July 6, 2015

How to Host a Family Camp-In {Making Memories with #DarkForDinner} #ad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dixie for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


Lights off
Phones exiled
You, me,
Talk, listen, Be

Camp Out
Camp In?

Fire Crackling
Candles Flicker
Faces light up

Time moves slowly
No expense
High Yield Investment
Family Time




This past Sunday, July 5, my family fulfilled their promise to go #DarkForDinner with Dixie. We didn't spend a dime. Our labors amounted to moving the coffee table off to the side of our living room and firing up the BBQ. Sounds simple, right? Yet this Sunday dinner turned out to be a really big deal. A new summer family tradition was born -- The Camp-In.

As I anticipated, there were moans and groans when I presented four kids, ages 10-18 with the idea of turning off the lights and all electronics for dinner. But something sort of magical happened once we powered off -- The tuned-out suddenly became tuned-in. Without packing a car, driving for hours, pitching a tent and fending off mosquitoes, we created some really fantastic family memories right here in our living room. Here are some of the highlights:


The kids grabbed their instruments -- a set of bongos, an acoustic bass, a ukelele and a guitar -- and started to jam.

For dinner, we kept it simple. We used what we had on hand -- extra burgers and fixings from the 4th. We threw the burgers and some fresh corn on the BBQ and had ourselves a proper camp-out-style picnic on the floor. My sister Cara and our dog, Pancho, nearly had a showdown over the last piece of corn.

Our like-a-son-to-us neighbor, Samba, was inspired to throw some of our favorite pork jowl bacon (sliced into thick strip steaks) on the grill. It was incredible!

I sliced up some of Samba's barbecued bacon and threw it on top of a handful of leftover crispy tater tots and nacho cheese. Not exactly health food, I know, but it sure was a hit.

For dessert, we all enjoyed some of my youngest daughter's S'more Kisses cookies. You can find the recipe HERE.

The kids couldn't resist grabbing a few sticks of kindling and toasting marshmallows over the fire.

We rounded out the evening with an easy little game my daughters made up that is all about getting to know more about one another. The game is called "Favorites" and this is how you play: 

Players take turns coming up with a topic (example: Favorite color, Favorite type of pie, Favorite movie). In turn, we all share our "favorite" that fits in to that category. We were surprised to learn that everyone's favorite color is one shade or another of blue or purple. We shared favorite adventures which included a honeymoon in Pismo Beach and Big Sur (my sister), Catching raindrops on our tongues in Jamaica (my daughter, Maddie), and exploring the Roman Cisterns in Turkey (me). We talked about favorite smells, which ranged from the pavement after it rains to clean laundry to the smell of a freshly opened video game. We had a lot of laughs and learned a lot of new things about each other. I think this Camp-In and dinner will definitely play a role in a future round of Favorites.

Do you have a memory of a special family dinner?

How about creating some new memories by going #DarkForDinner with the people in your life?

On Sunday, June 14, Dixie launched a movement called #DarkforDinner. The movement encourages families to be more present in the moments that matter most and spend more meaningful time together, especially during dinner. In order to really appreciate the company of your family during dinner, the #DarkForDinner movement asks those participating to turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers or other electronic devices to ensure the time together is distraction free.

Join Dixie by participating in the #DarkForDinner movement. For one family dinner, make sure work calls, personal calls, social media or other distractions do not take away from time you can spend together. Go #DarkForDinner and enjoy great conversation and time with what really matters most in life, your family.

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