schedule allows for it. We’ve have far greater success that way.

    We also have family dinner together. At dinnertime we play a game called High-Low. Everyone tells the high point and low point of the day. No one is allowed to interrupt. And no one is allowed to use the same high or low as another person.

    I hope this is helpful!

    • 54.1

      Amy P. says

      We play High/Low also. Especially during the school year, it is a GREAT way to catch up with busy kids and get a peek into the part of their days we don’t see.

  48. 55

    Lorie says

    Dinner time can be hard to schedule in this busy world we live in, I know it is for us! Our kids are 16, 14, 9, and 7. Everyone has a different schedule and plenty to do. My goal this school year is to make dinner happen, even if it is late. I love the interaction we get from our kids at the table. What a blessing to see life throught their eyes. Thanks for the dinner time inspiration!

  49. 56

    Sheila Laurence says

    We tend to all read while we eat. It bothers me some, but than again, no-one is glued to what they are reading and we do all talk, frequently to discuss what we are reading. What I struggle with the most is thinking of what to cook!

  50. 57

    Rachel W. says

    I struggle with being overly critical at dinner time. The meal can become a list of dos and don’ts. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Sit up straight. Use your fork. Use your napkin. Etc. I worry that my kids will just remember criticism at meal times, but at the same time I want them to follow the basic manners of eating. I am still searching for that balance.

  51. 58

    Kirstin says

    Our biggest struggle is me, I need to be more present & not thinking of the next thing on my to-do list. We generally laugh a lot during dinner.

    We have found lighting a candle to help us slow down & focus on family time.

    We have found it helpful to ban electronics from the dining room, no one answers anything including Mom. & Dad.

  52. 59


    We struggle with the whole darn thing. My boys complain when I ask them to set the table. Then they whine they don’t like the food to which I usually reply with bowed head and rolled eyes at my utter exhaustion over the whole sorted tale. Then they proceed to dive into the food they just complained about before we can hold hands, say what we are grateful for and pray. This really irritates my husband. By this time, he and I are already worn out and then it just seems to go downhill from there. Dinner is not my favorite time of day.

  53. 60


    By the time we sit down to eat dinner, most families are getting their kids ready for bed. We eat late because my husband has a very long commute and he gets home later. I’m beat and ready to turn parenting over to him and he’s tired from working. All we ever planned was to eat dinner together as a family at the table, yet it rarely happens. Add to it that our table is usually piled up with some craft or activity that the kids haven’t finished and have no other place to relocate to until they are finished. Our biggest struggle is turning that around – having the table cleaned off and available to use and us being motivated to use it.

  54. 61


    I love our family meal times because it is the time that we all open up to each other and talk about our day. It can be tough with a toddler and an 18 yr old competing for time to talk but we make it work. Our rule is no electronics and we stick to it. Lately, it has been so sweet to hear the simple prayers of our four year old.

  55. 62

    Misti says

    My greatest advice to all of you is DON’T GIVE UP! Ou biggest struggle is making sure our devotional time happen. We have a very busy lifestyle with a 15, 12, 10 & 6 year old. However, the time we spend reading together is invaluable. Something we are currently doing is reading one story from The Jesus Freaks book. Everyone (adults included) has their own notebook. When we finish reading about a martyr we take 15 minutes to write down our thoughts. We can summarize what we just read, write how we are feeling and my six year old draws a picture and dictates to my husband or myself what he has drawn. After that everyone shares. It has been one of the best things we have done. The first two days of it, I was met with MUCH resistance. There were tears and not so happy children. Now, I am asked when we can do it.

  56. 63

    Christina says

    I struggle with getting a 2-year-old to stay seated at the table and getting to eat myself when the baby only wants to be held. If my husband and I both get to sit down at the same time for a few bites, it’s a win. But it just makes those rare moments we do get to sit down together all the more special.

