I LOVE Family Movie Night. We all do. It’s the perfect, leave the work/school-week behind and transition to the weekend-at-home ritual for us.

There’s tons of ideas for these awesome themed family movies nights on Pinterest now. I have a whole Family Movie Night board because some of them are so cool I want to try them too. But we do Family Movie Night every Friday, so ours looks a little different.

It started out as me wanting one night a week where no one complained about what was for dinner. After the busy week, Friday night I just needed peace! It also started out that I was popping in a movie while I made dinner, to keep the noise and bouncing-off-the-walls to a minimum so I could mentally unwind from the week (at the time Mr. Fix-It got home almost an hour after the rest of us did). But then the crew didn’t want to stop the movie to eat dinner! So again, to keep the peace, Mr. Fix-It and I agreed to let them eat in the living room while finishing their movie. But just on Fridays.

And Family Movie Night was born!

How we make weekly Family Movie Night work for our busy family of 5. {@www.walkinginhighcotton.net}

What does it look like for us? Well, there’s no popcorn, no candy, no soda. No “all the lights out” and no concession stand (although my kiddos would probably love that!). Here’s what we do…

Step One — Clean Up!

We come home and everyone helps straighten up the house.  We just focus on the kitchen and living room, since that’s where we’ll be spending the evening and hopefully this is like a 30 minute interlude. Hopefully.

Step Two — Cook Dinner!

We usually have tacos–about 90% of the time. It’s an inexpensive meal (if you keep up with your smart grocery shopping!) that’s easy to up-size for company! We tried a lot of things, but tacos just seemed to stick and at some point unintentionally became our regular Friday night meal. Mr. Fix-It and I get a little tired of it, but the munchkins actually call it “Taco Night” most of the time and are crushed if we change it up.

They’re a good choice because everyone can fix it the way they want and prep is simple–cook the hamburger and chop everything else. {smile} Tacos are also a great way to slip some new flavors on to the table in a super-relaxed and open-minded setting…we’ve included different kinds of rice and peppers, corn, beans, salsa and guacamole on the table and usually the kids will try it without a fuss. I’ve also thrown leftover green beans and broccoli on the table and, while no one put them on their tacos{!}, they also got eaten.

We occasionally have homemade chicken fingers and french fries with a vegetable, or over a salad. We also sometimes do “sandwich night,” where everyone gets to create their own meal from whatever they scrounge up. This is usually an oven-baked sub night for Mr. Fix-It and I and the kiddos do some hysterically ridiculous version of peanut butter and nutella and bananas.

Piling on the couch for a movie every evening quickly became a tradition.  July 2010.

We love to pile on the couch after dinner with any family that want to come over! (July 2010.)

Step Three — Pick the Movie!

If we’re going with a movie we already have, I’ll usually ask the crew for 3-4 choices and then I’ll be the final pick. It avoids arguing. If we’re going with something new, I’ll head to my “secret stash” and pull out something no one knew about. (More about that on Monday!)

Step Four — Sit Down Together!

The kiddos set our coffee table for the meal. The children eat sitting right at the table and the adults take over a spot on the couch. To maintain our sanity stopped allowing the crew to have drinks in the living room on the carpet. They have a drink in the kitchen and can run back and forth at will during the meal. We say blessing together and use the previews as time for everyone to fix their plates.

Our family movie night is not a no talking, no interruptions, kind of event. We’ll pause the movie if someone needs to use the rest room or the phone rings or whatever. We talk and pass food and get up and down…I find the fidgeting usually settles itself out as we get into the depth of the movie without us having to fuss at each other. Usually.

Step Five — Clean Up!

We excuse the kiddos from their place when they’re done eating, and they usually climb into someone lap until the end of the movie. The movie ends, everyone helps clean up the table and the munchkins go to bed.

THE END  {smile}

Yep, that’s it. That’s our Family Movie Night.

Every Friday. 

We’ve created the simplest little weekly tradition and it has become part of the culture of our home. Any time anyone is coming to visit for the weekend, the first thing we ask is “are you going to make it for Family Movie Night?” We have occasionally gotten off track with it–it either got skipped or became family-watch-tv-together-night. And we missed it. And we went back. And we all love it.

But if we have Family Movie Night every week, how do we pick movies?

I’ll be posting about finding movies and a big list of our family’s favorite picks on Monday!  {Here’s the LIST}

See where I’m sharing this week

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Presenting…Family Movie Night! — 3 Comments

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