Monday, December 7, 2015

family dinners

I love family dinner! It combines so many fun aspects that I enjoy: being social, family, food, and chatting. (not necessarily in that order though...) I have so many fond memories of family dinners growing up, and hope to continue these for my future children.

We used to go to my Oma and Opas every Sunday for dinner when I was a kid, and it was the whole family that would go each week. Once said family got a lot larger, we alternated some family going to Oma and Opas one Sunday, and the others going the next. I have very fond memories of those Sunday dinners! My Opa was a great cook. He loved to cook, too. Before we ate, I'd always go to the stove to check what was on for dinner, and he would call me a 'pottekijker.' He made soup every Sunday, and we ate it before dinner. (I think that's a Dutch thing!) When I became a vegetarian, my Oma would cut slices of cheese for me to have in lieu of meat. If it was nice out, we'd eat outside. After dinner, they would always put leftovers in containers for us to take home.

This was clearly around Christmas time; Jen, me & Matt with Oma & Opa.
On my moms side of the family, we used to do big family events at my Grandma & Grandpas house. Every grandkids birthday was celebrated there, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, etc. I remember so many fun things about these dinners. My cousins & I would go up to the spare bedroom and chit chat, the boys would play ping pong downstairs, or we'd play hide-the-penny (or hide-the-thimble depending on the version) in the living room. Grandpa would always have cashews in a little bowl near the coffee table. The same thing happened though: once the family got to be too big, there was SO many people! It got to be a lot of work eventually to have that many people at one party. Plus, it's hard as everyone gets older and has jobs, extracurricular activities, etc. to get everyone together at one time. We do have a traditional New Years Day get together though with everyone, and the next one is at my parents house! (I don't think we could get everyone into our house from that side of the family... hahaha)

We used to do family photos like this every time we had this side of the family together. This is an old one, and I think both Jen & my cousin Kristin, the two babies of the family, are missing here.

Now, we go to my parents every Sunday for dinner. Its been a tradition for about the past two years I'd say now. Time flies! I love this tradition and hope we can continue it for many years to come. It's not always anything fancy, but its great time to catch up on the weeks happenings and share a meal. We did always have dinner together growing up, and I enjoyed that too. (especially when I was allowed to invite Heidi over for dinner with us - two peas in a pod we were!!)

For extended family, we mostly do dinners or get togethers with everyone in the holiday season. Yesterday, we had a Spier family Christmas dinner at our house. (my dads side of the family) This is the first time in a while that we had everyone together!! My cousin Meryl, and her fiancee Evan, have been living out of town for the past few years, and Jen has been out of town for the last two. Meryl & Evan have since moved back home, and Jen just happened to be home for training this week, and so we arranged to have the dinner while she was in town.

Left to right, top row: Aunty Coralee, Uncle Mike, cousin Evan, Uncle Glenn, Uncle Mike, Edwin, my mom, Pants, cousin Adrien, my dad. Left to right bottom row: my sister, Aunty Daphne, Aunty Soraya, cousin Cameron, cousin Meryl, and me
The only person who was invited but couldn't attend was Adrien's girlfriend - I'd say that was a pretty good success rate!! My aunt Coralee normally has us over for Christmas dinner, or we've done brunch somewhere out other years, but we offered to do it this year, and Meryl & Evan have already offered for next year! I really enjoy being able to see everyone, especially at this time of year, it makes it extra special. Plus, you should have seen the food we had... it was an unreal potluck spread, including: ham, cheesy brussel sprouts, samosas, veggie lasanga, scalloped potatoes and so much more... Oh and Evan made dessert. He seriously went all out! He made olibollen and boterkoek (Dutch desserts), fried plantains (a Guatemalan dessert), and apple pie (a Canadian dessert). Oh, and fresh whipped cream! How cool is that!

Do you have any family traditions that involve food? I came across this article today called "how we eat" and was inspired.  Happy holiday season - I hope it is filled with lots of family & family dinners. If you need pseudo-family in this holiday season, or any time actually, come on over! I love an excuse to cook for people ;)


  1. Great story, lovely to read and happy for you guys that the family find special moments to be together. Wy to go! Thanks for sharing. One of your father's cousins :)

    1. Thanks for commenting Arjan!!! I love family time :)

  2. The first time I had chili served on rice with shredded cheese was at your house...and it's since become a regular dinner at my parents' house :)

  3. I love that you remember this!!! And that it's now still eaten at your parents house!!! That's so fun :)