  57. 64

    Pam says

    Our biggest struggle is getting all involved with conversation. We have 13, 12, 4 and a 2 yr old and our conversation is dominated by one age group or the other. They don’t seem to blend. We try to ask everyone to answer one question of the day – How did you make someone else smile today? – seems to be working a bit.

  58. 65

    Amy P. says

    Our biggest enemy is the internet. Our pretty-much-always-pleasant conversation with our 3 teenage boys and 6 year old inevitably will end up with some sort of unanswered question or reference to something from the 80s. My husband then pulls out the laptop to look up answers or find the funny picture/video/song or whatever. Once this happens, there’s no turning back. Family devotions are long forgotten after a few minutes surfing. Argh….

  59. 66

    Becky Van Volkinburg says

    My struggle is keeping the table clutter free so we can eat at it! lol When we have managed to sit at the table we’ve used a box of questions to stir conversation (I have the Box Girls faith collection), my kids love it and it helps us get beyond the normal, ‘what’d you do today’ stuff. Also, since we homeschool and my husband and I both work from home, sometimes our around the table meal time is breakfast or lunch instead of the traditional dinner time – especially in the fall with football and whatever else, dinner time can be hard to coordinate with everyone’s varied schedules. So if we’ve eaten together at a different time during the day, that works just as well. It seems in our busy lives meal time has gotten just as hurried, but I definitely can tell a huge difference in the heart of our home when we come together around the table. Thanks for the encouragement and wow, what a beautiful Lazy Susan!

  60. 67

    Heather says

    We struggle with getting the twins to eat – they’re 2 & at that age where they pick . . . but I feel like the dr.’s are soo worried about them not growing. We eat healthy, mostly fresh – not lots of processed stuff. Since there are two, it’s more difficult to keep them at a table. We had gotten rid of our high chairs around 16-18 mths like we did w/ the rest of the kids, but now I’m wishing we kept them longer.

    I can relate to some other moms here – I also have a difficult time being present. I think about all I could accomplish while the kids are all captive at the table. Sometimes I’ll take off to get a task done that I couldn’t when they were all following me around during the day.

  61. 68

    Monica Warren says

    Our biggest struggle right now at dinner time is table manners! We have young children but we are trying to teach them early. Our 4-year-old boy especially seems to love grossing us out and cannot stay in his chair! I know some of it is age, but it is a big deal at EVERY meal!

  62. 69

    Sarah Stinnett says

    My struggle is that I do all meals on my own – if my husband is home he doesn’t eat with us – I need to be more purposefull – most of the time by the time the meal is done I completely forget what I wanted to do.

  63. 70

    TracyDK says

    We don’t get suppers together due to the Mr. working seconds. So our lunches are our main meal of the day. It was a matter of our 3 year old fussing because he’s at the picky stage and not being able to have conversation around him. But he’s starting preschool soon, and I’m already upset that we’re not going to have a cohesive family meal but only a couple of days a week. :( It’s really depressing to me. :(

  64. 72

    Cindy R says

    Our family struggles with trying to get everyone together for a meal these days!! Having four kids (all teenagers) that are busy and developed a life of their own, it is very rare we sit all together and eat. Also with them being so different at times it is “too close for comfort” as they fight. So….I greatly miss the days we all sat together every day and enjoyed conversation and the simpler life!! ~Cindy

  65. 73

    Kari says

    Our struggle is that my husband works second shift and lunch has to be our sit down dinner time together and sometimes that’s hard to stop and do since we homeschool.

  66. 74


    our biggest struggle is frustration and organization..I always have a PLAN to do devo’s at dinner and then my youngest spills his milk, the middle two start arguing…and it all falls by the way side. I definitely have the intent but by the time I take care of the issues, I just sit and eat in silence because I’m just SO TIRED! lol

  67. 75

    Sandy W says

    Our struggle is that our 6 year old has dyspraxia and has a difficult time doing two things at once. So the attention issues are hard. He can’t seem to eat and have a conversation at the same time.

