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Making Family Time a Priority

(Family Features) - With soccer practice, piano lessons, friends, homework, tests and more, there are countless activities that compete for time on the family calendar. With thoughtful planning, you can be sure that fun family time gets penciled in, too.

Karen Deerwester, family expert and author of "The Entitlement-Free Child: Raising Confident and Responsible Kids in a 'Me, Mine, Now!' Culture," highlights the importance of scheduling family time. "Unite the family in the art of fun by planning weekly activities together!" Deerwester says. "When you do, you give your family the most precious gift of all - time together to laugh, enjoy one another and stay connected."

Family time can serve as an escape from the demands and deadlines of life. It is an opportunity to make memories together based on fun and laughter. Depending on schedules and ages, there are many ways to get your family started.

Whether eating takeout or making a home-cooked dinner, bring your family together at mealtime. Sit at the table together and talk about the events of the day, the last vacation you shared or a favorite home video. Making meals an event at home creates an occasion for families to bond over everyday responsibilities.

When in the car with your children, don't be drowned out by the radio or headphones. Keep the dial turned off and initiate conversations about school, friends, recent accomplishments or daily challenges. Your child will feel comfortable talking to you and will look forward to this special travel time together.

Board games and puzzles are another way to bring together family members of all ages for moments of fun. The effort to spend merely 30 minutes playing games will be richly rewarded as playing board games together strengthens family relationships, sparks conversations and brings everyone together in silliness and laughter.

For the word fans in the family, try Scrabble Flash, a new game that pits players against the clock to build as many three-to-five letter words as possible. Five tiles each display a letter and recognize formed words with WonderLink technology. It's perfect for a moment of fun and excitement. Another updated classic, Sorry! Spin, unites the family with a new way to play the game of sweet revenge. This edition features a rotating game board which makes getting "Home" more unpredictable and fun than ever before, and engages players on every move, making it anyone's game to win.

"Family Game Night builds powerful family connections and creates a family identity based on fun, laughter, shared interests and individual strengths," Deerwester says. "This is the time to tell the kids that you really want to spend time with them to simply have fun!"

Make sure building a relationship as a family doesn't take the backseat this school year and schedule time for your family. Your children will thank you for it.

For more family time tips, visit familygamenight.com. Or, keep updated via Twitter @familygamenight and on Facebook.com/familygamenight.

SOURCE:
Hasbro

Inspired Dinner Dates at Home

(Family Features) - It is challenging to make meals at home for two that are fun, delicious and restaurant quality, but no one can eat out every night without breaking the bank. Having restaurant-inspired meals at home brings the fun to you in a budget-friendly, exciting new way without ever leaving home.

Here are some ways to have delicious restaurant meals at home while making time for your significant other: 

Make a Date. Pick a night of the week and set it aside as date night. No appointments, no meetings with friends, and no distractions (like phones or emails). Clearing the schedule and making time for your spouse a priority communicates just how important it is.

Restaurant Meals Delivered to Your Door. Give the cook the night off and enjoy the great taste of take-out without ever leaving home thanks to Schwan's Home Service. Award-winning chef Jet Tila, master of Asian-fusion cuisine, has a new line of frozen meals that are ready to serve in 30 minutes or less, and use a new patented steam technology to lock in the nutrients, quality and taste of the food. Available exclusively through Schwan's Home Service, you can enjoy traditionally-inspired Asian cuisine for less than you could spend on a meal out. Chef Jet's restaurant-quality Asian meals are "flash frozen" to lock in great taste.  For more information visit www.schwans.com/chefjet, and www.schwans.com for the full line of 350 plus offerings.

Plan a Picnic. Pack up a picnic basket with a restaurant-inspired dinner and get some good wine or soft drinks. Grab a blanket, some candles and music and you have the makings for a sweet and simple dinner in the back yard. And if the weather's not cooperating, dim the lights inside and set up your picnic in the living room.

Have a Movie-Themed Meal. What's on your must-see list that you can rent or stream? "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"? Try Salmon Teriyaki or Chicken Lo Mein. Feeling Italian? Try watching "Roman Holiday" and serving Six Cheese Tortellini or Pasta Primavera. The possibilities are endless with Schwan's Home Service - have fun matching up your favorite flicks with delicious dinners.

SOURCE:
Schwan's Home Delivery

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