Celebrating Everyday Moments: Making Dinnertime = Quality Time {+ Free Inspirational Printables!}

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quality family time at dinner - HWTM

I have a confession to make. When it comes to family dinnertime I’m not exactly “queen of the kitchen” at this point in life. To be perfectly frank, what I usually am at dinnertime is: exhausted. Round-the-clock job, 3 year old, 1 year old, basic life upkeep, etc… I’m pretty sure the culprits are in that list somewhere, and they’re doing a fabulous job at handcuffing my inner Top Chef.

That’s not to say I don’t plan on changing this reality one day (because I do!) …but the thing that’s most helpful for me at dinnertime these days is: shortcuts. And I should probably throw in that Sonny  – who’s represented here behind the camera – is actually a really great cook, but his list looks a lot like mine lately, so we often rely on family meals that are quick or ready-made.

kids helping with dinner

And speaking of ready-made, a brand name that I’m personally very familiar with  – Annie’s  – came through my inbox recently with a request to try out their new line of Rising Crust Pizzas. Did you know they made pizzas?

I say “familiar” because we already consume Annie’s Bunny Grahams and Snack Mix galore over here, the majority of which is consumed by yours truly… even though whenever I buy them I’m thinking, “snacks for the kids!“. I feel like I might use that justification semi-often for things I really want to eat myself. Another confession. ;) Do you ever do that?

Annie's Organic Snack Mix

Anyways, I was very interested in trying out the pizzas, especially since their descriptions boasted good stuff like: certified organic, no artificial flavors or colors, meats with no nitrates, good source of calcium & protein, etc. We picked up some of the organic pizzas in Spinach & Mushroom, Pepperoni, and Cheese. (They were $9.99 each at our local Whole Foods)


The other appealing thing about the email from Annie’s was their challenge to “Put Good Into Your Family Dinner“. No matter what you’re eating for dinner, I’m a firm believer that sitting down to the table for a while with no tv screens, no phones, etc is really important. So my personal viewpoint of “putting good into dinner” is making dinnertime = quality time.

We ended up turning this pizza tasting project into a fun evening for the whole family by getting Macy involved with the dinner prep and capturing candid shots of the girls eating and just being silly on camera… another “little thing” that we don’t make the time to do often enough! The pictures were so fun to look at afterwards – I highly encourage doing this yourself – whether your “family” is your own kids, your significant other, your roommates, etc. I mean, doesn’t everyone deserve a good “tomato eyes” picture now and then? ;)

tomato eyes

celebrate everyday moments - happy baby

Annie's Rising Crust Pizza

We even came up with a new (and super simple) dinnertime tradition where we make a point to discuss good things that happened to us during the day – no matter how big or small they might be – then write them down in a journal after dinner so that we can have a record of good moments to look back on. The moment doesn’t have to be lengthy – something as simple as “ate an amazing caramel cupcake“, “got a really sweet email from __________” or “a ladybug landed on me at school” will suffice. Obviously the types of favorite moments will vary from person to person. ;)

good stuff gratitude journal - free printable


I designed a “good stuff” printable sign for our journal, and you can download it free right here in case you want to start a journal of your own! I also created a couple matching printable 5×7 signs (download here) that feature inspirational quotes on being thankful and enjoying the little things.

enjoy the little things & be thankful quotes - free printables

For our “official” pizza tasting night, we had the Organic Spinach & Mushroom pizza, along with a salad that Macy helped prep, which was dressed with Annie’s Naturals Tuscany Italian Dressing. The Pepperoni and Cheese pizzas made for an easy dinner the next day (+ lunch the day after). Everything tasted great, but I’m still a sucker for pepperoni pizza – so that one was my personal favorite!

Annie's Organic Rising Crust Pizza

Thanks again to Annie’s for inspiring this post & fun memory – and for providing a great new quick meal option of our busy days!


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Annie’s. As always, all opinions and content are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help to keep HWTM running!

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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

12 responses to “Celebrating Everyday Moments: Making Dinnertime = Quality Time {+ Free Inspirational Printables!}”

  1. Aww – so cute and such a good idea!! Thank you for the free printables too – I love both of those quotes and will be printing them out to frame!

  2. Celebrating Everyday Moments: Making Dinnertime = Quality Time {+ Free Inspirational Printables… http://t.co/YUu22LPILU – #Cake Blogs

  3. tonya says:

    Hey Jenn! Thanks so much for sharing so much of you and your family in this post! I too am super busy and get so guilty when I have to rush to get dinner on the table…this has inspired me to just take a minute and make dinner time quality time…thank you for that! I have already printed out the journal cover and plan to start that tomorrow. I’m sure with my kids and hubby….they will have LOTS to say! Keep doing what you’re doing girl! Just know that your hard work is inspiring good things in others :)

    • jenn s. says:

      Thanks so much, Tonya! I really appreciate you taking the time to say all that – and actually really needed to hear it today! Keep doing what you’re doing too :)

  4. What a great message… and such adorable children! You’ve always been an inspiration! My Charlotte is just starting to write so this is perfect! Thank you, Jenn!

  5. […] Grahams and Snack Mix), so she wanted to try our new rising crust pizzas. She’ll show how she sets up a fun Annie’s pizza tasting with the whole family. Yes, you can try this at […]

  6. Amy McKee Belle Isle says:

    I love this so much. Thank you for the reminders!

  7. Paige Kepner says:

    Your family is so cute! We’ll have to try those pizzas, they look delish!

  8. Renae says:

    I love the signs! I’m printing them right now to go on a pinboard I just finished hanging. Thank you!

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