  68. 76

    Jenny Holman says

    I love table time. Love listening to my babes pray. We talk about what the best part of their day was. It bring us all together and any worries cease! Sometime I dont want to get up from the table.

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    Lori Powell says

    Time around the table with my family is completely precious. With my oldest entering junior high and being a church planting family, things are getting super busy. Even if we are silent out of exhaustion, I love the sight of all 5 of us around the table. Precious.

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    Rachael says

    We struggle with kids interrupting and trying to goad our kids into eating a reasonable amount of their food. Also the balance between silly behavior and table manners.

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    Melissa says

    We struggle to even get that much needed connection at the table. My husband’s work schedule gets him home super late and up very early. I crave that time and getting him once a week at the table is a blessing to me. And even if I do wrangle him there, he doesn’t necessarily understand dinner at the table as a point of connection. He thinks food, let’s eat, zzz…..

  72. 80

    Julie says

    With an age span from 13 down to 14 months we struggle with keeping everyone engaged. I also feel like our schedule is too full and we tend to eat and run rather than sitting and reading or talking other than during the meal. That is something i am definitely going to work on this year. Thinking of starting our day earlier to have the time together before we start homeschooling.

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    Right before the adoption of my son, I bought a custom made, huge, farm table with this kind of family dinner in mind. Problem is, we homeschool and without a dedicated school room, this table becomes ground zero for 4 kids’ schoolwork. Many evenings, I opt to just plop them all down at the breakfast bar instead of taking the time to clean up table.

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    Elizabeth Spencer says

    For us the difficulty is that with seven children ages five to thirty three they are at such different stages and by dinner we are tired.

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    At our house we succeed in keeping conversation going! With three young girls (6, 4, 1), I don’t think that will ever be a problem! :) I try to get everyone (my husband) involved by asking what their high/low was for the day. My one year old adds her own voice (screaming) to the mix as well, but overall we just enjoy getting to eat together.

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    Jessica says

    Both of my kids are still very young, as in under two. I love our attempts at family dinners right now so that we can hopefully set habits in motion for the future, but I wish my toddler would sit for longer than 5 minutes. I know that is a minuscule frustration, but it is hard to enjoy dinner with a toddler constantly standing, trying to climb on the table, and the constant up and down.

  77. 86


    We have a hart time getting everyone still, everything calm, and bringing God to dinner with us. We have a toddler and 5 year old. Theres alot of chattering and it is hard just to get everyone calm at the same time. We have most of our meals together since my husband works from home and I find that we have become so used to it, so complacent that we forget to allow God into our meals!

  78. 88

    faith says

    Ours is a lot like the above comments.. we have a 2 yr old and 10 month old.. it is hard at mealtime mostly because my 2 yr old doesnt want eat or our 10 month old will scream if we dont feed him fast enough, so it is hard to carry on a conversation when having to tend to the little ones… But we know it wont last forever!! :) thanks for the giveaway!

  79. 89


    We are a committed dinner time family, even if it means we eat at 4pm some nights, as long as we are together, but it sorta ends there. We eat together and semi chat, but our meals a lot of times consist of answering how many more bites someone has to eat, cleaning up a spill for the ‘inth time, and so on. Giving us something to focus on would really help! Thanks!

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    Shelley Jenkins says

    We struggle to eat dinner together as a family period! We have 9 children and a table that seats 6. Our home is too small to have a larger one so meal times are not family oriented unfortunately. It’s something of value I’d like to instill in them more but we don’t have that opportunity until the Lord provides us with a new home and table! :)

  81. 91

    Penny says

    We struggle with actually sitting at the table for dinner. It is usually on the couch watching tv. Our toddler eats early. I would really like for us to be on the same schedule. However, it is difficult to train your husband who has grown up watching tv at meals to change.

