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I got the idea for this extremely fun tradition from a book called Friday Night Bites: Kick Off the Weekend with Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family, by Karen Berman. I can’t say I’m excited by the recipes in this book (I may end up using one or two), but I love the format and the ideas! I read through it and decided to modify it to suit my family and what I wanted to get out of this new tradition, namely family time that creates memories for the kids.

For our first Family Friday, I chose the Under the Sea theme because I wanted to see how everything worked out with a relatively simple concept to plan. Besides, I had pretty much everything I might need on hand – perfect in case of potential hiccups in the idea.

I used an old, blue bed sheet for our tablecloth. On the table, I placed a vase with pretty, blue, wavelike swirls and gave one of our betta fish a new home inside. On either side of that, I put the two dolphin snow globes that Kaitie & Gracie’s Nanny & Granddaddy gave them. Scattered on the table were the seashells that I found on my scuba adventures (pre-kid years). On the walls, I hung some lithographs from when I’d pre-purchased “Finding Nemo” at the Disney Store years ago. I even hung balloon “bubbles” from the chandelier!

We were even lucky enough to have my parents over for dinner! Here’s how the day went down…

Menu:

Breakfast ~ seaweed omelets with apple boatsuts turtle breakfast

uts breakfastTo make the seaweed omelets, saute about 2 cups (or more, depending on how many people will be eating) of chopped baby spinach in butter, then add 1 1/2 beaten eggs per person. Cook gently on medium low heat until the eggs are almost done, then add 1 slice of muenster cheese per person.

The apple boats are just slices made with and apple corer/slicer. I serve the kids breakfast most days with Carnation Instant Breakfast (either chocolate or vanilla) mixed with our local raw milk.

Lunch ~ peanut butter and jellyfish puzzle sandwiches with goldfish crackers

Simple, but super fun! I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then pressed a fish shaped cookie cutter into the middle of each sandwich. Then, I cut through the middle of all four sides to make it look like puzzle pieces.

Goldfish crackers (a mix of pretzel and original flavors – two of the only ones that don’t have artificial colors or MSG!) are a natural match!

Dinner ~ Publix Apron Meals Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce and Angel Hair Fresca with puff pastry sea stars

uts pbandj fishI love this tilapia recipe! It is so easy to make, and the ingredients are delicious. Here are my substitutions… I used Emeril’s Fish Rub instead of the seasoned salt called for in the recipe, substituted medium sized pasta shells for the angel hair, and used olive oil in place of the butter this time because Caroline’s tiny tummy is very anti-dairy.

The puff pastry sea stars idea came from the Friday Night Bites book. I used a star shaped cookie cutter to make the star shapes, re-rolling the dough until it was used up. Then, I brushed the tops of the stars with olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt. The stars baked in a 350° oven until they were golden brown and puffy good!

Dessert ~ shipwrecked fruit salad in canteloupe boats

So easy! I washed the outside of the canteloupe and cut it into eight crescent shaped slices. I used the small side ofa melon baller to scoop out balls from the middles of the slices, creating “boats”. I mixed the melon balls with diced pineapple and mandarin oranges. Each boat went into a bowl, surrounded by the mixed fruit. In each boat, I placed a scoop of strawberry sorbet, then sprinkled the tops of each with shredded coconut.uts dinner 2

Craft ~

I had originally planned a craft to be done after dinner, but we completely ran out of time after dinner. I had a hunch things would not go exactly as planned! The craft was going to be an octopus made from cut-outs of their traced hands on construction paper, pasted on a blue background and decorated. I’m sure I’ll be able to re-use that idea later!

In the future, I hope to be able to incorporate some learning activities into the theme, such as learning about sea animals on National Geographic Kids online. All in all, though, I think it was a great start!

Next up…Pirates!!! Arrrrrrrr!!!!!

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