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    amanda says

    our struggle at the table is talking at all! lol :) we have a 7 month old and a 3 yr old and most nights we finish are meal and are cleaning up and i look at hubby and ask did we even talk during dinner? he usually says we started to but then…… lol

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    I love meal times around the table with my family. I really want to guard this time. Plan to start doing devotions with my 3 year old during/after breakfast soon.

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    Like everyone else, we have our “good” meals and very, very “bad” ones. My favorites are when conversations about God just kind of organically spring up and we end up having family worship at the table. My heart just thumps for joy, for sure! The bad are the three year old hopping up out of his seat every three minutes, the fighting over how to hold hands when we pray (really?!) and the phone ringing. I do know that I wouldn’t trade that time for anything and one day I’ll look back and remember this with joy and longing.
    Thanks so much for this giveaway! That lazy susan is gorgeous!

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    Emily says

    Same, same, same…getting the kids fed and then still patient enough for devotions is tough. We usually start a reading while they are still nibbling :)

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    mel says

    We constantly struggle with conversation. We get to the table but with a teen and tween – “snarky” comments banter back and forth.

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    Stefani says

    I struggle with making meals that everyone will enjoy. Unfortunately we end up eating out more often than not. When we do eat at home, we’re usually reminding the 6 year old to eat her food a hundred times. I have tried doing devotions at breakfast and that has worked well for us, but my husband isn’t usually at the breakfast table with us and I would love for the whole family to be there. The lazy susan is beautiful! Thank you so much for all the encouragement!

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    Lisa Timm says

    We have family meals daily but I struggle with balancing conversations. I’m either feeding our 1 year old or scarfing food down to catch up with her or trying to give attention to my husband, 7 year old and the 1 year old! It seems like conversations are limited to “finish your green beans and go clean up.”

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    JudyH says

    I am a foster and an adoptive mom. Having a 1, just 3 and almost 4 year old at the dinner table and keeping everyone on task eating and sitting in their chairs is sometimes a challenge…especially if they are not thrilled with what’s to eat.

  90. 103

    Carrie says

    The hardest part about dinner right now is getting our 3 year old to stay in her seat. She also talks all of the time and is constantly interrupting any conversation anyone else at the table tries to have. It is hard to have a real family discussion because it feels like we are wrangling her the whole time. I know it is just a phase we are in with her age, but it does get frustrating.

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    With 2 daughters in high school and the demands of sports and extra-curricular activities, some days it’s a struggle to find time to eat as a family. I’ve put together a list of meals that can be thrown together quickly so that we can use the little time we have at home for meaningful family time around the table.

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    alissa c. says

    Ha! What everyone said! With three kids ages 6, 3, and 21 month, our struggles are keeping them seated, no fighting, eating not just talking… etc. Love that everyone else has the same issues!

  93. 106


    With a husband who works in the restaurant business our biggest challenge is getting us all around the table at the same time. He’s often not home at dinner. When we can, we’ll eat a different meal like brunch/lunch together when he’s going to be working a night shift. I struggle with being consistent about sitting down with the girls to eat when it’s just the 3 of us. When we do get around the table together we are consistent with prayer and sharing something we are grateful for and writing it in our gratitude journal but not very consistent with reading/devotions. It’s something I’ve been praying about, that I be more disciplined in this area. Working on it. Adding your book suggestions to my wish list.

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    I struggle with carrying the grace that we’ve prayed at the beginning of the meal into the meal itself…extending it when cups spill or ugly comments are made about the food prepared or the silence that comes when no one wants to share anything.
    I think the real transformative work happens when I more fully open myself to the grace, both the words and the living into it.

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    Brittany N. says

    Tell me what you love/hate/struggle/succeed with around the table and you’ll be entered to win!

    My husband and I (no kids yet) make table time a priotorty. His friends don’t get why we eat dinner together each night. And if we can’t make it, I have a walking date with a friend or he has to work late, we have an extra long prayer time in the evening together. I hate that the world doesn’t understand why, just as a couple, our table time is important to us. I struggle with waiting to eat after our prayers, I’m really hungry by the end of the day and I’ve had to sit on my hands a few times from sneaking a bit or two :). I love that my husband and I do meet up at the table after our work days and pray and enjoy just a half hour of time together if nothing else to just slow down and be together. My husband and I come from two different Christian believes backgrounds, but we learned how to pray together through our table time :) It’s something that is so intimate and if you can pray in front of someone, just the two of you, you can really bond over. We have both grown through our table time as a family and as Christians :)

  96. 109

    Joanne Viola says

    I gave up with trying devotions around the dinner table. We have found that just conversing with our kids about their day, their struggles, their hurts, their achievements, etc. led to much opportunity to share about what God had to say about what was going on in their lives. We left devotions & prayers until bedtime & did one with our daughter & one with our son. Each had their own time with us. And that seems to work.
    Thanks for the suggestions & the giveaway opportunity,

  97. 110

    Becki Miller says

    We sometimes struggle with having a conversation without the kids fighting. Usually the boys get a little wild and one of them gets the giggles and needs to leave the table until he can calm down. When I say giggles… I mean Joker style laughing. Super cute almost any time of the day… except the dinner table!! :\

  98. 111

    Carrie Hollon says

    We have finally seemed to reach the point (for the most part) that we can enjoy normal conversation around the dinner table. We have two girls, 8 and 5, so I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with manners and behavior. I love the nights when we don’t have to focus on behavior and can just have fun conversation that lasts even after we’re done eating.

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    Samantha says

    Ugh. Just getting my three-year-old to eat. He never wants to eat his dinner. He does really well at other meals, but not dinner. Then there’s the dog, a still very puppy-like one-year-old who hasn’t learned his dinnertime manners yet. He’s constantly sniffing around, trying to lick my son’s chair. It gets a little nuts, and I’ve been putting off trying to do some sort of family devotion at dinner and this post has encouraged me to start. Love the lazy susan.

  100. 113

    Deedra says

    How funny that you are blogging about “around the table”! We used to always eat around the table, but have gotten off track lately. I will admit the heat in my eat in kitchen after cooking the meal is what has kept me from eating there a lot lately. But after the kids asking many times when we are going to eat at the table again, I just this morning got it all cleared off (it tends to be my biggest clutter catcher) and we will eat at the table tonight. They will be so excited. So I guess my biggest struggle around the table is getting around the table.

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    Amanda says

    I really struggle with technology at the table. My family always eats dinner and breakfast together, but we are always tempted to check our email and text at the table.

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    colleen schinzing says

    Love the focused dinner discussion based on devotion time. We try to do devotions before bed (after the baby is asleep), but at that point we are all pretty tired and it isn’t the quality time I’d love. Looking forward to trying devos at dinner!

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    Melissa says

    Our struggle is just to get around the table together. My husband works long hours, so many nights we don’t sit down to eat until nearly 7 pm. Our one year old goes to bed around 7:30 and it is hard to stave off our big kids until then to eat. When we do sit down, I feel like I am running around getting drinks, cleaning spills, etc… that when I finally get to eat everyone else is done and I’m left alone at the table. We really want to have family dinners on a regular basis! It is one of our goals!

  104. 118

    Megha says

    We have twin 3 year old’s and a 6 year old, and they have unique table time challenges! The oldest insists on sitting on the edge of his seat, which makes him prone to getting up while eating, or falling out of the seat! The three of them often play at the table, but giggles quickly turn to screams if someone gets annoyed. I’d love to be able to gather around and talk about our day, and even do a devotional together. Maybe it will get a bit easier as they get older. :)

  105. 119


    My favorite thing is listening to the boys catch up with Daddy when he gets home from work. He always asks what they did that day, and now they are learning to ask him how his day went too. It”s good to see them learn to have a conversation that is not about themselves :-)

  106. 120

    Jessica says

    We are not always consistent, but we use a short devotional book with the Shorter Westminster Catechism after dinner very often. We also make dinner together a priority, no matter when it ends up being. I’ve noticed that the more relaxed Mom and Dad are at the table, the more open and willing the kids are to listen and talk themselves and we have a sweet time of fellowship together long after the meal is done. When Mom and Dad are uptight and frustrated with table manners, attitudes, or our own stressors, it deteriorates rapidly and we’re all anxious to leave the table.

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    Sarah P says

    I love the time it gives us to sit still and focus. It’s usually the time our preschooler says the funniest things and we all laugh together, which ultimately makes us closer.

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    Linsay says

    We struggle with the age differences and having topics that fit the whole family and keep everyone’s interest. And time, the kids are usually trying to rush so they can go play or get things done.

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    Tasha says

    Like many others, our kids are all under five so it’s hard to eat and do anything else at the same time. I like the idea of doing something at breakfast when my kids are a little calmer and I don’t usually have to fight to get them to eat.

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    Jennifer says

    Our biggest struggle is how our 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter “tag-team” it at the table. Many times being at the table together (even though we eat dinner at home most nights) is hilariously funny to them (which we love laughter, but sometimes it can be hard to have much of a productive conversation as a family when that is happening).

  111. 125


    right now we are struggling with getting my 3 year old to eat. It seems so much of our table time is spent convincing him to try the food and explaining that you can’t “not like” something if you haven’t tried it. Doesn’t leave much room for good conversation.

  112. 126

    Karin says

    Simple success when our kids were younger….each one would share a sad, a mad and a glad from the day. Helped to teach self awareness and self evaluation. They are 23, 19 and 17 now and only one is left at home with us as we serve in SE Asia.

  113. 127

    Deanna says

    Our daughter is 18 months – right now we are working on listening and getting her to hold and hands and pray. She’s started to let us hold her hands and at the end after amen she laughs. :-)

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    Nicole says

    I love having supper around the table and having everyone tell their “Highs” and “Lows” of the day. They respond much better to this than “What did you do today”.

  115. 129


    Our struggle is to get to the table in the first place. My husband works 3 pm to midnight with a floating “lunch” time. So when we are able we get to sit at the table together. The other problem we run into is spending time talking about the Word instead of spilling out everything that happened that day or what needs to get done. Sometimes since we don’t have a lot of time with Dad at night, we have to catch up on chit chat which shouldn’t be our focus.

  116. 130


    Our struggle is a 2 year old who is the world’s slowest eater and a 7 year old who eats fast and gets antsy to get up and move. So although we sit down for dinner as a family every night, one child is done in 10 minutes and is ready to get up and move on with her day, and the other child sits at the table for 1/2 hour savoring every bite. I too feel anxious to get up and start clean-up, but would prefer if we all sat until everyone finishes.

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    My family’s biggest struggle is the four-year-old who always thinks the food we are eating is yucky or just not edible because it’s not candy! Sometimes our whole meal time is about getting him to eat the food that I know he will like if he would get past the “it’s yucky” part of the meal. Other than that, we love our family time at the table each night!

  118. 132


    Our struggle is just getting the kids to stay seated and eat their food. :) With one toddler and one kindergartner it’s hectic at dinner time. But we always say grace and thank God for our food. And we never have the TV on. I’m starting the habit now of family dinner time that I want to continue for a long time. I grew up that way and I want my kids to as well. Thanks for the giveaway. The lazy susan is beautiful and the books sound great.

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    Tammy says

    We struggle with even getting together at the table to eat. Our lives are so chaotic and I feel like a horrible mom & wife for not bringing my family together for meals. I feel so scattered.

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    Kristine says

    I struggle with picky eaters. Slowly but surely we’re making headway, but grumbly kids who don’t like what is served ruin a dinner atmosphere so fast…

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    Andrea L. says

    We struggle to eat together! With a one year old and a two year old who want to get moving and who get hungry all throughout the day, we’re sometimes just praying for bedtime as we eat dinner!

  122. 138

    Amy McG says

    We are never able to all sit down at the table together because my husband doesn’t get home until after dinner time, but the kids and I try to. Our main struggles are getting the 3 year old to stay in his seat for longer than 5 minutes, constant bickering between the older siblings, and then our 7 year old boy sharing his new found talent for sound effects. Ugh.

  123. 139

    Michelle says

    Reading all these dinner time struggles reminds me of how our time at the table used to be. We just stayed the course and the benefits are finally blooming now. With a 6 and 8 yr old boys they now come up with conversation starters and are willing to stay at the table longer than me and my husband! Hang in there and soon they will place just as much value on it as you do! Thanks for the giveaway!

  124. 140


    Wow with the toddler comments! I wonder if that’s how God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit feel about us!

    Our struggle is a toddler who wants to be IN on the conversation. She’s not needy, just wants to be included. I’ll be missing these days when she’s 13 and I can’t get her to talk at all.

  125. 141

    Andrea Valdez says

    I love that we make a point of eating together everyday. I love that my children wait till everyone is seated to pray. We sit mixed, not kids at one end, adults over here. I hate when we go to a gathering & there is a fancy adult table then a plain, non decorated kids table in a totally different room or the corner, my children don’t understand that concept.

  126. 142

    Jenn P. says

    Our struggle is being able to really HEAR the heart of each child as they share mundane things about their days. Having 5 children is very busy, but we do make time for family dinner most nights of the week.

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    I think our struggle is to get everyone to share. We have two opposite extremes in our house, the takers and the shy ones and sometimes unless we intentionally ask the shy kids specifically to share, they squeak by unheard.

  128. 144

    kit jordan says

    We struggle with missing my husband and our dad Chris who travels all time. It is tough when my 2 kids and I sit down and his chair is empty knowing he is working hard to provide for us and understanding he is missing the stories of the day as much as we miss him being at home.

  129. 145

    Erin says

    Our struggle is currently our two year old son getting great joy out of feeding our boxer dog every bite of what is on his tray… it’s a constant battle! But we do sit down and eat together around the table almost every night, so that is a start! :)

  130. 146

    Erin B says

    We succeed in eating almost every supper as a family and having some decent conversations. We fail at getting the kids excited to try anything beyond the same plain regulars and sometimes they don’t even like those.

  131. 147

    Andrea Valdez says

    There are many toddler comments. What worked for us was having kid seats that attached to the chairs or pulling the high chair next to the table so they are part of the meal. I had 2 under 2 & will have 2 under 1 so I know what its like. Spills etc, can just be teaching opportunities on helping clean up. Its hard but yes eventually they grow out of it :)

  132. 148

    celina boulanger says

    we have always done , “best thing and worse thing about your day” because the kids would always focus on the bad….there is always a good point,…..even if minuscule.

    I am so tired these days, it’s hard to not lose patience, my kids talk ALOT…but instead of shushing them..i should be listening…my kids may not always want to be talking with us.

    We’ve had some seriously indepth conversations at the table…often has us reaching for the encyclopedia or google to answer the kids.

    I have a great 365 bible stories….hmmm i think i even have a french one (we are french canadian and here in the usa has made that hard!!) and i LOVE that lazy susan!!

  133. 149

    Lisa says

    We don’t have children but we struggle with actually saying grace before each meal. We get caught up in the busyness and just dive in without remembering to express our thanks. Going to make a conscience effort to do this.

  134. 150

    Nicole says

    I struggle with getting our kids to eat and not play the whole time. When we try to have dinner conversations, they will get so wrapped up in that they won’t keep eating their food. Not because they don’t like it, but they get distracted. Also we have serious issues with table etiquette, such as staying seated, eating over your plate, facing the table, using utensils, etc. I know you feel my pain!!! 😉

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